By Robert Simonson
17 Dec 2001
The Peter Parnell two-hander QED, starring Alan Alda and Kellie Overbey, which has played Sundays and Mondays at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont Theatre since Oct. 21, will play its last performance on Dec. 17 at 7:30 PM. But the popular outing, in which Alda plays Nobel Prize-winning professor of physics Richard Feynman, will return on Feb. 17 for a second two-shows-a-week run running through May 13.
The encore engagement will mean the play and Alda's performance will be fresh in voters minds come Tony Award time. There is a paucity of new plays on Broadway this season. Among the few are Simon's 45 Seconds From Broadway, Albee's upcoming The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and the stage adaptation of the film The Graduate.
The play was once called Tuva or Bust! and is based on the book that goes by the latter title, written by Feynman and Ralph Leighton. It traces the two men's friendship from the first discovery of a mutual passion for drumming to Feynman's many wild tales of safe cracking at Los Alamos, sharing gambling tips with Nick the Greek, joking with Einstein and finding the frozen "O Rings," the cause of the Challenger disaster.
The play opened to lukeward reviews, but nonetheless quickly announced additional dates.
Alda follows in the footsteps of such recent Broadway and Off-Broadway brains as Philip Bosco and Michael Cumpsty as nuclear physicists in Copenhagen, Larry Bryggman as an addled mathematician in Proof, Frank Wood as another physicist in The Wax at Playwrights Horizons, and Jonathan Rabb as the titular mathematician in Fermat's Last Tango.
Alda last appeared on Broadway in Yasmina Reza's Art. Other Broadway credits include the original The Apple Tree and Neil Simon' s Jake's Women. He was nominated for a Tony Award for both roles. Kellie Overbey plays Feynman's student. The show played the Mark Taper Forum in spring 2001. Overbey has starred on Broadway in Buried Child and Present Laughter and Off-Broadway in Betty's Summer Vacation (as Betty) and The Hologram Theory.
QED has a set by Ralph Funicello, costumes by Marianna Elliott, lighting by D, Martyn Bookwalter and sound by Jon Gottlieb.
Tickets are $60 and $40. Call Tele-Charge at (212) 239-6200.
Other physicists who have recently graced the New York Stage include those in Broadway's Tony-winning Copenhagen and Off-Broadway's The Wax.