Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and Matthew Broderick will lend their voices to a benefit reading of A.R. Gurney's Ancestral Voices. The April 6 event will take place at, and directly benefit, the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, CT.
Woodward and Newman are husband and wife, and Robbins and Sarandon have long been a couple. Woodward is the artistic director of the Playhouse and recently drafted her hubby to play the Stage Manager in its upcoming revival of Our Town.
The performance begins at 8 PM, after a 6:30 PM cocktail reception hosted by Elaine and Christopher Plummer.
For ticket information, call (203) 227-7617.
* The 2002 Westport County Theatre season — commencing with the previously-announced Our Town starring Paul Newman — will conclude with a musical by lyricist-librettist Dick Vosburgh and composer Denis King, A Saint She Ain't.
The tuner, which will run Aug. 28-Sept. 14, will enjoy its U.S. premiere at Westport. Eric Hill will direct the "Hollywood inspired musical" in which each character is based on renowned Tinseltown figures, such as Mae West and W.C. Fields. The play, roughly based on Moliere's Le Cocu Imaginaire, concerns a couple of young lovers who mistakenly believe the other is being untrue.
A Saint She Ain't debuted at the UK's King's Head Theatre a couple seasons back and then transferred to the West End. Vosburgh and King's other shows include Stepping Out and Poppy.
The show is a co-production with the Berkshire Theatre Festival.
In between the Thornton Wilder play and the musical will come new productions of The Voice of the Turtle by John Van Druten and Master Harold...and the boys by Athol Fugard, as well as a new production of the play, Outward Bound by Sutton Vane, which will be helmed by Doug Hughes. In this comedy, seven passengers take a cruise and are afforded plenty of time to discover each other's characters.
Original "Saturday Night Live" player Jane Curtin will perform in this summer's revival of Our Town starring Paul Newman at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut, according to director James Naughton.
Curtin will play one of the four parents of the story's central teenage sweethearts. Other roles have been offered to Jeffrey DeMunn, Jayne Atkinson and Frank Converse. Contracts are yet to be signed. The parts of George and Emily have not been cast.
Since Joanne Woodward took over the artistic directorship of the Westport Country Playhouse in 2000, the summer theatre has had little trouble attracting star talent. And very often those stars are Woodward herself and her husband, Newman.
Both were featured in the sold-out 2000 Westport engagement of Ancestral Voices. At the time, Woodward told the New York Times that the sight of Newman on the Westport stage without a script in his hands (in Gurney's play, the actors read from the text) was an unlikely prospect.
Newman must have reconsidered since then. The famous film actor ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Hustler") will play the Stage Manager in Our Town. The production will run June 5-22. Naughton, who has frequently directed at Westport since Woodward entered the scene, will pilot the show. No other casting has been announced, though one would expect the combination of Newman and Naughton to attract a stellar array of name actors.
Beyond "SNL," Curtin is known for the sitcom "Kate & Allie" and an occasional stage turn in plays such as Love Letters.
The rest of the season runs as follows:
• The Voice of the Turtle by John Van Druten, June 26 July 13.
• Master Harold...and the boys by Athol Fugard, directed by Walter Dallas, July 17-Aug. 3.
• Outward Bound by Sutton Vane, directed by Doug Hughes, Aug. 7-24.
• A Saint She Ain't by Dick Vosburgh and Denis King, directed by Eric Hill, Aug. 28-Sept. 14
Season subscriptions are available through May 10. For subscription information call (203) 227-4177. Single tickets go on sale at the box office 10 AM May 28.
—By Robert Simonson