Two-time Tony winner John Cullum stars in Wendy Wasserstein's latest, Old Money. The play, which began previews Nov. 9, will officially open of Dec. 7 at Lincoln Center Theatre's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, under the direction of Mark Brokaw. Dan Butler, Mary Beth Hurt and Kathryn Meisle co-star.
Even before the first performance, Old Money had sold out tickets for its entire run, mainly because of Lincoln Center Theatre's membership base, according to an LCT spokesperson. "The Newhouse Theatre has less than 300 seats, and with the limited length of the run, only so many tickets are available. The demand exceeded the supply; and Wendy Wasserstein is a very popular writer." The spokesperson added that LCT also experienced a pre-run sellout with Tina Howe's drama, Pride's Crossing. Old Money can't extend, owing to Jon Robin Baitz's next play already having been booked next at the Newhouse. Any decision on moving the show will be made after the critics have their say next month.
Cullum will play Tobias Vivian Pfeiffer III, a professor of New York history. In the work, in which Wasserstein takes a look at Manhattan society past and present, Pfeiffer pays a call on the Upper East Side mansion where he grew up. The building is now owned by Jeffrey Bernstein, a hedge-fund analyst who made his fortune during the current Wall Street boom.
Cullum won his Tony Awards for On the Twentieth Century and Shenandoah and remains best known in theatre circles for his musical work (he was also nommed as Best Actor in a Musical for On a Clear Day You Can See Forever). He recently made his debut on the London stage in Arthur Miller's Mr. Peter's Connections. To television audiences, Cullum is remembered as one of the stars of "Northern Exposure."
Also in the cast are Emily Bergl, Mark Harelik Charlie Hofheimer and Jodi Long. Reports have the show virtually sold out Mary Beth Hurt is a theatre stalwart. In the past decade or so, she's given memorable turns in The Secret Rapture and A Delicate Balance, both on Broadway, and as Emilia in Othello in Central Park, opposite Christopher Walken and Raul Julia. She's won Tony nominations for Benefactors, Crimes of the Heart and Trelawny of the Wells.
Dan Butler is known for his role as "Bulldog" Briscoe on television's "Frasier." Off-Broadway, he appeared in his own one-man show, The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me. On Broadway, he's been seen in Biloxi Blues and Hot House.
Kathryn Meisle has spent recent season in the regions, playing roles in A Month in the Country, among others. On Broadway, she was seen in Racing Demon, London Assurance and The Rehearsal, the first with Lincoln Center Theater, the latter two at the Roundabout.
Brokaw has directed such Off-Broadway hits as How I Learned to Drive, As Bees in Honey Drown, This Is Our Youth and The Dying Gaul. Money marks his Lincoln Center Theatre debut, as well as his first stab at Wasserstein, whose New York premieres have typically been staged by Daniel Sullivan.
Wasserstein is one of the few contemporary American playwrights to find consistent success on the Broadway stage. She registered two big Broadway hits in a row with the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles and The Sisters Rosensweig. However, her next, and most recent, play, An American Daughter, surprised many in the theatre world by opening to largely negative reviews and closing after a brief Broadway run.
The design team for Old Money includes Thomas Lynch (sets), Jane Greenwood (costumes) and Mark McCullough (lighting). John Carrafa will provide musical staging.
* The remainder of the LCT 2000-2001 season features Jon Robin Baitz's Ten Unknowns, directed by Da±p Sullivan and starring Donald Sutherland and Julianna Margulies, at the Newhouse (previews from Feb. 8, 2001, opening March 8); John Guare's Chaucer in Rome, directed by Nicholas Martin at the Newhouse (previews from May 10, 2001, opening June 7); and, on Broadway, Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love, directed by Jack O'Brien and starring Robert Sean Leonard, at Broadway Lyceum Theatre.
— By Robert Simonson