I learned something about David E. Kelley’s pilot for his next series, “Life on Mars” at the Geffen theater Wednesday, opening night of Wendy Wasserstein’s final play, “Third.” Among guests onhand was director Tommy Schlamme, husband of Christine Lahti, who costars in the play. He directed Kelley’s “Mars” pilot. And chatting with him in the Geffen lobby was Richard Benjamin, his son Ross and daughter-in-law Liz. Benjamin and Ross play the same character–set in 2007 and 1978 respectively–in the “Mars” series. (Fortunately, father and son look very much alike.) Meanwhile, while Richard was in the audience at the Geffen, his wife Paula and their daughter Prentiss are on stage in “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” at the Boarshead Theatre in Lansing, Mich. Richard will join them later this month as he continues film preparations here of “Sinatra-Land” with author Sam Kashner. It’s set in Hoboken in the ’70s.
Add showbiz family-first niter supporters at the Geffen’s “Third”: Marilyn and Monty Hall. Their daughter Joanna Gleason is working on “The Women,” shooting in Boston, and then segues into the film version of “Sex and the City” after a long B’way run in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” while her husband Chris Sarandon (“Light in the Piazza”) is readying to bow on B’way in “Cyrano.” Meanwhile, Marilyn Hall is readying the “The Little Traitor” for film fest screenings. She’s exec producer of the film set during the British mandate of Israel (Palestine). Monty Hall, who continues to host countless charitable fundraisers, recently received the William O. Douglas “Justice in Media” award.
The arrival of “Third” at the Geffen is due to a joint effort by Christine Lahti and the theater’s Gil Cates and Randall Arney. Lahti, who had starred in Wasserstein’s “Heidi Chronicles” saw the opening night of “Third” at Lincoln Center and told Wasserstein she wanted to do it when/if it went to B’way. It did not. Cates and Arney and Lahti joined efforts with Wasserstein’s estate and “Third” is now lighting up the Geffen.