As previously tipped (See The Goss, 24 Oct 2006), the acclaimed Off-Broadway play Underneath the Lintel will receive its UK premiere in the New Year. The one-man show, written by Glen Berger and performed by Richard Schiff (pictured) from TV’s The West Wing, will have a limited ten-week season at the West End’s Duchess Theatre from 12 February to 14 April 2007 (previews from 7 February).

Inspired by Yiddish music from the 1920s, Underneath the Lintel centres on a Danish librarian whose search for 113-year overdue book sets him on a life-changing quest. One clue builds upon another as this once-staid man embarks on a journey that spans the globe – the result of which carries mystical and spiritual implications.

Berger’s play has had several incarnations in the US since it premiered Off-Broadway in 2001. The production now transferring to London was first seen at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey, this past January. It’s directed by Maria Mileaf.

Richard Schiff is best known as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler in the American TV series The West Wing, for which he won an Emmy Award. His film credits include the films Seven, City Hall, Malcolm X, Hoffa, Michael, Jurassic Park, Deep Impact, Dr Doolittle, Heaven and Forces of Nature. Schiff began his career as a theatre director in New York, founding the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. After becoming an actor and moving to Los Angeles, he joined Tim Robbins’ Actors Gang and appeared in productions including Goose, Tom Tom and Urban Folktales.

Underneath the Lintel is presented in the West End by Michael Edwards and Carole Winter with Paul Coxwell. Currently at the Duchess, Stones in His Pockets will finish its aborted run on 2 December 2006. Originally due to open on 6 November 2006 (previews from 1 November) for a limited season to 3 March 2007, after one of the two-hander’s stars Hugh Lee became ill and was unable to return, the production cancelled its press night and subsequently announced its premature closure (See News, 14 Nov 2006).

- by Terri Paddock