While A.R. Gurney's Labor Day continues its run at Manhattan Theatre Club, an even newer work by the playwright gets its premiere July 15 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Paul Fitzgerald, Linda Emond, Tohoru Masamune, Bill Smitrovich and Scott Wolf star in Far East, which runs to July 26 on the Fest's 96-seat Nikos Stage (recently renamed for founding director Nikos Psacharopoulos).
Former Seattle Rep artistic director Dan Sullivan helms the latest play by the author of The Cocktail Hour, Sylvia, Later Life, The Dining Room, Richard Cory, Sweet Sue and Love Letters. Set in the 1950s, Far East tells of a young naval officer looking for fun in Japan before Voice of America calls him home.
Designing Far East are Rui Rita (lighting), Danielle Castronovo (costumes), Jerry M. Yager (sound) and Michael Brown (set).
Upcoming on the Nikos Stage:
Evolution -- From the author of Women and Wallach, Jonathan Marc Sherman, comes this comedy about a Harvard student who knows nothing about popular culture yet becomes a hot property in Hollywood. Nicholas Martin directs, July 29-Aug. 9. Corners -- A man's free sex life gets him into trouble in this drama by David Rabe, author of Hurlyburly and A Question of Mercy. Scott Ellis, who helms the aforementioned Rainmaker, directs, Aug. 12-23.
Also at the Williamstown Fest, family audiences can enjoy Carlo Gozzi's The Blue Demon (July 23-Aug. 1), directed by Dark Tresjnak. This fairy tale, based on The Arabian Nights, features dance, masks and puppetry.
Meanwile on the mainstage, audiences are saying "Hello, Dolly" to actress/comedienne Andrea Martin, who stars as Dolly Levi in Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, July 8-19. Williamstown resident director Nicholas Martin is staging this comedy about a widow who tries to fix up a wealthy bachelor -- with herself.
The very first season at Williamstown (1955), founding artistic director Nikos Psacharopoulos staged N. Richard Nash's comedy/drama, The Rainmaker. Now Scott Ellis, who recently reaped plaudits for Broadway's 1776 revival, will stage The Rainmaker at WTF, July 22-Aug. 2. Later made into the Jones/Schmidt musical 110 in the Shade, Rainmaker tells of a town hit by drought -- and bowled over by a handsome conman.
Roger Rees, last on Broadway in The Rehearsal, directs Richard Brinsley Sheridan's farce, The Rivals, Aug. 5-16. No word on who'll play the verbally cacaphonous -- er, calamitous, Mrs. Malaprop. Kate Burton, Edward Herrmann, Dana Ivey and Mark McKinney are featured.
And what is Hecuba to Williamstown and Williamstown to Hecuba? We'll find out Aug. 19-30 when Timberlake Wertenbaker's adaptation of Euripides' tragedy travels to WTF from San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre. Carey Perloff directs, with Olympia Dukakis starring.
A special late-nite Cabaret (July 2-Aug. 14) and the Greylock Theatre Project for disadvantaged youth also comprise the Festival, as do a site specific piece by Act I Company and New Play Readings in consideration for next year's Fest. Michael Ritchie serves as producer of the Festival.
Williamstown Festival tickets went onsale June 10 at the box office or by calling (413) 597-3400. WTF's 24-hour information line is (413) 597 3399.