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Ionesco's `Chairs' Broadway-bound

The production of Ionesco's "Chairs" that was a smashing success for the Theatre de Complicite at London's Royal Court Theater last year is coming to Broadway's Golden Theater for a 12-week engagement with its original cast and creative team. Previews begin on March 24. The bizarre play - 80 minutes of absurdism, tragedy and farce - is about an Old Man and an Old Woman, living in a ramshackle house surrounded by water. The man (Richard Briers) decides he is ready to present his message to mankind. As scores of people arrive, all invisible, the woman (Geraldine McEwan) must scramble for chairs.

Bill Kenwright, who will produce the Broadway show with Carole Shorenstein Hays, Stuart Thompson and Scott Rudin, said he decided to bring the show to New York when he watched it in London."It totally overwhelmed me," he said. "I instantly said Broadway, because Broadway loves what I would call up front, in your face, sock-it-to-'em theater."

Kenwright has been involved in more than a half-dozen transfers from London in recent years, including last season's "Doll's House."

"When I saw recently the list of all of the British and Irish productions coming to New York this spring, I was quite surprised," he said, "but it wouldn't have changed my mind. Even if there were 10 other productions of `The Chairs,' I still would bring this one."