B’way eats at ‘Eight’

Comedy classic set for Lincoln Center bow

George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber’s comedy “Dinner at Eight” returns to Broadway this fall in a production from Lincoln Center Theater directed by Gerald Gutierrez.

The production, the first at the Vivian Beaumont Theater following the August closing of the long-running “Contact,” will begin previews Nov. 21 for an opening on Dec. 19. No cast has been set yet.

“Dinner at Eight” was first seen on Broadway in 1932, when it played 232 perfs at the Music Box Theater. It was revived in 1966 (127 perfs) in a production directed by Tyrone Guthrie and starring June Havoc, Walter Pidgeon and Arlene Francis, among others. The 1933 MGM film version with Billie Burke, Jean Harlow and Wallace Beery is a comedy classic.

With a cast of more than 20, the production amounts to proof that the higher minimum rates Lincoln Center Theater will be paying casts under a new agreement with Actors’ Equity are not expected to affect programming decisions at the theater.

Gutierrez won two Tonys for his Lincoln Center Theater productions of “The Heiress” and “A Delicate Balance.” He has also directed Chekhov’s “Ivanov” and Jean Anouilh’s “Ring Round the Moon” for the company.

Feiffer fills bill

LCT artistic director Andre Bishop also revealed that a new play from Jules Feiffer will open in the spring at the company’s Off Broadway space, the Mitzi Newhouse Theater. LCT commissioned “A Bad Friend” and has tapped Jerry Zaks to direct. Zaks won a Tony for directing the Lincoln Center Theater production of John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation.” His most recent Broadway credit is Neil Simon’s “45 Seconds From Broadway.”

No dates have been set for the Feiffer play.

“A Man of No Importance,” a musical based on the recent movie, opens the Lincoln Center Theater season at the Newhouse. Perfs begins Sept. 12 for an Oct. 10 opening.

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