With lower Manhattan still feeling the effects of Sept. 11's attack on the World Trade Center, the Vineyard Theatre, located off of Union Square, will delay the first previews of Doug Wright's Unwrap Your Candy to Sept. 21. Previews were originally to begin Sept. 19. The opening night for the four world premiere short works by the Quills playwright remains Oct. 8.
Described as "four mordant bedtime tales for adults," Unwrap Your Candy includes the playlets "The Bone Violin," "Wildwood Park," "Baby Talk" and the title play, all meditations on frightening family secrets, corrupting adults and corrupting children, dark dirty crimes, and the perils of attending live theatre.
An Obie winner for Quills, Wright penned The Stonewater Rapture, Interrogating the Nude, Watabanaland and Buzzsaw Berkeley. The film "Quills," based on his play, was an indy hit in 2000, garnering a Best Picture award from the National Board of Review, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay and three Academy Award nominations. Wright's one man show, I Am My Own Wife: Studies for a Play About the Life of Charlotte Van Mahlsdorf, was workshopped at La Jolla Playhouse in July, 2001.
Featured in the cast are Obie winner Henry Stram and frequent Off-Broadway star Reg Rogers. Stram won a 1996 Obie for Sustained Excellence, including his work with Richard Foreman (My Head Was A Sledgehammer, Eddie Goes to Poetry City) and the Vineyard (Christina Alberta's Father). Rogers starred as the title character in Second Stage's Cellini, Playwright's Horizons' Lobster Alice, Roundabout's Hurrah at Last! and Classic Stage Company's Look Back in Anger.
Also in the cast are Leslie Lyles (Down The Garden Paths), Michi Barall and Darren Pettie. Tickets are $15-$40. The Vineyard is located at 108 E. 15th Street. For ticket information, call (212) 353-3366.
The Vineyard season continues with a world premiere musical and the likely premiere of Jeremy Dobrish's latest, Eight Days (Backwards).
In Brutal Imagination, beginning performances Dec. 19, Eady examines the Susan Smith case, in which a young South Carolinian mother strapped her sleeping children into her car and pushed the vehicle into a lake. She later accused a mysterious black man of carjacking her children, a man she created in her own head — who suddenly shows up to tell his side of the story. When the piece played in workshop form at the Kitchen in October 2000, other stereotypical characters making appearances in the musical included John Henry, Mr. Bojangles, Uncle Ben and Uncle Tom.
Brutal Imagination opens Jan. 27. Diane Paulus (Eli's Comin') directs.
The spring is less firmly planned, although a new play from Jeremy Dobrish should play the Vineyard Stages. Development continues on a new Polly Pen musical, a new work by Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin) and readings of a theatre piece based on the unpublished lyrics and writing of Carolyn Leigh. Leigh is best known for her lyrics to Little Me with Cy Coleman and Neil Simon, Wildcat, which starred Lucille Ball, and How Now Dow Jones.
In 2001, Eady and hot young playwright Christopher Shinn will have residencies with the company. Shinn's Four made its New York premiere July 1 at the Tribeca Playhouse. Other works include Other People, What Didn't Happen and The Coming World.
Finally, the Vineyard will host festivals of new work created by the recently formed Vineyard Community of Artists, a resident company of theatre folk creating for the company. A series of special events will also mark the Vineyard's 20th season.
— By Christine Ehren