Massachusetts' Orpheum Theatre's ambitious spring lineup includes Raquel Welch starring in a play by George Bernard Shaw. Under new artistic director Andrew Barrett, the Orpheum season began Jan. 28 with a revival of Marsha Norman's Pulitzer Prize winning `Night Mother. The musical Godspell followed.
Next up, May 28-June 15 (press night: June 3), is The Millionairess, a role played by Katharine Hepburn on Broadway and Sophia Loren on film. The show is a co-production with Lenox, MA's Shakespeare & Company, which will preview Millionairess at its own theatre, May 22-25.
Raquel Welch (Victor/Victoria, Woman Of The Year) has the part of Epifania, who chooses to live as a pauper but can't help having a head for business. Tina Packer, of Shakespeare & Company, directs. Said Packer of the play, "Shaw has an uncanny ability to project into the future. His comments about the stock market, investment, justice and the wages of workers have an eerily modern ring."
Co-starring with Welch are Virginia Ness Ray, Michael Hammond, Allyn Burrows, Johnny Lee Davenport, Karen Beaumont, Jason Asprey and James Andreassi.
Designing The Millionairess are Michael Giannitti (lighting), John Pennoyer (costumes and set).
Said Welch in a statement, "I have always felt The Millionairess is one of Shaw's most relevant plays, and we think audiences will take to it. Kenneth Tynan called it a didactic farce, and like all farces, it has serious undertones. I'm at the point in my life where I want to do work on material with substance."
For tickets to shows at the Orpheum Theatre at the Regional Center for the Performing Arts in Foxborough, call (888) ORPHEUM. Arts Center president Neil Colvin is especially proud of the current season because it's the first time the company has mounted three independently produced plays.
-- By David Lefkowitz