Nicholas Martin announced today the remainder of the 2010 Season for Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF), the 56th season, and final one under Martin’s tenure as WTF Artistic Director.
In addition to the previously announced productions, the 2010 WTF season will also include a Main Stage production of John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation (July 14 – July 25), as well as the world premiere of The Last Goodbye, musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Michael Kimmel, with music and lyrics by Jeff Buckley, playing on the Nikos Stage August 5 – 20, 2010.
A complete list of Main Stage and Nikos Stage productions is as follows:
The season begins on the WTF Main Stage with a new production of the Tony Award-winning, Burt Shevelove/Larry Gelbart/Stephen Sondheim musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (June 30 – July 11). The Romans are coming! As in the time of Plautus himself, director Jessica Stone (Butley, The Odd Couple) helms an all-male troop of actors through the comic fray in this fresh, “old” take on American master and Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Sondheim’s raucous musical classic. With Tony nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (Young Frankenstein, Wicked, Finian’s Rainbow) leading the charge as Pseudolus, a slave who must win his freedom by playing matchmaker for his master, this toe-tapping, zany romp through ancient Rome is a paean to the Gods of Comedy.
Up second is John Guare’s sensational masterwork of interconnected worlds, Six Degrees of Separation (July 14 – July 25). One evening can change the course of many lives. Into a Manhattan couple’s nightly discussions of art deals and dinner reservations, a charismatic stranger arrives with stories of a famous father and promises of walk on roles in Cats: The Movie. Could he possibly be for real? This Olivier Award winner and Pulitzer finalist stirs the pot of privilege with often hilarious and ultimately heart-breaking results.
Next, Artistic Director Nicholas Martin (Present Laughter, Butley, Hedda Gabler) will direct Thornton Wilder’s quintessentially American play Our Town (July 28 – August 8). Set not far from the Festival’s Berkshire home in the fictional Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, Wilder’s masterpiece finds the beautiful in the mundane lives of people in a small town. Martin brings together a family of Williamstown favorites, including Becky Ann Baker (All My Sons, Assassins) and Dylan Baker (God of Carnage, Mauritius, Revolutionary Road), Jessica Hecht (A View from the Bridge, After the Fall), Campbell Scott (The Spanish Prisoner, Roger Dodger, Singles), and John Rubenstein (Tony Award– Children of a Lesser God, Love Letters) as the local town-folk whose hopes and memories are chronicled in America’s most beloved play.
The Main Stage season concludes with a production of Lanford Wilson‘s modern classic Fifth of July (August 11 – 22) in a co-production with Bay Street Theatre. This gentle comic drama from Wilson’s beloved Talley Trilogy will be directed by Tony Award-nominee Terry Kinney (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, reasons to be pretty). As friends and family gather to remember a lost loved one, a group of thirty-something prodigals from the rebellious post-Vietnam generation return to their rural Missouri home, finding themselves older and wiser, but devoid of dreams. Long-buried rivalries and burning secrets reignite on a late summer evening as this motley tribe struggles to adapt to the changes wrought in their lives.
On the Nikos Stage, funny-woman Judy Gold (currently starring in Love, Loss, and What I Wore) will appear in her new one-woman play, It’s Jewdy’s Show: My Life as a Sitcom (June 23 – July 4), directed by Festival Artistic Associate Amanda Charlton (Caroline in Jersey, Dissonance). Following her success of 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, Gold returns to the stage in this hilarious look at her amazing life through the lens of the classic sit-coms of her youth. With multi-media, original music, laughter, and love, Judy shows us how she balances family and ambition in a world in which she sometimes does not fit.
In a home-grown production, Samuel J. and K. (July 7 – July 18) by Mat Smart (The 13th of Paris, The Hopper Collection) arrives on the Nikos after a hugely successful Fridays @ 3 reading last summer. In this hard-charging play, Samuel J. surprises his adopted brother, Samuel K., with a trip back to his birth country of Cameroon for college graduation—but Samuel K. has no desire to face a place and a past that abandoned him. Samuel J. and K. challenges the traditional definitions of family and asks if a place we’ve only imagined can become home overnight. Festival Artistic Associate Justin Waldman (What is the Cause of Thunder?, The Atheist) directs.
