Leonard Foglia directs the work, which began performances at the new Off-Broadway theatre space (located at its namesake 59 East 59th Street in Manhattan) for a limited engagement through March 27.
The Stendhal Syndrome combines two plays: Full Frontal Nudity — about three American tourists who are urged by an Italian guide to bask in the beauty of Michelangelo's "David" — and Prelude & Liebestod — which finds a celebrated conductor watching his life unravel right before his eyes as he leads the opening and ending pieces of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde."
Both works — which explore characters' inner thoughts — are threaded together with the common theme of "how art can affect us emotionally, psychological, erotically," playwright McNally told Playbill On-Line. The title refers to said intoxication. To read more comments by the scribe, visit Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter section (or click here).
Thomas and Rossellini head up a cast that also includes Michael Countryman (Night Must Fall, House and Garden), Jennifer Mudge (Only the End of the World) and Yul Vázquez ("Traffic," "Seinfeld").
Film star Rossellini will make her stage debut in Stendhal. The sometime model is known for her appearances in such films as "White Nights," "Blue Velvet," "Roger Dodger," "Cousins," "Wild at Heart," and "Big Night." Making his Broadway debut at the age of seven in Sunrise at Campobello, Thomas grew to become known for his Emmy Award-winning turn as John-Boy in "The Waltons." The actor, who has juggled both stage and television, recently appeared in Tiny Alice. Other credits include Love Letters, The Front Page, Fifth of July and The Seagull. He starred in the 1990 television adaptation of McNally's Andre's Mother.
Director Foglia has teamed up with McNally on Master Class on Broadway and Dead Man Walking at New York City Opera. His other credits include Wait Until Dark, One Touch of Venus, If Memory Serves and Lonely Planet.
McNally's work includes plays (Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!) as well as libretti (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spiderwoman). All four mentioned won him Tony Awards. Other works by the scribe include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, The Full Monty, The Visit, Corpus Christi, The Lisbon Traviata, Andre’s Mother and Lips Together, Teeth Apart.
The design team for Stendhal includes Michael McGarty (set), David C. Woolard (costumes), Russell H. Champa (lighting), Elaine J. McCarthy (projections) and David Van Tieghem (sound) — who also provides original music.
For tickets to The Stendhal Syndrome at 59E59, 59 East 59th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues), call (212) 279-4200. For more information, visit www.primarystages.com.