Despite the playwright’s hopes that this latest rewriting of a play that began life in 1986 as Melon would produce a solid hit, the show will close on May 8. Simon Callow leads a cast that also includes Robin Soans, Geraldine Alexander, Beverly Klein, Tom Beard, Matt Canavan and Lydia Fox. Laurence Boswell directed. Gray, however, is busy elsewhere. His new play, The Old Masters, premieres at the Birmingham Rep. beginning June 4, with a London transfer expected to follow. Gray’s old friend and frequent director Harold Pinter renews their partnership on that show, marking their ninth collaboration. That play is about art dealer Joseph Duveen and the art critic Bernard Berenson.
Gray’s 1975 play Otherwise Engaged, meanwhile, is (according to Variety) set for a Theatreland revival, to be produced by Sonia Friedman and Mark Rubinstein, though Friedman’s office say that they’re not ready to announce anything yet. Playbill On-Line has also learned that Gray’s most recent West End play, Japes, is shaping up for Broadway, with a recent New York reading used to road test some drastic rewriting.
And Gray’s most famous play, Butley, is also likely to play the Great White Way. The Huntingdon Theatre Company’s Boston production is lining up to transfer for the 2005-2006 season, along with its star Nathan Lane. It’s a production of which Gray himself is deeply proud. “I saw that Butley production in Boston in October,” the playwright told Playbill On-Line. “There were moments when the audience was absolutely still, and it seemed to me that they were lost in concentration. That is a sublime moment for a writer of the stage. It doesn’t happen regularly, but it makes lots of things worthwhile, that sense that the audience is actually listening. And it happened with that production.”