Arthur Miller and Edward Albee, two sleeping giants of the American theater, are suddenly alive and taking Broadway and off-Broadway by storm.
After a 14-year absence from the commercial Broadway theater, Miller’s latest play, “Broken Glass,” starring Ron Rifkin, Amy Irving and David Dukes, opens at the Booth Theater April 24. This coming Wednesday, just before the matinee performance, Robert Whitehead, one of the play’s producers, will host a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the playwright’s Broadway debut.
And in an exclusive interview this week in New York, Miller revealed for the first time that Ron Silver was replaced with Dukes in “Broken Glass” because Silver “just wasn’t right for the part.” Silver had told Variety he was unhappy with the role. Miller added that Silver’s departure was “sort of mutual in that we all agreed.”
Set in Brooklyn in 1938, “Broken Glass” is the story of a woman (played by Irving) battling a crippling ailment, while her husband (played by Rifkin) is forced to confront his own long-hidden shame.
The husband talks of revering his wife almost like a goddess, and there are bound to be comparisons to Marilyn Monroe, who was once married to Miller. But the playwright, now 78, told me the character of the wife “has nothing to do with Marilyn. It’s set 20 years before we knew each other.” He added, however, that “the characters are composites of people I know,” at least opening the door slightly for some speculation.
America’s foremost playwright also told me that his movie “The Misfits,” which starred Monroe and the late Clark Gable, remains his favorite of the relatively few movies he has written. Miller also revealed that a deal has been struck for Kenneth Branagh to both direct and star in a movie version of Miller’s play “The Crucible,” with 20th Century Fox producing it.
The box-office advance for Albee’s “Three Tall Women” continues to climb through the roof of the 400-seat Promenade Theater following the announcement it won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for drama and, as of mid-week, had topped $300,000, according to producer Daryl Roth.
Albee, absent from Broadway even longer than Miller, flew in from Texas Wednesday to celebrate with cast members Marlan Seldes, Myra Carter and Jordan Baker. Another reason for rejoicing was Roth’s formal presentation to investors of checks representing 10 percent of their investment – amazing since the play has been at the Promenade barely a week.
When “Fallen Angel,” the new rock ‘n’ roll musical starring Living Colour’s Corey Glover opened at the Circle in the Square Downtown last night, there was a fallen angel of sorts in the audience.
Ivan Boesky, the notorious Wall Street financier, was there to applaud his playwright-songwriter son, Billy Boesky. No financial support, however, has been forthcoming from the former felon, production sources said.
“Fallen Angel” features 10 rock and roll songs, seven of which the younger Boesky wrote.
Broadway’s cash registers are jingling these days. For example, Diana Rigg’s “Medea” at the Plymouth smashed box office records for a straight play at a Shubert-owned theater, ringing up ticket sales of $130,000 on a single day this week. “Medea” opened April 7 and as of tomorrow the limited engagement will have 75 performances left …
For six decades, “Broadway Ballyhoo,” Radie Harris’ twice-weekly column in the Hollywood Reporter, was must reading for just about everyone in the entertainment industry on both coasts.
Harris doesn’t write her column anymore. But, now, several book publishers are vying to publish many of her old columns along with new material about stars who were her personal friends over the years.
One story that may not be in her new book is about the late Harvard-educated Broadway producer Vinton Freedley. Harris and Freedley were lovers for 20 years and Harris tells me that one day she met Freedley’s wife, who thanked her profusely for “taking such good care of Vinton. You made him so happy he didn’t leave me.”
Source: On and Off Broadway column by Ward Morehouse III, New York Post, July 15, 1994.