Brooks Atkinson Theatre, (12/16/1979 - 1/06/1980)

First Preview: Dec 06, 1979
Opening Date: Dec 16, 1979
Closing Date: Jan 06, 1980
Total Previews: 12
Total Performances: 25

Category: Play, Original, Broadway
Setting: Frampol, Poland. The 1880's.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Messrs. Nederlander

Produced by Joseph Kipness, Jule Styne and Marvin A. Krauss; Associate Producer: Charlotte Dicker and Dorothy Dicker

Originally produced by Tyrone Guthrie Theater

Written by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Eve Friedman; Incidental music by Richard Peaslee

Directed by Stephen Kanee

Scenic Design by Desmond Heeley; Costume Design by Desmond Heeley; Lighting Design by Duane Schuler

General Manager: Marvin A. Krauss Associates, Inc.; Associate Gen. Mgr: Gary Gunas

Production Supervisor: Fritz Holt; Assistant Stage Mgr: Mimi Turque

Musical Coordinator: Earl Shendell

General Press Representative: Seymour Krawitz and Patricia McLean Krawitz; Casting: Peter Cereghetti; Advertising: Ash / LeDonne; Photographer: Sy Friedman; Logo Design by John Melo

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Opening Night Cast

F. Murray AbrahamAlchonon
Laura EstermanTeibele
Lee LawsonGenendel
Ron PerlmanBeadle Treitel
Barry PrimusMenasha
Stefan SchnabelRabbi
Stephan WeyteBeadle Leib

Standby: Steven Gilborn (Alchonon) and Mimi Turque (Genendel, Teibele)

Understudies: Ron Perlman (Rabbi) and Stephan Weyte (Menasha)

Awards and Nominations

Drama Desk Award

 1980 Outstanding New Play [nominee] 

Produced by Joseph Kipness, Jule Styne and Marvin A. Krauss; Written by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Eve Friedman

 1980 Outstanding Actor in a Play [nominee] 

F. Murray Abraham

 1980 Outstanding Lighting Design [nominee] 

Duane Schuler

 1980 Outstanding Sound Design [nominee] 

Incidental music by Richard Peaslee

 1980 Outstanding Music in a Play [nominee] 

Incidental music by Richard Peaslee


New York Daily News: "'Teibele' is rare theatrical magic"

Although "Teibele and Her Demon" stretches an erotic fable a trifle thin, it is nevertheless a lovely piece of theater. Based by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Eve Friedman on one of Singer's tales, it brings a rare kind of theatrical magic to Broadway, where it opened last night at the Atkinson.

Set in a Polish village, a Jewish shtetl, in the 1880s, it is the story of a lovelorn young woman, Teibele, operator of a drygoods store, whose husband has left her and disappeared after an unconsummated marriage. Under Jewish law, she cannot remarry until her spouse has been declared dead.

He never is, except by a ruse in a late development. But in the meantime she becomes sexually enslaved by the nighttime materializations of a "demon." This fellow, a rapturous spellbinder, is actually the woebegone and ragged Alchonon, an unemployed village tutor despised by Teibele. A Peeping Tom, he has overheard her yearnings and devised this plan to seduce her in the dark. Needless to say, he comes to adore her.

It is a sad, funny and shimmering play that takes many turns before reaching its touching conclusion, and I suppose you should be warned that unless you believe in fairy tales, its beauty may elude you. But then, this is one fairy tale you'll find hard to resist.

F. Murray Abraham is giving an inspired performance as the demon-scholar, a nebbish by day and a love god, or devil, by night. The occasion is his, though Laura Esterman is an appealing Teibele, and those around her in the small cast - Lee Lawson as a young widow, Barry Primus as Alchonon's best friend, an amorous and happy-go-lucky peddler, and Stefan Schnabel as the village rabbi who marries Alchonon to Teibele - are also commendable.

Everything about the production, which originated two summers ago at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, is of a high order. Stephen Kanee, the director, has emphasized the legendary quality of this fluid, episodic creation in the choreographic attitudes, movements, arrivals and departures of the characters. Desmond Heeley, who is also responsible for the muted costumes, has designed a grandly atmospheric open setting dominated by the suggestion of a fancifully steep shingled roof. Duane Schuler's lighting enhances the brooding, mysterious nature of the piece at every turn. Richard Peaslee's incidental music is also richly supportive.

This is unusual theater, funny and moving and full of wonder.

New York Daily News

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