Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre has begun its 1997 Studio 3 Series season, which includes a new play directed by David Ogden Stiers, best known as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on television's "M*A*S*H."
Stiers will be staging Autumn Canticle, a drama by John W. Lowell, about a loving relationship subjected to neglect, jealousy and betrayal. The show -- the second in Studio 3's five-play season -- will open Feb. 18 and run to March 9.
Currently playing is Josslyn Luckett's solo, Chronicles Of A Comic Mulatta -- An Oreo/Choreopoem, which explores "the diverse reaction to her interracial bloodline." Dates on the David Armstrong-directed Chronicles are Jan. 21-Feb. 2, 1997.
David Mamet's Oleanna, directed by William Roudebush, opens March 18. This controversial drama about on-campus sexual politics, which had a lengthy Off-Broadway run, plays through April 6.
After Oleanna, Malcolm Black directs Faith Healer, Brian Friel's monologue-style drama of a faith healer, his long-suffering wife, and their devoted best friend. That April 15-27 run is followed by Pierce Butler (May 13-25), a solo for Will Stutts, who plays the wealthy, slave-owning husband of actress Fanny Kemble. Stutts' revived his one-man show, Frank Lloyd Wright in Walnut Street Theatre's Studio 5 on Dec. 10 through Dec. 29. Wright catches the century's most influential architect at age ninety, two years before his death.
Stutts' other one-man shows at the Walnut have included Noel Coward At The Cafe De Paris, Walt Whitman, and the ineffable, Will Stutts' Tallulah! (Stutts is a cousin of the late Tallulah Bankhead).
And coming to the Walnut mainstage, Jan. 27 only, is Frank Ferrante, the current star of Off-Broadway's Marx-ist musical, The Cocoanuts. Ferrante will appear in An Evening With Groucho - "The Music And Madness Of Groucho Marx." Ferrante will also be directing and starring in Laughter On The 23rd Floor at the Walnut mainstage space, Jan. 11-Feb. 23. (Steve Sunderlin, spokesperson for Off-Broadway's The Cocoanuts, noted that Ferrante's contract runs through the end of the year. Though ticket sales have been going up, no decision has been made on whether to replace Ferrante in January or conclude the run.)
For tickets and information on any of the Walnut Street Theatre productions mentioned in this story, call (215) 574-3550, ext. 4, or refer to the Walnut's regional Theatre listing on Playbill On-Line.
-- By David Lefkowitzz