Roat may be a nasty, violent character in Wait Until Dark, but fans are hoping Quentin Tarantino, who stars in the thriller's current Broadway revival, isn't starting to live the part.
Reports last week surfaced in the major dailies that onstage, Tarantino accidentally tended to get a little rough with co-star Marisa Tomei (a charge she later denied to the NY Post.) Now NY print and broadcast media have reported that Tarantino surrendered to police June 11 on a charge of punching a woman in an East Village, NY, restaurant May 1.
Fashion stylist Leila Mwangi has hit Tarantino with third degree assault charges (a misdemeanor) and a $15 million civil suit. She allegedly cut her forehead when Tarantino took a swing at her boyfriend and caught her instead. The NY Times reports that the police said the argument stemmed from Mwangi protesting the way black people are portrayed in the director's films (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs). The alleged incident occured at 2:30 AM May 1 at the Three of Cups eatery on First Avenue.
Tarantino's lawyer, Paul Callan, told WCBS-TV news the assault charge was just a way of beefing up the hefty civil suit. "This is celebrity stalking of the worst possible kind," he said.
Reached in the morning June 12, Wait Until Dark spokesperson James Morrison, had not yet been informed of the full details of the incident and did not know whether the legal troubles would have any effect on the playing schedule of Frederick Knott's 1966 thriller. Tarantino was able to return to the stage for his Wait Until Dark performance June 11 evening. As of the week ending May 31, the show grossed $258,909 and played to 66 percent capacity at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The play began previews Mar. 27 and opened Apr. 5. Dark had been scheduled for a 16-week, 124 performance run, but that was recently extended through Aug. 30. (The show tried out in a pre-Broadway run at Boston's Wilbur Theatre Feb. 28- Mar. 22).
Wait Until Dark concerns a menacing drug dealer terrorizing a blind woman and her pesky young next-door neighbor. The director is Leonard Foglia (Master Class, Lonely Planet). Other thrillers by Knott include 1961's Write Me A Murder and 1952's Dial `M' For Murder.
Film actor/director Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs) is making his legit debut as a psychotic stalker in the revival. Oscar-winner Tomei's theatre credits include Demonology at Playwrights Horizons and Slavs at NY Theatre Workshop. Co-star Stephen Lang starred in The Speed Of Darkness and A Few Good Men.
The little girl is played by African-American actress Imani Parks, who turned 13 on Jan. 8. Parks debuted in Show Boat, singing opposite Lonnette McKee, and appeared Off Broadway in a Joanne Akalaitis-directed Woyzeck at the Public Theatre. Also in the cast are Juan Hernandez and James Whalen.
Designing Dark are Michael McGarty (sets), David C. Woolard (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Darron L. West (sound).
Producers Lichtenstein and Young (who have recently been joined by Stewart F. Lane and Rodger Hess) mounted the 1996 tour of Knott's Dial M. For Murder (with Roddy McDowall and Nancy Allen) that never made it to Broadway. Joining the two producers are Gregory Young, Jon B. Platt and Liz Oliver.
For tickets and information on Wait Until Dark at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 West 47th St., call (212) 307-4100.