Playwright Hatcher (Never Gonna Dance, Tuesdays With Morrie, Ella) penned the play that features such real-life characters as Fontanne and Lunt, as well as the late Uta Hagen and Sydney Greenstreet.
Hatcher's play centers around the Lunt's rehearsal of a production of Chekhov's The Seagull at their Wisconsin estate, Ten Chimneys, in the late 1930's. ATC artistic director David Ira Goldstein directs the play, which will open Jan. 28 in Tucson and Feb. 19 in Phoenix.
The cast features Suzanne Bouchard and Steve Hendrickson, as Fontanne and Lunt, respectively, as well as Anna Bullard as Uta Hagen, Michael Winters as Sydney Greenstreet, Naomi Jacobson as Louise Green, Linda Stephens as Hattie Sederholm and Marcus Truschinski as Carl Sederholm. The cast was also afforded the opportunity to rehearse the new play at the namesake homestead in Genesee Depot, WI.
"In a very real way, this rare opportunity to rehearse in the rooms where the play takes place could not be more fitting," director Goldstein said in a statement. "Jeffrey Hatcher's Ten Chimneys is about the Lunts spending the summer at their estate in Wisconsin 'investigating' Chekhov's play, The Seagull, before facing the quick and sudden rigors of New York rehearsals and opening. In the same way that the Lunts appreciated the need for time and space to 'ripen" the work they were tackling, this opportunity will allow the ATC artists the benefit of time for further rehearsal and investigation."
Ten Chimneys has set design by John Ezell, costume design by Marcia Dixcy Jory, lighting design by Dennis Parichy, composition and sound design by Joshua Schmidt (Adding Machine). Jennifer Bazzell is the dramaturg. Here's how ATC bills the play: "Love, intrigue, romance and suicide. And that's just in the play they're rehearsing. In the late 1930s, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, the two most revered stars of the Broadway stage, decide to perform Chekhov's masterpiece The Seagull. But first they must retreat to 'investigate' the play at Ten Chimneys, their legendary Wisconsin estate, where they are surrounded by actors, family and hangers-on. When a young actress named Uta Hagen arrives, a romantic triangle begins to mirror the events in Chekhov's play about passion and art. The result is a sweet, sad, funny and revealing look at the private lives of artists who are always on the stage."
Ten Chimneys plays Tucson through Feb. 12 followed by Phoenix Feb. 17-March 6. Tucson performances take place at the Temple of Music and Art (330 S. Scott Avenue); call the box office at (520) 622-2823. Phoenix performances take place at the Herberger Theater Center (222 E. Monroe Street); call the box office at (602) 256-6995.
Visit www.arizonatheatre.org for more information.