Huntington Theatre Company artistic director Nicholas Martin is making good on his promise to bring leading theatre actors and film stars to the Boston theatre he took command of in fall 2000. The fall 2001 production of Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation--a hit when Martin directed it Off-Broadway in 1999--will feature its original stars, Kellie Overbey and Kristine Nielsen. Additionally, a mounting of Tennessee Williams' Camino Real, slated for January 2002, will star Ethan Hawke and Tony winner Blair Brown (Copenhagen). Martin directed the peculiar Williams piece at the Williamstown Theatre Festival a couple seasons ago.
Betty's Summer Vacation represented playwright Christopher Durang's biggest critical success in years when it premiered at Playwright Horizons, under Martin's direction. Though several attempts were made to transfer the comedy to a commercial run, the show closed after an extended run at PH and never re-opened. Though the entire cast shined, Kellie Overbey (as the innocent, decent Betty) and Kristine Nielsen (as a crazed, motormouthed matron) were thought to be critical to the success of the scathingly funny satire.
James Joyce's The Dead will open the Huntington season, as previously announced. It also began life at Playwrights Horizons. The Richard Nelson musical adaptation of James Joyce's famous short story transferred to Broadway and earned a few Tony nominations. Nelson will repeat his work as director. The final slot of the season will be filled by Frank McGuiness's Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. Martin will again direct, giving him charge of three of the five Huntington productions offered in the 2001-02 season.
The fourth play in the five play line-up is yet to be announced. Under consideration are O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms, Russell Lees' Nixon's Nixon, Charlayne Woodard's In Real Life and Athol Fugard's The Road to Mecca.
* As reported earlier, Huntington and the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) will work together to construct a 350-seat legitimate theatre—Boston’s first in 70 years—as well as a 200-seat black box meant to provide performance space to smaller theatre organizations.
Huntington also plans to expand its “commitment to developing and producing new work” by launching a new play-reading program, Breaking Ground. Comprising informal readings of new plays under consideration or in development at Huntington, the program starts in January 2001.