Kyle Donnelly directs the play, which is expected to appear in Arena's 2003-04 season, though the slate of next season's plays has not been announced by the Washington, DC, not-for-profit. Helen Hayes Award nominee Kate Baldwin (of Arena's South Pacific) plays Olivia de Havilland, with Tony Award nominees Douglas Sills (as Oberon) and Robert Prosky (as Reinhardt) also reading.
The work is billed this way: "Max Reinhardt is trying to shoot his first Hollywood film, 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream,' but his leading lady can’t act, his cast keeps falling in love with each other, and what’s more, the real Puck and Oberon have just shown up! Proving that the course of true love never did run smooth, this madcap comedy suggests the sets of Hollywood and the woods of Athens have more in common than we thought."
The cast also includes Susan Lynskey (Puck), Rick Foucheaux (as Jack Warner), J. Fred Shiffman (as Will Hays), Ian Gould (as Daryl), Brandy Zarle (as Lydia Lansing), Helen Carey (as Louella Parsons), David Fendig (as Dick Powell), Aubrey Deeker (as Jimmy Cagney), Rick Hammerly (as Joe E. Brown).
Tony-nominated Ludwig penned the Broadway comedies Moon Over Buffalo and Lend Me a Tenor, plus libretti for Tom Sawyer and Crazy for You. He has also wrote a new adaptation of the Hecht-MacArthur showbiz comedy, Twentieth Century (to be staged by Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA in 2003-04).
The legendary "Midsummer" film was directed by Europe's renowned director Reinhardt, a master of staging crowd scenes and an innovator in set and lighting designs. Mickey Rooney played Puck in the movie, with Cagney as Bottom. The reading of Shakespeare in Hollywood is held in Arena Stage's Old Vat. Tickets are $5. For information, call (202) 488-3300 or visit www.arenastage.org.