When Broadway’s Epic Proportions announced its closing back in December 1999, word had it that Eric Bogosian’s latest, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, would be the next tenant of the Helen Hayes Theatre. That distinction instead went to the avant-garde music piece, Squonk, which, despite mixed reviews and low (but rising) grosses, appears to be staying put for at least a little while longer.
Instead, as reported by Variety and the New York Times, Bogosian’s new play will come to the Jane Street Theatre, now that Hedwig and the Angry Inch has announced its intention to close once and for all April 9. Coffee will start percolating April 24 and officially brew May 4. Fred Zollo and Nick Paleologos will produce. Zollo told Playbill On-Line (March 17) the show is scheduled to run 12 weeks but, assuming it’s well received, is likely to extend.
Wake Up played June 22-27 at Boston's American Repertory Theatre. The show is another monologue collection of pimps, junkies, businessmen and hipsters taking trips down life in the fast lane -- and somewhere along the way falling off.
Bogosian's wife, Jo Bonney, will direct Coffee. Her recent New York assignments include the Off-Broadway dramas, Stop Kiss, at the Public Theater, and Look Back in Anger, at CSC Rep.
Asked about one of the show's themes, air travel as a metaphor for American society, Bogosian told the New York Times (March 17), "You wait in line to hurry up, and then there's the fear of crashing at any moment." Bogosian started his career as a solo performer in downtown New York and has gained notoriety with shows such as: Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead, Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, Drinking in America, Fun House and Nailgun. Bogosian has also ventured into the world of full-length plays including: Talk Radio, subUrbia and Griller.
-- By David Lefkowitz