Classic Hemingway Tale Gets World Premiere Staging by Boston's Stoneham Theatre in 2004-05

News   Classic Hemingway Tale Gets World Premiere Staging by Boston's Stoneham Theatre in 2004-05 A world premiere based on a famous novella by Ernest Hemingway is part of the mix of shows in the 2004-05 season at Stoneham Theatre, the suburban Boston Equity troupe that presents in a former vaudeville and movie house.

The company earned the rights to adapt Ernest Hemingway's 1952 novella, "The Old Man and the Sea," for the stage. Much of the story's action takes place in a fisherman's boat as he wrestles with a fish on his line.

"I'm drawn to the dramatic simplicity of it — the simplicity of one man versus nature," said Stoneham artistic director Weylin Symes, who will adapt Hemingway's tale for the stage. "It's that aspect of the story that makes it compelling, and it's also what makes it a challenge. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to introduce our audiences to one of America's greatest writers in an unexpected way."

Ernest Hemingway's estate granted Stoneham Theatre exclusive rights to adapt the novella, which received the Pulitzer Prize and helped lead to its author's 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The Old Man and the Sea will receive its world premiere March 17-April 3, 2005, as part of the company's 2004-2005 Mainstage series. There are also plans to stage two new works as part of its Emerging Stages series. Both series play in the SPT-7 troupe's 350-seat theatre.

Stoneham Theatre also plans to stage three other productions that are new to Boston for its Mainstage: the New England premieres of the musical John & Jen and Richard Greenberg's The Violet Hour, plus the Boston premiere of the comedy, An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf. Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald's musical John & Jen (Feb. 17-March 6, 2005) travels back to the turbulent 1960s, with two performers telling the story of Jen and the two Johns in her life: "Her younger brother who's fighting the war in Vietnam and her son who is coming of age in America."

Greenberg's The Violet Hour, a comic-tragic rumination on fate and relationships, Oct. 28-Nov. 14.

Hollinger's An Empty Plate(May 5-22, 2005) was first produced in 1998 and has been seen in New York City and at several regional theatres throughout the U.S. It's billed as "a comic tragedy in seven courses" and "a comedy all about how love and food get inextricably intertwined when someone gets too much — or too little — of either."

The Who's Tommy opens the season (Sept. 9-Oct. 3) and Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap closes the season (June 2-19, 2005). A staging of A Christmas Carol plays during the holidays (Dec. 2-23).

For tickets or information, call (617) 338-2000 or visit stonehamtheatre.org.