Rucker Takes Reins of Yale Rep All's Well After Bundy Withdraws for Heart Surgery

News   Rucker Takes Reins of Yale Rep All's Well After Bundy Withdraws for Heart Surgery Mark Rucker has assumed directing duties for the upcoming Yale Repertory Theatre staging of William Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well as the company's artistic director James Bundy recovers from heart surgery.

Bundy, who also serves as Dean of the Yale School of Drama, had begun rehearsals March 14 for the show, but has stepped down "due to heart surgery performed on Tuesday April 4," according to the company.

Rucker is a Yale Rep directing vet of Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, The Imaginary Invalid and Kingdom of Earth. All's Well begins previews April 21 and opens April 27, as planned.

  Kathleen Chalfant leads the cast of the new staging, featuring choreography by John Carrafa (Broadway's Urinetown, Into the Woods). The show will close the 40th anniversary season of the New Haven, CT, stage when it ends May 20.

Chalfant stars as Countess Rousillon in the story of the woman whose ward, Helena, falls in love with Bertram, the son of the Countess. After Helena cures the King of France, he offers her the hand of any man. She chooses Bertram, who soon leaves for war in Italy vowing never to return to France.

The 21-member ensemble also features includes Lisa Birnbaum (I Have Loved Strangers), Michael Braun (On the Razzle), Helmar Augustus Cooper (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), Nick Corley (She Loves Me), John Cunningham (Sunday in the Park with George), Erin Felgar (The Exception and the Rule), Julia Gibson (Miss Julie), Christopher Grant (Our Town), Dana Green (Measure for Measure), Nicholas Heck (Brooklyn Boy), Ayano Kataoka, Brian O'Neill, Gamal J. Palmer, Bryce Pinkham (Our Town), Richard Robichaux (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged), Tom E. Russell (Three Sisters), Dale Soules (The Crucible), Elliot Villar, Amanda Warren ( After the Flood ) and Walton Wilson (Duke of Florence). Matthew Suttor provides original music and arrangements. The design team includes Zane Pihlstrom (scenic), Mike Floyd (costume), Matthew Frey (lighting) and Andrew Nagel (sound). Fight direction is by Rick Sordelet, Beth McGuire serves as vocal coach and Erika Schroth is music director. Dramaturg is by Jeffrey Rogers and Sarah Bierenbaum is the stage manager.

Chalfant, last seen Off-Broadway in Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom and at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Honour, was in the original casts of Wit, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Angels in America: Perestroika. She has also appeared on Broadway in M. Butterfly, Bloomer Girl, Dance With Me and Racing Demon as well as Off-Broadway in Henry V, The Last Letter, Savannah Bay and Talking Heads — the latter two, at times, in the same evening.

Rucker, who is an Associate Artist at South Coast Repertory, has previously staged On the Mountain, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Dazzle, Hold Please, Much Ado About Nothing, The Summer Moon, Amy’s View, On the Jump, Dimly Perceived Threats to the System, Our Town, The Birds, Art and So Many Words at the California stage.  He also directed the world premiere of Anna Deavere Smith's House Arrest (at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage) and the feature film (his first) "Die, Mommie, Die!," starring Charles Busch.

For tickets to All's Well That Ends Well at Yale Rep, 1120 Chapel Street (at York Street) in New Haven, CT, call (203) 432-1234. For more information, visit www.yalerep.org.