Two-time Tony winner John Cullum will return to the stage this fall in Wendy Wasserstein's latest, Old Money. The play will begin previews Nov. 9 and open Dec. 7 at Lincoln Center Theatre's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, under the direction of Mark Brokaw.
Cullum will play Tobias Vivian Pfeiffer III, a professor of New York history. In the work, in which Wasserstein takes a look at Manhattan society past and present, Pfeiffer pays a call on the Upper East Side mansion where he grew up. The building is now owned by Jeffrey Bernstein, a hedge-fund analyst who made his fortune during the current Wall Street boom.
Also in the cast are Emily Bergl, Charlie Hofheimer and Jodi Long.
Cullum won his Tony Awards for On the Twentieth Century and Shenandoah, and remains best known in theatre circles for his musical work (he was also nommed as Best Actor in a Musical for On a Clear Day You Can See Forever). He is currently making his debut on the London stage in Arthur Miller's Mr. Peter's Connections. To television audiences, Cullum is remembered as one of the stars of "Northern Exposure."
Brokaw has directed such Off-Broadway hits as How I Learned to Drive, As Bees in Honey Drown, This Is Our Youth and The Dying Gaul. Money marks his Lincoln Center Theatre debut, as well as his first stab at Wasserstein, whose New York premieres have typically been staged by Daniel Sullivan. Wasserstein is one of the few contemporary American playwrights to find consistent success on the Broadway stage. She registered two big Broadway hits in a row with the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles and The Sisters Rosensweig. However, her next, and most recent, play, An American Daughter, surprised many in the theatre world by opening to largely negative reviews and closing after a brief Broadway run.
The design team for Old Money includes Thomas Lynch (sets), Jane Greenwood (costumes) and Mark McCullough (lighting). John Carrafa will provide musical staging.
* The remainder of the LCT 2000-2001 season features Jon Robin Baitz's Ten Unknowns, directed by Daniel Sullivan at the Newhouse (previews from Feb. 8, 2001, opening March 8); John Guare's Chaucer in Rome, directed by Nicholas Martin at the Newhouse (previews from May 10, 2001, opening June 7); and, on Broadway, Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love, directed by Jack O'Brien.
Ethan Hawke may be the latest high-profile actor to join the cast of the seemingly star-studded production of Baitz's new play, Ten Unknowns. Jason Robards and "ER"'s Julianna Margulies had already apparently been announced -- although LCT spokesperson Philip Rinaldi cautioned (June 8) that "no casting has been confirmed."
Hawke, a film star whose credits include "Before Sunrise" and "Hamlet," occasionally returns to the stage, most recently in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's original Chicago revival of Sam Shepard's Buried Child. (That staging eventually transferred to Broadway, though without Hawke.) On Broadway, Hawke has appeared in The Seagull. The actor recently dismantled his own Malaparte Theatre Company, which presented short runs of new and old plays in the late '80s and early '90s. Hawke told New York Magazine that he "hoped" to be doing the play. Ten Unknowns will open Feb. 26, 2001, and run through April 15.
In the play Robards will play a once promising, now obscure painter, living in Mexico. Margulies is a researcher studying a breed of frog that is on the verge of extinction. The two meet and become lovers.
Baitz's A Fair Country was seen at LCT a few seasons back. Since then, Manhattan Theatre Club has staged his Mizlansky/Zilinsky, while his adaptation of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler was seen in L.A., in a staging starring Annette Bening. Baitz's other works include The Film Society and The Substance of Fire.
Robards' last New York appearance was in Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney at the Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre. Other recent stage turns have included Harold Pinter's Moonlight and Israel Horowitz's Park the Car in Harvard Yard. Robards is famous for creating or recreating many characters in the O'Neill canon, including Long Day's Journey Into Night and The Iceman Cometh. He also appeared in the original production of Arthur Miller's After the Fall and won a Tony for his performance in The Disenchanted.
John Guare's Chaucer in Rome was seen at the Williamstown Theatre Festival last summer. Guare's Six Degrees of Separation, The House of Blue Leaves and Four Baboons Adoring the Sun were all done at the Lincoln Center.
Chaucer in Rome boasts a typically theatrical, quasi-absurdist Guare plot, in which the story of a painter trying to find himself in the Eternal City is matched with the tale of a Queens family searching for their son.
Polly Holliday, Bruce Norris, Lee Wilkof and B.D. Wong starred in the Williamstown production, directed by Martin. Holliday, Norris and Wong are all veterans of the Signature's 1998-99 season, which was dedicated to Guare's work. Holliday and Norris starred in the company's revival of Marco Polo Sings a Solo, and Wong replaced David Aaron Baker in the last several performances of Bosoms and Neglect.
-- By Robert Simonson