With its New York run just finished, Ancestral Voices will soon be back in the tri-State area, as New Jersey’s George Street Playhouse will host the regional premiere of A.R. Gurney’s play, previews beginning April 29 for an opening May 3 and a run through May 28. Artistic director David Saint will stage the piece, which ended its Off-Broadway premiere at Lincoln Center April 3. As with the New York production, the George Street mounting uses rotating casts each week.
“We’re just finalizing the casting,” director Saint told Playbill On-Line (April 18). “It’s just like putting together someone’s wedding. Everyone says, `Ooh, can I sit at that table instead of that one?'”
The first week (April 29-May 7) is fully cast, with Frances Sternhagen (The Exact Center of the Universe), George Grizzard (A Delicate Balance), Jack Gilpin (The Foreigner), Julie Haggerty (Wifey) and the newly-announced Paul Rudd (Twelfth Night).
The second week (May 9-14) will bring John Cullum (Shenandoah), Penny Fuller (A New Brain), Tim Daly and his real-life wife, Amy Van Nostrand.
Week three (May 16-21) will feature Conrad Bain (TV’s “Maude”), Jane Powell, Roger Bart (You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown), James Rebhorn and Karen Valentine (TV’s “Room 222,” Breaking Legs). The fourth week (May 23-28) will offer newly-announced Kelly Bishop and Ma and Pa Walton -- Michael Learned and Ralph Waite -- as well as “The Wonder Years’” Fred Savage.
In Voices, five actors sit on stage and read the script (making it easy for changing casts) about a family whose lives are turned inside out when young Eddie's grandmother unexpectedly divorces his grandfather to marry the grandfather's best friend.
Tickets to Ancestral Voices are available by calling George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, at (732) 246-7717.
-- By David Lefkowitz