The Huntington Theatre Company have announced the final play in their season will be Jon Robin Baitz's Ten Unknowns. Ron Rifkin is slated to play the lead according to a press representative. The play makes its New England premiere at the Boston University Theatre May 17-June 16 — the slot previously held by the run of Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme.
Meanwhile, Ulster by Frank McGuinness will now run March 30-May 5 at the Wilbur Theatre in collaboration with Broadway in Boston and Clear Channel Entertainment. Starring in the production are Scott Wolf and Justin Theroux, who reprise their roles from the Nicholas Martin-helmed Williamstown Theatre Festival staging.
Ten Unknowns officially opened at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on March 8 after a month of previews. Daniel Sullivan, an old hand at Baitz dramas, directed.
In that production, Donald Sutherland — sporting a mane of white hair and a beard — played Malcolm, a once promising painter who haunted post-war New York. He now lives in Mexico, where he fled three decades before to escape the hegemony of the Abstract Expressionists (Malcolm is a figurative artist). But with the help of slacker art student Kirk, Malcolm has mysteriously begun producing some of the best paintings of his career, causing the dealer to see dollars in a Manhattan retrospective of the old man's work. Walking into this den of art-world types is Julia (played OB by Julianna Margulies), a graduate student researcher studying a breed of frog that is on the verge of extinction.
Rifkin can be remembered from such Broadway roles as Herr Schultz in Cabaret — for which he won a Tony — and Henry Dennett in Wrong Mountain. His strongest theatrical association, however, is with Baitz. His star turn in Baitz's The Substance of Fire resurrected the actor's career. Rifkin scored another success in the playwright's Three Hotels. He has also enjoyed a film career with credits in such films as "L.A. Confidential," "Boiler Room," "Keeping the Faith," "The Majestic" and the film version of "The Substance of Fire." Ulster ran at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in August, also starring Richard Easton and David Aaron Baker, but will now enjoy a longer and larger run at the more spacious Wilbur Theatre. The play is about eight Irish nationalists who volunteer for service at the opening of World War I. Filling out the cast will be returning castmates Jason Butler Harner, Christopher Fitzgerald, Jonathan Walker and Rod McLachlan.
Both Wolf and Theroux have enjoyed screen time as well as stage time. Wolf is probably best remembered as Bailey Salinger on the television drama, "Party of Five." He also has donned the stage in Sideman on Broadway and Far East and Dead End at Williamstown. Theroux is currently featured in David Lynch's "Mullholland Drive" and has been seen in The Three Sisters on Broadway, Shopping and Fucking and Twelfth Night.
The rest of the season at Huntington is as follows:
Heartbreak House, by Shaw, will be helmed by Darko Tresnjak. The play which follows the unlikely romantic encounters that occur in an estate on the English countryside. The production is scheduled to end Feb. 3, 2002.
Nixon’s Nixon by Russell Lees will follow March 1-31 under the direction of Charles Towers. The political satire speculates on a meeting between former president Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger on the day before his resignation.
For tickets or subscriptions to Huntington Theatre Company's season, call their box office at (617) 266-8488. For more information, visit their website at www.huntingtontheatre.org..
— by Ernio Hernandez
and Robert Simonson