Ralph Waite and Michael Learned will team for the first time since "The Waltons" in Kevin Rehac's new play, Chasing Monsters, set to premiere at the Westport Playhouse July 19 for a run through July 31. Sabin Epstein will direct.
Waite recently underwent surgery, forcing him to drop out of the Signature Theater Company's premiere of John Guare's Lake Hollywood. Rehac told Playbill On-Line that Waite has since recovered. The actor's other stage appearances include the original New York production of Horton Foote's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Young Man from Atlanta.
Learned's stage roles include The Ride Down Mt. Morgan at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, directed by Scott Elliot, and The Sisters Rosensweig on Broadway. Last summer, she was set to star in a Broadway production of David Shaber's The Second Coming, but that play was later postponed. Learned has been connected to the Rehac project since participating in a New York reading in October 1997.
Waite and Learned are still best known, however, from the popular '70s television show "The Waltons," on which they played Ma and Pa Walton, the parents of a Depression-era brood of country kids.
First-time playwright Rehac described his play thusly: "Two couples and a monster are intertwined, when a young woman appears at her mother's house with a stolen painting." The style of the work, he added, is "naturalistic, but with a monster." Epstein, who has worked extensively in Los Angeles and San Francisco, directed Learned in a production of What the Butler Saw at L.A.'s A Noise Within theatre.
Also in the cast is Victor Slezak (Suddenly Last Summer). A fourth role is yet to be filled.
--By Robert Simonson