The Huntington Theatre Company begins the final play in their season as Jon Robin Baitz's Ten Unknowns performs May 17-June 16. Ron Rifkin will star in the play, which makes its New England premiere at the Boston University Theatre. Evan Yionoulis directs.
In Ten Unknowns, Malcolm (Rifkin), a once promising painter who haunted post-war New York, now lives in Mexico, where he fled three decades before to escape the hegemony of the Abstract Expressionists (Malcolm is a figurative artist). But with the help of slacker art student Kirk, Malcolm has mysteriously begun producing some of the best paintings of his career, causing the dealer to see dollars in a Manhattan retrospective of the old man's work. Walking into this den of art-world types is Julia, a graduate student researcher studying a breed of frog that is on the verge of extinction.
Rifkin can be remembered from such Broadway roles as Herr Schultz in Cabaret — for which he won a Tony — and Henry Dennett in Wrong Mountain. His strongest theatrical association, however, is with Baitz. His star turn in Baitz's The Substance of Fire resurrected the actor's career. Rifkin scored another success in the playwright's Three Hotels. He has also enjoyed a film career with credits in such films as "L.A. Confidential," "Boiler Room," "Keeping the Faith," "The Majestic" and the film version of "The Substance of Fire."
The rest of the cast includes T. Scott Cunningham (Design for Living, Love! Valour! Compassion!), Kathryn Hahn (Huntington's Dead End, TV's "Crossing Jordan") and Jonathan M. Woodward (HBO's "Wit").
The creative team includes Adam Stockhausen (sets), Tom Broecker (costumes), Donald Holder (lights) and Ben Emerson (sound). The production also features music by Rick Baitz. Ten Unknowns opened at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on March 8 after a month of previews. Daniel Sullivan, an old hand at Baitz dramas, directed. Donald Sutherland — sporting a mane of white hair and a beard — starred as Malcolm to Julianna Margulies' Julia.
For tickets to Ten Unknowns at Huntington Theatre Company, 264 Huntington Avenue in Boston, call their box office at (617) 266-8488. For more information, visit their website at www.huntingtontheatre.org..
— by Ernio Hernandez
and Robert Simonson