Golda's Balcony Extends Again to June 1; Further Extensions and Commercial Transfer Possible

By Robert Simonson
24 Apr 2003

Golda Meir is gold in the bank for Soho-based Off-Broadway nonprofit, Manhattan Ensemble Theatre.



The one-person play by William Gibson and starring Tovah Feldshuh as the former Israeli Prime Minister, has extended for a second time and is on the verge of a commercial transfer.

The intense, 90-minute play will now run until June 1, with further extensions, possibly lasting until Labor Day, likely. According to MET artistic director David Fishelson, the show is selling out a week in advance and outpacing Hank Williams: Lost Highway, MET's previous hit show, at the box office.

Furthermore, fall may see the Gibson work transfer to a commercial run at an Off-Broadway or small Broadway house. Several producers have visited the production and expressed interest in its future. No names have been mentioned, but sources point to Anita Waxman and Elizabeth Williams as the backers most likely to lead the show north of Houston Street.

Golda's Balcony began previews on March 13 and opened March 26 to solid reviews for Feldshuh's committed performance. It soon extended to May 11.

With Golda's Balcony, MET has two hits based on the lives of renowned historical figures. It's first offering this season, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, about the troubled country singer and composer, was hailed and quickly transferred following an extended run. It is currently playing the Little Shubert. (In fact, the runaway success of MET's first two shows caused the nonprofit to postpone its third selection until the 2003-04 season).

Golda's Balcony was originally derived from a different play by Gibson, Golda, a large-cast show which starred Anne Bancroft and played on Broadway in 1977. Gibson converted it into a one-person drama, which had a production at Shakespeare & Co. in the Berkshires last summer. The MET production is, furthermore, a different version than the one seen in Lenox, MA.

Feldshuh was nominated for Tony Awards for Yentl in 1976, Sarava in 1979 and Lend Me A Tenor in 1989, and won an Obie Award in 1975. In recent years, she has appeared in a couple one-person cabaret shows, Tovah: Crossovah! and Tovah: Out of Her Mind!. She played Talullah Bankhead in her own play, Tallulah Hallelujah! a couple seasons back and last year starred in the short-lived American premiere of Jonathan Wilson's Kilt Off-Broadway at The Directors Company.

Scott Schwartz, who directed Bat Boy and tick, tick...BOOM!, returns to MET after having staged The Castle there last season. He is now helming Me and My Girl at Goodspeed Opera House.

The design team of Golda's Balcony includes wig and hair designer Paul Huntley, set designer Anna Louizos, light designer Howell Binkley, costume designer Jess Goldstein, properties designer Kathy Fabian, and projection designer Robin Silvestri of Batwin + Robin Productions. 

The MET space is at 55 Mercer Street in Manhattan. For information call (212) 925-1900.