NEW YORK — Mary Tyler Moore will headline Neil Simon’s new play, “Rose’s Dilemma,” at the Manhattan Theater Club this fall.
The TV icon last appeared on the Gotham stage in the 1988 Broadway production of A.R. Gurney’s “Sweet Sue.” Other legit outings here include “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?” in 1980 and the 1966 musical version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which closed in previews. “Rose” will mark Moore’s Off Broadway debut.
Previews begin Nov. 20, with the play’s Gotham preem set for Dec. 9.
Neil Simon’s 33rd play, “Rose’s Dilemma” had been titled “Rose and Walsh” in its original incarnation at L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse in February. In his Variety review, Phil Gallo wrote: ” ‘Rose and ‘Walsh’ could well see extended runs anywhere it’s staged — even Broadway.”
A play a clef based on the relationship of Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman, “Rose’s Dilemma” tells the story of two writers — one famous but nearly destitute, the other ready to make a proposal that could secure her financial future.
Jane Alexander and Len Cariou starred in the Geffen production under the direction of David Esbjornson. John Cullum joins Moore in the MTC staging, to be helmed by that company’s artistic director, Lynn Meadow. Paula Cale and David Aaron Baker round out the ensemble in New York.
While Meadow readies “Rose’s Dilemma,” Esbjornson will be putting another TV celeb through the paces. He directs the Farrah Fawcett starrer “Bobbi Boland,” set to open Nov. 24.
Neil Simon is something of a stranger to Gotham’s nonprofit legit world, as characterized by MTC. “Rose’s Dilemma” could have gone the big-time route. In addition to the MTM luster, there’s the show’s directorial connection to MTC’s last commercial transfer to Broadway, “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” in November 2000. That stage comedy was also helmed by Meadow.