Mark Linn-Baker and Michael Cumpsty have 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.
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.
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.
Ethan Hawke recently opened in a new mounting of Tennessee Williams' seldom-staged, semi-classic, Camino Real, which opened the 1999 Main Stage season at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The production will run to July 4 on the main stage. Nicholas Martin directs.
Hawke has appeared in such films as "Gattaca," "Before Sunrise" and "Reality Bites." He has occasionally returned to the theatre, starring in the National Actors Theatre's production of The Seagull and Steppenwolf Theatre Company's staging of Buried Child.
Co-starring with Hawke in Camino are Blair Brown (Cabaret), Hope Davis (The Food Chain), Kristine Nielsen (Betty's Summer Vacation), Lewis Black, Christian Camargo, Richard Easton, Jeffrey Duncan Jones, Mary Lou Rosato, John Seidman and Daniel Sunjata.
Williams often called Camino Real his favorite play, and this spring New Yorkers have been treated to a scene from the surrealistic piece performed by Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach in their show, Tennessee Williams Remembered.
The festival also features premieres of new plays by Kenneth Lonergan (This Is Our Youth), John Guare (Lake Hollywood) and Warren Leight (Side Man). Leight will offer The Glimmer Brothers; Guare Chaucer in Love; and Lonergan The Waverly Gallery.
Other highlights of the schedule include Roger Rees starring and directing Bebe Neuwirth in a new production of Taming of the Shrew, James Naughton directing Arthur Miller's The Price and hot director Martin (Bosoms and Neglect, Betty's Summer Vacation) piloting two productions.
The season schedule, which runs June 16-Aug. 29, runs as follows:
The Main Stage:
Camino Real (June 23-July 4), Tennessee Williams' expressionistic classic, starring Ethan Hawke, directed by Nicholas Martin.
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 Price (Aug. 18-29), Arthur Miller's play about family loyalty and responsibility, directed by James Naughton (WTF's 1997 Johnny on the Spot).
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (June 30-July 11), by Tom Stoppard, starring Jefferson Mays and Christopher Evan Welch as the title characters. Richard Kind is the Player. Darko Tresnjak directs.
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, at the Hunter Center for the Performing Arts; and several cabaret acts and play readings.
For information, call (413) 597-3399.
--By Robert Simonson