Legendary actress Julie Harris has never shrunk from playing the regions. For instance, she has recently found a frequent home at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theatre. But this coming summer, the multiple Tony winner will stray a bit further than usual from the beaten path, starring in a production of Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (W.H.A.T.) in Cape Cod, MA. The show will run May 24-June 18. Jeff Zinn will direct.
Harris' many Broadway credits include I Am a Camera, The Lark, Lucifer's Child, Skyscraper and The Member of the Wedding. This season she had been scheduled to reach Broadway in The Scent of the Roses, but financing did not come together for the New York move.
Also scheduled for the W.H.A.T. season is Ruby Tuesday, a new play by Gip Hoppe, the co-artistic director of the theatre (with Zinn). Hoppe's work has reached a wider audience of late, garnering attention for the small Wellfleet company. His comic spoof of Jacqueline Kennedy, Jackie: An American Life, played Broadway, under his direction, during the 1997-98 season. Another play of his, Savior of the Universe, had a run Off-Broadway soon afterwards. Ruby Tuesday will play W.H.A.T. June 28-July 22.
W.H.A.T. will also present Christopher Durang's scathing satire of an amoral and sensation-driven America, Betty's Summer Vacation (July 28-Sept. 3); and Patrick Marber's searing portrait of modern relationships, Closer (Sept. 14-Oct. 8).
W.H.A.T. was founded in 1985 and has built a reputation for offering a combination of edgy dramas and loopy comedies to the surrounding collection of small seaside villages. Past productions include Mac Wellman's Seven Blowjobs, Russell Lees' Nixon's Nixon and Tracy Letts' Killer Joe. Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre is located on Mayo Beach next to the Wellfeet Town Pier. For information, call (508) 349-6835.
--By Robert Simonson