A correction was made to this article on Aug. 5, 2003.
The cross-dressing “I Am My Own Wife” looks ready to make the big crossover to Broadway.
After an extended run at Playwrights Horizons, the new play by Doug Wright (“Quills”) has been picked up by producer David Richenthal, who will be presenting it at the Lyceum Theater this fall.
A spokesman for the show said an official statement regarding the Broadway transfer would be made this week.
“Wife” is expected to open in October. Moises Kaufman (“The Laramie Project”), who directed the Off Broadway production, repeats those helmer duties.
“Wife” will be the third one-person play to open on Broadway this fall. Already announced are “Golda’s Balcony” (Oct. 15), starring Tovah Feldshuh as Golda Meir, and the Ellen Burstyn starrer “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” (early November).
Oddly enough, “Wife” also fits into the fall’s other big legit trend: gay-themed bio shows, which include “The Boy From Oz” (Oct. 16), starring Hugh Jackman as the late Peter Allen, and “Taboo” (Nov. 13), based on the life of Boy George.
Of those five productions, “I Am My Own Wife” is certainly the most unusual fare for Broadway. Based on a true story, Wright’s solo effort features actor Jefferson Mays playing no fewer than 40 characters. Foremost among them is the German transvestite Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf, who survived both the Nazis and the Communists. In an unusual twist, Mays also portrays Doug Wright, who has incorporated himself into the drama. The scribe interviewed and exchanged letters with Mahlsdorf between 1992 and the transvestite’s death in 2002.”It’s not a definitive biography,” Wright explained in a written statement. “It is, rather, a subjective, theatrical portrait.”
In June, the New York Post reported that producer Carole Shorenstein Hays (“Take Me Out”) was in talks with Playwrights Horizons to move “Wife” to Broadway. Obviously, those negotiations were not fruitful.
“Wife” is different fare for Richenthal, who is best known for his classy Broadway revivals, two of which (“Death of a Salesman,” the current “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”) nabbed the Tony for best revival of a play. Earlier in his legit career, Richenthal produced such original works on Broadway as Robert Schenkkan’s “The Kentucky Cycle” (1993) and Horton Foote’s “The Young Man From Atlanta” (1997).