Producers prepare for next season

Irish scribe Conor McPherson's 'The Weir' to B'way

While some producers ready their exit, stage right, from Manhattan to Nantucket, several have remained behind to close deals for this fall and beyond.

After nearly a half-dozen competing producers flew to London to see it, a deal has been struck to bring Irish scribe Conor McPherson’s play “The Weir” from England to Broadway. There are plans to bring the show, about four characters in a local pub, to Gotham by the spring of 1999 after a stay over the summer in Dublin and a revived run at the Duke of York’s Theater in London’s West End in the fall. Vikki Heywood, executive director for the Royal Court Theater in London, which holds the rights to the play, confirmed the plans.

“The Weir” premiered at the Royal Court in August and returned this spring to rave reviews and international interest. It’s not the first spotlight on the multifaceted McPherson — his pic, “I Went Down,” about the exploits of Irish criminals on the run in their motherland’s interior, will bow in June via Gotham’s Shooting Gallery/Artisan Pictures. And McPherson’s solo play “St. Nicholas” recently completed an extended run Off Broadway with Brian Cox.

As for the New York production of “The Weir,” Jujamcyn Theaters will reportedly produce it in conjunction with Howard Panter’s London-based Ambassador Theaters Group, according to Heywood.

While declining to comment on the deal, the Jujamcyn production duo of Tom Viertel and Richard Frankel are said to be at-tached as producers, though Viertel would not comment beyond saying that he was “excited and hopeful” about the “Weir” project.

A source close to the deal said that every effort will be made to keep the original Brit production’s helmer, Ian Rickson, at-tached, and to keep the original cast of actors, pending agreements with Actors’ Equity in New York.

Separately, Barry and Fran Weissler, producers of “Chicago,” have struck a deal to produce a straight play about Cornelia Wallace, the wife of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

Entitled “Cornelia,” the show would bow on Broadway this fall at the Jujamcyn-owned Eugene O’Neill Theater, which has been empty since “The Herbal Bed” shuttered in late April. Jujamcyn officials did not deny a deal was in the works, but declined to comment on the specifics.

The Weisslers were unavailable for comment.

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