Outgoing Cohen disagreed over prod'n interpretation
Too many cooks in the rehearsal hall?David Esbjornson is replacing Jeff Cohen as director of the upcoming “The Normal Heart” revival. Originally presented in 1985, Larry Kramer’s drama was one of the first plays to tackle the AIDS crisis. The playwright has been a visitor to the current “Heart” rehearsals, and he and Cohen reportedly disagreed over interpretation of the play. Cohen is artistic director of the Worth Street Theater Co., which is presenting “Normal Heart” at the Public Theater, where the work first preemed. In essence, Cohen has replaced himself on the project. In a written statement, the director said he was very honored to have assembled the revival’s cast and design team, all of whom remain in place. “During the course of rehearsal, however, it became apparent that a change would be in the best interest of the production,” he added. Raul Esparza and Joanna Gleason headline the production. Esbjornson directed Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” on Broadway. In 1988, he helmed Kramer’s play “Just Say No” at the WPA Theater. “The Normal Heart” revival will open April 21. Depending on how critics receive the show, it could transfer. Producer Hal Luftig (“Movin’ Out,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”) holds the commercial option.
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