The cast of "Seminar," from left: Jerry O'Connell, Hamish Linklater, Alan Rickman, Hettienne Park and Lily Rabe.
A PERSONAL MESSAGE
Gentle readers of theatergossip.com: "Our" schedule has become such that "we" are finding it more and more difficult to continue news-oriented posts in a timely manner. So (for a while at least), theatergossip will become more bloglike in the original sense of blogging: what we did lately. News may poke its head in now and then. You are still owed two new faces of 2012, after all. Hope you don't mind, but just babbling is a lot less labor-intensive than doing actual research. ..... Anita Gates
FINALLY got to "Seminar" last week. Just in time to see Alan Rickman in the lead as a magnificently imperious, profoundly self-important author and writing instructor. As my friend R (who did a weeklong fiction-writing seminar with Dorothy Allison, author of "Bastard Out of Carolina," last year) pointed out, hardly any teacher will wait until class time to read the students' work. But Theresa Rebeck (good luck, "Smash"!) is a smart, funny, incisive playwright, so more power to her and to this production.
Rickman is being replaced by Jeff Goldblum (which should give a whole new American darkness to the character) in April, but I really wanted to see this show for two of the supporting actors.
Lily Rabe plays one of the students, the one who has a rambling, multibedroom prewar Manhattan apartment for $800 a month and ends up in someone else's bedroom toward the end. It may still be necessary to say that Rabe is the daughter of Jill Clayburgh and David Rabe, but anyone who saw her in "The Merchant of Venice" last season (in the park and on Broadway) knows that her ability and stage presence stand on their own.
Hamish Linklater is one of her fellow students, and I will happily watch this man do anything. He was one of Rabe's co-stars in "The Merchant of Venice" (the Central Park production, anyway), but people who don't have the opportunity to go to New York theater a lot may know him better as Julia Louis-Dreyfus's sardonic brother in the old sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine."
I sat two rows behind Linklater at a more recent Shakespeare in the Park production and mentioned his name to my friend B(2). But when I said, "And there is the amazing Hamish Linklater," my voice, which will never have need of an audio system, carried so well that Linklater thought I was trying to get his attention and came back to say hello. I never confessed that he didn't really know me already. But now of course we're old friends. :)
"Seminar," by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Sam Gold, John Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200, telecharge.com. Opening night: Nov. 20, 2011.