Everything old is new again at the Alley Theatre in 2002-2003. The Houston company revives a host of popular plays, including Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful and George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's You Can't It With You, along with two new works based on historical events, Keith Reddin's John F. Kennedy assassination drama Frame 312 and Richard Nelson's The General From America, which stars Corin Redgrave (Not About Nightingales) as Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold.
The General from America is a co-production with New York City's Theatre for a New Audience, where it will play in November. Playwright Nelson directs the drama, performing on the Large Stage Oct. 11-Nov. 9 . General examines the decision Arnold made to leave the Continental Army of which he was the most esteemed leader and defect to the British side, asking if it's really possible to betray a country already betraying itself. Nelson won a Tony Award for the book to the musical James Joyce's The Dead.
Reddin, who premiered his Synergy at the Alley, returns to Houston with Frame 312, a new play which premiered in spring, 2002 at London's Donmar Warehouse. The title refers to a piece in the infamous Zapruder film, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was a second assassin at JFK's death. The only surviving witness of this clip must decide if after forty years of silence she's ready to tell the world the truth. Tony winners Peter Masterson and Carlin Glynn (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) reunite for the October-November Large Stage production, which also features Jeffrey Bean and James Black (Not About Nightingales).
Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2003, playing on the Large Stage Jan. 10-Feb. 8, 2003 with Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd directing. The multi-award-winning playwright (who most recently took home a Tony for The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?) turns 75 also, prompting a celebration from the Alley, which has close ties with Albee (the American premiere of his The Play About the Baby and several directing gigs for the playwright at the theatre).
There is some speculation that the concurrent slot at the smaller Neuhaus Stage will feature the regional debut of The Goat. For now, January-February's Neuhaus offering is still to be announced. Celebrating its 50th anniversary is The Trip to Bountiful, playing April 11-May 10, 2003 on the Large Stage. Jean Stapleton will star as Carrie Watts with Hallie Foote also in the cast. Michael Wilson directs the production, also set to play at Hartford Stage in Connecticut.
The Alley will also stage Hamlet (May 23-June 22, 2003) with Boyd directing on the Large Stage, You Can't Take It With You Feb. 28-March 29, 2003 on the Large Stage and a new production of Marie Jones' Stones in His Pockets (April 18-May 18, 2003) on the Neuhaus Stage. The annual holiday staging of A Christmas Carol returns Nov. 29-Dec. 29, 2002.
The Alley Theatre is located at 615 Texas Avenue. For reservations, call (713) 228-8421 or (800) 259-ALLE. The Alley Theatre is on the web at http://www.alleytheatre.com.
— By Christine Ehren