As Bialystock and Bloom once learned, sometimes hit plays can be more troublesome than flops. The Vineyard Theatre just had a sold-out hit on its hands with Paula Vogel's How I Learned To Drive. The show won this year's Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play -- just as it closed at the Vineyard space. Now Vogel's drama is "circling the airports" waiting for a bigger theatre to come available for an extended run.
Why can't Drive keep driving at the Vineyard? Because the theatre has a season, and extending a show's run bumps out the other play's behind it. In this case, the next play is Nicky Silver's latest comedy, My Marriage To Ernest Borgnine, a "psycho-sexual comedy" about a troubled teenager and his troubled psychiatrist. This "developmental lab production" began previews April 24 for a brief run through May 4. (Ironically, April 20 was the final date for Off-Broadway's Psychopathia Sexualis, a John Patrick Shanley play that felt like a Nicky Silver play and also dealt with a loopy psychiatrist.)
Starring in this comedy by the author of such darkly comic plays as Pterodactyls, Raised In Captivity, Fat Men In Skirts and The Food Chain are J. Smith Cameron, Mark Blum, Adam LeFevre, James Van Der Beek, and Mary McCormack, the latter best known for playing Howard Stern's wife in the movie Private Parts. David Warren directs this minimally designed piece, which may undergo changes during its run.
Previous Vineyard lab productions that have gone on to mainstage stagings include 1992's Pterodactyls and 1995's Bed And Sofa.
For tickets ($15) and information on My Marriage To Ernest Borgnine at the Vineyard Theatre on East 15th St., call (212) 353-3874. --By David Lefkowitz