Three-time Oscar nominee Debra Winger star in Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, How I Learned To Drive, playing through Oct. 10 at MA's American Repertory Theatre. Winger's co-star in the production is Arliss Howard, whose film credits include "Amistad," "Men Don't Leave" and "Full Metal Jacket."
A.R.T. Resident Director David Wheeler will drive this Drive, which also stars Aysan Celik, Jonathan Hova and Kate Wisniewski as the chorus of family members who look the other way as Uncle Peck pursues a sexual relationship with underage Li'l Bit.
Winger received Academy Award nominations for "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Shadowlands" and "Terms of Endearment" and also appeared in "Cannery Row," "Urban Cowboy" and the Steve Martin comedy "A Leap of Faith."
Designing How I Learned To Drive are Michael Griggs (set), Viola McKenthuen (costumes), John Ambrosone (lighting) and Christopher Walker (sound). On Broadway, director Wheeler staged Richard III and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, both starring Al Pacino.
Drive follows the unsteady, unhealthy relationship between a young girl and her alcoholic uncle. The Off Broadway show nabbed Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Obie and NY Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Play. After 15 months and 450 performances, Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize winning comedy/drama, How I Learned To Drive, ended its acclaimed Off-Broadway run Apr. 19. The show first opened at the Vineyard Theatre Feb. 26, 1997 and then moved to the Century Theatre across the street, May 6.
Vogel's latest play, The Mineola Twins, was produced at Perseverance Theatre in Alaska and will be staged by Roundabout Theatre Company in the 1998-99 season.
Here is Vogel's "Who's Who" listing from the NY Drive Playbill: "Paula Vogel's plays have been performed at theatres such as the Lortel Theatre and Circle Repertory in New York, the American Repertory Theatre, the Goodman, the Magic Theatre, Center Stage and Alley Theatre as well as throughout Canada, England, Brazil and Spain. The Baltimore Waltz won the Obie for Best Play in 1992 and her anthology, The Baltimore Waltz and Other Plays, has been published by TCG. Other plays include Hot and Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, and The Oldest Profession. Other awards include the AT&T New Plays Award, the Fund for New American Plays, the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center Fellowship, several National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and the McKnight Fellowship. She is a member of New Dramatists. Her new play, The Mineola Twins was in production at Trinity Repertory, Feb. 28 Mar. 23, in Providence, RI. She is currently developing her screenplay, The Oldest Profession, with Fred Berner, Joanne Zippel and Olympia Dukakis. How I Learned to Drive was made possible by the generous support of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust Senior Residency Award."
As befits a theatre company that keeps its professional residence at Harvard University, American Repertory Theatre will offer a season featuring Shakespeare, Ibsen and Racine, though the company also has one (and possibly two) world premieres up its sleeve.
Here's the 1998-99, 20th anniversary season line-up for Cambridge, MA's American Repertory Theatre. Exact dates have not yet been set:
Christopher Durang's rarely-performed dark comedy, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, starts the season in October. Marcus Stern directs. Here's the way the press release describes it: "Boo is an alcoholic, Bette has dead babies, their in-laws are gibbering sociopaths, and their priest thinks he's a strip of fried bacon."
Phedre, Jean Racine's telling of the Greek tragedy, wherein the queen falls for her stepson, with cataclysmic results. Adapted by Paul Schmidt, Phedre will be directed in November by Liz Diamond.
The Merchant of Venice or Uncle Vanya. It's either Shakespeare or Chekhov for the second slot, with Andrei Serban staging either the Bard's controversial tragicomedy or the Russian's autumnal comedy/drama in early December.
If it's ready in Jan. 1999, a new play by Don DeLillo will also take the stage. DeLillo's other works include The Dayroom and White Noise. Should the project not pan out, Joe Orton's dark comedy Loot will take its place.
Definitely set for Feb. 1999 is Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, about an architect driven to new heights, literally, by an admiring protegee. A.R.T. artistic director Robert Brustein co-directs with Kate Whoriskey.
A world premiere collaboration between author Robert Coover and director Bob McGrath arrives April 1999. A multi-media tribute to the art and cultural legacy of Charlie Chaplin, Charlie in the House of Rue will employ film, slides, voice samplings and music.
For wild comedy there's Larry Gelbart's Sly Fox, which updates Ben Jonson's Volpone, about an old miser conning all his neighbors out of their money, to the California Gold Rush. Performances start in early May 1999.
As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Rep, Brustein has supervised more than 200 productions. He serves as director of the Loeb Drama Center, Professor of English at Harvard, and drama critic for The New Republic. These days, he's most celebrated for his public arguments with playwright August Wilson about multi-cultural casting.
For tickets and information on the American Repertory Theatre season, call their Info-Line at (617) 547-8300 or check out their website at http://www.amrep.org.