With all the hubbub surronding the rocky start of La Jolla Playhouse's Thoroughly Modern Millie, the quiet run of Lee Blessing's Going to St. Ives in the smaller Mandell Weiss Forum has been somewhat overlooked. Oct. 15, the California premiere of the play comes to end, after beginning performances Sept. 12 and opening Sept. 17. Maria Mileaf (Lobster Alice) directs.
Going to St. Ives is a high-stakes drama centering on two women, a British eye surgeon and the mother of a cruel African dictator. While their meeting is merely medical -- the African woman's decision to undergo a critical eye operation -- each woman comes with her own agenda. Blessing's plays, including his two La Jolla premieres, A Walk in the Woods and Fortinbras, have won many awards and been produced on stages around the world. He wrote Going to St. Ives in 1997, the year it premiered at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre in a production starring Gloria Foster.
L. Scott Caldwell and Amy Morton star as the mother and the surgeon, respectively. Caldwell won a Tony Award for her role in August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone and acclaim in the Neil Simon flop, Proposals. A member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Morton most recently appeared as Nurse Ratched opposite Gary Sinise in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Designing Going To St. Ives are Tony Award winner Ann Hould-Ward (costumes), Annie Smart (sets), Lenore Doxsee (lighting) and The Education of Randy Newman's co-creator Michael Roth (sound).
Author Blessing's Chesapeake had an Off-Broadway mounting this past season, and his Cobb will receive a staging at the Lucille Lortel Theatre Off Broadway come late fall. La Jolla Playhouse is located at 2910 La Jolla Village Drive. For tickets and information call (858) 550-1010 or visit www.lajollaplayhouse.com.