Cal Shakes artistic director Jonathan Moscone directs the modern classic at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater in Berkeley, CA. Opening is Aug. 15.
Happy Days marks Mason's return to the Bay Area stage; she is remembered by local audiences for her work with San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater early in her career, including William Ball's production of Cyrano de Bergerac, which was broadcast on PBS.
"Doing Samuel Beckett's Happy Days is scaling Mt. Everest," Mason said in a statement. "I am adventurous and respond to big challenges and I may fail to reach the summit of this play, but I love the trying and the danger and it scares the hell out of me, literally."
According to Cal Shakes notes, "The brilliant portrait of a woman, Winnie, buried up to her waist in sand — and in the comically painful toil of her life — is considered one of the greatest, most challenging roles for a stage actress. It will be the first time Beckett has been performed on the Cal Shakes stage, and the first time Moscone has tackled this legendary 20th-century playwright."
Mason recently appeared in Broadway's Impressionism and Off-Broadway's A Feminine Ending at Playwrights Horizons. Among her Oscar nominations is one for Best Actress in the film "The Goodbye Girl." Mason is also a farmer and entrepreneur with a working farm and line of wellness products. Her memoir, "Journey," was published by Simon and Schuster in 2000. Cal Shakes associate artist Dan Hiatt (Friar Lawrence in this season's Romeo and Juliet) plays Willie, Winnie's mysterious sparring partner.
The "metaphorical mound of dirt and sunny but possibly apocalyptic surrounds" will be crafted by Todd Rosenthal, who won a 2008 Tony for his August: Osage County set. Cal Shakes associate artist Meg Neville will design Winnie's anachronistic formalwear. York Kennedy is lighting designer and Bradford Chapin is sound designer.
For information or tickets, call (510) 548-9666 or visit www.calshakes.org.
California Shakespeare Theater was founded in 1974.