It's almost like something out of a Nicky Silver comedy -- one by one, the cast of a major Off-Broadway show in previews come down with major ailments, yet the show goes on.
The irony is that the bad luck is, indeed, occuring to a Nicky Silver comedy -- behind the scenes. Fit To Be Tied, a new comedy by the author of The Food Chain, which is scheduled to open Oct. 15, but has pushed that date back to Oct. 20.
As reported by the New York Times, the reasons are myriad: during the last week of September, actress Jean Smart broke her ankle, but she missed only four performances. Then, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, lead T. Scott Cunningham complained of stomach cramps. The next day he was in the hospital undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
The show missed its Oct. 2 and 3 previews, and was iffy for Oct. 4, because the on-book understudy may not yet be ready. (Friday ticket holders reportedly were notified, just in case . . . ).
Cunningham's surgery did go well, however, and his doctor said the normal recovery time for appendectomies is 5-6 days. That means if all goes well, Cunningham should return to the show by Oct. 8 or 9. Of relatively minor concern is director David Warren's chronic back pain, which he seems to be managing. Of course, all these troubles are assuaged by the news that the play itself is in good shape, and ticket sales are, according to press representative James L.L. Morrison, "going through the roof. We're already talking about extending."
For tickets and information regarding Fit To Be Tied, which also stars Matt Keeslar and Dick Latessa -- who seem OK so far -- call Playwrights Horizons at (212) 564-1235.
-- By David Lefkowitz