Thursday, January 11, 2007

Prelude To Prelude Previews

Prelude To Prelude Previews


I've always been more than a little partial when it comes to the outstanding works of playwright and onetime actor Craig Lucas, whose writing includes such inspired fare as Small Tragedy, The Light In The Piazza and Reckless. But the play that put his estimable scripting squarely on the Broadway map is Prelude To A Kiss, which Roundabout Theatre Company is set to revive next month at the American Airlines Theatre.

That romantic comedy was first produced on the Great White Way at the Helen Hayes Theatre way back in 1990 (can it really be that long ago??).

The earlier incarnation of Prelude For A Kiss had a top-notch cast, including Timothy Hutton and Mary-Louise Parker as a newlywed couple who received an unexpected kiss by an "old man" played by the late great Barnard Hughes. Other castmembers included Larry Bryggman, John Dossett and the inimitable Debra Monk, who like Parker is no stranger to Lucas' plays (they also appeared together in the lone Broadway run of Reckless in 2004).

The 1990 production not only received two Tony nominations including for Best Play and Best Actress in a Play, but Lucas was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The comedy about the pure connection of love enjoyed 440 regular performances before closing in May of 1991.

Of course, some will likely remember the fanciful 1992 film starring Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan as the newlyweds and Sydney Walker as the old man. The flick also starred Kathy Bates, Ned Beatty, Patty Duke, Stanley Tucci and Debra Monk. To say most audiences didn't get it would likely be a huge understatement.

For the upcoming Daniel Sullivan-helmed revival, the best known name attached is Steppenwolf stalwart John Mahoney, who will portray the old man alongside the play's latest newlyweds Alan Tudyk and Annie Parisse (making her Broadway debut).

Over the course of the past year, Mahoney found it necessary to drop out of two Chicago productions -- including the Goodman's staging of David Mamet's Romance (Mahoney would have reprised his role from the London production) and Steppenwolf's The Unmentionables.-- reportedly for health concerns. A much-beloved veteran of "Frasier," Mahoney did show up earlier this television season in an episode of "ER" appearing rather gaunt.

Here's wishing Mahoney Godspeed and the entire cast and crew a terrific limited run of Prelude To A Kiss.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.

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