Hartford Stage artistic director and frequent Foote collaborator Michael Wilson has been announced to direct the three-part cycle of nine plays that will play Hartford Stage Aug. 27-Oct. 17. The Orphans' Home Cycle will then arrive Off-Broadway at the Signature, playing Oct. 29, 2009-April 11, 2010.
(The Signature's 2009-2010 season had been scheduled to focus on the works of Topdog/Underdog playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The Parks season has been postponed to accommodate the playwright's current professional obligations, and Signature hopes to produce her works in a future season. The Orphan's Home Cycle will now comprise the company's upcoming season.)
The Orphans' Home Cycle will be presented as a three-part event, with repertory performances and one-day marathons planned. Some of the works are world premieres, while others have been produced previously.
"It's incredibly moving to see all of these plays from my years of writing come together into the theatrical cycle that I've always envisioned. It is particularly meaningful to me that Hartford Stage and Signature Theatre Company, two theatres that have been so supportive of my work, are partnering to bring this to life," Foote said in a statement.
According to press notes, The Orphans' Home Cycle "begins with a father's death in a small-Texas town at the turn of the century, a loss that sends his son, Horace Robedaux, on an odyssey through the darkest corners of the heart as he learns to become a husband, father, and patriarch. Set in Foote's fictitious town of Harrison, Texas and based partly on the childhood of Foote's father and the courtship and marriage of his parents, the cycle is a wide-ranging, intricate work." Part I of the cycle consists of the plays Roots in a Parched Ground, Convicts and Lily Dale; Part II includes The Widow Claire, Courtship and Valentine’s Day; and Part III concludes with 1918, Cousins and The Death of Papa.
The Hartford staging of Roots in a Parched Ground, Convicts and Cousins will mark the world premieres of the plays.
Hartford Stage artistic director Michael Wilson said in a statement, "I am honored to continue my long collaboration with Horton Foote by producing and directing his masterwork, The Orphans' Home Cycle, at Hartford Stage and Signature Theatre Company. Over the last 10 years, Hartford Stage audiences have warmly embraced Horton, and by bringing his nine-play cycle in its entirety to the stage this fall, they will have the opportunity see the most ambitious work of one of America's greatest living playwrights. It is a rare opportunity, and a magnificent journey that I am excited to embark upon with our audience, and our esteemed partners at Signature."
Foote's The Carpetbagger's Children and The Death of Papa received their world premieres at Hartford stage. Foote's latest Broadway venture, Dividing the Estate, under the direction of Michael Wilson, will arrive at Hartford later this spring.
The Signature Theatre Company devoted its entire 1994-1995 season to Foote, resulting in the world premieres of Foote's Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Young Man from Atlanta and Laura Dennis, as well as the New York premieres of Night Seasons and Talking Pictures. The Off-Broadway company also presented the world premiere of The Last of the Thorntons and the critically praised production of The Trip to Bountiful.
Tickets for the Hartford Stage engagement of The Orphans' Home Cycle will go on sale to subscribers next month. The Signature Theatre Company will announce ticketing dates in the coming weeks.