Dámaso Rodriguez directs the tale of Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier that was conceived by Judith Auberjonois. Previews begin Jan. 11, 2008, toward a Jan. 18 opening. The show is scheduled to run through Feb. 17.
"I cannot think of a better way to open our 2008 season than with this production of Austin Pendleton's valentine to the theatre and to the craft of acting. The play examines with great love and affection all of the ego, the artistry, the humor, the emotion and the passion that go into the creation of the art of the theatre," said Pasadena Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps in a statement.
The cast will feature Nick Cernoch (as Sean), Sharon Lawrence (Vivien Leigh), Scott Lowell (Kenneth Tynan), Bruce McGill (Orson Welles), Charles Shaughnessy (Laurence Olivier) and Libby West (Joan Plowright).
Set in 1960 at a West End theatre, Orson's Shadow begins when "legendary critic Kenneth Tynan has made a startling proposal: Orson Welles (McGill) should direct Laurence Olivier (Shaughnessy) and the young Joan Plowright (West) in Rhinoceros, Ionesco's absurdist masterpiece," according to a release. "But it is the rehearsal process that brims with absurdity as titanic personalities, including Vivien Leigh (Lawrence), wrestle the muse."
Known for their television work, the cast has also previously appeared on stage: Lawrence (Chicago, Cabaret, "NYPD Blue," "Desperate Housewives"), McGill (My One and Only, Henry V, "MacGyver"), Shaughnessy (Urinetown, A Patriot for Me,"The Nanny") and Lowell (The Heidi Chronicles, Present Laughter, "Queer As Folk"). West has been seen in The Constant Wife and Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight. Chernoch appeared in Festen and Matter of Honor Hothouse readings at Pasadena Playhouse. Playwright Pendleton has also written the plays Uncle Bob and Booth. As an actor, he has been seen in "My Cousin Vinny," "Amistad" and "A Beautiful Mind," and was heard in the animated "Finding Nemo."
Based on an actual event, the work originally opened at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company in January 2000. The play was also seen Off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theatre in March 2005.
The design team includes Gary Wissmann (scenic), Mary Vogt (costume), Dan Jenkins (lighting) and Cricket Meyers (sound).
Tickets to Orson's Shadow at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena, CA, are available by calling (626) 356-PLAY. For more information visit pasadenaplayhouse.org.