Director Mark Rucker has announced the cast for his production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, opening Feb. 23 and running through April 1 at South Coast Rep. Rucker, who devised a stylized 1950s Italian-American setting for his award-winning 1996 The Taming of the Shrew, has set this production in the Hollywood of the 1930s. Douglas Sills and Nike Doukas are the stars.
Sills, who earned a Tony nomination for his performance in the lead role of The Scarlet Pimpernel, returns to SCR after appearing there in The Philadelphia Story and She Stoops to Conquer.
Sills' casting may say something about the future of a Broadway-bound production of Mack and Mabel. Sills was named to play Mack in the Jerry Herman show, should it reach Broadway this spring. Producer Jon Wilner has registered April 23 as a New York opening night date with the League of American Theatres and Producers and is targeting a March 1 rehearsal start-date. Sills could arguably do both shows if Mack and Mabel rehearsed in L.A. As of yet, no Broadway house has become available for the Wilner venture.
Doukas was seen earlier this year at SCR in the world premiere of Richard Greenberg's Everett Beekin.
The rest of the cast includes Julia Coffey, Robert Dorfman, Richard Doyle, Joshua Fardon, Andrew Heffernan, John David-Keller, Art Koustik, Hal Landon, Jr., Michael Louden, Preston Maybank, Martha McFarland, Todd Murray, Tony Pasqualini and Don Took, with Marika Betz, R. Louis Brahtz, Mark Coyan and Troy Ryan Zurcher.SCR also announced the staged reading of Eric Bagen's new play, Family Practice on Feb. 5 at 7.30 PM, directed by Beth Miles and featuring Stacie Chaiken, George Coe, Kathleen Dennehy, Arye Gross, Daniel T. Parker and Barbara Tarbuck. The play deals with a family of doctors that visits Venice, Italy, to shop, relax and tour the city—but when the family stumbles onto a Jewish ghetto turned tourist attraction, the vacation takes a strange, dark turn. Tickets are available for $8 by calling the SCR box office.
In other related news, SCR also announced that its much-acclaimed educational touring production, Bay Water Blues: A Coral Reef Mystery, has extended its tour of schools K-6th grade through April 27. There will be a special showing for area educators on the SCR mainstage Jan. 22 at 5 PM.
SCR is located at 655 Town Center Drive. For tickets and information call (714) 708-5555.
— By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent