The Ancestral Voices of A.R. Gurney are about to be heard for the first time on the West Coast and, as in the East Coast productions, celebrities will be lending their voices to the epistolary play. Katherine Helmond, Rene Auberjonois, Fred Savage, Robert Foxworth and Mariette Hartley are set to star in the production, running Oct. 12-Nov. 26 at the Falcon Theatre. Opening night will be Oct. 14.
Fred Savage, the popular television star of "The Wonder Years" and "Working," plays Eddie, a young man flabbergasted by his grandmother's decision to leave his grandfather and remarry another man -- an especially shocking gambit in the early 1940's.
Gurney is the author of 25 full-length plays including The Cocktail Hour, Far East, The Dining Room, Loves Letter, The Snow Ball and Sylvia.
A film, stage and television actress, Helmond has been nominated for five Emmy Awards ("Soap," "Who's the Boss?," "Coach" and "Everyone Loves Raymond") and won a Clarence Derwent Award, Drama Critics Circle Award and an Obie as Bananas in Gurney's The House of Blue Leaves.
Auberjonois was nominated thrice for the Tony Award for his work in City of Angels, Big River and The Good Doctor after winning for Coco, which he starred in opposite Katharine Hepburn. Also a popular television and movie actor, his credits include "Deep Space Nine," "Benson," "M.A.S.H.," "Inspector Gadget" and "The Patriot." Hartley starred in the world premiere of Ancestral Voices at Lincoln Center, as well as in Gurney's Love Letters and Sylvia. Foxworth starred in the 100th anniversary production of Uncle Vanya at the Geffen Playhouse in 1999 as well as in Broadway's Ivanov with Kevin Kline and Honour opposite Jane Alexander.
Gordon Hunt directs. A two-time nominee for the Directors Guild of America's Award for Best Director of a Comedy (he won for "Mad About You"), he has helmed episodes of "Frasier," "Coach" and "Suddenly Susan," as well as Stand Up Opera.
Tickets are $35-$25. The Falcon Theatre is located at 4252 Riverside Drive. For reservations, call (818) 955-8101.
-- By Christine Ehren