Mamet's B'way The Old Neighborhood Turns 150 Mar. 30

News   Mamet's B'way The Old Neighborhood Turns 150 Mar. 30
How time flies! David Mamet's Broadway show, The Old Neighborhood, will reach 150 performances Monday, Mar. 30.

How time flies! David Mamet's Broadway show, The Old Neighborhood, will reach 150 performances Monday, Mar. 30.

Considering that the show has competition this year from such big-sellers as The Lion King, Ragtime, Art and Cabaret -- in a Broadway climate that hasn't always been kind to non-musicals -- Neighborhood's longevity is worth noting. For the week ending Mar. 1, The Old Neighborhood grossed $85,004 at 41.3 percent capacity.

Though casting has yet to be announced, The Old Neighborhood will get a London staging in June at the Royal Court Theatre by director Patrick Marber (author ofCloser and Dealer's Choice).

The Broadway staging continues with its original cast intact save for Rebecca Pidgeon, who was replaced in mid-January by longtime Mamet veteran Mary McCann (Oleanna, Edmond, (Mamet's translation of) The Three Sisters).

Tony winner Patti LuPone and movie actor Peter Riegert star, and are committed to the show at least through mid-summer. Also in the cast are Vincent Guastaferro and Jack Willis. Both actors were retained from the show's premiere in spring 1997 at American Repertory Theatre. Scott Zigler, who staged Neighborhood at A.R.T., again directs. The Broadway incarnation, which began previews Nov. 11 and opened Nov. 19, is produced by Carole Shorenstein Hayes (Fences) and Stuart Thompson (general manager of the 1997 A Doll's House revival).

LuPone, who triumphed on Broadway in such musicals as Evita and Anything Goes, last appeared on The Great White Way when she succeeded Zoe Caldwell in Terrence McNally's Master Class. LuPone drew rave reviews for her portrayal of opera diva Maria Callas and then repeated her work in the London production.

Riegert, known for his amiable, guy-next-door roles in such movies as Crossing Delancey, Chilly Scenes of Winter, and Local Hero, was last seen on Broadway in Wendy Wasserstein's short-lived An American Daughter this past spring.

McCann, speaking at a luncheon of the American Theatre Critics Association (Feb. 21), told the assembled a surprising thing about Mamet's style of working: "He loves practical jokes. We work hard, but there's a lot of clowning around and fun. Also, he's so loyal. You won't hear from him, then he calls, you pick up the phone, and two weeks later you're on Broadway."

The Old Neighborhood consists of three autobiographical one-act plays set in and around Mamet's native Chicago. They are written in the mood of Mamet's Cryptogram, which also debuted at A.R.T.

The three interconnected plays are titled The Disappearance of the Jews, Jolly and Deeny (formerly titled D.). All three have one character in common, Bobby Gould.

In all three plays, the middle-aged characters recall or revisit their childhoods in search of truth and understanding. Mamet won the Pulitzer Prize for Glengarry Glen Ross, and is author of Oleanna, American Buffalo, Speed-the-Plow The Water Engine, and many other plays.

The play's A.R.T. designers reprised their roles for Broadway: Kevin Rigdon (sets), Harriet Voyt (costumes), and John Ambrosone (lighting).

For a look back at David Mamet's career, see The Plays of David Mamet in Theatre Features.

Tickets ($45-$55) are on sale via Tele-charge (212) 239-6200 and at the box office. You can also order tickets on Playbill On-Line.

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