‘Apparel’ fits at Taper

Nottage prod'n nabbed N.Y. Drama, Outer Critics Circle kudos

NEW YORK — The Mark Taper Forum has made a last-minute switch in its summer 2004 sked.

With Viola Davis headlining, “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage goes into the July-September slot previously announced for Sybille Pearson’s “Be Bold,” which was to have been a world premiere.

Nottage’s play about a turn-of-the-century seamstress cleaned up at the legit awards this spring, taking the New York Drama Critics Circle and Outer Critics Circle honors for best play of the 2003-04 season in Gotham. Davis won actor awards from the Obies and Drama Desk. She and the production, however, are ineligible for Tony consideration due to the play’s Off Broadway berth, at the Roundabout’s new Laura Pels space, where it closes June 13 after its run was extended.

With perfs beginning July 25 in Los Angeles, the trip to the Taper means a quick turnaround. Helping to facilitate the tight squeeze is the Roundabout cast, which remains virtually intact under the direction of Daniel Sullivan.

Casting appears to have felled the “Be Bold” production, according to the Taper’s artistic director-producer Gordon Davidson.

“I’ve had some good possibilities, but schedules weren’t meshing and we were running out of time,” said Davidson, who was to helm the play.

“Be Bold” details the lives of Salka and Berthold Viertel, whose Santa Monica soirees in the 1930s and ’40s included such other European emigres as Bertolt Brecht, Greta Garbo, Christopher Isherwood and Arnold Schonberg.

In a statement, Davidson said “Be Bold” had been postponed. Pearson could not be reached for comment.