Lois Smith, Sam Rockwell Lodge at Williamstown's Hot l, July 5-16

News   Lois Smith, Sam Rockwell Lodge at Williamstown's Hot l, July 5-16
Lois Smith, Sam Rockwell, Becky Ann Baker and Sara Gilbert will be among the lodgers at the Williamstown Theatre Festival's Hot l Baltimore. The fest's production of the Lanford Wilson play will begin July 5 and run through July 16.

Lois Smith, Sam Rockwell, Becky Ann Baker and Sara Gilbert will be among the lodgers at the Williamstown Theatre Festival's Hot l Baltimore. The fest's production of the Lanford Wilson play will begin July 5 and run through July 16.

A big hit when first produced in New York in the '70s, Wilson play concerned a once-grand hotel and the seedy misfits which now inhabit it. Also in the cast are Mandy Seigfried, Helen Hanft, George Hall, Justin Long, David Wohl, Cindy Coyne, Tom Sadoski, Carol Woods.

Gilbert played comic Roseanne's daughter for many years on the sitcom "Roseanne." She recent resurfaced in the film, "High Fidelity." Rockwell was an Off-Broadway actor, performing with such troupes as The New Group, before becoming a presence in such indy films as "Basquiat," "Box of Moonlight" and "Jerry & Tom." He is slated to appear in the new "Charlie's Angels" movie.

Two-time Tony nominee Smith (Buried Child, The Grapes of Wrath) was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Give Me Your Answer, Do!. Becky Ann Baker has acted in everything from Broadway's Titanic to Off-Broadway's June Moon and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Siegfried appeared in The Mineola Twins and Stupid Kids.

Joe Mantello (Love! Valour! Compassion!) directs the production. * Orson's Shadow, the latest drama from Austin Pendleton (Booth, Uncle Bob), now having its East Coast premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, will end its run there on June 25. It began performances on June 14.

Orson's Shadow boasts the same creative team, headed by director David Cromer, featured in its premiere at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company earlier this year. The play will journey south to the Westport Country Playhouse after its Williamstown gig, playing there June 26-July 8. A New York engagement is expected to follow, and Shadow is also slated for San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in September.

Orson concerns the imagined interactions between theatre legends Orson Welles (Jeff Still), Laurence Olivier (John Judd), Vivien Leigh (Lee Roy Rogers), Joan Plowright (Sarah Wellington) and Kenneth Tynan (David Warren) as they rehearse a 1960 London production of Ionesco's Rhinoceros. At the time, Olivier was going through a nasty divorce from his second wife, actress Leigh, who named actress (and, from 1961, Olivier's third wife) Plowright as co-respondent in her divorce filing. Tynan was London's leading dramatic critic and all-around enfant terrible, a friend of both Welles and Olivier (he would co-found the Royal National Theatre with Oliver in 1963), and a frequent sparring partner of Ionesco's.

Pendleton, best known as an actor (The Diary of Anne Frank, Finian's Rainbow) and director (The Runner Stumbles, The Little Foxes), is the author of two previous plays, Booth, a bio-drama which starred Frank Langella as legendary actor Junius Booth, and Uncle Bob.

Designing the Williamstown mounting are Takeshi Kata (sets), Jennifer Keller (costumes), Jeff Nelis (lighting) and Jerry Yager (sound).


In other Williamstown Festival news, Blythe Danner, Charlotte D'Amboise and Bill Irwin head the cast of Coward's Tonight at 8:30. The show started June 16 (at 8 PM, actually) and costars Terrence Mann (The Scarlet Pimpernel), Joan Copeland (The Torch-Bearers), Stephen Collins (The Old Boy, Putting It Together), Alix Korey (Off Broadway's The Wild Party), Christopher Fitzgerald (Saturday Night) and Jack Gilpin.

Williamstown presents six of the original ten one-acts which made up Coward's play. The one-acts are be divided into two programs, which are performed in repertory by different casts.

A monstrously complicated undertaking, Michael Greif (Rent) directs Program A, while Ann Reinking pilots Program B. Danner and Collins are featured in the Program A only, which includes Hands Across the Sea -- about a family of rude Brits who, after inviting some party guests from the U.S., forget who they are and neglect them completely -- as well as We Were Dancing and Family Album. Program B features d'Amboise and Irwin in Star Chamber, Shadow Play and Red Peppers, the last about a husband and wife vaudeville team who comically argue backstage between their worn-out routines.

