PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 21-27: Kevin Spacey's "Winter," Stephen Schwartz's Séance

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 21-27: Kevin Spacey's "Winter," Stephen Schwartz's Séance
 
Kevin Spacey, who is currently the artistic director of London's Old Vic, will play the title role in William Shakespeare's Richard III in 2012.

Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Spacey will be part of the final season of the Bridge Project, the theatrical collaboration among the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Old Vic and the British production company Neal Street. Richard III will play the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2012. Performances are scheduled for February-April 2012 at the BAM Harvey Theater.

 

Sam Mendes will direct Spacey in the Shakespeare classic. Mendes previously directed Spacey in the award-winning film "American Beauty."

Following the Brooklyn run, Richard III will play a short international tour before arriving at the Old Vic in May 2012 for a four-month run. A longer international tour will then follow the London engagement. The Bridge Project kicked off in 2009.

*** In other news of movie stars trying on classic plays, Christopher Lloyd, best known for the various crazies he's played on the TV series "Taxi" and in the films "Back to the Future" and "Who Killed Roger Rabbit?," plays Willy Loman in the Weston Playhouse's production of the classic Arthur Miller drama Death of a Salesman, which began performances Aug. 26. The Playhouse is up in Vermont, a theatre where Lloyd's actor brother has long ties.

Directed by Steve Stettler, the production will play through Sept. 11.

 

***

Jeremy Sisto will star in the Manhattan Theatre Club world premiere Spirit Control, the latest by Beau Willimon, the former political operative who seems to decided to make a go of this playwriting thing. The Henry Wishcamper-directed production will begin Oct. 7.

In the play by the author of Farragut North, according to MTC, "Adam Wyatt (Sisto) has the perfect family and a perfect record as an air traffic controller. But when the pilot of a small plane suffers a heart attack, Adam must talk a terrified passenger through an emergency landing. What happens next will link him inextricably to a woman he's never met, and set the life he once knew irrevocably adrift."

***

More casting news.

Johanna Day
photo by Aubrey Reuben

Johanna Day and David Garrison are the latest actors to join the increasingly impressive cast of Will Eno's play Middletown at Vineyard Theatre. As previously announced, the play about small-town life will also feature Georgia Engel, Michael Park, Linus Roache and Heather Burns. An official opening has been set for Nov. 3.

***

Not all showbiz siblings are like Olivia De Haviland and Joan Fontaine. Some like to help each other out.

Like Sutton Foster and Hunter Foster. The former will star in a private industry reading of the latter's new musical Bonnie & Clyde: A Folktale. The two Sept. 10 presentations are backed by producer Jed Bernstein of Above the Title Entertainment. Will Swenson of Hair fame will be Sutton's Clyde.

***

Will the New York City Opera house soon be filled with fans of Glinda and Elphaba?

Séance on a Wet Afternoon, the new Stephen Schwartz opera, and the first significant new stage piece from the composer, will make its New York debut at NYCO on April 19, 2011. The show premiered at Opera Santa Barbara in September 2009. The composer's son, director Scott Schwartz, will again direct the production that will run through May 1, 2011.

Séance on a Wet Afternoon is described as "a psychological thriller about a medium, Myra Foster [to be played by Lauren Flanigan], her doting husband Bill, and the spirit of their deceased eleven-year-old son, Arthur, who speaks to Myra and is her contact for her seances. Because Myra has never received the recognition she feels her gifts merit, they hatch a Plan: They will kidnap the daughter of a local wealthy industrialist, and keep her safe while the media frenzy over her abduction builds. When Myra has a 'vision' that leads to the successful recovery of the girl and the ransom, her fame will be assured."

Doesn't sound like a good plan to me.

Flanigan has been with Séance since its early workshops. She will lead a cast that also includes original cast member Kim Josephson as Bill Foster. The NYCO production will also include Todd Wilander as Charles Clayton, Melody Moore as Rita Clayton, Jane Shaulis as Miss Wintry, Pamela Jones as Miss Rose, Bill Lagundino as Mr. Bennett, Boyd Schlaefer as Mr. Cole, Juan José Ibarra as the Policeman, Phillip Boykin as Inspector Watts and Michael Marcotte as the Irish Tenor.

***

The theatre community breathed a sign of relief this week when it discovered that the Associated Press was not going to scrap the position of drama critic. The news service's longtime reviewer, Michael Kuchwara, died on May 22, and many feared for the position. In recent years, several newspapers, when faced with a vacancy in the theatre critic seat, have decided either to scrap the post or fill it with an assortment of free-lancers. AP—the voice of whose theatre scribe has grown more in importance lately as more newspapers use wire copy—did not go this route. Instead, it named Mark Kennedy as its new drama critic.

Kennedy previously worked for The Associated Press for 13 years, and now rejoins the news agency. Throughout his years at the AP, Kennedy was a regular contributor to the entertainment desk. Since March 2010, Kennedy has been an editor at AOL News in New York. His AP duties will be writing theatre features and reviews about theatre, entertainment and culture.

Lauren Flanigan (center) conjures the dead in <i>Séance on a Wet Afternoon</i>
Lauren Flanigan (center) conjures the dead in Séance on a Wet Afternoon Photo by David Bazemore
Today’s Most Popular News: