After taking a cameo role in Taming of the Shrew, American Repertory Theatre's artistic director Robert Brustein is getting his own play done there, Nobody Dies On Friday. Beginning previews Apr. 16 for an opening Apr. 19, Friday runs to May 2 at the Hasty Pudding Theatre on Holyoke St.
David Wheeler directs the play, which revolves around Marilyn Monroe's visits to the house of her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, whenever she needed acting lessons or to seek asylum from Hollywood craziness. The play not only looks at her (the Monroe character does not appear on stage; we hear only her voice), but the tensions she brings out among the four onstage Strasbergs, who quarrel over art, theatre and the cult of celebrity.
Starring in Friday are Alvin Epstein (Lee Strasberg), Rachael Warren (the voice of Monroe), Emma Roberts (Susan Strasberg), Robert Kropf and Annette Miller. Designing the piece are Michael Griggs (set), John Ambrosone (lighting), Catherine Zuber (costumes) and Christopher Walker (sound).
As founding director of the Yale Repertory and Cambridge MA's American Rep, Brustein has supervised nearly 200 productions. He serves as director of the Loeb Drama Center, Professor of English at Harvard, and drama critic for The New Republic. These days, he's most celebrated for his public arguments with playwright August Wilson about multi-cultural casting.
Upcoming at A.R.T. will be:
The Imaginary Invalid (May 8-31)
Moliere's last play, a satire of the medical profession wherein hypochondriacal Argan decides his daughter must marry a physician so that he'd always have ready healthcare. Shelley Berc translates the farce, which is directed by ART veteran, Andrei Belgarder (Ubu Rock). American Rep uses a resident acting company, including Remo Airaldi, Thomas Derrah, Alvin Epstein, Benjamin Evett, Kristen Flanders, Jeremy Geidt, Will LeBow, Karen McDonald, Charles Levin, Don Reilly, Stephen Rowe and Jack Willis, alongside Leslie Beatty, Jay Boyer, D'metrius Conley-Williams, Emma Roberts and other new members.
For tickets and information on shows at the American Repertory Theatre call their Info-Line at (617) 547-8300 or check out their website at http://www.amrep.org.
-- By David Lefkowitz