LOS ANGELES -- Oscar Wilde is going from Minetta Lane to the Mark Taper, with two very important members of its creative team intact.
Moises Kaufman's Gross Indecencies: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, which has been playing Off-Broadway in a Greenwich Village theatre for the past seven months (following an earlier production in a smaller theatre), has replaced Ambition Facing West as the fourth production of the Taper's 1997-98 season, announced artistic director Gordon Davidson. Gross Indecencies will be performed Feb. 8-Mar. 29, with an opening set for Feb. 19.
"The postponement of Ambition Facing West gives us more time to better fulfill the production challenges of this remarkable play," said Davidson. "It also allows us to take advantage of a very special coincidence in timing. Not only is Moises Kaufman available [to direct] in February, but Michael Emerson, who received rave reviews for his startling portrayal of Oscar Wilde, will be able to recreate the role for the Taper production. The availability of these two fine artists is an opportunity I could not let go by."
Gross Indecency chronicles one of the most sensational court cases of the 19th century. Wilde found himself the central figure in a war of words and world views, of Victorian morality and nascent modernism, of homosexuality and heterosexuality. He was ultimately convicted of "gross indecency with male persons" and in 1895 was sentenced to hard labor in prison. He emerged two years later financially bankrupt and spiritually downcast.
The Mark Taper Forum is at l35 N. Grand Ave., L.A. For tickets, call (213) 628-2772. --By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent