As summer theatres all over America round up their seasons, the Williamstown Theatres Festival (WTF) is finishing off with some new exciting works.
On the Main Stage, as Moliere's The Learned Ladies is closing August 11, Filumena by Eduardo de Filippo, opens featuring Maria Tucci, Aug. 14-25. Tucci, who has appeared in over 15 shows at WTF and in many Broadway and off-Broadway productions, plays Filumena, a female servant who outsmarts her master and gets him to marry her.
On the Other Stage, Joanne Woodward directs an all star cast in Clifford Odets, ÷"Rocket to the Moon." Rocket marks Woodward's second stint as director at Williamstown, where she previously directed another Odets' play, Golden Boy. Marisa Tomei stars as the simple girl who looks for love in complicated places. Other stars are Jere Shea, (on Broadway in Passion,) and Reg Rogers, who was nominated for a 1995 Tony Award for his performance in Holiday.
Playwright Odets was also a painter. Concurrent with the production, "Paradise Lost: The Paintings of Clifford Odets" runs through Oct. 14.
Twenty-five of Odets watercolors, ink drawings and gouaches will be on view at the Williams College Museum of Art. For further information, the museum can be reached at (413) 597-3180. As part of the Monday Special Event series, Kandis Chappel and Miriam Margolyes will perform Gertrude Stein's America, compiled from Stein's work by WTF Literary Manager Christina Sibul. The piece focus' on Stein's comments and feelings about America. This performance will be held on Monday August 12 at 3pm, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute South Street in Williamstown.
The season's final cabaret, on Aug. 9, 11pm and Aug. 10 , 11:30pm., can be seen at the 1896 House on Rtes. 7/2 in Williamstown. The show is hosted by Gretchen Cryer and Cass Morgan, and features Kate Burton, James Naughton and Dana Reeve. Cryer co-wrote I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road. and has performed on Broadway in her own cabaret act. Cass Morgan has been on Broadway in Pump Boys and Dinettes and Beauty and the Beast , and has many other New York credits.
For the past ten years, as part of the Festival, Williamstown has hosted outdoor Free Theatre, and to celebrate its 10th anniversary is Free Theatre's world premiere of Hard Times, Steve Lawson's adaptation of the 1854 Dickens novel. Steve Lawson has adapted many works for the series at WTF. This year marks the first collaboration between WTF and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) , which is currently an abandoned industrial complex. The vast mill space is being converted into an enormous center for the performing, visual and arts media, officially opening in 1998. It will serve as the natural set of Hard Times. Free Outdoor Theatre can be viewed Aug 7-10 and 13-17 at 6pm; on 87 Marshal St. in North Adams.
Finally, ACT I, WTF young actors' training ensemble, will present their adaptation of The Tempest, a 90 minute version adapted and directed by directing fellow Jim Gaylord. The actors range in age from late high school through college. In the production they will play multiple roles, utilize masks, and make all the stage sounds themselves. The Tempest can be seen at the Goodrich Hall on Williams Campus, Aug.15 17, 11:30pm and Aug 18, 8pm.
For tickets and more information about the Williamstown Theatre Festival, call (413) 597-3400.
-- By Blair Glaser