Actors Josef Sommer and Jason Butler Harner will greet The Woman in Black on May 24, when that play begins previews at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, Long Island. The play, directed by Leonard Foglia, runs through June 11.
The Woman in Black is adapted by Stephen Malatratt from Susan Hill's book. The thriller concerns the haunted Arthur Kipps, a London solicitor who continues to be terrified by an experience of his youth. To rid himself of the memory, he hires an actor to re-enact the childhood event.
Sommer plays the solicitor. His most recent New York City appearance was in A.R. Gurney's Labor Day at Manhattan Theatre Club. Broadway credits include Racing Demon at Lincoln Center Theater and The Shadow Box.
* Kate Burton will be a girl with a gripe and a gun come June 21, when she assumes the title role in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Bay Street Theatre's second offering of the season. The drama, adapted by Jon Robin Baitz, will be a co-production with the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Nicholas Martin (Betty's Summer Vacation) will direct.
Burton was recently seen Off-Broadway in Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do!. Prior to that, she acted in Broadway's The Beauty Queen of Leenane. The actress has familial connections to both Williamstown and Bay Street. Michael Ritchie, artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, is Burton's husband. Sybil Christopher, co- artistic of Bay Street, was the first wife of Richard Burton, Kate's father. * Finally, closing the season will be Kaufman and Hart's comedy You Can't Take It With You. Jack Hofsiss (The Elephant Man) will helm the play, which runs Aug. 16-Sept. 3.
The Ibsen and Kaufman and Hart revivals mark a new direction for the Bay Street, which has, until now, focuses primarily on new plays and American premieres. A Bay Street spokesman said the theatre had made a conscious choice to stage more classics, in part was responding to the desires of its audience.
Bay Street will also introduce a "Tuesday Talkback Series" in 2000. The program will allow subscribers to meet and chat with actors, directors, playwrights and designers involved in the theatre's productions.
The Bay Street Theatre in located in Sag Harbor, Long Island. For information call (631) 725-9500, or consult the website at www.baystreet.com.
--By Robert Simonson