The Actor's Studio gets their month-long series of Group Theatre readings underway tonight with an airing of Paul Green's The House of Connelly. By May 17, the Studio will have read each of the 23 plays the Group produced during its existence. The House of Connelly--about the conflict between an artistocratic, but decadent old Southern family and the democratic New South--was the inaugural production of the then fledgling company. The troupe rehearsed it during the summer in a barn theatre in Westchester Country, Connecticutt, and then presented it at the Martin Beck Theatre on Sept. 28, 1931. The play featured Franchot Tone, Stella Adler, as well as Clifford Odets and Bobby Lewis in small roles. It was staged by Lee Strasberg and Cheryl Crawford, and ran 91 performances. The reading will be directed by Studio member Lois Smith, best known for her performances in the Broadway productions of Frank Galati's John Steinbeck adaptation The Grapes of Wrath (1990) and Sam Shepard's Buried Child (1996). A spokesman at the Actor's Studio said it was their "philosophy" not to reveal the cast of the reading beforehand.
The reading begins at 7 PM at the Studio, at 432 W. 44th St. To make a reservation, call (212) 757-2467.
-- By Robert Simonson