If you haven't yet seen the acclaimed, award-winning drama Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde Off-Broadway, you have only a couple of chances left. The show will close at the Minetta Lane Theatre Sept. 13, after 18 previews and 534 regular performances. That makes 604 total performances in NYC, since Moises Kaufman's drama started Off-Off-Broadway at the Greenwich House Theatre, where it played 52 performances before moving to the Minetta Lane.
Gross Indecency, written and directed by Kaufman, stars Tom Nelis, who recently replaced original star Michael Emerson. (Ironically, the latter left the show, about flamboyantly gay playwright Wilde, to get married.) Edward Hibbert, of TV's "Frasier," also played the role in NY for several weeks.
Kaufman's play also stars Joey Collins as Bosie, the callow youth whose affair with Wilde destroys the playwright's career and life. Designing the show are Sarah Lambert (sets), Kitty Leech (costumes), Betsy Adams (lighting) and Wayne Frost (sound/original music).
Kaufman's biographical drama tells of Wilde taking legal action against slanderous accusations by the father of his young lover. The lawsuit backfires, and Wilde is suddenly faced with sodomy charges.
Gross Indecency won the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Award (a tie with Beauty Queen of Leenane) for Best Play. Production spokesperson Kevin McAnarney told Playbill On-Line (Sept. 11) the play will have had 32 U.S. productions by mid-March 1999. It's already played in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto and Puerto Rico, plus a current mounting in Stockholm. Next week, the show opens in Plymouth, England, with Corin Redgrave as Wilde. According to spokesperson McAnarney, Gross Indecency first opened Off-Off-Broadway Feb. 27, 1997. That mounting ran to May 4. Fueled by an rave by the New York Times' Ben Brantley, Kaufman's Oscar Wilde deconstruction made the jump to Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre on June 5, 1997 (previews began May 20, 1997). It's been there ever since.
For tickets ($29.50-$47.50) and information on Gross Indecency at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane, call (212) 420-8000.
-- By David Lefkowitz