The Huntington Theatre Company's new artistic director, Nicholas Martin, is looking to open his first season at the Boston theatre with a revival of Sidney Kingley's Dead End, the director told Playbill On-Line. Martin staged the play at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 1998. That production's large cast featured Hope Davis, Marian Seldes, Campbell Scott and Robert Sean Leonard -- actors who have been invited to recreate their roles at the Huntington.
One of the hottest directors of the past season, Nicholas Martin will replace Peter Altman, who is leaving the company after 18 seasons to become producing artistic director of Missouri Repertory Theatre. Martin will officially take up the reins in fall 2000.
Among Martin's other plans for his new headquarters are a possible remounting of another Williamstown outing, Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker starring Andrea Martin, a Richard II with Leonard, and a Macbeth featuring Victor Garber.
“I want to say this gently,” Martin said, “but I think the Huntington could benefit from a higher-profile director and actor in general.” He intends to draw on his friendships with Ethan Hawke, Calista Flockhart, Hope Davis, Robert Sean Leonard because they are part of a generation of actors that “is really serious about the theatre and makes movies because they enjoy them, but mostly to pay the rent, and they always want to come back to the theater.”
Martin first began to earn attention in theatre circles as an associate artistic director at Playwrights Horizons. His most visible project there was Sophistry, starring Hawke, Flockhart, Anthony Rapp and Austin Pendleton. He made a bigger splash with Full Gallop, Mary Louise Wilson's one-woman tribute to fashion editor Diana Vreeland. But it wasn't until last season that Martin's talents truly came to the fore. He scored back-to-back critical hits with John Guare's Bosoms and Neglect at the Signature Theatre Company and Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation at Playwrights Horizons. Over the summer, he piloted Tennessee Williams' Camino Real (again with Hawke) at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He is currently working on Fully Committed at the Vineyard Theatre and is set to mount Time of the Cuckoo with Debra Monk at Lincoln Center Theater in February 2000. Additionally, Betty's Summer Vacation is expected to reopen this fall for a commercial Off-Broadway run.
The Huntington is one of a handful of important theatres in the Boston area. Currently filling its stage is a production of Mrs. Warren's Profession starring Mariette Hartley. This fall, Pat Hingle will star in a new political drama, The Last Hurrah.
--By Robert Simonson