The Lisbon Traviata

The Lisbon Traviata


It focuses on two of the playwright's favorite subjects, gay relationships and Maria Callas, and includes one of his most memorable characters, flamboyantly bitchy and viciously wicked opera queen Mendy. Stephen, a depressed literary editor and opera fanatic, is on the verge of losing his doctor lover to a considerably younger Columbia University student. In Act I, he takes temporary refuge at the apartment of fellow opera aficianado Mendy to dish about divas, listen to records, and avoid thinking about his rapidly unravelling eight-year relationship. In Act II, he returns home to confront his unfaithful partner.

The play derives its title from an actual 1958 Callas production of "La Traviata" at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in the Portuguese capital. Two thousand copies of an unauthorized recording made by a cast member during a live performance, despite their amateur quality, quickly became collector's items among the diva's fans [] . Stephen recently has acquired one which he neglected to bring with him, and Mendy is obsessed with his going home to retrieve it.

Directed by John Tillinger, it opened on May 23 1989 at Stage I of the off-Broadway Manhattan Theatre Club, where it ran for six weeks. On October 31, with a dramatically revised ending, it opened at the Promenade Theatre, where it ran for three months. The cast included Nathan Lane, Dan Butler, and Anthony Heald. Lane won the Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Awards for Best Actor, Tillinger won the Lucille Lortel for his direction, and McNally was nominated for the Drama Desk for Outstanding New Play.

A 2003 fringe theatre production starring Marcus D'Amico and David Bamber at The King's Head Theatre in the Islington section of London proved to be a success.

External links

* [ Lortel Archive listing]
* [ New York Times review]

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