The words of playwright Tennessee Williams will be read by Richard Thomas from Jan. 10 to Jan. 13 at Hartford Stage. Thomas is the first of seven actors to appear in Letters from Tennessee: A Distant Country Called Youth, which runs through Jan. 27.
Thomas has had some of his biggest stage successes at Hartford Stage, including a starring turn in Edward Albee's Tiny Alice—a performance he repeated last season at Off-Broadway's Second Stage.
Following Thomas will be John Michael Higgins, Andrew McCarthy, James Colby, Campbell Scott, John Feltch and Mark Lamos.
The show continues Hartford Stage's ongoing commitment to the work of Williams.
The schedule runs as follows:
Jan. 10-13: Richard Thomas
Jan. 15-17: John Michael Higgins
Jan. 18-20: Andrew McCarthy
Jan. 22: James Colby
Jan. 23-24: Campbell Scott
Jan. 26: John Feltch
Jan. 27: Mark Lamos Higgins appeared in Hartford's Tiny Alice. McCarthy has appeared in several Hartford Stage productions, in plays by Williams and Horton Foote. Colby has also acted in Williams at the theatre, as has Feltch; both appeared in Camino Real.
Scott, a Connecticut resident, is best known for his films, including "Hamlet" and "The Spanish Prisoner." Lamos, finally, was Hartford Stage's artistic director for many years.
Hartford Stage recently postponed its scheduled spring premiere of Edwin Sanchez's Diosa, which was to run April 18-May 19, 2002. Tazewell Thompson's Constant Star will take its place.
Diosa, which draws its inspiration from the life of movie star Rita Hayworth, concerns Josefa, a beautiful young girl who rises from her parent's ballroom dancing act to film stardom. Hayworth was the child of Spanish-born dancer Eduardo Cansino and "Ziegfeld Follies" girl Volga Hayworth. She began her career dancing in Mexican clubs before being discovered by a Fox executive at the age of 17. The show is described as being very dance intensive.
A spokesman for Hartford Stage said the theatre has suffered, audience wise, since Sept. 11, and it was hoped Constant Star will be more attractive to ticket-buyers than Diosa. Additionally, the ambitious Diosa came with an expensive price tag, a luxury Hartford can't afford in a potentially cash-poor season. The theatre hopes to mount Diosa next season, in a co-production with San Francisco's A.R.T., said the spokesperson.
Tazewell directs the five-woman piece Constant Star, which pays tribute to the woman who was born a slave a few months prior to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. She went on to be a suffragette, a wife, an investigative journalist and an activist. The play had its world premiere at PlayMakers Rep in North Carolina in September 1999.
Hartford is currently presenting the premiere of Eve Ensler's Necessary Targets.
Next up, the strong-jawed Kate Mulgrew — who has spent recent years piloting "Star Trek: Voyager" as Captain Janeway — will play the strong jawed Hepburn in Tea at Five, a new play by Matthew Lombardo, Feb. 7-March 10, 2002. Hepburn was born in Hartford and still lives in Connecticut. In the play, the star looks back at her patrician upbringing, her stage and screen experiences and her romance with actor Spencer Tracy.
Rounding off the Mainstage season is Edward Albee's Seascape, May 30-June 30, directed by Mark Lamos. Lamos and Hartford had success with Albee's Tiny Alice two seasons ago. That production traveled to Second Stage Off-Broadway, as will Seascape.
—By Robert Simonson