Mark Brokaw -- who guided such contemporary plays as The Dying Gaul, As Bees in Honey Drown, This Is Our Youth and How I Learned to Drive to success on the New York stage -- will try his hand at Shakespeare at Hartford Stage this spring, when he mounts a new production of The Comedy of Errors. The play runs April 6-May 7 (official opening April 12).
Shakespeare's early comedy about two pairs of twins will feature a cast familiar to New York audiences. Featured are Jesse Tyler Ferguson (of Broadway's On the Town), Jeremy Shamos (Corpus Christi), Brooks Ashmanskas (Little Me), Wally Dunn (Master Class) and Christopher Duva (An Experiment with an Air Pump). Also in the cast are Genevieve Elam, Tara Falk, Ruth Gottschall, David Jung, Nafe Katter, Aleta Mitchell, Brian Mysliwy and Frank Raiter.
Currently on Hartford's main stage is Enchanted April, a new adaptation of Elizabeth von Arnim's 1921 novel that began previews Feb. 24 and opened March 1. Broadway-level designers and the show's comparatively light, old-fashioned story values would make it seem a natural for a New York transfer -- if reviews and audiences give it the green light.
A Hartford spokesperson had no information on a transfer, but said that, if the show continues as well as it has been, an extension may be in the cards. Enid Graham, a Tony nominee for Honour, is featured in the cast, alongside Christopher Duva (MTC's An Experiment with an Air Pump), Christopher Donahue, John Hines, Isabel Keating, Stephanie March, Irma St. Paule and Jill Tanner. Designing the production are Tony Straiges (set), John Gromada (sound and original music), Jess Goldstein (costumes) and Rui Rita (The Price).
Back in August, a company spokesperson told Playbill On-Line Enchanted April hoped to transfer to a Broadway house in April 2000. The romantic comedy, dramatized by Matthew Barber, will play at Hartford Stage through March 26, 2000. Hartford artistic director Michael Wilson is directing.
Enchanted April is about two bored women who flee to a medieval Italian villa, where they meet two other ladies, one of whom appears to be a prudish stick-in-the-mud, the other a beautiful flirt. Eventually, husbands arrive, and all the relationships are considered anew.
Von Arnim's novel was made into a popular 1991 film starring Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, Alfred Molina, Josie Lawrence and Polly Walker. It received Academy Award nominations for supported actress (Plowright) and adapted screenplay (Peter Barnes). The novel had been previously filmed in 1935.
--By Robert Simonson
and David Lefkowitz