Mary Zimmerman, the Chicago-based theatrical auteur who has over her career collected regional productions a-plenty and numerous awards (including a MacArthur Fellowship), adds, on March 4, a hitherto elusive credit: Broadway show. Her Second Stage hit Metamorphoses began previews at Circle in the Square on Feb. 21.
Circle in the Square was the only possible Broadway home for the show among the Great White Way's theatres. The space's unique thrust stage and in-the-round seating allows the audience a full view of the 27-foot-wide rectangular pool central to Zimmerman's vision of Ovid's classic tales.
The Broadway cast will mirror the current Off-Broadway ensemble, which includes Anjali Bhimani, Raymond Fox, Kyle Hall, Doug Hara, Felicity Jones, Chris Kipiniak, Louise Lamson, Erik Lochtefeld, Mariann Mayberry (who replaced Heidi Stillman during the Off-Broadway run) and Lisa Tejero.
The show, with its simple theatricality and soulful, poetic retelling of ancient tales, is surely the most unlikely Broadway show of the season, beating out even Urinetown for the title of artistic fish out of water. Industry insiders wonder if the construction of myths is a true "play" or if the work might fall into the special Tony Award category that celebrates unique entertainments (Special Theatrical Event).
The Broadway run is produced by Roy Gabay, Robyn Goodman, Allan S. Gordon, Elan McAllister, D. Harris/M. Swinsky, Ruth Hendel, Sharon Karmazin, R.L. Wreghitt/J. Bergere, in association with Second Stage Theatre (Carole Rothman, artistic director; Carol Fishman, managing director). *
Zimmerman finally got to create in New York the kind of critical and box office magic she is used to sparking in Chicago when Second Stage presented her Metamorphoses. The show opened the season at the OB house on Oct. 9 to rave reviews. Then the limited run production extended a full month to Dec. 2, and finally Dec. 30. The run sold out. Most observers agreed that the events of Sept. 11 lent the production—which traffics in themes of love, loss and redemption—an unforseen resonance.
Metamorphoses stages the great transformation myths of Ovid with additional material compiled by Zimmerman from other sources, including the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. King Midas, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Cupid and Psyche all make appearances during the evening, wherein they change physically, emotionally and mentally.
Circle in the Square is at 1633 Broadway at 50th Street. Broadway tickets will range $30-$75. For tickets, call Tele-Charge at (212) 239-6200.
To views the current PBOL feature on Metamorphoses, click here.