Hiatus: Hurlyburly Shuts Down Production Off-Broadway Before Moving to New Location

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19 Mar 2005

Ethan Hawke and Parker Posey in <I>Hurlyburly</I>
Ethan Hawke and Parker Posey in Hurlyburly
Carol Rosegg
The New Group's acclaimed revival of David Rabe's Hurlyburly closes Off-Broadway at the Acorn Theatre March 19 and prepares for its reopening at its new home at the larger Off-Broadway venue 37 Arts.

New Group artistic director Scott Elliott (Aunt Dan and Lemon) staged the work with a revised script by Rabe at the Acorn Theatre. The work began previews at that space Jan. 11 opened Jan. 27 to positive critical response. The new staging will begin again April 11 and open April 20 at the 499-seat theatre 37 Arts

Interspersed with 80's music (Talking Heads, Queen and David Bowie) and occasional glimpses of the world through the set's pre-remote-controlled television ("The Smurfs," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson"), Rabe's revised drama follows the lives of four men working the Hollywood machine. The quartet pontificate on their ex-wives, friendships and work while enduring life through vices (drugs, alcohol and women).

There had been talk that Hurlyburly might find its way to a Broadway theatre as the play did 20 years ago when the original production moved from Off-Broadway to the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in August 1984.

The decision to stay Off-Broadway this time around was based largely on finances, producers Jeffrey Seller and Kevin McCollum told the New York Times. Said Seller: "If you actually look at the rate of return for all the Broadway revivals of the last couple of seasons, even the successful ones don't make much money. They play their 12 weeks and they call it a day."



According to the producers, a 12-week run Off-Broadway will cost $650,000 to produce; a similar Broadway stay would require $1.8 million. The current company, which includes Ethan Hawke, Wallace Shawn, Parker Posey, Bobby Cannavale, Josh Hamilton, Catherine Kellner and Halley Wegryn Gross, has agreed to play a minimum of 12 weeks at the new space.

Hurlyburly originally ran Off-Broadway in 1984 with Mike Nichols directing a cast that included William Hurt, Judith Ivey, Harvey Keitel, Cynthia Nixon, Ron Silver, Jerry Stiller and Sigourney Weaver. The work then transferred to Broadway garnering four Tony nominations (with one win for Ivey). Rabe later adapted it for the screen for the 1998 film starring Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Anna Paquin, Meg Ryan, Chazz Palminteri and Robin Wright Penn.

Tickets to Hurlyburly at 37 Arts, 450 West 37th Street (near 10th Ave.) are available by calling (212) 307-4100.