Cutting a Rug at the Belasco, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks Opens Oct. 29

By Kenneth Jones
October 29, 2003

Can two dissimilar people—she's a Florida widow, he's a bitter pill from New York City—find common ground on the dance floor?

Did Fred wear tails? Did Ginger look good in lamé? Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, the new Broadway play starring Polly Bergen and Mark Hamill, is likely to prove once again that conflict between characters can be solved on a parquet floor.

Richard Alfieri's regional-hit comedy opens Oct. 29 at the historic Belasco Theatre, where Bergen appeared in the revival of Follies that earned her a Tony Award nomination.

Previews began Oct. 7. Arthur Allan Seidelman directs.

The plot? "Polly Bergen portrays Lily Harrison, a formidable Florida retiree who has hired a dance instructor for six weeks," according to production notes. "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."

It's billed as a comedy about "the nature of friendship" that "invites us to cherish the partners we choose."

Producers are Rodger Hess; Marcia Seligson; Entpro Plays, Inc.; Carolyn S. Chambers; Sight, Sound and Action, Ltd.; Brantley M. Dunaway, Judy Arnold, and Patricia Greenwald.

The play was first seen in a Los Angeles area run starring Uta Hagen and David Hyde Pierce. Rue McClanahan and Mark Hamill later played the roles at Coconut Grove Playhouse in South Florida.

The Belasco is at 111 W. 44th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue. The schedule for Six Dance Lessons will be will be 7 PM Tuesdays, 8 PM Wednesday through Saturdays, with matinees 2 PM Wednesdays and Saturdays and 3 PM Sundays.

Tickets ($25-$80) are also available through Telecharge by calling (212) 239-6200.

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The play recently completed a Berlin engagement at the Renaissance Theater. That production is slated for the Theater in Der Josefstadt in Vienna, and will then return to be in repertory 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.