New productions of George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara and Clare Booth Luce’s The Women have been announced for the Roundabout Theatre Company for 2001. Cherry Jones will star as the title character in the Shaw, to be directed by Daniel Sullivan. The play will begin previews June 15 and open July 12. Scott Elliot will direct Luce’s 1936 comedy. No cast members have been announced. The staging will debut in November. Both productions will play the American Airlines Theatre.
Jones will play Barbara Undershaft, the idealistic Salvation Army worker who continues her good works even though her father is the egotistical and maddeningly well-spoken munitions industrialist Andrew Undershaft. The latter character, one of the greatest and most entertaining in all of Shaw, has not been cast.
Jones starred in the Broadway revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten in 2000. She won a Tony Award for The Heiress. Daniel Sullivan has done very well the past two season directing new works by contemporary authors, such as Proof, Ten Unknowns, Spinning Into Butter and Dinner With Friends. This will be his first stab at a classic since Moon.
Scott Elliot’s last work at the Roundabout as Three Sisters, several seasons ago. The production was filled to the brim with stars and one might expect the same fate for The Women, which has large, juicy parts for more than a half dozen actresses. The play, which has no male roles, tells of a faithful wife, parted from her husband, who must contend with the connivings a hive of catty, vindictive women before reclaiming her spouse.
Elliot is the artistic director of The New Group. With that outfit, he has directed Ecstasy, Curtains and What the Butler Saw. *
In other Roundabout news, PBOL reported back in October that Phylicia Rashad will star in the New York premiere and Roundabout Theatre Company production of Charles Randolph-Wright's Blue. A full cast has now been announced, including Howard W. Overshown as Sam Clark III, Jewell Robinson as Tillie Clark, Randall Shepperd as Samuel Clark, Jr., and Messeret Stroman as LaTonya Dinkins. The production begins previews at the Gramercy Theatre on June 1, 2001, and opens officially June 28. Blue premiered successfully at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage in April of last year.
Sheldon Epps helms the Roundabout production, which features music by Nona Hendryx and lyrics by Hendryx and playwright Randolph-Wright.
Blue is a comedy based in South Carolina that deals with the story of the Clark family's search for unconditional love. Production notes indicate a cast featuring a matriarch, Tillie, who offers unsolicited advice while "son Sam Jr. runs the profitable business, Sam III runs with the girls, 12-year-old Reuben runs errands and fashion-conscious mother Peggy runs up the credit cards."