Susan Hilferty, a long-time collaborator with playwright Athol Fugard, will direct Valley Song, Fugard's tender inter-generation tale of love, longing and freedom at Seattle Repertory Theatre Jan. 24-March 31. Previews began Jan. 24 for an opening Jan. 28.
"It's such a pleasure to welcome Susan Hilferty to the Rep for her directing debut," said artistic director Sharon Ott. "Of anyone, she is the most intimate with Athol Fugard's works and brings an endless wealth of history and knowledge to this touching post-apartheid story."
Hilferty, who most recently designed costumes for the hit revival of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying has been working with Athol Fugard for 15 years, collaborating on 14 premiere productions including The Blood Knot, Road To Mecca, Boesman and Lena, and Playland. Hilferty also teaches graduate design at N.Y.U.'s Tisch School of the Arts.
Valley Song is the loving and poetic tale of a young girl, Veronica, and her devoted grandfather, Abraam "Buks" Jonkers. Veronica's singing aspirations makes her departure for the city inevitable, and Buks fears losing her. Presiding over the story is The Author, who wants to purchase the land so carefully nurtured by Buks. Valley Song is a drama of two generations facing the future with hope and uncertainty.
Appearing in Valley Song are Je Nie Fleming as Veronica Jonkers and Bill Raymond as Buks/The Author. Set design is by Susan Hilferty, costume design by Deb Trout, and lighting design by Dennis Parichy. In other Seattle Rep news, on Jan. 9 the company received a $175,000 grant from the Andrew J. Mellon Foundation. The money will go to expand the artistic and education staff and towards travel and research funding.
Also, next season, director Stephen Wadsworth and playwright Philip Kan Gotanda (plus two other artists) will join the Rep as affiliate artists.
The Seattle Repertory Theatre is at 155 Mercer St. in the northwest corner of the Seattle Center. For tickets ($25-$30/$10 for anyone 25 years old or younger), call (206) 443-2222.