Graff, LuPone, Countryman Join Hartford's Uhry Premiere

News   Graff, LuPone, Countryman Join Hartford's Uhry Premiere Alfred Uhry's new play, Edgardo Mine, set to debut at Hartford Stage Oct. 17-Nov. 17, is putting a Broadway-level cast together.

Alfred Uhry's new play, Edgardo Mine, set to debut at Hartford Stage Oct. 17-Nov. 17, is putting a Broadway-level cast together.

In addition to the already-announced Brian Murray (The Crucible) and Spender Kayden (Urinetown), the play will feature Randy Graff (A Class Act), Robert LuPone (True West), Michael Countryman, Jesse Schwartz, Johnny Giacalone and Brennan Brown.

Based on a true story, the play centers around an 1858 abduction in Italy. A Jewish family (Graff and Countryman play the parents) is shattered when the Christian boy living with them, six-year-old Edgardo (Schwartz), is taken away by the police and remanded into the custody of Pope Pius IX (Murray) and Cardinal Antonelli (LuPone). The following international scandal altered the political and religious landscape of Italy.

Uhry has often examined the relations between Jews and Gentiles. The friction dividing the two groups is at the center of his best known works, Driving Miss Daisy and The Last Night of Ballyhoo—both, like Edgardo Mine, set in the past. The new drama is based on the book "The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara" by David Kertzer.

Kayden was an unknown performing in Chicago and Off Off-Broadway's Neo-Futurists until she was cast as the precocious, fourth-wall-breaking Little Sally in Urinetown. She was the only cast member to survive the show's moves from the New York Fringe Festival to Off-Broadway and finally to Broadway. Kayden received the 2001 Clarence Derwent Award and a Drama Desk nomination for her portrayal. In Edgardo Mine, she will play the Jewish family's housekeeper. *

Currently at Hartford Stage, Tony-winning musical star Karen Ziemba is Beatrice and Dan Snook is Benedick in Hartford Stage's new mounting of Shakespeare's comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, through Oct. 6. Mark Lamos directs.

For more information on Hartford Stage, in CT, call (860) 527 5151. Also, visit them on the web at www.hartfordstage.org.

—By Robert Simonson