Mary Steenburgen opens the season at Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company, with the New York premiere of Tom Donaghy's The Beginning of August on Oct. 11. Previews for the show started Sept. 26.
As earlier reported, Steenburgen last appeared on the New York stage in the title role in an early '90s Roundabout Theatre Company production of Candida. She won an Oscar for her performance in the film "Melvin and Howard." Subsequent big screen credits include "Cross Creek," "Philadelphia," "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?," "Parenthood" and the television series "Ink."
Also in the cast are Garret Dillahunt as Jackie, Mary McCann as Pam, and Ray Anthony Thomas as Ted. The design team includes Scott Pask (set) and Chris Akerlind (lighting).
Donaghy's play involves a man whose wife suddenly abandons both him and their infant daughter, leaving them to cope with financial pressure, child care issues and a "compound drama of crossed boundaries."
Playwright Donaghy's other works include Minutes from the Blue Route and Northeast Local. Atlantic's artistic director, Neil Pepe, will helm Donaghy's play. Pepe received a Drama League nomination for directing the American premiere of Jez Butterworth's Mojo at the Atlantic in 1997. Pepe also directed Edwin Sanchez' Clean, Quincy Long 's Shaker Heights, David Van Matre's Five Very Live and Patrick Breen's Call of the Wile E. In addition to a variety of non-theatrical roles, Pepe has appeared on stage in Edmond, Trafficking in Broken Hearts, Down the Shore, The Lights, Three Sisters, The Virgin Molly, Boys' Life, Trust, Rosemary for Remembrance and Women and Water.
Next in the Atlantic season lineup is Kia Corthron's Force Continuum. This story involves an African-American family, in which the grandfather, the parents and the son are cops. Force Continuum, which develops around a police brutality case involving the son, a rookie on the force, starts previews Dec. 13 and opens Jan. 4, 2001.
A new work by playwright Jez Butterworth is under consideration for the third slot in Atlantic's season. Once confirmed, the play will start previews on March 7 and is scheduled to open later that month. In the '90s, Butterworth's Mojo earned the then 27-year-old British playwright a George Devine Award, an Evening Standard Award, a Critics Circle Award and an Olivier Award. A well-received run of Mojo was directed by Atlantic's Pepe in 1997.
A fourth play, Siobhan Fallon's one-woman show, Momma, is scheduled to run on Monday nights in early 2001. Fallon's chronicle of life "before the baby arrives" deals with Lamaz classes, medical appointments and all the poignant mishegoss associated with bringing a child into the world today.
The Atlantic Theatre is located at 336 W. 20 Street. For further information call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.atlantictheater.com.
-- By Murdoch McBride