The credits for the two Tonight at 8:30 evenings run as follows:

Program A

Directed by Michael Greif
Sets by Allen Moyer
Costumes by Ilona Somogyi
Lights by Rui Rita
Sound by Kurt B. Kellenberger
Musical Director: James Sampliner
Stage Manager: Alex Lyu Volckhausen

Family Album

Jasper Featherways: Stephen Collins
Jane Featherways: Blythe Danner
Lavinia Featherways: Alix Korey
Richard Featherways: Julian Gamble
Harriet Winter: Jennifer Harmon
Charles Winter: Jack Gilpin
Emily Valance: Jessica Stone
Edward Valance: Saxon Palmer
Burrows: Denis Holmes
Singer: David Turner

We Were Dancing

Louise Charteris: Blythe Danner
Hubert Charteris: Jack Gilpin
Karl Sandys: Stephen Collins
Clara Bethel: Alix Korey
George Davies: Saxon Palmer
Eva Blake: Jessica Stone
Major Blake: Denis Holmes
Ippaga: Robert Wu

Hands Across the Sea

Lady Maureen Gilpin: Blythe Danner
Com. Peter Gilpin: Stephen Collins
Lieut. Com. Alastair Corbett: Jack Gilpin
Mrs. Wadhurst: Jennifer Harmon
Mr. Wadhurst: Julian Gamble
Mr. Burnham: David Turner
The Hon. Clare Wedderburn: Alix Korey
Major Gosling (Bogey): Saxon Palmer
Walters: Jessica Stone

Program B

Directed and Choreographed by Ann Reinking
Sets by Allen Moyer
Costumes by Linda Cho
Lights by Rui Rita
Sound by Kurt B. Kellenberger
Musical Director: James Sampliner
Stage Manager: Matt Silver

Red Peppers

George Pepper: Bill Irwin
Lily Pepper: Charlotte d'Amboise
Bert Bentley: Rick Holmes
Mr. Edwards: Terrence Mann
Mabel Grace: Joan Copeland
Alf: Christopher Fitzgerald

Shadow Play

Victoria Gayforth: Charlotte d'Amboise
Simon Gayforth: Bill Irwin
Martha Cunningham: Deborah Rush
George Cunningham: Terrence Mann
Lena: Elisabeth Waterston
Sibyl Heston: Rachael Warren
Michael Doyle: Rick Holmes
A Young Man: Logan Marshall-Greene

Star Chamber

Xenia James: Deborah Rush
Johnny Bolton: Bill Irwin
Hester More: Barbara Sims
Julian Breed: Rick Holmes
Dame Rose Maitland: Joan Copeland
Violet Vibart: Cheryl Lynn Bowers
Maurice Searle: Christopher Fitzgerald
Elise Brodie: Kathleen McCafferty
J.M. Farmer: Terrence Mann
Jimmie Horlick: Jimmi Simpson

First Performance: Program A: June 16; Program B: June 17
Last Performance: Program A: July 1; Program B: July 2


The entire Fest's summer line-up of new and classic plays runs June 14 through August 27.

Kate Burton and Harris Yulin will star in Jon Robin Baitz's new adaptation of Ibsen's classic, Hedda Gabler, July 19-30. Burton appeared at WTF in The Factory Girls last summer. Yulin was recently seen on Broadway in The Price, a production which originated at Williamstown. The Ibsen will travel from the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, Long Island.

Moss Hart's Light Up the Sky, Aug. 16-27, will be directed by Christopher Ashley and star Eric Stoltz, known from films like "Mask" and "Killing Zoe," and NYC theatre productions as Three Sisters and The Importance of Being Earnest. Stoltz recently was seen at WTF in 1998's The Glass Menagerie.

On the smaller Nikos Stage, David Lee will direct Joel Fields’s romantic comedy How I Fell In Love, June 28–July 9. Lee is the creator and executive producer of "Frasier."


Other productions on the WTF roster include Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, directed by Darko Tresnjak, which will play Aug. 2-13 on the Main Stage; the U.S. premiere of Simon Gray's The Late Middle Classes, directed by Roger Rees, July 16-Aug. 6; Pugliese's The Talk, directed by Scott Ellis, July 12-23.

-- By Robert Simonson

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