The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will host the East Coast course of The Dinner Party, Neil Simon's latest play, opening June 22 -- following previews that began June 17 -- in the Eisenhower Theatre.
John Ritter (of TV's "Three's Company") and Henry Winkler (of TV's "Happy Days"), who starred in the play's Center Theatre Group world premiere in Los Angeles in December 1999, repeat their roles in DC. Also at the table are Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd), Veanne Cox (The Food Chain, Company), Penny Fuller (Applause) and Anette Michelle Sanders. Sanders and Cox also repeat their L.A. roles.
John Rando recreates his December 1999 L.A. staging. Simon's 31st play is set in Paris at an upscale gourmet restaurant where a party is being thrown by a well-known divorce lawyer. Two tuxedoed strangers meet, and are joined by a third, confused guest. Ex-wives soon enter.
Performances continue to July 16. The Dinner Party is produced by The Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where Gordon Davidson is artistic director and producer. It's not hard to imagine that if press and audiences enjoy The Dinner Party in DC, it could have a New York life. No plans have been announced for a move to Broadway.
Designers are John Lee Beatty (set), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Jon Gottlieb (sound). *
The Dinner Party had its world premiere Dec. 2, 1999, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The comedy on marital and romantic themes, set in a private dining room of a chic Parisian restaurant, continued to Jan. 16, and rewrites by the author were said to have continued through the week of Christmas last year.
The L.A. cast included Frances Conroy (The Little Foxes), Cox, Edward Herrmann (Psychopathia Sexualis), Ritter, Los Angeles actress Sanders and Winkler.
Simon is also once again represented in New York, where his Hotel Suite one-acts just opened at Off-Broadway's Gramercy Theatre. Other Simon works include Broadway Bound, Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Lost in Yonkers.
Tickets are $20-$65. For Kennedy Center information, call (202) 467 4600 or (800) 444-1324.