Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company will open its One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in London on July 27, for a run through Aug. 5, at the Barbican as part of the BITE:00 Festival there.
The London cast will match the Chicago one, with Gary Sinise, Amy Morton, Rick Snyder, K. Todd Freeman and Mariann Mayberry all making the trip.
The play is expected to reach New York some time in the future, though no plans have been revealed as of yet.
Over the past decade, as such Steppenwolfers as Sinise, Laurie Metcalf and John Mahoney have grown more and more famous, the average production at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company has contained precious few of the theatre's ensemble members.
Breaking that tradition is this stage version of Ken Kesey's novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” written by Dale Wasserman. Sinise stars as McMurphy in the mental hospital drama, and Morton as Nurse Ratched. (Both are members of the theatre, Sinise a founder). Terry Kinney directs, making for a total of a half dozen Steppenwolf ensemble members feathering the Nest. The show started previews at Steppenwolf April 6 and officially opened April 16. Thereafter, it extended several times, finally concluding in late June. Rounding out the cast are Sarah Chariper, Stephanie Childers, Jennifer Engstrom, Eric Johner, Leonard Kraft, Misha Kuznetsov, Ross Lehman, Bill Noble, Ron O.J. Parson, Tim Sampson, Warren Schueneman, Christian Stolte, Greg Vinkler, Danton Stone, Afram Bill Williams and John Watson, Sr.
Kinney, also a founder of the Chicago theatre, has previously directed A Streetcar Named Desire, A Clockwork Orange and ...And a Nightingale Sang. As an actor, he has starred in The Grapes of Wrath and Buried Child, both on Broadway.
Sinise directed the production of Buried Child in which Kinney starred, and acted opposite him in Grapes of Wrath as Tom Joad. In films, Sinise is currently represented in "Mission to Mars" and "Reindeer Games."
Morton was seen on the New York stage recently in Tina Landau's Space at the Public Theater. At Steppenwolf, her credits include Three Days of Rain and The Berlin Circle, and, as director, Mizlansky/Zilinsky.
Snyder played Gene in Steppenwolf's recent staging of Side Man and Scrooge in the Goodman Theatre mounting of A Christmas Carol. Mayberry was seen in Hysteria and The Berlin Circle, both at Steppenwolf. Freeman, meanwhile, is best known for playing the title role in the Steppenwolf, and then Broadway, productions of The Song of Jacob Zulu.
Cuckoo's Nest is not the only Steppenwolf show which travelled overseas this summer. While London's West End received what was essentially the Broadway production of Side Man, with Frank Wood and Edie Falco, the Galway Arts Festival of Ireland got the Steppenwolf staging of the Warren Leight Tony-winner, July 18-22. The cast featured Rick Snyder (who then skipped over to England for Cuckoo's Nest), Rondi Reed and Andrew McCarthy.
Also to be seen at Galway was the Steppenwolf mounting of Kurt Elling and Irving Zucker's Beat and Beatitudes: Revisiting Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Generation. Featuring John Mahoney and Tim Hopper, the show played only on July 19.
--By Robert Simonson