The new solo work by Lanie Robertson began Feb. 18 at the Promenade Theatre. Casey Childs directs.
Woman Before a Glass, (A Triptych in Four Parts) casts Ruehl as the woman born as Marguerite into the wealthy New York City family. Daughter of Titanic victim Benjamin Guggenheim and niece to Solomon Guggenheim (after whom the museum is named), she quickly became an art collector and enthusiast.
Set in her Venice home in the mid-1960s, the work follows her greatest triumphs and biggest disappointments in assembling her collection, which included works by Picasso, Pollack, Ernst, Magritte, Man Ray, DeKooning, Dalí and Chagall. Considered one of the most important collections of Modern art, it would later be donated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Guggenheim was equally famous for her many affairs and her unusual behavior.
The design team for Woman Before A Glass features Thomas Lynch (scenic), Willa Kim (costumes), Phil Monat (lighting) and David Van Tieghem (sound) — who also provides original music.
Woman Before A Glass is produced by Susan Quint Gallin, Mary Lu Roffe, Debra Black, Maria Cozzi and Morton Swinsky in association with Judith Katz. Ruehl earned a Tony Award for Lost in Yonkers and an Academy Award for "The Fisher King." The actress' other credits include The Rose Tattoo, The Shadow Box, I'm Not Rappaport and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? on Broadway, Other People's Money and The Marriage of Bette and Boo Off Broadway and on screen in "Big," "Lost in Yonkers," "Gia" with appearances on television's "Frasier."
Playwright Robertson won an Outer Critics Circle Award for his play Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. Other plays include The Insanity of Mary Gerard, Back County Crimes, Nasty Little Secrets, A Penny for the Guy, Nobody Lonesome for Me, Cannibal's Waltz and Alfred Stieglitz Loves O'Keeffe.
Director Childs is the founder and executive producer of Off-Broadway's Primary Stages for which he has staged Barefoot Boy with Shoes On, High Life, Nasty Little Secrets, Brutality of Fact, The Preservation Society, Bargains, The Dolphin Position and Lusting After Pipino's Wife. He has garnered two Emmy Awards for his work in television and he produced the PBS Stage on Screen production of A.R. Gurney's play, Far East.
Tickets to Woman Before A Glass at the Promenade, 2162 Broadway at 76th Street, are on sale through (212) 239-6200.