For someone who died over a century ago, playwright Ivan Turgenev — who was up for a 2002 Tony Award for his Fortune's Fool — is certainly active. Boston's Huntington Theatre Company now opens its 21st season with the Russian scribe's drama A Month in the Country, Sept. 6-Oct. 6.
The play, as adapted by Brian Friel, centers on a Russian aristocratic family whose quiet lives are disrupted by a mother's affair with her son's summer tutor. Huntington artistic director Nicholas Martin helms the production.
A novelist and poet in addition to playwright, Turgenev (1818-1883), was one of the most-read Russian writers of his time. His other works include the novels "Fathers and Sons," "Rudin," "On the Eve"; the play A Provincial Lady — which played on Broadway in 1923 as The Lady from the Provinces; and the novellas "First Love," "A Lear of the Steppe" and "Torrents of Spring." (Fortune's Fool was Mike Poulton's adaptation of a Turgenev play known under several titles; in 2001-02 on Broadway it helped win Tonys for actors Alan Bates and Frank Langella.)
Irish playwright Friel is perhaps best known for his Tony Award-winning Dancing at Lughnasa. His other works include Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Faith Healer, Translations, Molly Sweeney and Give Me Your Answer Do.
The cast of A Month in the Country includes Jennifer Van Dyck, Barlow Adamson, Tom Bloom, Alice Duffy, Stacy Fisher, Ben Fox, Jeremiah Kissel, Tom Lacy and Melinda Lopez. The creative team includes Alexander Dodge (sets), Michael Krass (costumes), Jeff Croiter (lights) and Jerry Yager (sound).
The rest of the 2002-03 season for Huntington features the following:
- Marty, the Charles Strouse-Lee Adams Rupert Holmes musical which has been in development for several years, will finally see the stage in Beantown. Tony Award-winning choreographer Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie) helps director Mark Brokaw and star John C. Reilly in the tuner based on the Oscar-winning 1955 film about a homely Bronx butcher who wins a new lease on life through an unexpected romance. The production will play Oct. 18-Nov. 24.
- Broadway in Boston/Clear Channel Entertainment collaborate once again at the Wilbur Theatre to bring The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. Emmy Award winning Valerie Harper reprises her Broadway role in the Charles Busch comedy directed by Lynn Meadow about a depressed Manhattan wife and the childhood friend who shakes up her life. The show will run Dec. 3-Jan. 12, 2003.
- Huntington will debut the world premiere of The Blue Demon written and directed by Darko Tresnjak. The play with music by Michael Friedman follows the stories of a Jew, a Muslim, and a Christian who are all accused of the murder of the Sultan’s storyteller. If they cannot please the angered leader, they will be sentenced to death. Dates are set for Jan. 3-Feb. 2, 2003.
- Kia Corthron's Breath, Boom — which premiered at London's Royal Court Theatre then played Playwrights Horizons under the direction of Marion McClinton (King Hedley II, Jitney) — will receive its Boston premiere. The coming-of-age story spans 14 years in the life of a girl-gang leader through a rough home life to prison and back. The Boston staging will run March 7-April 6, 2003.
- Tony Award-winning actor Robert Sean Leonard is slated to play Henry Dewlip in the Benn Levy comedy Springtime for Henry. Martin also directs this production about a party-hearty playboy who is on the road to becoming a better man, or is he? Find out May 16 June 15, 2003.
For tickets to A Month in the Country at Huntington Theatre Company, 264 Huntington Avenue in Boston, MA, call the Box Office at (617) 266-0800. For more information, visit the website at www.huntingtontheater.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez