The week-long TheatreWorks performance readings of The Rainmaker with 2000 Tony Award nominee Jayne Atkinson and the recent Broadway revival cast end Dec. 3 at Los Angeles' Skirball Cultural Center. Performances began Nov. 29.
The Roundabout Theatre Company revival also starred filmdom's Woody Harrelson, but he's busy playing a cab driver in San Francisco's Sam Shepard world premiere, The Late Henry Moss and did not perform with the L.A. TheatreWorks readings. He played the leading role of Starbuck in the Broadway company.
Atkinson was Tony nominated for her part as the lonely spinster Lizzie. Her other New York credits include Ivanov, All My Sons, How I Learned to Drive and The Striker, for which she was Drama Desk Award-nominated. Joining her in the L.A. reading will be the Broadway company's David Aaron Baker, Jerry Hardin, John Bedford Lloyd and Bernie McInerney. Jenny Sullivan (The Rainmaker and AdWars with Stephanie Zimbalist) directs.
In The Rainmaker, conman Starbuck arrives on the H.C. Curry farm, promising that for $100 he can bring rain to the drought-stricken Midwest land. With his spiel, he captures the heart of Curry's daughter Lizzie, who learns to see her own beauty in the eyes of the rainmaker. The Rainmaker was made into a 1956 film starring Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster and a musical, 110 in the Shade, written by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (The Fantasticks).
All TheatreWorks theatre productions are recorded for future broadcast on Santa Monica College's KCRW 89.9FM. In the past 11 years, productions have won several awards including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Gold and Silver Awards, three Sony Awards, the Writer's Guild of America's Best Comedy Award and the 1999 Audie Award for Best Dramatic Production from the Audio Publishers Association. "The Play's the Thing" performances are also sold on the L.A. Theatre Works homepage at http://www.latw.org.
— By Christine Ehren