Polly Bergen Will Partner With Hamill in Six Dance Lessons, Cutting a Rug at Belasco Oct. 7

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02 Aug 2003

Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen

Tony Award nominee Polly Bergen will be Mark Hamill's dance partner in the Broadway staging of the regional hit, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, beginning Oct. 7 at the historic Belasco Theatre.

Richard Alfieri's comedy-drama about a gay dance instructor and a minister's wife who have both known loss, opens Oct. 29,. Arthur Allan Seidelman directs, as he did in Los Angeles (with Uta Hagen and David Hyde Pierce) and Miami (with Hamill and Rue McClanhan).

The comedy is produced by Rodger Hess; Marcia Seligson; Entpro Plays, Inc.; Carolyn S. Chambers; Sight, Sound and Action, Ltd.; Brantley M. Dunaway and Judy Arnold. In the play, "Polly Bergen portrays Lily Harrison, a formidable Florida retiree, who has hired a dance instructor for six weeks. Much to her dismay, she is greeted by an acerbic, transplanted New Yorker, Michael Minetti (Mark Hamill). After a rocky start, Michael and Lily soon learn they have more in common than either could have imagined. A smart comedy about the nature of friendship, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks invites us to cherish the partners we choose."

Tickets for Six Dance Lessons go on sale beginning Sept. 1 through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or via www.Telecharge.com. The Belasco box office opens Sept. 22.

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The film rights to the play, with screenplay by Richard Alfieri, have been optioned by Universal. The play recently completed a successful Berlin engagement at the Renaissance Theater. That production will open shortly at the Theater in Der Josefstadt in Vienna, and will then return to be in rep at the Renaissance Theater. Additional productions are planned for Essen and Koblenz in October, and Hamburg in February 2004. A tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland will begin in the fall of 2004.

Elke Sommer will star in a Dusseldorf production in September 2004 before doing the play in Scandinavia. In January 2004, it will open at the Beit Lessen Theatre in Tel Aviv.

Bergen most recent Broadway appearance was as Fraulein Schneider in the Roundabout's acclaimed production of Cabaret. She received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for her performance in the Roundabout's Broadway revival of Follies. Other Broadway productions, include John Murray Anderson's Almanac, Champagne Complex, Plaza Suite, First Impressions and Love Letters. Bergen has worked on more than 300 film and television projects, including "Cape Fear." Also, she received an Emmy for "The Helen Morgan Story," and two Emmy nominations for "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance." She has recorded numerous albums, including "Bergen Sings Morgan" and "The Party's Over."

Hamill, internationally known as Luke Skywalker of the "Star Wars" series, returns to Broadway for the first time since he starred in Larry Shue's comedy, The Nerd in 1987. He also starred on Broadway in The Elephant Man, Amadeus and Harrigan ‘n Hart, for which he received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. His other film credits include "The Big Red One," "Village of the Damned" and "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia." He'll make his directorial debut and star in Creative Light Entertainment's fictional mockumentary, "Comic Book: The Movie," to be released by Miramax this fall.

Playwright Alfieri received the Writers Guild Award for his screenplay, "Harvest of Fire," a Hallmark Hall of Fame production. He was awarded the Grand Prize at the New York International Film and Television Festival and a writers Guild Award nomination for his screenplay for the film, "A Friendship In Vienna," for Disney. Mr. Alfieri received a Writers Guild Award and an Emmy Nomination for his work on Norman Lear's ABC special, "I Love Liberty." Other projects include the miniseries, "Bluegrass," for CBS; the films "Addicted to His Love," "Black River Falls," and "Deadly Longings," for ABC; and "Strange Voices," for NBC. Alfieri graduated from Yale University and continued his studies in New York with Sanford Meisner. His play The Sisters, inspired by Chekhov's The Three Sisters, premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse and is scheduled to be made into a film in 2004. He recently completed the screenplay for the feature, "Puerto Vallarta Squeeze," based on the novel by Robert James Waller.

In New York, director Seidelman staged Vieux Carre, Billy, Hamp (Obie Award, Burns Mantle Award), Awake and Sing, Inherit The Wind, The Awakening Of Spring, The World Of My America, The Four Seasons, The Justice Box, The Ceremony Of Innocence. For the Los Angeles Reprise! series he helmed Hair, Mack and Mabel, The Boys from Syracuse, Of Thee I Sing, Follies.