Washington, DC's Folger Shakespeare Library closes its production of Ronald Harwood's The Dresser May 2. This Dresser features a bevy of 1999 Helen Hayes nominees, including Ted van Griethuysen, Floyd King and Catherine Flye.
Harwood wrote The Dresser as a tribute to actor Sir Donald Wolfit, whom Harwood dressed in the 1950's. In the play, Sir is a larger-than-life actor performing Lear and Othello with a traveling company accompanied by his loyal confident and dresser, Norman. The play, which premiered in 1981, was made into an award-winning 1984 film with Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay.
Van Griethuysen stars as Sir with King as Norman. Van Griethuysen's credits include a 1999 Helen Hayes Best Actor nomination for The Steward of Christendom, an award he won for his portrayal of Cauchon in The Shakespeare Theatre's Saint Joan and the Folger Theatre/Interact Theatre's A Child's Christmas in Wales and Other Lands. King has also been nominated for a '99 Helen Hayes Best Actor award for his one-man musical, Mad About the Bard. He has won that award four times for All's Well That Ends Well, Quills, The Lisbon Traviata and A Tale of Two Cities.
Also in the cast are Flye (Interact Theatre Company artistic director and '99 Helen Hayes nominee for Great Expectations) as her Ladyship, Cam Magee (Much Ado About Nothing) as Madge, Albert Coia (Down at the Old Bull and Bush) as Geoffrey Thornton, John Emmert (The Winter's Tale) as Mr. Oxenby and Sarah J. Wiggin as Irene.
Michael Tolaydo, a former Norman to Jose Ferrer's Sir, directs. An Associate Professor and Chair of the Dramatic Arts Department at St. Mary's College, Tolaydo recently appeared as Pozzo in The Studio Theatre producion of Waiting for Godot as well as Folger productions of Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice and Richard III. Designing The Dresser are Joseph B. Musumeci, Jr. (sets), Ayun Fedorcha (lighting), Mary Anne Powell (costumes) Scott Burgess (sound design) and Elizabeth Baldwin (props). Cynthia Clark is the stage manager.
Tickets ($38-$29) are available by calling the box office at (202) 544 7077. The Folger Theatre is located at 201 East Capitol Street, S.E.
-- By Christine Ehren