Westport in Talks to Bring in James Earl Jones One-Man Show Thurgood

News   Westport in Talks to Bring in James Earl Jones One-Man Show Thurgood
 
Westport Country Playhouse is currently in discussions to bring in the new play Thurgood, starring James Earl Jones, a spokesperson confirmed. No agreement or timeframe has been finalized.

James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The new work is by George Stevens, Jr., the famed filmmaker’s son who is best known for producing the Kennedy Center Honors. According to Army Archerd, the play will be co-produced by Bill Haber, and has Broadway hopes.

Jones will play former Civil Rights great and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Jones was last seen on the stage in On Golden Pond.

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The first season at Westport Country Playhouse under new artistic director Tazewell Thompson was recently announced. It will include plays by Thompson himself, a new musical featuring the songs of Kurt Weill, and a seldom-seen Arthur Miller play directed by Gregory Mosher.

The season will kick off March 9-25 with Eric Overmeyer's On the Verge. Long a regional theatre favorite, the play is the fantastical, wordy saga of three female adventuresses, circa 1888, who journey into "Terra Incognita." Next is Jam & Spice, a world premiere featuring the theatre music of Kurt Weill, and conceived by Tazewell Thompson and Dianne Adams McDowell. The show, which plays June 1-18, is described as a "song and dance celebration" of Weill's work.

(The coming year is also expected to see another Weill project. Director Harold Prince and playwright Alfred Uhry have fashioned a new musical titled LoveMusik about composer Weill and his wife, actress Lotte Lenya. It will have a regional tryout sometime in 2006 before arriving in New York, Variety reported. Michael Cerveris starred as Weill and Ann Morrison as Lenya in a recent Manhattan workshop.)

The Drawer Boy by Michael Healey, a regional staple in recent seasons, will arrive June 22-July 9. The story of two farmers and World War II veterans and the young actor who arrives at their house does not yet have a director.

The July 13-30 slot will be filled by Thompson's own Constant Star. The show is a history of Ida B. Wells, born a slave in 1860s Mississippi, who grew to become a pioneer of civil and women's rights. It features some of America's greatest human rights advocates from Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington to Susan B. Anthony and Jane Addams. Thompson will direct.

Next is a new comedy by frequent Westport playwright David Wiltse. Titled A Marriage Minuet, it promises to contain "Two couples. Marriage. A single girl. Flirtation. Temptation. Opportunity. Infidelity. Consummation. Satiation. Regret. Retreat. Repeat." Dates are Aug. 3-20.

Gregory Mosher will direct The Archbishop's Ceiling by Arthur Miller, Aug. 24-Sept. 10. The drama is one of Miller's most obscure, having premiered in 1977 and never run on Broadway. In the play, four famous writers and one woman who has relationships with three of them gather in an Eastern European city during the Soviet era. "The play asks the questions what happens to human beings, human behavior and relationships in a society that habitually pries and spies on its citizens, and what is the price of freedom?," according to Westport press materials.

Finally comes Old Wicked Songs by Jon Marans, a popular play during the late '90s that had an Off-Broadway run and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The comic drama about an aging European music professor and a young, arrogant piano prodigy meeting for piano lessons in Vienna will run Oct. 19-Nov. 5.

This is the first year the former summer stock house, which recently rebuilt and restored its facilities, will present a year-round schedule of plays.

For information, call (203) 227-4177 or visit the box office at 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Information about the Playhouse is also available at www.westportplayhouse.org.

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