In Shadow of Streisand's Wedding, A Couple's Marriage Is Tested

By Kenneth Jones
March 5, 2003

A California married couple's bond is tested when next-door neighbor Barbra Streisand gets married, helicopters and all, in the new comedy, Barbra's Wedding, opening Off-Broadway March 5.

Actor-turned-playwright Daniel Stern penned the new play, which began performances Feb. 11 at Off-Broadway's Westside Theatre. Julie White and John Pankow recreate roles they played in the May 2002 world premiere by Philadelphia Theatre Company.

David Warren (who helmed in Philly) directs the two character play's New York debut. The New York production is produced by Dodger Stage Holding & Manhattan Theatre Club; MTC offers the play to its subscribers as part of the 2002-03 season. Barbra's Wedding settled into the longtime home of The Vagina Monologues, downstairs at the Westside Theatre. Upstairs is I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

Playwright Stern is best known as a film actor who appeared in the Academy Award-winning "Breaking Away" and "Diner," "Home Alone" and "City Slickers." This is his playwriting debut. In Barbra's Wedding, according to production notes, "celebrity-obsessed unemployed actor and former television star Jerry Schiff (played by Pankow) lives next door to the most famous woman in the world, Barbra Streisand; she is getting married and he has not been invited. This revelation triggers a madcap, comic reflection on the media culture of celebrity, including the reverberations on his own marriage to wife Molly (played by White)."

John Pankow (Jerry) might be best known for playing Ira on TV's "Mad About You," and has appeared on Broadway in Amadeus (Mozart), in Jose Quintero's production of The Iceman Cometh (Rocky), and Caryl Churchill's Serious Money (Zac). Off Broadway credits include Aristocrats (Clarence Derwent Award), Cloud Nine, The Tempest, Measure For Measure and Forty Deuce (Downtown Villager Award).

Julie White (Molly) was announced to star in the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Bad Dates come June. The actress is familiar to television audiences for her recurring role as Mitzi Dalton-Huntley in the popular HBO series "Six Feet Under." In New York she has appeared on Broadway in The Heidi Chronicles as well as at Manhattan Theatre Club and Playwrights Horizons. Regionally she has performed at Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. She was a series regular on TV's "Grace Under Fire" as Nadine Swoboda.

Jan Maxwell was first announced to play Molly, but parted ways with the producers by mutual agreement.

Designers are Neil Patel (sets), David C. Woolard (costumes), Jeff Croiter (lighting) and Fitz Patton (sound).

Performances are 8 PM Tuesdays-Fridays, 2:30 and 8 PM Saturdays, 3 and 7:30 PM Sundays.

The Westside Theatre is at 407 W. 43rd Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. All tickets are $60 and are available via Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200.

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Philadelphia Theatre Company, where the play began, is Philadelphia's only non-profit professional theatre dedicated to producing regional and world premieres of works by contemporary American playwrights. Sara Garonzik is artistic director.