Karen Ziemba, one of the Tony-winning stars of Broadway's Contact, tackled a non-musical role in her latest show, a pair of Alan Ayckbourn comedies, House and Garden. The plays are getting their East Coast premiere at the Geva Theatre in Rochester, NY, through Nov. 11. Performances began Oct. 9. Remaining performances of Garden are sold out, but there are still some tickets available for House, according to a box office spokesperson (reached Nov. 8).
Ziemba's co-stars in both shows include Crista Moore, a Tony nominee for the Tyne Daly revival of Gypsy, who also played Eliza Doolitte in Geva's My Fair Lady; and Julian Gamble, recently seen in Lincoln Center's The Invention of Love and previously seen at Geva in The Sisters Rosensweig.
The related plays present two different perspectives on the same day, and are set in the house and garden of the Platt estate on the day of the annual village festival. While Teddy Platt (Gamble) is nurturing his political ambitions, his long-suffering wife, Trish (Ziemba), wants nothing to do with him. Meanwhile, a French actress (Moore) causes a scandal.
Artistic director Mark Cuddy directs the production, which features a large ensemble of Geva veterans: Brigid Brady (Quilters), Peggy Cosgrave (Women Who Steal), Skip Greer (Art), Brigitt Markusfeld (The Weir), Jacquie Miller (Quilters), Sam Misner (The Two Gentlemen of Verona), Remi Sandri (12 Angry Men) and David Silberman (A Christmas Carol). Newcomers include Elizabeth Roby, Steve Routman and Erika Thomas.
House and Garden premiered in the U.S. at Chicago's Goodman Theatre earlier this year. Previously, the plays had a successful run at the Royal National Theatre in London. Manhattan Theatre Club will stage the show's concurrently on its two stages this season. For tickets and information on House and Garden at Geva call (716) 232-4382.
— By Diane Snyder and David Lefkowitz