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‘Baby’ on board

Helmer sez it's not for the literal-minded

NEW YORK — The Gotham theater world was out in full force Feb. 1 to pass out the cigars at the opening-night party for Edward Albee’s new work, “The Play About the Baby,” held at the W NYC Hotel Union Square ballroom after a performance at the Century Center for the Performing Arts.

“The applause this evening was for Edward,” said the playwright’s leading lady, Marian Seldes, regal in her wine-colored velvet gown. “If I could see where he was sitting I would have asked him to come up onstage.”

Albee himself was on-hand to reflect about his new play’s distinctive title: “It’s kind of a who’s-on-first joke. ‘You should see the play about the baby.’ ‘Which play about which baby?’ ‘The play about the baby.’ ”

Helmer David Esbjornson noted, “You have to be somewhat intuitive,” in approaching Albee’s work. “It’s not for the literal-minded. You try to approach it without preconceptions. It’s like driving a wonderful car.”

Among those enjoying the ride were the play’s stars Brian Murray, David Burtka, and Kathleen Early, as well as producers Elizabeth Ireland McCann, Daryl Roth and Fred Zollo (along with Gregory Boyd and Paul Tetreault from Houston). Patrick Stewart, Laila Robbins, Earle Hyman, Anne Jackson and Anna Deavere Smith were there to raise a glass, as were Rebecca Harris and Christina Rounter — both of whom appeared in past productions of Albee’s plays.