Playwright Lee Blessing, whose past La Jolla Playhouse triumphs include A Walk in the Woods and Fortinbras, returns to the Mandell Weiss Forum for the 2000 season with the California premiere of his new play, Going to St. Ives Sept. 17. Maria Mileaf (Lobster Alice) directs the run through Oct. 15. (Previews started Sept. 12.)
Going to St. Ives is a high-stakes drama centering on two women, a British eye surgeon and the mother of a cruel African dictator. While their meeting is merely medical -- the African woman's decision to undergo a critical eye operation -- each woman comes with her own agenda. Blessing's plays have won many awards and have been produced on stages around the world. He wrote Going to St. Ives in 1997, the year it premiered at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre in a production starring Gloria Foster.
L. Scott Caldwell and Amy Morton star as the mother and the surgeon, respectively. Caldwell won a Tony Award for her role in August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone and acclaim in the Neil Simon flop, Proposals. A member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Morton most recently appeared as Nurse Ratched opposite Gary Sinise in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Designing Going To St. Ives are Tony Award winner Ann Hould-Ward (costumes), Annie Smart (sets), Lenore Doxsee (lighting) and The Education of Randy Newman's co-creator Michael Roth (sound).
Author Blessing's Chesapeake had an Off-Broadway mounting this past season, and his Cobb will receive a staging at the Lucille Lortel Theatre Off Broadway come late fall. La Jolla Playhouse is located at 2910 La Jolla Village Drive. For tickets and information call (858) 550-1010 or visit www.lajollaplayhouse.com.
The acquisition of Blessing's play prompted the Playhouse to alter its subscription schedule. The world premiere (at the Mandell Weiss Theatre) of Thoroughly Modern Millie will now take place Oct. 15, with a run ending Nov. 12.