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March 18, 2004

Broadway goes ape

From: Miami Herald, FL - Mar 18, 2004

Prymate, the provocative new Mark Medoff play about two scientists battling over the fate of an aging gorilla, is leaping from the Florida State University campus to Broadway, arriving just in time for Tony Awards consideration.

Though final casting hasn't been confirmed, it's certain that Phyllis Frelich, a deaf actress who won a Tony in 1980 for Children of a Lesser God (also written by Medoff, a University of Miami graduate), will again play the animal behaviorist in Prymate. Edwin Sherin, husband of actress and former National Endowment for the Arts head Jane Alexander, will direct the controversial piece, which includes a startling interspecies sex act.

When the play premiered at Florida State in February, Broadway veteran Andre De Shields played the gorilla, Graham; television veteran Robert Walden portrayed the biologist who wants to deliberately infect him with the AIDS virus, and Heather Tom of TV's One Life To Live played the biologist's assistant, a woman who uses American Sign Language to communicate with Graham.

The play begins previews April 16 and opens May 5 at Broadway's Longacre Theatre -- the same theater that was home to Children of a Lesser God from 1980 to 1982.


© 2004 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.