Producer Jeffrey Finn and director Leonard Foglia (Master Class) will create a new production of the Frank D. Gilroy play, to star Bill Pullman and Judith Ivey, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Jan. 7-29, 2006.
The domestic drama, about family tension when a grown son (to be cast) returns from World War II, won the 1965 Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Pullman (The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?) will play the father, John Cleary, and two-time Tony-winner Ivey (Steaming, Hurlyburly, Park Your Car in Harvard Yard) will play Nettie, the mother.
Opening night at the Kennedy Center is Jan. 11, 2006. Although it has not been announced, a future life for the production can be imagined, based on the track record of Jeffrey Finn Productions' Foglia-directed 2004 staging of On Golden Pond that began in D.C., played Wilmington, DE, and moved to Broadway to be nominated for 2005 Tony Awards in the categories of Best Revival (Play) and Best Leading Actor in a Play (James Earl Jones).
The Subject Was Roses will play The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Eisenhower Theatre as part of the 2005-06 Kennedy Center Theater Series.
Here's how the work is billed: "After serving in World War II, Timmy Cleary returns home to find his parents (Mr. Pullman and Ms. Ivey) are strangers — to him and each other. When Timmy insists his father take credit for roses he bought his mother, long-hidden resentments rise to the surface, as this attempted act of kindness instead becomes the epicenter of domestic warfare. When the deception is uncovered, the tenuous ties still holding them together begin to unravel and each person's doubts — about marriage, family values and Timmy’s achievements overseas — threaten to destroy any hope for reunion. This new production intimately explores a family in crisis while echoing the experiences of a contemporary society at war." The 1964 play starred Jack Albertson, Irene Dailey and a young Martin Sheen and was later adapted by Gilroy into an acclaimed 1968 Oscar-winning film (Patricia Neal played mom, and Albertson won an Academy Award for his work opposite Sheen again). The drama played 823 performances on Broadway.
The production's design team will include sets by two-time Obie Award winner Neil Patel ('night Mother, Side Man), costumes by Tony Award winner Jess Goldstein (The Rivals, Henry IV), lighting by Tony Award winner Donald Holder (The Lion King, Movin' Out) and sound by Obie Award winner David Van Tieghem (Doubt, Frozen).
Additional casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
Gilroy, a screenwriter, playwright, director and producer, is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College who completed his education at the Yale School of Drama. He entered television as a writer in the early '50s, contributing to the many live dramatic anthologies of the era ("Kraft Theatre," "Omnibus," "Playhouse 90"). In 1962, Gilroy won an Obie Award for his Off-Broadway play Who'll Save the Plowboy? In 1964, he snagged the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for his first Broadway play, The Subject Was Roses. In 1971, he made his movie-directing bow with "Desperate Characters" and he has since directed such films as the revisionist western "From Noon Till Three" (1976) and the "regeneration" serio-comedy "The Luckiest Man in the World" (1989, which he also wrote). A "prequel" to The Subject Was Roses, called Any Given Day, played Broadway in 1993 with a much larger cast than the three in the original.
Performances for The Subject Was Roses will be Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM with matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 1:30 PM.
Tickets ($25-$78) will go on sale to the general public beginning Oct. 11. As of that date, they can be purchased at the Kennedy Center box office or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600. Patrons outside the Washington metropolitan area can call toll-free (800) 444-1324.
For more information, visit The Kennedy Center website at www.kennedy-center.org.
Producer Jeffrey Finn received a Tony Award nomination for the new Broadway production of On Golden Pond starring James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams, which originally premiered at The Kennedy Center. Current productions include The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber; Game Show, for which Finn is also a co-author; and the U.S. and international tours of A Few Good Men...DANCIN'. Previous U.S. tours include The Who's Tommy; Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tell Me On A Sunday; Leader of the Pack; Promises, Promises; Stephen Sondheim's Company; Chess; and a series of national concert tours produced under the aegis Broadway Songbooks. Upcoming projects include a national tour of the new production of On Golden Pond starring Richard Chamberlain and a Broadway production of Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes.