The Cape Playhouse in Dennis, MA, will enliven its Sunday afternoons this summer with a new "Weekend Series." On various Sundays through July and August, a disparate range of artists will perform their one-person shows.
The program begins with movie and stage musical veteran Nanette Fabray. On July 8, at 4 PM and 7 PM, she will regale audiences with songs and reminiscences of her showbiz days — presumedly touching upon her role in the classic MGM flick, "The Band Wagon."
On July 22 at 5 PM, author and all-around raconteur Malachy McCourt will spin yarns about his by-now-well-known childhood growing up poor and happy in Ireland. McCourt is the author of the memoir "A Monk Swimming" and is the brother of Frank McCourt ("Angela's Ashes"). Finally, on Aug. 5, monologuist Spalding Gray will bring his most recent solo, Morning, Noon and Night, to the playhouse for one show only at 4 PM.
The Cape Playhouse's anniversary gala will occur Aug. 19. Many veterans of the theatre are expected to attend.
* As previously announced, Estelle Parsons will play the family matriarch in the August production of A.R. Gurney's The Cocktail Hour at the Cape Playhouse. She will star opposite Judd Nelson (TV's "Suddenly Susan") and Louise Sorrel, under the direction of Russell Treyz.
Actress Parsons starred in Hartford Stage's 1998 production of Happy Days. She won an Oscar for "Bonnie and Clyde" and was nominated again for Paul Newman's "Rachel, Rachel." Other films include "Dick Tracy," "Boys on the Side," "That Darn Cat," and "Looking for Richard." She also played Roseanne's mother Bev on "Roseanne."
History repeats itself at the Cape Playhouse this summer as Broadway and Off-Broadway hits of the past are revisited by the stars originally connected to them.
The season opened with a revival of the Edward Gorey-designed production of Dracula, starring Jean LeClerc, who played the caped one on Broadway. Later on in the season, original 42nd Street star Lee Roy Reams will direct and choreograph a new revival of the "all singing, all dancing" musical. Also, the hit 1980's Off Broadway musical Oil City Symphony will be resurrected by members of its original creative team.
McClanahan and Morrow Wilson will star in Ayckbourn's Communicating Doors, the time-tripping thriller that ran Off-Broadway a few years back. Pamela Hunt will direct.
Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley, which recently concluded an Off-Broadway revival at Second Stage, will be directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. Sandy Duncan will star at the eldest of the Southern MaGrath sisters.
The remaining 2001 schedule runs as follows:
• Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn, July 2-14
• Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley, July 16-28
• 42nd Street, July 30-Aug. 11
• The Cocktail Hour by A.R. Gurney, Aug. 13-25
• Oil City Symphony, Aug. 27-Sept. 8
The Playhouse was founded by Raymond Moore. The quaint, white shingled, 600-seat theatre was built in 1838 and features a wrap-around balcony. Among the many noteworthy productions to be staged there over the years was a 1937 Hamlet starring Eva LeGallienne in the title role and Uta Hagen, in her professional debut, as Ophelia.
Tickets run $15-$35. The Cape Playhouse is located in Dennis, MA, at 820 Route 6A. For more information, call (508) 385-3911.
—By Robert Simonson