Kent Paul directs at PPT's O'Reilly Theatre. Opening night is April 22.
In the five-character Irish play by the author of Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Eleanor Henryson (Franz) is an eccentric artist whose paintings depict members of her dysfunctional family as well as creatures in a beloved bird sanctuary.
According to PPT production notes, Eleanor's "acerbic tongue and pointed sense of humor have cut her off from her family and from the world around her. But her self-imposed exile in the family home comes to an end when her long-estranged sister Marianne (Mills) returns to sell it. The rest of the Henryson clan converge on the Dublin estate and set the stage for the family's bickering, bantering, laughter and healing."
"We were already fortunate to have Frank McGuinness grant us the rights to his wondrous play The Bird Sanctuary," said PPT artistic and executive director Ted Pappas. "Now having Ms. Franz and Ms. Mills in the same cast is a dream come true."
The company also includes Martin Rayner (as Robert), Diane Ciesla (as Tina) and David Turner (as Stephen). Elizabeth Franz, who makes her Pittsburgh Public Theater debut, received acclaim for her performance in Broadway's recent Death of a Salesman, for which she received a 1999 Tony Award for her portrayal of Linda Loman.
Hayley Mills is the former child actress who made her first film, "Tiger Bay," at the age of 12. She is known and beloved for her roles in such films as "The Parent Trap," "That Darn Cat," "Pollyanna" and "Moonspinners," as well as in the Australian and U.S. productions of The King and I.
Acclaimed international artists are nothing new to the respected Pennsylvania not-for-profit theatre. F. Murray Abraham, Marlo Thomas, John Henry Redwood, Andrew Lloyd Webber, August Wilson, Alan Ayckbourn, Roger Robinson, Leonard Nimoy have all been in residence there, as have resident and regional artists.
The creative team for The Bird Sanctuary includes scenic designer Michael Schweikardt, costume designer Nanzi Adzima, lighting designer Phil Monat, composer Robert Rees, sound designer Zach Moore.
Tickets range $29-$48. Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM; Sunday at 2 and 7 PM, Saturday matinees at 2 PM on April 30, May 7 and 14, Thursday matinee at 2 p.m. on May 12. The Tuesday May 10 performance begins at 7 PM. No public performance on April 27.
For tickets or more information, contact the box office at (412) 316-1600 or online at www.ppt.org.