Olympia Dukakis Will Play Chorus Leader in Getty Villa's Elektra, With Reed, Purcell, Felciano

News   Olympia Dukakis Will Play Chorus Leader in Getty Villa's Elektra, With Reed, Purcell, Felciano Annie Purcell, Olympia Dukakis, Pamela Reed and Manoel Felciano will star in Getty Villa's new production of Sophocles' Elektra, as adapted by Timberlake Wertenbaker, Sept. 9-Oct. 2.
Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced the cast of director Carey Perloff's outdoor staging in the Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa in Malibu, CA.

"One of Sophocles' most elegantly structured and emotionally wrenching works," according the Getty notes, Elektra will feature Annie Purcell in the title role, Olympia Dukakis in the role of the Chorus, Pamela Reed as Clytemnestra and Manoel Felciano as Orestes.

Director Carey Perloff is artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco.

The Getty Villa production is unveiling a new translation of Elektra by acclaimed British playwright Wertenbaker (Our Country's Good).

The company also includes Jack Willis as Tutor, Michael Wells as Pylades/Percussion, Linda Park as Chrysothemis, Tyrees Allen as Aegisthus, Theresa Wong (Cellist/Vocalist) and Sharon Omi (Chorus/Vocalist). According to director Carey Perloff, "We have gathered a remarkable ensemble of actors with deep experience in Greek tragedy and a great appetite for exploration. Some of them will be well known to Los Angeles audiences, and some are wonderful discoveries, including members of my own core company at A.C.T. and three incredible powerhouse women. We look forward to exploring the deep passion and complex arguments at the heart of Elektra, a play so beautifully represented in the concurrent Getty exhibition 'The Art of Ancient Greek Theater.'"

Here's how Getty Villa bills the classic: "The story of Elektra carries forward the tragic history of the House of Atreus. Years after the bloody murder of King Agamemnon, his widow, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, rule the city with an iron hand, while their daughter Elektra prays to the gods that her exiled brother Orestes might return to avenge their father's death. Believed to have been written near the end of Sophocles' life, Elektra embodies the playwright's most profound portrait of the endurance of the human spirit, brilliantly ablaze with the warring, inner flames of hope and despair."

Purcell (Elektra) has appeared on Broadway in The Coast of Utopia trilogy (Lincoln Center Theater); Dividing the Estate; and Awake and Sing!

Dukakis (Chorus) has won Obie awards for her stage performances in The Marriage of Bette and Boo and A Man's a Man, an Academy Award for her role in the film "Moonstruck," an ACE Award for the television drama "The Last Act Is a Solo," and Emmy nominations for her television work in the trilogy "Tales of the City," "Lucky Day," "Young at Heart" and "Sinatra." She has also appeared in the films "Steel Magnolias," "Dad," "3 Needles" and "Away from Her." She recently completed filming "Cloudburst," set for release in 2011.

Reed (Clytemnestra) played the title role of Elektra in the Classic Stage Company's world premiere of Ezra Pound's Elektra in 1987 directed by Carey Perloff. She earned a Drama Desk Award for the Off-Broadway play Getting Out and an Obie Award for "sustained excellence in performance in theatre." Reed also won a Cable ACE Award for Best Actress for the HBO series "Tanner '88." Notable film roles include "The Right Stuff," "Kindergarten Cop" and "Proof of Life."

Felciano (Orestes) is an A.C.T. associate artist and core acting company member. He has appeared at A.C.T. in Round and Round the Garden, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, November, At Home at the Zoo and Rock 'n' Roll. On Broadway, Felciano appeared in Sweeney Todd, which garnered him a Tony Award nomination for his role as Tobias; Brooklyn; Jesus Christ Superstar; and Cabaret.

The Getty Villa is devoted to arts and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Its annual outdoor theater production "is part of an innovative theater program that enhances the visitor's experience of the ancient world. Live performances of classical drama offer insight into the social, cultural, and political realities of life in ancient Greece and Rome. In the galleries, works of art serve to deepen the connection between modern audiences and the mythical stories underlying the tragedies and comedies onstage."

The exhibit "The Art of Ancient Greek Theater" runs Aug. 26-Jan. 3, 2011. It is the first exhibition in the United States in over 50 years to focus on the artistic representation of theatrical performance in ancient Greece. The exhibition will be open at the Villa before each evening’s performance of Elektra.

Performances will be held Thursdays through Saturdays, Sept. 9-Oct. 2. Tickets are $42 ($38 for students and seniors), and are available by calling (310) 440-7300 or online at www.getty.edu.

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It was also revealed that The Trojan Women, adapted by Jocelyn Clarke from the play by Euripides, directed by Anne Bogart, will play the Getty Villa in late summer 2011. It will be performed by SITI Company starting Sept. 8, 2011.

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