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A Love Affair with a Landmark in Manhattan: An Arresting Drama in Greenwich Village. [Opinions expressed are the views of OLD JEFF unless attributed to other - - potentially less-reliable - - sources, i.e., newcomers who have not been around since 1832 on Sixth Avenue.]

Monday, March 27, 2006

6th Avenue Inspiration Onstage

What switches on inspiration's ignition? For Greenwich Village dramatist John Guare, who was walking on Sixth Avenue and 9th Street, a glimpse of a convicted murderess being led into the Women's House of Detention in 1968 spun a synopsis into being. Remember Alice Crimmins from Kew Gardens? When the two children of Alice Burke Crimmins (born 1938) were nabbed and killed, police fingered her as their suspect. After the guilty verdict in 1968, she was taken to the Women’s House of Detention when she was hospitalized. From 1965-1977, the case grabbed headlines and fueled a flood of titles.
• • “Landscape of the Body,” John Guare’s Crimmins-inspired play with music and a Greenwich Village setting, opened at the Public Theater in 1977. His play is back onstage in Manhattan now [details below].
• • During the same year, Neal Bell’s dark two-character Crimmins-fantasy “Two Small Bodies” was staged; in 1994 Beth B made it into a film.
• • Two true-crime bestsellers appeared: George Capozi Jr.’s “Ordeal By Trial” (1972) and Kenneth Gross’s “The Alice Crimmins Case” (1975).
• • Two novelists weighed in. “The Investigation” by Dorothy Uhnak appeared. Another thinly veiled fictionalization of the case, “Where Are the Children?” by Mary Higgins Clark, her first published mystery, launched her prolific career in that genre; in 1986, a movie of the same title starred Jill Clayburgh.
• • In 1978, Tuesday Weld starred in a made-for-TV movie, “A Question of Guilt,” based on the Crimmins affair.
• • • Landscape of the Body • • •
• • Michael Greif directs John Guare's Landscape of the Body, starring Lili Taylor and Sherie Rene Scott.
• • What are we after we lose everything? 1970s Greenwich Village hosts a slew of mysterious and seemingly isolated events that connect a group of people on a nightmarish quest for the American Dream. Through twists in time and with some help from a singing narrator back from the dead, John Guare weaves an amazingly entertaining tale of their tragic and comic collisions that force them to discover what it is like to be left with - - or blessed with - - nothing but themselves.
• • Landscape of the Body contains strong language and adult themes.
• • Signature Theatre: Peter Norton Space - 555 West 42nd Street
• • Tickets: 212-352-3101 * Info: 212-244-7529
• • Opening Date: 16 April 2006
• • Previews Start: 28 March 2006
• • Closing Date: 21 May 2006
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• • Photo: Alice + Edmund Crimmins during trial • Queens County •

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