Falls and Tarver Will Stage Stratford Double Bill Starring Dennehy

News   Falls and Tarver Will Stage Stratford Double Bill Starring Dennehy Robert Falls, a major director in American theatre, will travel north of the border to direct the Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Eugene O'Neill's Hughie starring Brian Dennehy.
Brian Dennehy in Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Brian Dennehy in Long Day's Journey Into Night. Photo by Joan Marcus

Falls is artistic director of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and the director of acclaimed Broadway productions of Death of a Salesman and Long Day's Journey Into Night, which both starred Dennehy, a longtime collaborator.

Dennehy stars this summer in a Stratford double bill of Hughie and Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. Opening is June 28 at the festival's Studio Theatre, in Stratford, Ontario.

It was also announced April 2 that award-winning Canadian director Jennifer Tarver will direct Krapp's Last Tape.

"We have two exciting and accomplished directors to replace our gifted colleague Don Shipley on this season's one-act plays," stated artistic director Des McAnuff. "I'm thrilled that Robert Falls can step in on Hughie so that he can continue his fruitful creative relationship with Brian Dennehy. With Mr. Dennehy and Joe Grifasi, Robert's production promises to be a true highlight of the coming season. I last worked with my colleague Robert Falls when the Goodman Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse shared his breathtaking production of Moliere's The Misanthrope, starring Canadian actress Kim Cattrall. I'm looking forward to working side by side with him again."

This will mark Toronto-based director Tarver's debut at the Festival. She was the winner of the 2006 Pauline McGibbon Award and the 2002 John Hirsch Directors Award. Her most recent productions include Thom Pain (based on nothing), a one-man show featuring Tom McCamus, and Sarah Kane's Crave for Nightwood Theatre, for which she received a Dora nomination for Best Director. Tarver's production company Theatre Extasis, "which focuses on devised works and new adaptations of existing texts," produced That Time – Five Beckett Shorts in 2006. It garnered eight Dora Award nominations and four wins, including Best Director and Best Production. Falls has been the artistic director of Chicago's Goodman Theatre since 1986. His Broadway productions, Death of a Salesman and Long Day's Journey into Night, won seven Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. Death of a Salesman went on to a run in London's West End.

Falls and Dennehy have collaborated for more than 20 years on many works by O'Neill, including The Iceman Cometh, A Touch of the Poet and Hughie. In 2008 Falls will direct Dennehy in the Goodman's production of Desire Under the Elms as the centerpiece of a major Goodman festival showcasing O'Neill's work.

The double bill's original director Don Shipley resigned as artistic director and director of these plays on March 12.

Performances of Hughie and Krapp's Last Tape begin June 18; the production opens officially on June 28 and runs to Aug. 31.

Dennehy has a second opening that week, on June 27, appearing as the King of France in All's Well That Ends Well. Fuente Ovejuna, directed by celebrated British director Laurence Boswell, also opens that day.

For more information, visit www.stratfordfestival.ca.

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