Helen Hunt's B'way Twelfth Night Opens July 16

News   Helen Hunt's B'way Twelfth Night Opens July 16 Helen Hunt, Oscar-winning star of As Good As It Gets and TV's "Mad About You," stars as Viola in Lincoln Center's Broadway production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The show started previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center June 19 and opens July 16 for a run through Aug. 30.

Helen Hunt, Oscar-winning star of As Good As It Gets and TV's "Mad About You," stars as Viola in Lincoln Center's Broadway production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The show started previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center June 19 and opens July 16 for a run through Aug. 30.

Nicholas Hytner, of Carousel and Miss Saigon renown, directs the comedy, which starts rehearsals in early May. Hytner also directed Wendy Wasserstein's film, The Object of My Affection.

Brian Murray -- one of NY's most ubiquitous stage actors -- stars as Sir Toby Belch. Murray's recent roles include Da, The Little Foxes (Lincoln Center), Misalliance and Travels With My Aunt. Paul Rudd plays Orsini; Kyra Sedgwick (filmdom's Singles) plays Olivia.

Philip Bosco (Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo) plays Malvolio while Max Wright, who won raves and 1998 Tony nomination for his work in Ivanov (but is best known for playing the dad on TV's "Alf") is Andrew Aguecheek. Also in the cast are Amy Hill (Maria) and Julio Monge (Antonio).

Designing the show are Bob Crowley (sets), Natasha Katz (lighting) and Catherine Zuber (costumes). A Playbill On-Line reader wrote in to describe the show's design elements: "You come in and several actors and musicians are already on stage. Hanging candle lanterns are placed all over the stage at different levels. It's like a moving painting. There's real water on stage that people get dunked into or jump into, plus a rainstorm." Jeanine Tesori, who composed Off-Broadway's Violet, provides musical underscoring.

Recent Shakespeare mountings in New York include Macbeth at the Public Theatre, in a production starring Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett; Richard II and III at Theatre for a New Audience; and a British production of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Broadway in the 1995-96 season.

Twelfth Night is a Lincoln Center Theatre production in association with the annual, three-week Lincoln Center Festival.

Tickets ($60 and $50) are on sale via Tele-charge, (212) 239-6200.

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As for the rest of Lincoln Center's schedule:
At the Vivian Beamount, the new season will bring the musical Parade (Jan. 1999), followed by the Michael John LaChiusa musical, Marie Christine, directed by Graciela Daniele.

Harold Prince will direct Parade, which has a book by Alfred Uhry (Last Night of Ballyhoo) and a score by Jason Robert Brown. Danny Ezralow will choreograph.

Parade tells the story of a Jewish factory owner in the deep South who finds his identity and his manhood only after he is falsely accused in the death of a 13-year-old girl.

Rehearsals begin in October with previews starting before the end of 1998 and an opening scheduled for Jan.1999. Lincoln Center is producing the musical in conjunction with Garth Drabinsky's Livent (Ragtime, Candide).

Brent Carver, who won a Tony for Kiss of the Spider Woman, stars in Parade, alongside Carolee Carmello (Hello Again). Designing the show are Judith Dolan (costumes), Riccardo Hernandez (sets) and Howell Binkley (lighting).

 

As for Marie Christine, LaChiusa, who earned a cult following with his Hello Again Off-Broadway and Chronicle of a Death Foretold on Broadway, is again collaborating with director choreographer Daniele (Ragtime) on Marie Christine, which is described as "a quasi-operatic version of Medea, set in 1880s New Orleans and Chicago."

Designing Marie Christine are Peggy Eisenhauer & Jules Fisher (lighting) and Christopher Barreca (sets). Coincidentally, director Prince staged LaChiusa's Off-Broadway disappointment, The Petrified Prince.

 

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Meanwhile, Pride's Crossing finished its run at the Off-Broadway Mitzi Newhouse space Apr. 5. The new William Finn musical A New Brain began previews May 14, opened June 18 and runs into October.

Penny Fuller, who recently played stepmom to An American Daughter, plays Malcolm Gets' mother in Brain. Other key roles are handled by Kristen Chenoweth from Strike Up the Band, Chip Zien from Into the Woods, Mary Testa from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Keith Byron Kirk from Miss Saigon, Michael Mandell from A Christmas Carol and Liz Larsen from Damn Yankees.

Gets, who merrily rolled off to sitcomland (TV's "Caroline in the City") after the Off-Broadway's Merrily We Roll Along, is back on the boards for a while, playing Gordon Schwinn, a songwriter who has time to reassess his life while confined to a hospital bed, confronted with the possibility of brain surgery.

There's more than a slight autobiographical spin to the book, which Finn wrote with his prize-winning Falsettos collaborator, James Lapine. Toni-Leslie James will do the costumes, Tony Meola the sound, Peggy Eisenhauer the lighting and David Gallo the sets.

No productions have yet been chosen for the 1998-99 season at the Newhouse.

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