Workshop earns coin for upcoming 'Pirandello' prod'n
New York Theater Workshop today receives the first Tony Randall Grant, a $100,000 award given to a Gotham-area nonprofit theater.Money is given for an individual show that is a production of a classic play, an adaptation of a classic or a work that takes its inspiration from the classics. The Workshop got the coin for its upcoming production of choreographer-helmer Martha Clarke’s “Pirandello Project,” which bows at the Off Broadway theater in October. Award is a bit of good news for the Workshop, which spent the last few months enmeshed in controversy over a potential production of the play “My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” which the theater decided not to stage this spring. The theater has been developing “Pirandello Project,” the show’s working title, over the last four years with Clarke, who staged “Vienna: Lusthaus (revisited)” at the Workshop in 2002. Production mixes dance, text and music in adapting four stories by Italian scribe Luigi Pirandello. Grant will go toward the show’s budget, which, coming in at more than $750,000, is one of the costliest in the org’s history. Tony Randall Theatrical Fund, which was left when thesp Randall died in 2004, is chaired by Randall’s widow, Heather. She chose the sizable grant’s initial recipient, but next year the awardee will be selected from a pool of applicants by a committee that includes Steve Buscemi, Charles Busch, Cherry Jones, Marian Seldes and Ben Vereen. The fund also gave smaller grants to other legit orgs, including Gotham companies the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Drama League and the New Victory Theater. In 1991 Tony Randall founded the National Actors Theater, committed to producing classical works of theater that included a star-studded 2002 production of “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.” Fund aims to follow Randall’s mandate of perpetuating the classics.