A production of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger starring Reg Rogers (Proposals, Holiday) and directed by Jo Bonney (Stop Kiss, Jails, Hospitals and Hip Hop) will begin the Classic Stage Company's 32nd season, Oct. 6-Nov. 14, with an official Oct. 17 opening.
Osborne's Anger is a conventionally structured five-character play that focuses on Jimmy Porter and his dissatisfactions with the world, with a French absurdist "life is meaningless" bent. Throughout the play, Jimmy baits his upper-class wife Alison into arguments. Other plays by Osborne, the chairman of the board of London's "Angry Young Men" playwriting group of the 1950s, include 1957's The Entertainer, and 1965's Inadmissible Evidence.
Rogers credits include Proposals, Holiday (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), The Moliere Comedies and Four Dogs and a Bone. Regional credits include Cellini in John Patrick Shanley's Cellini at New York Stage and Film, Dealers Choice at the Long Wharf (Connecticut Critics Circle nomination) as well as work at Yale Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, Guthrie, Williamstown, Old Globe and the Eisenhower Theatre. He is currently starring in Richard Greenberg's Hurrah at Last.
Next up will be a rare revival of Ben Jonson's 1610 play, The Alchemist, directed by CSC artistic director Barry Edelstein, Feb. 3-March 12, 2000, with a Feb. 13 opening. A comedy, Alchemist tells of two con-men who burst into a rich man's house to capitalize on potential greed.
The American premiere of Luigi Pirandello's Naked will take the CSC stage, March 30-April 30, 2000, opening April 9, in a new version by Nicholas Wright (Mrs. Klein). In Naked, a nanny is tormented by the death of a child under her care. Seeking refuge from the press, her ex-boyfriend and the child's father, she befriends a famous novelist who offers her shelter in exchange for her account of the story. Edelstein will direct the first play of the season, a co-production, with Naked Angels, of Erin Cressida Wilson's Hurricane, Dec. 3-19, 2000. Hurricane tells the story of five seemingly disconnected people, who share their world views, loves, and personalities, each reflecting the Woman's voice. In Utah, a female resident of the town of Hurricane discusses the Bomb and how the U.S. government has threatened her town and livelihood. Meanwhile, in New York, a couple in the fashion industry discuss their relationship; a politically correct actor enjoys pinching all the beautiful women he meets; and an ex-POW endures a journalist's painful questions about maintaining sanity in insane circumstances. Cressida Wilson's The Erotica Project (w/John Gould Rubin) has been seen in New York at The Public Theatre's Joe's Pub and at HERE. Wilson is a member of the New Dramatists, and for the past four seasons was playwright-in-residence at Sundance. She is a professor of Playwriting at Duke University. Her plays include: My Girl Is in Front, Cross-Dressing in the Depression, Soiled Eyes of the Ghost, and Dakota's Belly, Wyoming.
Last season, Edelstein's first as artistic director, saw a marked change at CSC, with a virtual Hollywood "Who's Who" treading the boards of the 13th Street space, replacing the former mix of classics with a "downtown" feel. Performers included Uma Thurman, John Turturro, Tony Shaloub, Christopher Lloyd and Roger Rees. Last season's stars often weren't announced until right before rehearsals started, so big names may still be added to the upcoming season. Edelstein, a Rhodes scholar, was trained as a dramaturg and assistant director on the NY Shakespeare Festival's "Shakespeare Marathon." He went on to stage The Merchant of Venice and Steve Martin's Wasp and Other Plays at the Public Theatre. Other credits include How I Learned To Drive at MD's Center Stage and shows at RI's Trinity Rep and the NJ Shakespeare Festival.
For tickets or more information on CSC's season, call (212) 677-4210.
-- By Sean McGrath