Tom Walker, a new play set in colonial-era America, with Tony Award-winner John Glover in the title role, gets it world premiere at Washington DC's Arena Stage Feb. 2-March 4, following previews that began Jan. 26.
John Strand's play is "filled with folklore, legend and magic," according to production notes. Molly Smith, Arena artistic director said in a statement that the play "treats its audience to a glimpse into a time of our country's history that is rarely dramatized. Tom Walker tackles the subject of colonial-era race relations with insight and side-splitting humor..."
Director Kyle Donnelly and playwright Strand previously collaborated on Lovers and Executioners at the Arena in 1998. The play won the 1998 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play.
Set in 1727, Tom Walker addresses some of the "precepts and politics on which America was founded" by telling the tale of Tom Walker, a "tavern-loving fiddler and colonial underachiever who fails at various attempts at livelihood." The Devil shows up an promises treasure in exchange for Tom's soul. The play is narrated by Cora (played by Margaret Kemp), one of the Devil's 12 daughters.
Glover won the Tony Award for Broadway's Love! Valour! Compassion! and recently played the lead in the newly fashioned Frank Loesser musical, Hans Christian Andersen at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. The Tom Walker cast includes Kate Buddeke, Martha Hackett, Fred J. Schiffman and Wendell Wright.
Washington-based playwright Strand will see Tom Walker play at South Coast Rep in California in April 2001, and his Lovers and Executioners gets its Cincinnati premiere in March.
Designers for the Fichandler Stage production are Tom Lynch (set), Lindsay Davis (costume), Nancy Schertler (lighting), Donald Dinicola (sound).
Tickets range $27-$45. Arena Stage is at 1101 Sixth Street SW in Washington DC. For information, call (202) 488 3300, or visit the website at www.arenastage.org.
— By Kenneth Jones