All-Contemporary Globe Season to Include 2 Premieres


The Old Globe will present a world premiere musical and a world premiere comedy in its upcoming six-play 1992 winter season.

The musical "A . . . My Name Is Still Alice," by Joan Micklin Silver and Julianne Boyd takes a look at the characters in the their earlier popular small musical "A . . . My Name is Alice" 10 years later.

"Bargains," by Jack Heifner, playwright of "Vanities," is a comedy about life at the markdown counter of a small-town shop; the play was set to open on Broadway last year until a producer dropped out and financing fell through. The play will run March 19-April 26. Jack O'Brien, artistic director of the Old Globe, will direct.

Three other plays are West Coast premieres, including A.R. Gurney's "The Old Boy" by Old Globe Associate Artist A.R. Gurney and Jon Robin Baitz' "Substance of Fire"--both fresh from Off Broadway's Playwrights Horizons Studio Theater. Ed Schmidt's "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting" previously played in Chicago. The sixth play is to be announced.

Three plays will be presented on the main stage and three at the Cassius Carter Centre Stage.

The season is completely contemporary, featuring writers new to Globe audiences as well as some who are familiar here. Gurney's work has been performed at the Globe in the past, most recently "The Snow Ball," an Old Globe-commissioned work that opens Friday at the Huntington Theatre in Boston. Other Gurney works at the Globe include "Love Letters," (1990) "The Cocktail Hour," (1988) "Another Antigone" (1987) and "The Dining Room" (1983).

Boyd directed "A . . . My Name is Alice" here in 1989, as well as "Necessities," (1991) "Tea" (1988) and "As You Like It" (1990). Heifner's "Bargains" had its debut at the Old Globe's Play Discovery Series earlier this year, and Baitz and Schmidt will make their Old Globe debuts with their shows.

Thomas Hall, managing director of the Old Globe Theatre, described the season as "the culmination of the last five to eight years of collaboration with people who have turned out to be some of the country's best writing talent. We've made a lot of long-term investments in writers. It's a process that takes a great deal of nurturing and time."

The Old Globe's main-stage season will begin with "The Substance of Fire," Jan. 23-March 1. Acclaimed by Frank Rich in the New York Times for its Playwrights Horizons run in New York in March, "The Substance of Fire" tells the story of a brilliant New York publisher at war with America's changing literary tastes as well as with his own children. Harold Gould, whom Hall said was responsible for bringing the show to the Globe's attention, will star.

"A . . . My Name is Still Alice," May 14-21 on the main stage, will feature most--and possibly all--of the original 1984 New York cast. The Old Globe also plans a workshop of the show in January, Hall said; he expects it will end up about 60% as long as it is now. "A . . . My Name is Alice" was a big hit for the Globe in 1989.

The Cassius Carter season will begin with "The Old Boy" Jan. 18-March 1. The play is about a distinguished WASP alumnus who returns to his old prep school only to confront mistakes in his past--specifically the harm he did to a homosexual classmate in the guise of trying to help him hide and conform. The show drew mixed notices at its New York premiere in May; Gurney is reworking the script in Boston between rehearsals of "The Snow Ball."

The Cassius Carter season continues with "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting," May 9-June 21. The show centers around the historic decision made by Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey to hire Jackie Robinson as the first black to play in the major leagues. The imagined "meeting" of the title is the one Rickey calls with singer Paul Robeson, entertainer Bill (Bojangles) Robinson and fighter Joe Louis to see what they think of his idea.

The to-be-announced production will run March 14-April 26 in the Cassius Carter and will not be "March of the Falsettos" as was previously rumored. "The opportunity to do 'A . . . My Name is Still Alice' made it impossible to do 'Falsettos' at the same time," Hall said.

Nor will it be the new August Wilson play, which is not yet completed. "But we'll be unequivocally welcoming of it (the new Wilson script) whenever it comes, which will probably be next season," he said. Additional directors and actors will be announced later.

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