Ellen Burstyn may want to start looking for a home in the Hartford area. The Academy Award-winning actress (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore) will be starring in two productions at Hartford stage in the 1998-99 season.
Burstyn's first role will be as Mary Tyrone in O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night (Feb. 25-Mar. 28, 1999). David Selby will play James Tyrone and Hartford's new artistic director, Michael Wilson, will direct. Wilson directed both Selby and Burstyn in the same play at the Alley Theatre earlier this year.
Burstyn returns two months later in the Horton Foote drama The Death of Papa (May 27-Jun. 27, 1999). The drama, again directed by Wilson, also features Matthew Broderick and Polly Holiday. The play, which conclude's Foote's nine-play "Orphan's Home Cycle," tells of the Vaughn clan's struggles in the wake of the family patriarch's death. Wilson first directed Papa at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC, in 1997.
Hartford's season begin with Wilson's production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (Sept. 10-Oct. 11), starring Annalee Jefferies as Blanche. The production is part of Williams marathon which will include a reading series of Williams plays running Sept. 21-Oct. 5, and a master class taught by Wilson.
Next is Beckett's Happy Days (Oct. 22-Nov. 22). The absurdist masterwork will star Estelle Parsons, veteran of stage (Grace & Glorie), screen (Bonnie and Clyde) and television ("Roseanne"). Robert Scanlan will direct. Kia Corthron's Digging Eleven (Jan. 14-Feb. 14) fills the third slot in the season. The play is about a young, African-American girl and her grandmother, who helps the child envision her future by revealing the past. Corthron's other plays include Splash Hatch on the E Going Down.
Finally, between Long Day's Journey and Papa, comes The Clearing (Apr. 15-May 16), a Helen Edmundson play about a young Irish woman and her aristocratic English husband trying to survive Cromwell's England. The production marks the Hartford directorial debut of the theatre's new associate artistic director, Tracy Brigden.
For information on any of these productions, call (860) 527-5151.
-- By Robert Simonson