What do Lee Marvin, James Franco, Patty Duke and Hayley Mills have in common? Too easy, I know. But only one of them is heading to New York’s City Center for a new play making the rounds, and that’s Polyanna herself, Hayley Mills. Beginning January 11, she will star in Party Face, a comedy by Isobel Mahon directed by Amanda Bearse (Married…With Children). The limited run will play at Stage 2, where the Manhattan Theatre Club often puts up its new work (though this is not an MTC production).
A child of theater royalty whose credits include a year-long tour in The King and I in 1997-98 and an off-Broadway appearance a few years later in Noël Coward’s Suite in Two Keys, Mills has the distinction of having won the last Juvenile Academy Award (in 1961, for Polyanna) before AMPAS retired tiny Oscar. Had she won for The Parent Trap, I guess they’d have had to give her two, or perhaps one full-size statuette.
And speaking of City Center, the home of Encores! and Encores! Off Center has named the interim co-artistic directors for the latter, a position that opened up with the death in September of composer and lyricist Michael Friedman, who had just begun his first season in the chair. City Center president & CEO Arlene Shuler said today that composer Jeanine Tesori (Violet) and Anne Kauffman (Mary Jane; Encores! Assassins) will
be responsible for the 2018 season. Tesori returns, having started the Encores! offshoot in 2013.
“Encores! Off-Center began a new phase last summer under the direction of Michael Friedman, which was tragically cut short,” said Shuler. “We are fortunate to welcome two of his good friends and colleagues as guest co-artistic directors to lead us through this transitional year. Both Jeanine and Anne have connections to the Off-Center series. As founding artistic director, Jeanine served as a champion for the work of other artists for four seasons and we were delighted to welcome Anne to the Off-Center family last summer as the director of Assassins. It is always difficult to move on from such a loss, but as an institution it is essential that we continue the mission of Off-Center and bring these important works to a new audience.”