Here's what the cast of ''Friends'' is up to this week. David Schwimmer is writing and directing a play about racial issues

By Gary Susman
Updated February 19, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
David Schwimmer: Danny Feld

ROSS ON ‘RACE’ If this TV thing doesn’t work out for David Schwimmer, he can always fall back on a stage career. He’s packing Hollywood’s Coast Playhouse with his leading performance as an amoral studio bigshot in ”Turnaround.” Next month, however, he’s vacating that role and heading to Chicago to begin directing an adaptation of Studs Turkel’s “Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession.” (Fellow NBC sitcom star Mark Feuerstein, of ”Good Morning, Miami,” will take his place in ”Turnaround.”) Schwimmer cowrote the stage version of ”Race” with Joy Gregory, a fellow member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company, which Schwimmer cofounded in 1988 when he was a drama major at Northwestern University.

Schwimmer befriended Turkel, the Chicago-based oral historian and radio host, 12 years ago, when the author came to see the Lookingglass adaptation of another classic Chicago book, Upton Sinclair’s ”The Jungle.” The production of ”Race” will be the company’s first in its new home, a converted section of an 1869 landmark building, a still-operating water works, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The play will run from June 5 to Aug. 10. After that, Schwimmer will have to return to Hollywood and be a millionaire sitcom star for one more season.