Robert LuPone Is The Astronaut, in CT White Barn World Premiere, Aug. 2-4

News   Robert LuPone Is The Astronaut, in CT White Barn World Premiere, Aug. 2-4 Robert LuPone will star in the world premiere of Arlette Ricci's The Astronaut, about "a man who had it all until he gave it up for the ultimate trip to the unknown," at Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theatre in Westport, CT, Aug. 2-4.

Robert LuPone will star in the world premiere of Arlette Ricci's The Astronaut, about "a man who had it all until he gave it up for the ultimate trip to the unknown," at Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theatre in Westport, CT, Aug. 2-4.

Michael Arabian directed LuPone, remembered for A Chorus Line and the 1998 Broadway revival of A View From the Bridge. He plays Dimitri, who is planning that "ultimate trip."

Actor-playwright Jerome Kilty (Dear Liar) plays Dimitri's father, a physician. Kilty has appeared in 14 Broadway productions, with notable roles including Iago, Phil Hogan in A Moon for the Misbegotten and Chairman Bowman in Mastergate.

The cast also includes Casey Biggs, a veteran actor of stage and screen, who was the leader of the Cakdassian Empire on "StarTrek: Deep Space Nine"; Frances Helm, who made her Broadway debut as the ingenue in Inherit the Wind starring Paul Muni, and has appeared in many other Broadway shows including the award-winning Mornings at Seven; and Denise Lute, who has a recurring role as the judge on television's "Ed."

Playwright Arlette Ricci, granddaughter of Nina Ricci (founder of Parfums Nina Ricci, Paris), was born in Paris from a Florentine father and a Russian mother. Her maternal grandfather was the Russian economist Anton Scheikevitch.  After medical school, she became a Lacanian Analyst in 1981, and received a Ph.D. in philosophy the same year.  The subject of her thesis was European nihilism.  She has three children from two different marriages. The Astronaut, written in 1998, is dedicated to her brother, Jean Louis Ricci, who died last year. It is her first play. Performances are 8 PM Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 4 PM Saturdays. Single tickets range $30-$35. Student rush tickets are $10 with I.D., one-half hour before curtain.

Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theatre is located on Newtown Ave., Westport.  Vincent Curcio is producer.  For information, directions, and tickets, visit whitebarntheatre.org or call the box office at (203) 227-3768.

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The White Barn Theatre, an East Coast institution for 55 years, has four world premieres and one American premiere lined up for its summer 2002 season. The season began July 12 with Joshua Pearl's Courting the Muse, a cabaret musical starring Lillias White. The professional Equity company has remarkably short runs (one weekend each) considering the shows are fully staged and designed. This is the 55th season for the Westport, CT, company.

The theatre was founded in 1947 by the late Off-Broadway producing legend Lucille Lortel, a champion of new voices, experimental works and American premieres of foreign works. She served as artistic director until her death in 1999. Vincent Curcio serves as producer.

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A Weekend of Dance was presented July 26-28, supervised by two-time Tony Award-winner Donald Saddler. It features dance pieces Get Out of the House by Sarah Skaggs Company, Cotton Club Rhapsody by Mercedes Ellington & Company, and Robocop by Kenichi Ebina of Bridgeport.

The world premiere of Come a Little Closer, with music and lyrics by John Wallowitch and book and direction by Kimothy Cruse, is set for Aug. 9-11. The cabaret musical "is about life, love, laughter and song for two couples...and a best friend."

Patrick Page's Swansong gets its world premiere, directed by Burry Fredrik, Aug. 16-18. It is "a tale of Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare — life-long rivals and the best of friends." Actor Sam Tsoutsouvas, who made two appearances on the White Barn stage last season in The Colossus of Rhodes and Sad Hotel, plays the role of Jonson.  This is the first play by Page, an actor currently touring in The Lion King and who appeared in Arms and the Man at Long Wharf Theatre last season.

— By Kenneth Jones