Mechanic season to include 'Piano Lesson' and 'Lost in Yonkers'

April 16, 1991|By J. Wynn Rousuck

The two most recent Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers" and August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson," have been announced as part of the 1991-1992 season at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre.

The plays join the previously announced world premiere of "Nick & Nora," the $6 million musical adaptation of "The Thin Man," which will open the Mechanic season. The lineup will also include Aaron Sorkin's court-martial drama "A Few Good Men," which recently closed after two years on Broadway.

In addition, "Les Miserables" will return to the Mechanic for a one-month non-subscription run in spring 1992.

"The Piano Lesson" is expected to star Baltimore-born Charles S. Dutton, who will be joining the touring production exclusively for its Mechanic engagement; he will re-create his Tony-nominated role in London immediately after the Baltimore run. The ex-convict who went on to study drama at Towson State and Yale universities portrays Boy Willie, a Depression-era Mississippi farmer who comes north to claim the elaborately carved piano that is his family's legacy.

"Lost in Yonkers" is Mr. Simon's poignant story of two boys left in the care of their iron-willed grandmother during World War II. It won the Pulitzer Prize last week.

Hope Quackenbush, managing director of the Mechanic, said that all three of the plays announced yesterday "are very strong, good quality plays. . . . I'm thrilled that touring productions are being done."

Mrs. Quackenbush said the Mechanic season will also include three more shows to be announced later -- probably two musicals and another play.

Although dates have not been released for any of the shows except "Nick & Nora" (Sept. 24-Oct. 20), Mrs. Quackenbush said "A Few Good Men" will be presented in the winter, followed by "Lost in Yonkers" and "The Piano Lesson" in the spring.

She added, "We are doing ['Les Miserables'] again to satisfy the demand for it." The musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel sold out a nine-week run at the Mechanic last season.

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