Williamstown Head Roger Rees to Address Williams College

News   Williamstown Head Roger Rees to Address Williams College Roger Rees, the artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, will, on June 3, address the graduating class of Williams College as the college's baccalaureate speaker

Rees will also be awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the college's commencement on June 4.

Rees has been well known in the U.S. since starring in the Broadway transfer of the British success The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Since then, he has starred on Broadway in Indiscretions and Uncle Vanya.

On television, Rees had recurring roles on "The West Wing" as Lord John Marbury and on "Cheers" as Robin Colcord. He was appointed head at the WTF in 2005.

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A new production of Cole Porter's Anything Goes and the East Coast premiere of the new tuner The Opposite of Sex will be among the highlights of the 2006 Williamstown Theatre Season, it was recently announced. Also part of the summer line-up, according to an Equity casting notice, will be A Nervous Smile, a play be the recently deceased John Belluso; a new production of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth; a mounting of Romeo and Juliet; Double Double, a play written by WTF artistic director Roger Rees and Rick Elice; and Lucy and the Conquest by Cusi Cram.

Anything Goes, which features such classic tunes as "You're the Top," "Anything Goes" and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow," will be directed by Rees. It will run July 5-16 on the Main Stage. No actress has been announced for the lead role of Reno Sweeney, one of the plum parts of the musical theatre.

Sweet Bird of Youth, the next Main Stage attraction, will run July 19-30. David Jones will direct. Will Frears will pilot Romeo and Juliet, a familiar Shakespeare tragedy which is nonetheless rarely seen in the U.S., primarily due to the difficulty of finding sufficiently talented classical actors of the right age to play the two leads. Dates are Aug. 2-13. Double Double, directed by Frears, will conclude the Main Stage season Aug. 16-27. No casting has been announced for any of the final three plays of the roster.

The Nikos Stage schedule runs: Lucy and the Conquest by Cusi Cram, directed by Suzanne Agins, playing July 12-23; A Nervous Smile by John Belluso, directed by Maria Mileaf, running July 26-Aug. 6; and The Opposite of Sex, directed by Robert Jess Roth, playing Aug. 9-20.

This last will undoubtably attract the most attention of any WTF show this season. The musical, by Douglas J. Cohen and Roth, based on the film of the same name by Don Roos, premiered in San Francisco in fall 2004 and was for a long time expected to arrive on Broadway. That berth, however, never materialized.

The Opposite of Sex follows the conniving 16-year-old Dedee Truitt as she moves in with her now-wealthy, gay half-brother Bill and ends up pregnant by his new boyfriend Matt.

Acting in the San Francisco premiere were such top tier New York stage names as David Burtka, Kerry Butler, Jeff McCarthy, Donna Vivino and Karen Ziemba.