By Robert Simonson
07 Apr 2002
Kevin Bacon will hold the stage at the American Airlines Theatre for the last time April 7, as the Roundabout Theatre Company staging of Heather McDonald's An Almost Holy Picture, in which he stars, comes to a close. The show opened on Feb 7 to mixed reviews, after three weeks of previews beginning Jan. 22. Michael Mayer directs.
Bacon performs the role of Samuel Gentle, the former priest, now church groundskeeper, whose faith is shaped by three things: a voice he heard as a child; a horrible schoolbus accident that leads to his renunciation of the ministry; and his daughter's rare endocrine disease.
Other works by McDonald include Faulkner's Bicycle, Dream of a Common Language, The Rivers and Ravines and Available Light.
Although Bacon's wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick, has divided her time between the big screen and the stage — appearing on Broadway in Twelfth Night and Off-Broadway in Craig Lucas' Stranger — Bacon is known nearly exclusively for his film work (Broadway's Slab Boys is among his stage shows). Among his many Hollywood credits are "JFK," "The River Wild," "The Big Picture," "A Few Good Men," "Apollo 13," "Sleepers" and "Picture Perfect." He has appeared in so many films, with so many different actors, that he inspired a game called "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" (after John Guare's play, Six Degrees of Separation) in which players try to connect a performer with Bacon in less that six steps.
Director Mayer, who staged Side Man and the national tour of Angels in America, among other works, has been directing the bubbly musical comedy, Thoroughly Modern Millie, at the same time as the Bacon vehicle. Earlier this year, he told Playbill On-Line, "It's been very interesting to do this dark, powerful, poetic one-man play and then come up here [to Millie rehearsals], where it's all sunshine."
Taking a cue from the Broadway schedules of Nathan Lane in The Producers and Elaine Stritch in At Liberty, Bacon did not perform an eight-show week. John Dossett took his place at specified matinees.
Dossett has been seen on Broadway in such shows as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman and,Prelude to a Kiss, and Off-Broadway in Dinner With Friends, Trudy Blue and How I Learned to Drive. He was to have played McKinley assassin Leon Czolgosz in the Roundabout's postponed production of Assassins.
The design team for An Almost Holy Picture includes Mark Wendland (sets), Michael Krass (costumes) and Kevin Adams (lighting).
The AA Theatre’s next tenant will be Arthur Miller’s The Man Who Had All the Luck, starring Chris O'Donnell. Previews begin April 19. Another Roundabout offering, Richard Greenberg's The Dazzle, is now playing at the Gramercy Theatre Off-Broadway.