Carson McCullers (Historically Inaccurate), a world premiere co-production between Women's Project & Productions and Playwrights Horizons, will feature Jenny Bacon as the novelist Carson, with Michi Barall, Rosalyn Coleman, Barbara eda-Young, Leland Gantt, Tim Hopper, Rick Stear and Anne Torsiglieri as those who punctuated her life, Jan. 10-Feb. 3, 2002.
The nonprofit Manhattan troupes announced casting Dec. 3. Marion McClinton (Jitney, King Hedley II) directs the play by Sarah Schulman, known for her novels ("Rat Bohemia," "Empathy," "People in Trouble") and downtown theatre works at such venues as La Mama, PS 122 and The Performing Garage.
The new play is billed as "an epic investigation into one woman's fascinating, tumultuous life." It "poses the question: Can a life be created, an identity forged, through prose? Weathering a rocky marriage, pervasive small-mindedness and unrequited love, Lula Carson Smith aka Carson McCullers found success as one of the most renowned playwright-novelists of the 20th century."
Columbus, GA, native McCullers (1917-67) is remembered for novels "The Member of the Wedding" (later dramatized), "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" and "The Ballad of the Sad Café" (later dramatized by Edward Albee). Her troubled life included alcoholism, a rocky marriage (she divorced and later remarried her husband), love for women, strokes and an early death at age 50. The play includes such figures as Tennessee Williams, Ethel Waters, Richard Wright, Gypsy Rose Lee and others.
Previews begin Jan. 10 at The Women's Project Theatre, 424 W. 55th Street. Opening is Jan. 20. Bacon appeared in Classic Stage Company's Race, Lincoln Center Theatre's The Misanthrope Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Molly Sweeney and New York Theatre Workshop's Streetcar Named Desire. Hopper appeared in Off Broadway's The Dying Gaul and Broadway's Present Laughter. Barbara eda-Young won an Obie Award for Slavs! at New York Theatre Workshop. Coleman appeared in Breath, Boom and Seven Guitars in New York. Michi Barall appeared in Golden Child and Stop Kiss. Gantt's credits include Police Boys and Let Me Live. Stear appeared in Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center, A Madhouse in Goa at Second Stage. Torsiglieri is a veteran of Les Misérables and Parade. Designers are Neil Patel (set), Toni-Leslie James (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Janet Kalas (sound).
Tickets are $35, with student rush tickets available. For information call (212) 239-6200 or visit the Women's Project Theatre box office.
— By Kenneth Jones