Lea DeLaria has joined the cast of the Gwyneth Paltrow As You Like It, due to take the Williamstown Theatre Festival's Main Stage Aug. 4- 15. The Bard's classic comedy marks the Oscar-winning actress and former WTF regular's first stage turn in many years. She will play the heroine Rosalind, who -- much like her character in "Shakespeare in Love" -- dresses up as a man in order to snare her love.
DeLaria will play Audrey, a country wench. This is the comic-actress' first foray into Shakespeare. Since making a hit in the Public Theater's revival of On the Town, DeLaria has jumped from one theatrical project to the next. Within weeks of closing in On the Town, she took over the Becky Ann Baker role in Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. After that folded, she took her solo cabaret show to Joe's Pub.
Also in the cast are Mark Linn-Baker and Michael Cumpsty. Linn-Baker is known for his comic turns in Broadway musicals such as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and comedies like Laughter on the 23rd Floor. He will play the clown Touchstone in As You Like It.
Cumpsty will speak the famous "All the world's a stage" speech as Jaques. Cumpsty was recently seen on Broadway in the Zoe Wanamaker production of Electra. His other roles include La Bete and Racing Demon.
Alessandro Nivola will play opposite Paltrow as Rosalind's love, Orlando. Paltrow began her career at Williamstown with the 1981 production of The Greeks. Other Paltrow performances at WTF include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Picnic, The Sweet By and By and The Sea Gull. Paltrow's films include "Emma" and "Sliding Doors."
Her mother, actress Blythe Danner, is a mainstay at the Massachusetts summer theatre.
The remaining season schedule, which runs June 16-Aug. 29, runs as follows:
The Main Stage:
The Taming of the Shrew (July 7-18), directed by Roger Rees (The Misanthrope), who also stars in the production as Petruchio. Bebe Neuwirth stars as Kate, supported by David Aaron Baker, Tom Bloom, Denis Holmes, Neal Huff and Bruce MacVittie.
As You Like It (Aug. 4-15), starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Rosalind, Mark Linn-Baker as Touchstone, Michael Cumpsty as Jaques and Alessandra Navola as Orlando.
The Glimmer Brothers (July 14-25), a world premiere of Warren Leight's play about two generations of jazz musicians. David Schwimmer, John Spencer, Kim Raver and Terry Beaver star.
Chaucer in Love (July 28-Aug. 8), John Guare's new play about pilgrims who journey to Rome to absolve their sins, directed by Martin, who successfully mounted Guare's Bosoms and Neglect at New York's Signature Theatre Company earlier this year.
The Waverly Gallery (Aug. 11-22), Kenneth Lonergan's new play about an 85-year-old Greenwich Village gallery owner who, while failing mentally, refuses to retire, directed by Scott Ellis (Steel Pier).
WTF will also present Quark Victory, a musical by Robert Reale and Willie Reale, starring Karen Ziemba and Wilson Jermaine Heredia, at the Hunter Center for the Performing Arts; and several cabaret acts and play readings.
For information, call (413) 597-3399.
--By Robert Simonson