The poetry and life of Emily Dickinson will drift away from her home state as theatre legend Julie Harris' return to The Belle of Amherst, the 1977 solo show that won her an unprecedented fifth Tony Award, ends its run Feb. 4 at Springfield, Massachusetts' CityStage. Performances in this city near to Dickinson's home in Amherst began Feb. 1. Original director of the Broadway production Charles Nelson Reilly again directs the bioplay.
Harris made her Broadway debut in 1945 but first came to viewers’ attention as Frankie Addams in The Member of the Wedding in 1950. Tony Awards followed for Sally Bowles in I Am a Camera, The Lark, Forty Carats and The Last of Mrs. Lincoln. After film roles in "I Am a Camera," "Member of the Wedding" and "East of Eden," Harris went on to a seven year stint on "Knot's Landing." She last appeared at ACT in the 1998 world premiere of The Scent of Roses.
Once known solely as a comic performer, Reilly started out in musicals, earning a Tony Award for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and a Tony nomination for Hello, Dolly!. Since, he has moved to television ("The X-Files" among many others) and to directing, bringing The Belle of Amherst, Paul Robeson with James Earl Jones, Break a Leg and The Nerd to the Broadway stage. Recently, he has been performing his own autobiographical show, Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly, in Los Angeles and across the country.
William Luce penned this recounting of the life of 19th century recluse poet Dickinson. Luce may be America's foremost writer of biographical dramas. His have included Barrymore, Lillian, Lucifer's Child, The Last Flapper, Bravo, Caruso!, Chanel and Nijinsky.
Tickets are $38.50-$31.50. CityStage is located at One Columbus Center. For reservations, call (413) 788-7033. - By Christine Ehren