‘Enigma’ skips B’way

Play moves from Toronto to London's Savoy

This article was corrected on April 20, 2000.

“Enigma Variations” opens at the Savoy Theatre in London on May 31. Donald Sutherland and John Rubinstein headline the Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt play about a Nobel laureate writer.

Although never officially announced, a Gotham opening in spring 2000 had been much anticipated for “Enigma Variations.” The money to produce was in place, and the Brooks Atkinson Theater had been made available to the producers, who are Francine Racette, Duncan Weldon, David & Ed Mirvish and the Mark Taper Forum/Gordon Davidson.

The play opened Feb. 24 at the Royal Alexandria Theater in Toronto, where it received a mixed-to-positive critical reception. On March 1, Azenberg told Daily Variety that the show would not transfer to Broadway.

Wary of Broadway

“Straight plays are fragile items. You have to be wary before you bring one of them to Broadway,” he said, adding that the play “would probably go to London where it could be mounted for a fraction of the cost,” depending on the availability of Sutherland and Rubinstein.

Those two stars have obviously aligned. As in Toronto, Anthony Page directs the London production, which retains the same producing team.

The show’s no-show on Broadway made the Brooks Atkinson available to the Roundabout’s production of “Uncle Vanya.” Delays in the renovation of that company’s new American Airlines Theater (formerly the Selwyn) threatened to push the Chekhov play’s opening past May 3, the Tony nomination deadline.

Previews canceled

The opening of “Uncle Vanya” remains April 30, as originally announced. However, its first two previews — April 4 and 5 — had to be canceled due to delays in the mounting of the set. A spokesperson for the show said the set had been designed for the larger stage of the American Airlines Theater and adjustments were required. The play’s first preview is now April 6.

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