It looks like the recent reading of Chekhov's The Seagull held in Mike Nichols' Manhattan apartment, and starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, has paid off. Streep is currently in talks to play Arkadina in a Public Theater, Shakespeare in the Park production of the drama this summer, a representative for Streep told Playbill On-Line.
Though Kline's involvement could not be directly confirmed, the actor played Trigorin in the February reading, and, according to sources, will take the same role in the projected production. Mike Nichols will direct.
Now, word comes that Nichols hopes to tap movie starlet, and last season's Anne Frank on Broadway, Natalie Portman, for the pivotal role of Nina. Portman's manager told Playbill On-Line that the actress had been offered the role of Nina but had not made a decision about taking the part.
Portman, whose movie roles include "Star Wars, Episode I: the Phantom Menace" and "Anywhere but Here," played Frank in what was the first Broadway revival of The Diary of Anne Frank.
Nichols, Streep and Kline have all been absent from the New York stage for some years. Though Nichols has "supervised" various plays, his last theatre assignment as director was Death and the Maiden. Streep, meanwhile, has been missing from the theatre for even longer. During the '70s, she appeared in New York stagings of The Cherry Orchard, Happy End and Taming of the Shrew. The winner of two Oscars, she was recently nominated for another for "Music of the Heart." Kline has been slightly more faithful to the boards. Since taking the Tony for The Pirates of Penzance, he has appeared in Hamlet at the Public and, most recently, Ivanov at Lincoln Center Theatre.
The production will take place in Central Park's Delacorte Theatre. Dates and additional casting have not been established.