Not Dead! Twain Comedy Is He Dead? Gets New Opening Night — Dec. 9

News   Not Dead! Twain Comedy Is He Dead? Gets New Opening Night — Dec. 9
The "new" Mark Twain comedy, Is He Dead?, was to have officially opened Nov. 29, but a labor dispute killed that. The play, adapted by David Ives and directed by Michael Blakemore, will now open Dec. 9, producers announced.
Norbert Leo Butz and Mark Twain
Norbert Leo Butz and Mark Twain

This is the world premiere production of the lost 1898 Twain play about an artist faking his death for fame and fortune. The Broadway production had exactly two preview performances Nov. 8-9 before it was shut down by the stagehands' strike.

Performances play the Lyceum Theatre.

Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin discovered the unpublished play, and David Ives (All in the Timing, Polish Joke) adapted it. It's now a vehicle for Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), who dons a dress in the play.

The cast includes Jeremy Bobb, Marylouise Burke, Patricia Conolly, Jenn Gambatese, Tony Award nominee Byron Jennings, Tony Award nominee Michael McGrath, five-time Tony Award nominee John McMartin, Tony Award nominee David Pittu, Bridget Regan and Tom Alan Robbins.

According to the producers, "In this newly discovered Mark Twain comedy, the original master of American humor dishes out a sly critique of the art world with acerbic wit and social commentary well ahead of his time. Is He Dead? is a fast-paced play about a struggling artist who stages his own death to drive up the price of his paintings. As the riotous scheme unfolds, Twain poses daring questions about fame, greed and the value of art, and pokes his signature, mischievous fun at everyone involved."

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