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‘Mother’ back on B’way?

Norman revival could pair Blethyn, Manheim

LONDON — Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “‘night, Mother” is under discussion for a major Broadway revival in 2004, 21 years after the two-character drama nabbed four Tony nominations, including best play.

American director Michael Mayer, who has been in London for the U.K. bow Tuesday of musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” told Daily Variety “we’re in conversations” for a New York revival of the play next year and that scribe Norman “is very much in support of this; she loves the idea.”

The plan for the production — at least at present — is to pair Brenda Blethyn and Camryn Manheim as the widowed mother and her despondent, suicidal daughter, played the first time around by Anne Pitoniak and Kathy Bates (and in the 1986 film by Anne Bancroft and Sissy Spacek). Mayer said he never saw that first production, which began at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass..

If it happens, project would mark the Broadway debut of both thesps, seasoned theater people though they are. Two-time Oscar nominee Blethyn is a stage regular in her native Britain and has appeared once Off Broadway (in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Absent Friends” in 1991). Manheim, from ABC series “The Practice,” has done nine plays with Mayer, including Caryl Churchill’s “Cloud Nine” and Marivaux’s “The Triumph of Love.”

“She’s so fabulous,” Mayer said of Manheim, adding the play would be timed around the actress’s hiatus from ABC series “The Practice” — “and I don’t yet know when that is.”

The Fox Theatricals team, who are among the Broadway producers behind “Millie,” are on tap to do the same job on “‘night, Mother,” Mayer said.

In the meantime, Mayer is tending to his movie directing debut: an adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s novel “A Home at the End of the World,” starring Robin Wright Penn and Colin Farrell. Mayer said he “would love to go to Cannes” with the movie and that it would most likely open in September.

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