Kaufman and Hart are getting the royal treatment this summer in the New York area. Already announced is a Broadway production of The Man Who Came to Dinner, presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company, beginning June 30. Nathan Lane and Jean Smart will head the cast, which is deep with theatre pros such as Lewis J. Stadlen, Byron Jennings and Terry Beaver.
A few hours east of Gotham, meanwhile, the Bay Street Theatre Company of Sag Harbor, Long Island, is offering You Can't Take It with You and a cast nearly as packed with theatre stalwarts as Dinner. Mason Adams, of television's "Lou Grant" and the stage's Lake Hollywood, will play Martin Vanderhoff, the patriarch of the comedy's different drummer family. Backing him up with by Tony-winner Roger Bart (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) as Ed, Joan Copeland (The Torch Bearers) as Mrs. Kirby, Jennifer Dundas Lowe (Arcadia, Good as New) as Alice, Penny Fuller (A New Brain) as Penelope Sycamore and Mary Testa (On the Town, Marie Christine) as Olga.
Completing the cast are Shelley Dulaney, John Fiedler, Jonathan Freeman, Bryan Hicks, Tom Gustin, Larry Keith, Talmadge Lowe and Roz Ryan. Jack Hofsiss directs. The show runs through Sept. 3.
Currently on Bay Street's stage, Kate Burton is a girl with a gripe and a gun come June 21, when she assumes the title role in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Bay Street Theatre's second offering of the season. The drama, adapted by Jon Robin Baitz, will be a co-production with the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Nicholas Martin (Betty's Summer Vacation) will direct. Burton was recently seen Off-Broadway in Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do!. Prior to that, she acted in Broadway's The Beauty Queen of Leenane. The actress has familial connections to both Williamstown and Bay Street. Michael Ritchie, artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, is Burton's husband. Sybil Christopher, co- artistic of Bay Street, was the first wife of Richard Burton, Kate's father.
Michael Emerson, best known as Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency, but also boasting such credits as The Iceman Cometh and Give Me Your Answer, Do! (with Burton), will play Hedda's ineffectual husband, George Tesman. Harris Yulin, most recently on Broadway in The Price, will be the imperious Judge Brack. Katie Finneran, a cast-mate of Emerson's in The Iceman Cometh will be Mrs. Elvsted, while David Lansbury will by Eilert Lovborg. Completing the cast are Kathryn Hahn and Angela Thornton.
The Bay Street season also includes the musical Love, Janis, featuring the songs of Janis Joplin, July 19-Aug. 6.
The Ibsen and Kaufman and Hart revivals mark a new direction for the Bay Street, which has, until now, focuses primarily on new plays and American premieres. A Bay Street spokesman said the theatre had made a conscious choice to stage more classics, in part was responding to the desires of its audience.
Bay Street will also introduce a "Tuesday Talkback Series" in 2000. The program will allow subscribers to meet and chat with actors, directors, playwrights and designers involved in the theatre's productions.
The Bay Street Theatre in located in Sag Harbor, Long Island. For information call (631) 725-9500, or consult the website at www.baystreet.com.
--By Robert Simonson