Dee Hoty, the harried but caring mom of Footloose, New York theatre stalwart Sam Tsoutsouvas (The Man Who Shot Lincoln), and Wit vet Lisa Harrow star in a revival of Old Times at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse. The oddball Harold Pinter comedy drama started performances March 17, opened March 21 and ends its scheduled run April 15.
Ethan McSweeny, who directed Broadway's revival of The Best Man, staged Pinter's play. Harrow, an RSC veteran who starred in Wit Off Broadway and in Pittsburgh, will play Anna, an attractive woman who visits her old friend Kate (Hoty), now married to Deeley (Tsoutsouvas). The play's tone shifts from cordial to sensual to eerie.
Young director Sweeney, a former associate director at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC and who helmed Master Class last season at George Street, was named the company's associate artistic director, starting this season. Actress Hoty is a three-time Tony nominee, for Footloose, The Will Rogers Follies and The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public.
Designing Old Times are Mark Wedland (set), Linda Cho (costumes), Francis Aronson (lighting) and Christopher J. Bailey (sound). For tickets ($24-$40) and information on Old Times at George Street, 9 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, call (732) 246-7717.
* Closing the season at New Brunswick, New Jersey's George Street Playhouse will be Claudia Lazlo, by Arthur Laurents. Cigdem Onat, who was featured in the Lincoln Center revival of Laurents' The Time of the Cuckoo last season, will star in his brand new play, to be directed by artistic director David Saint.
In Claudia Lazlo, starting previews April 21 and running through May 20, Onat plays a "domineering, passionate actress" whose tumultuous behavior nearly sabotages her most important role — as an opera diva with a Nazi past. Also in the production are Jonathan Hadary, a Broadway veteran of Gypsy, As Is and Gemini and frequent host of BC/EFA's "Gypsy of the Year" events, and Reed Birney (The Butterfly Collection Off-Broadway). Rounding out the cast are Dana Brooke, who appeared in Venecia at George Street earlier in the season, and Jonathan Walker (Roundabout's Man and Superman).
After years of what appeared to be semi-retirement, author Laurents has been ferociously active the last two seasons, including Off-Broadway mountings of Big Potato, Home of the Brave and The Time of the Cuckoo. He remains best known for penning the books to West Side Story, Gypsy, Do I Hear a Waltz and Hallelujah Baby, as well as the screenplays for "The Turning Point" and "The Way We Were."
Designing Claudia Lazlo are Ricardo Hernandez (set), Theoni V. Aldredge (costumes) and David Lander (lighting).
For tickets and information on Claudia Lazlo at George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick, call (732) 246-7717.
As for the George Street second stage season, look for an expansion of last year's "Diva Project" to arrive May 9-19. This year, eight performers - women and men - will offer solo works in "The Diva and Gentle Men Festival," which artistic associate and director of education and outreach Ted Sod is curating. Among the offerings will be Frank Giano Ingrasciotta's Blood Type: RAGU, about Sicilian-American family life.
Plans for the 2001-02 season are also developing. Waiting for Tadashi, a play by Velina Hasu Houston that was going to be done this coming season, will instead arrive a year later. Artistic director Saint is still tentatively slated to direct. Houston had a hit in Los Angeles with her play, Tea. The Kennedy Center honored her for her pieces Asa Ga Kimashita (Morning Has Broken) and The Matsuyama Mirror. Other credits include Kokoro (True Heart), American Dreams, Cultural Lives and Hula Heart. Her Ikebana (Living Flowers) will be produced this fall at CA's Pasadena Playhouse.
Also on tap is the culmination of the Bridge Project, being produced with the Crossroads Theatre (an African-American company next door to George Street) to and L.A.'s Cornerstone Theatre Company. The latter goes into neighborhoods and works with non-performers to create a play that addresses issues affecting the community. We just finished the first year. "It's a huge undertaking," spokesperson Shanks told Playbill On-Line, "involving hundreds, even thousands of people... Their last pieces included The Good Person of New Haven and The Steel Project. The new piece is about New Brunswick, which has strong African-American, Latino, Jewish and Hungarian communities, as well as Rutgers college students and people who've lived here for decades. It's a fascinating process. The working title is `New Brunswick Stories,' and professional playwrights were recently hired to help develop the piece, which we'll produce in 2001-02, possibly as the season opener."
For further information on the George Street Playhouse and performances, visit them online at www.georgestplayhouse.org.
— By David Lefkowitz