The acting corp at the Williamstown Theatre Festival is usually pretty starry, and 2001 will be no exception. Joining the already announced Mary Tylor Moore and Mike Myers will be Eric Bogosian, Michelle Williams, Kate Burton, B.J. Crosby, Roz Ryan, Kristine Nielson, Mason Adams, Michael Gross and Edward Herrmann.
Bogosian will make his WTF debut, starring in Diva, a Howard M. Gould comedy about a spoiled film actress trying to break into television. The play will run on the smaller Nikos stage. Also on the Nikos, Ed Herrmann, a Williamstown mainstay from way back, has joined Myers in the cast of Paddy Chayvefsky's The Latent Heterosexual, and Michael Gross will back up Moore in A.R. Gurney's new play, Buffalo Gal.
Williamstown typically offers one Shakespeare production and this year it's A Winter's Tale, directed on the Mainstage by Darko Tresnjak. Kristine Nielson (Betty's Summer Vacation) and Kate Burton—without whose services no WTF season would be complete—will star. Burton played her now Broadway-bound Hedda Gabler at Williamstown last summer.
Opening the Mainstage season will be B.J. Crosby and Roz Ryan in a revival of Vernel Bagneris' One Mo' Time. Crosby is well known from the long-running Smokey Joe's Cafe, Ryan from Dreamgirls. Meanwhile, Mason Adams, who has recently graced the New York stage in such Signature Theatre Company productions as Horton Foote's The Last of the Thorntons and John Guare's Lake Hollywood, will star in a new staging of Arthur Miller's first play, The Man Who Had All the Luck.
Finally, "Dawson's Creek" star Michelle Williams will head the cast of a new mounting of Elmer Rice's naturalistic classic, Street Scene, presumedly taking the role of Rose Maurrant, the doomed tenement dwelling daughter of an adulterous mother and murderous father. The production, directed by Michael Grief, is in the tradition of such sprawling, large cast Williamstown productions as the revival of Dead End of several seasons ago. *
As reported earlier, Mary Tyler Moore and Mike Myers will make rare theatre appearances in this year's Williamstown Theatre Festival. Moore will star in Buffalo Girl, a new play by A.R. Gurney, directed by John Tillinger. Myers, meanwhile, will appear in The Latent Heterosexual by Paddy Chayefsky, directed by Bruce Paltrow.
The team of Moore, Gurney and Tillinger is significant. The last time Moore appeared on the Broadway stage was in Gurney's Sweet Sue, which was directed by Tillinger. The show lasted 164 performances and 15 previews in 1987. Moore is better known, of course, for her legendary television work in "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Myers is almost wholly recognized for his recurring film characters, the sweetly dim stoner Wayne, of "Wayne's World," and the goofy, 60s-style, super-spy Austin Powers. Chayefsky's seldom-done comedy is about an obscure gay poet.
Arthur Miller, Elmer Rice, Frank McGuinness, A.R. Gurney, Edward Albee and Harold Pinter are some of the playwrights who will be featured in the Williamstown Theatre Festival's 2001 summer season. Also in the works are workshops of a new Donald Margulies play and a musical by Jenny Giering and Beth Blatt. The season will run June 20-Aug. 26.
The season will run as follows:
• One Mo' Time, written and directed by Vernel Bagneris, June 20 July 1. A revival of the blues-flavored revue that played Off-Broadway in the early '90s.
• The Winter's Tale, by William Shakespeare, directed by Darko Tresnjak, July 4-15. The late tragedy of jealousy and redemption by the Bard. Tresnjak has directed a couple productions at the Blue Light Theatre Off-Broadway over the last couple years.
• The Man Who Had All the Luck, by Arthur Miller, directed by Scott Ellis, July 18-29. The famous 1944 Broadway flop that preceded All My Sons and Death of a Salesman is dusted off.
• Street Scene, by Elmer Rice, directed by Michael Grief, Aug. 1-12. Rice's gritty tale of a hot June day and its impact on the inhabitants of a cramped tenement. A cast of 50 is advertised.
• Philadelphia, Here I Come!, by Brian Friel, directed by Kyle Donnelly, Aug. 15-26. Friel's tale of an young Irish man (and his alter ego) trying to make peace with his homeland and his father before setting off for America.
• Buffalo Girl, by A.R. Gurney, director John Tillinger, June 13 24. A new play by the author of Far East, about a Buffalo born actress who returns to her hometown to play in The Cherry Orchard and encounters an old beau and the sale of her grandma's house.
• The Latent Heterosexual, by Paddy Chayefsky, directed by Bruce Paltrow, June 27 July 8. This comedy about an obscure gay poet was given a high profile reading at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor last summer.
• Diva, by Howard M. Gould, directed by Neel Keller, July 11-22. A workshop production of a comedy about a spoiled film actress trying to break into television.
• The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter and The Zoo Story by Edward Albee, directed by Joe Mantello, July 25-Aug. 5. Two classic one-acts from two authors, one British and one American, deeply influenced by Samuel Beckett. Sam Rockwell and Zeljko Ivanek has been mentioned for the cast.
• Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme, by Frank McGuinness, directed by Nicholas Martin, Aug. 9-19. A drama about eight Irish nationalists serving in World War I.
In addition to the above production, a workshop of Beth Blatt and Jenny Giering's new musical The Mistress Cycle is planned. The show takes a look at the life of mistresses around the world and down through the years. Audra McDonald is rumored to star. McDonald recorded Giering's "I Follow" on her album "Way Back to Paradise." Also to be workshopped is Donald Margulies' latest, God of Vengeance. The adaptation of the Yiddish classic premiered at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre in spring 2000. As in Seattle, Gordon Edelstein directs.
—By Robert Simonson