Season of Maugham Continues With Keen Staging of The Breadwinner, with Van Dyck and Gilpin

News   Season of Maugham Continues With Keen Staging of The Breadwinner, with Van Dyck and Gilpin
The dramatic work of Somerset Maugham, whose The Constant Wife is currently a surprise hit at the Roundabout Theatre Company, will gain some further exposure this fall when Off-Broadway's Keen Company presents The Breadwinner.

Jennifer Van Dyck (Hedda Gabler) and Jack Gilpin (Sin, The Elephant Man) will star. Carl Forsman will direct the Sept. 6-Oct. 2 production.

The Keen—whose mission statement mentioned a dedication to "sincere plays," often British and American lost gems from the period before World War II—reached back to 1931 for this work. In it, "a middle class man confronts his comfortable middle class family with a startling announcement, and no one's life will ever be the same."

The Broadway premiere of the play ran for 55 performances in fall 1931. The British A.E. Matthews both directed and starred. The Keen show will be a co-production with the Merrimack Repertory Theater, in Lowell, MA, where the show will play Oct. 6-Nov. 2.

The final slot in the season will be filled by In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Heinar Kipphardt, a play once scheduled for the 2004-05 sesaon. Forsman will direct Thomas Jay Ryan (Aphrodisiac, Suitcase) in the May 30-June 27, 2006, run.

The play was an early production of Lincoln Center, debuting in 1969, when the nonprofit was under the direction of Jules Irving. As the title indicates, it is a drama about the controversial man who invented the atomic bomb and was later branded a communist by the government. Said Keen materials, "This timely play, based on security review transcripts, explores issues of national security and the ethics of force." Joseph Wiseman played Oppenheimer in the original production, which was directed by Gordon Davidson. Philip Bosco, Herbert Berghof and Charles Cioffi also starred in the large, all-male cast.

The second play of the season is yet to be announced.

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