Horton Foote's The Carpetbagger's Children — which was drafted by Lincoln Center Theater to fill the hole left by Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years — will begin its run at the Mitzi E. Newhouse March 7 for a run through June 2. The cast includes Jean Stapleton, Hallie Foote and Roberta Maxwell. Michael Wilson directs. Opening is March 25.
Foote's own carpetbag has gotten a lot of wear lately, as he's followed the play around the nation. The drama premiered at Houston's Alley Theater, June 1-July 1, 2001. It then kicked off the season at the Guthrie Theatre's Lab space, Aug. 3-Sept. 2. Finally, the show traveled to Hartford Stage in CT, where Wilson is artistic director, for a Sept. 6-23 run.
In all the mountings, the cast has remained the same. Hallie Foote is, of course, the actress daughter of the playwright, and Horton's most frequent interpreter. In the past couple of years alone, she appeared in The Last of the Thorntons at NYC's Signature Theatre Company and in her sister Daisy Foote's When They Speak of Rita, which was directed by Papa Foote at Primary Stages.
Stapleton has spend much of the last few years touring with Rhoda Lerman's solo play about Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor: Her Secret Journey. Actress Maxwell starred in the national tour of Lettice and Lovage opposite Julie Harris and won Obies for Ashes and Whistle in the Dark.
The play, set in the fictional town of Harrison, TX, involves the life of a former Union soldier who settles in the south, as told by his daughters in a series of monologues. Designing the production are Jeff Cowie (set), David Woolard (costumes), Rui Rita (lighting) and John Gromada (sound).
Though its rare for a Foote play to cause any kind of tumult, The Carpetbagger's Children did have its moment of unanticipated crisis: During the show's run at Houston's Alley, Tropical Storm Allison hit, forcing the Foote drama to vacate the Neuhaus Arena Stage and take shelter at Stages Repertory Theatre, which had already finished its season.
Author Horton Foote won the Pulitzer Prize for The Young Man from Atlanta and two Oscars, for "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Tender Mercies." He was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1996. Daughter Hallie has performed in several of her father's works, including The Death of Papa and The Last of the Thorntons.
—By Robert Simonson