If Michael Greif isn’t returning your calls, cut him some slack. He’s in the midst of a busy season, helming five consecutive shows in a theater-swapping “La Ronde” of New York nonprofits.First he’s got “Mr. Marmalade,” Noah Haidle‘s comedy starring Michael C. Hall, which started rehearsals in early October and began performances Nov. 1. at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels. Meanwhile, he’s already prepping for “Beauty of the Father,” the latest drama from Pulitzer winner Nilo Cruz, at MTC. Rehearsals begin in mid-November and previews start Dec. 15.
Even for him, though, this daredevil season is unusual. “A lot of these projects had been simmering for a while,” he says. “It took a lot of juggling and cooperation on the theaters’ parts.” Although he’s seemingly always employed on the nonprofit circuit, he’s not a regular presence on Broadway. His second foray onto the Great White Way, the commercial tuner “Never Gonna Dance,” fizzled at the box office in the 2003-04 season. He prefers, he says, to be able to build work in the nonprofit world. “If the commercial world is interested, they’ll come and get it” — as they did with “Rent.” In the meantime, he’s enjoying careening from play to play and tone to tone. “It’s nourishing,” he says. “It hasn’t been confusing. So far.” Brothers hit the pub Adam Bock‘s “Swimming in the Shallows,” Adriano Shaplin‘s “Pugilist Specialist” and Deb Margolin‘s Kesselring Prize winner “Three Seconds in the Key” are among the recent prominent Off Broadway offerings that will see publication this year — but not from either of the theater world’s big two publishing and licensing houses, Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service. Instead, they’re being offered in the latest catalog of Playscripts, a five-year-old upstart that’s aiming younger and hipper than its rivals, the 175-year-old Sam French and the 70-year-old DPS. (Playscripts is also the sole publisher of the work of Rinne Groff, who just won a $35,000 Whiting Writers’ Award; her play “The Ruby Sunrise” opens at the Public Nov. 16.) The brainchild of brothers Doug and Jonathan Rand, Playscripts offers extensive online script samples — encrypted to prevent piracy — and prints the majority of its scripts on an on-demand basis.