Tony winner Jim Dale will headline an Off-Broadway revival of Trevor Griffith's Comedians, beginning performances Jan. 3 at the Beckett Theatre. New Group artistic director Scott Elliott will direct the production, set to open Jan. 15 for a run through Feb. 23.
Set in proletariat Manchester, England, Comedians delivers a slice of class conflict as a group of disparate funnymen struggle to make it through an after-hours course in comedy taught by former working comedian Eddie Waters (Dale). Their teacher's favorite, an angry young man, uses their final exam — performing an act for an audience and agents — as a chance to inflict his rage on his "betters" in a brutal routine. Comedians first introduced Jonathan Pryce to American audiences, netting the Welsh actor, later known for his musical turn in Miss Saigon, his first Tony Award.
Dale won his Tony for the lead role in Barnum and last appeared on Broadway as Dr. Pangloss/Voltaire in 1997's Candide. He performed the angry young man role, Gethin Price, in the 1977 Mark Taper Forum production of Comedians.
The rest of the casting is to be announced.
Two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey will also join the New Group in Deborah B. Brevoort's The Women of Lockerbie, a co-production with Women's Project and Productions set for the winter season. Ivey, who will play Madeline Livingston, won two Tony Awards for her work in Steaming and Hurlyburly. She recently took the lead role in Voices in the Dark and played Sally in the Roundabout's Broadway revival of Follies.
Set in 1995, The Women of Lockerbie takes place on the seventh anniversary of the Pan Am Flight 103 crash, when a New Jersey couple who lost their son in the disaster arrives in the tiny Scottish town searching for closure. There, the women of the town teach them about the healing power of love. Brevoort's works include the musical King Island Christmas and Signs of Life.
For more information on the New Group, call (212) 691-6730 or visit http://www.thenewgroup.org. For more information on Women's Project and Productions, call (212) 757-3900 or visit http://www.womensproject.org
— By Christine Ehren