Amy Herzog’s (Hungry, Willing) provocative new play After the Revolution (July 21 – August 1) makes its journey from the Festival’s Fellowship Project last summer to the Nikos Stage, directed by former Boris Sagal Fellow Carolyn Cantor (In a Dark, Dark House, Pumpgirl). It’s 1999, and three generations of a radical leftist family meet in New York to celebrate the law school graduation of Emma, the family’s youngest torch-carrier. A public revelation about her late grandfather, a victim of the blacklist, sends Emma reeling as the family begins to fracture. Shaken and betrayed, she must weigh her fierce politics and family loyalty to decide if the ends really justify the means. Developed from scratch at WTF, After the Revolution is a play about love, family secrets, and the American Left. Following Williamstown, After the Revolution will be seen in New York at Playwrights Horizons this fall.
A legendary love. A transcendent artist. Shakespeare’s classic verse meets the driving, passionate rock of iconic singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley in the world premiere of The Last Goodbye (August 5 – August 20), the final show on the Nikos Stage. Conceived and adapted from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Michael Kimmel (The Secret Agenda of Trees) with the music and lyrics of Jeff Buckley (Grace) arranged by Kris Kukul (Kasper Hauser, WTF’s Cabaret Director), an ensemble of fourteen singer/actors bring to life the lyrical beauty of two great poets set in a world of youthful angst, grandeur and grit. Fall for Romeo and Juliet all over again in this incendiary new musical.
The Fellowship Projects
In 2005, the Williamstown Theatre Festival introduced an innovative program to develop new work called The Fellowship Projects. The program pairs talented young writers with the prestigious Boris Sagal and Bill Foeller Directing Fellows and ten actors from the WTF Non-Equity Company to create a new play and a new musical over the course of eight weeks. Alumni of The Fellowship Projects include Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman, whose project Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson is currently playing at the Public Theatre in New York this spring, and Amy Herzog, whose After the Revolution is part of Williamstown’s 2010 Season, moving on to Playwrights Horizons this fall.
This summer, The Fellowship Musical will feature book and lyrics by Noah Haidle (Saturn Returns, Mr. Marmalade, What is the Cause of Thunder?), music by Kellys Collins and Ryan Tyndell, directed by Davis McCallum (The Belle Stratagem, Euridyce). It will play in the Directing Studio from July 19 – July 20.
The Fellowship Play will be written by Bekah Brunstetter (Oorah!, Ars Nova Playwright in residence) and directed by Kerry Whigham (Barack and Me, Oh, The Horror!). It will be seen in the Directing Studio from August 9 – August 10.
Tickets for the 2010 Williamstown Theatre Festival season can be purchased online at www.wtfestival.org starting May 29 at Noon and by phone at (413) 597-3400 starting Tuesday, June 1 at 10:00 a.m.
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL 2010 SEASON SUMMARY
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
Book by Burt Shevelove & Larry Gelbart
Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Jessica Stone
Choreography by Denis Jones
Cast includes: Christopher Fitzgerald
June 30 – July 11, 2010
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION
By John Guare
July 14 – July 25, 2010
By Thornton Wilder
Directed by Nicholas Martin
Cast includes: Becky Ann Baker, Dylan Baker, Jessica Hecht, John Rubenstein and Campbell Scott
July 28 – August 8, 2010
FIFTH OF JULY
By Lanford Wilson
Directed by Terry Kinney
August 11 – 22, 2010
IT’S JEWDY’S SHOW: MY LIFE AS A SITCOM
By Judy Gold and Kate Moira Ryan
Original music by Judy Gold
Lyrics by Kate Moira Ryan and Judy Gold
Additional material Eric Kornfeld and Bob Smith
Directed by Amanda Charlton
June 23 – July 4, 2010
SAMUEL J. AND K.
By Mat Smart
Directed by Justin Waldman
July 7 – July 18, 2010
AFTER THE REVOLUTION
By Amy Herzog
Directed by Carolyn Cantor
July 21 – August 1, 2010
THE LAST GOODBYE
A musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Conceived and adapted by Michael Kimmel
Music and lyrics by Jeff Buckley
Directed by Michael Kimmel
Orchestrations, music direction and arrangements by Kris Kukul
August 5 – 20, 2010
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
Continuing its 56-year history under the artistic direction of Nicholas Martin, Williamstown Theatre Festival hosts award-winning actors, directors and playwrights who join forces to entertain and delight the Berkshire community of year-round and seasonal patrons. In addition to its acclaimed productions, WTF has extensive training and professional development programs for the next generation of actors, writers, directors, designers, technicians and managers. In 2002, WTF received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.