He last played the narrating lawyer Alfieri in A View From The Bridge, advising Eddie Carbone of his rights and summing up Eddie's life at the play's finale. Now Stephen Spinella will play a different kind of storyteller, when he joins the cast of Electra at NJ's McCarter Theatre.
Director David Leveaux describes Spinella's role -- that of "the Tutor" -- as "the architect of every event in the play."
Spinella's co-stars include Claire Bloom, Pat Carroll and Zoe Wanamaker. The show will open the Princeton theatre's new season Sept. 18, running Sept. 15-Oct. 4. Director Leveaux, taking his first American job since directing Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Anna Christie, will stage Sophocles' tragedy.
Renowned British actress Wanamaker will recreate her Olivier winning performance in the title role. Bloom will play Clytemnestra, and Carroll is the Chorus Leader. Frank McGuinness, who adapted the recent Janet McTeer revival of Ibsen's A Doll's House, penned the translation.
Bloom's four-decade career has included countless acclaimed performances in the classics, particularly the works of Ibsen. On Broadway, she has appeared in Vivat! Vivat! Regina, Rashomon and Hedda Gabler. Her films include Limelight, Richard III and Look Back in Anger. Earlier this year, she performed her one-woman show, Enter the Actress, at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. Another stage veteran, Pat Carroll's credits include Grace & Glorie Gertrude Stein and Catch a Star. Also know for her television and film work, she won an Emmy for "Sid Caesar Hour" and provided the voice of Ursula in The Little Mermaid.
Spinella's other credits include two Tony awards for playing Prior Walter in both parts of Angels In America.
In other McCarter news, playwright-director and McCarter Artistic Director E Ýn (Execution of Justice, Having Our Say) will premiere her new play, Meshugah, this fall. Mann adapted the drama from Yiddish novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer's story of the same name, in which Aaron Greidinger, a struggling writer, falls in love with the mistress of a friend. The play is scheduled to run Oct. 20-Nov. 8. No cast has been announced. Mann's last work, Having Our Say, transferred from the McCarter to a Broadway run.
The third show of the season will be Two Sisters and a Piano (Feb. 16-Mar. 7, 1999), a world premiere by playwright Nilo Cruz (A Park in Our House). Set in Cuba in 1991, it tells of two women under house arrest whose fates are toyed with by a military official. No director has been selected.
Two classic comedies round out the mainstage season: Moliere's The School for Wives (Mar. 23-Apr. 11, 1999), in Richard Wilbur's translation; and Noel Coward's Design for Living (May 4-23, 1999), directed by Stephen Wadsworth.
McCarter's Second Stage was to see the world premiere of Yehuda Hyman's The Mad Dancers (Jan. 11-28, 1999), but that work (subtitled "A Mystical Comedy with Ecstatic Dance") has been cancelled.
For information of the season, call (609) 683-8000.