Pop singer and '80s icon Cyndi Lauper will star in David Henry Hwang's new musical Largo, which will be given a brief run July 6-8 during New York Stage and Film's summer season at Vassar College's Powerhouse Theatre in Poughkeepsie, NY. Inspired by Dvorak's "New World Symphony," the theatrical venture "mixes blues, rock and the voices of our musical ancestors" to meditate on our nation's heritage.
Lauper has occasionally donned her actor's hat. At the height of her fame, she starred in the ill-fated movie "Vibes." Since then she has taken roles in pictures such as "Life With Mikey" and the recent "The Opportunists." The singer rocketed to fame in 1984 with her hit album "She's So Unusual," which produced two number one singles: "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Time After Time." Though she never quite repeated that success, she remained a familiar figure throughout the decade, known for her wildly changing hairstyles, her thrift store sense of fashion, her avid support of wrestling and her distinctive squeaky "Noo Yawk" speaking voice.
Lauper's music world colleagues Rob Hyman (who co-wrote "Time After Time") and Ricke Chertoff (who produced "She's So Unusual") will act as producers of Largo. Lauper will also produce. Ethan Silverman directs. Hwang is the author of M. Butterfly, Golden Child and the upcoming reworking of Flower Drum Song.
In other casting news, Richard Schiff and Patricia Wettig will star in Nightfall, a new play by Joanna Murray Smith, the author of Honour, which ran briefly on Broadway. In the psychological drama, two parents are forced by a stranger to examine the disappearance of their daughter. Performances begin June 27. Richard Schiff recently achieved widespread fame for his role as a somber presidential advisor on "The West Wing." Patricia Wettig is still best known for her Emmy winning role as a suffering wife on "thirtysomething." Not coincidentally, her play, Headlong, will be given a reading at Vassar June 22-24.
* In other news, the New York Stage and Film summer season will feature new plays by Tom Donaghy, Jessica Goldberg and Joanna Murray Smith, and Mr. Goldwyn, a one-man show starring Alan King as Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn.
Mr. Goldwyn, written by Marsha Lebby and John Lollos, will be directed by Gene Saks. Sam Goldwyn—nee Sam Goldfish—rose from birth in Warsaw and childhood poverty in New York City to become one of the most powerful producers of Hollywood's early days. Independent, with an aversion to partnerships, he formed Samuel Goldwyn Productions in 1923 and went on to produce such pictures as "Dead End," "Stella Dallas," "Wuthering Heights," "Ball of Fire," "The Best Years of Our Lives" and "The Bishop's Wife." He is perhaps best remembered these days, however, for his twisted way with words. Among the "Goldwynisms" he coined are "Include me out" and "A verbal agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on."
Comic and film actor King has appeared in such movies as "Night and the City," "Enemies: A Love Story" and "Bonfire of the Vanities." For some years, he has been slated to star in a developing Cy Coleman musical called It's Good to Be Alive, in which he would play the acting managing director of a struggling theatrical troupe in the '20s, during the heyday of Yiddish theatre in New York City.
Mr. Goldwyn will play the Powerhouse July 25-Aug. 4.
Also at the Powerhouse is Hurdy Gurdy Man, Dick Beebe's play about a nice Boston butcher who makes a bet in a bar one night and lives to pay the weighty price. The work was workshopped at NYS&F last summer, in a production directed by Sheryl Kaller, and starring Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders and Cotter Smith. Kaller and Sanders repeat their duties. The show runs July 11-21.
On the Susan Stein Shiva Theatre stage, meanwhile, Tom Donaghy's Boys and Girls will play June 29-July 1. The new work by the author of Minutes from the Blue Route and Northeast Local is about two couples, one male and one female, with a history "of loss and love."
Concluding the Shiva schedule are Strange Grace by Jane Shepard (July 20-22) and Good Thing by Jessica Goldberg (July 27-29).
For information, call (845) 437-5599, or consult www.vassar.edu/powerhouse.
—By Robert Simonson