Closer author Patrick Marber's new play now has a title and a confirmed date for its world premiere at the National Theatre this summer. Howard Katz, written and directed by Marber, opens at the NT's Cottesloe Theatre on 13 June 2001, following previews from 1 June.

Husband, father, son, brother, showbiz agent, fifty and furious, Howard Katz throws his life in the air to search for his soul.

Ron Cook plays the title role. Cook's many theatre credits include The Machine Wreckers (RNT), 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (RSC), Our Country's Good (Royal Court/West End), Vassa (Almeida) and Glengarry Glen Ross (Donmar Warehouse). On film, Cook has appeared in Quills, Topsy Turvy, Chocolat and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.

Cook is joined in the cast by Ashley Jensen, Cherry Morris, Trevor Peacock, Paul Ritter, Nadim Sawalha, Mossie Smith and Russell Tovey. The play is designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone, music by Adrian Johnstone and sound by Christopher Shutt.

Howard Katz completes a loose, contemporary London trilogy that Marber penned for the National. The trilogy started with Dealer's Choice (which opened at the Cottesloe before transferring to the West End's Vaudeville Theatre) and continued with 1997's Closer, the play that really made Marber's name as a playwright.

Dubbed the seminal play for the 1990s, Closer dealt with the vicissitudes of modern love. It was heaped with accolades, including the Time Out Award for Best Play in the West End, the Evening Standard Best Comedy Award, the Critics' Circle Best Play Award and the Olivier Award for Best New Play. Marber's other recent work as a director includes The Caretaker (Comedy), Blue Remembered Hills (National) and The Old Neighbourhood (Royal Court).

- by Terri Paddock