On Aug. 27, the 2000 season of the Williamstown Theatre Festival will be history. The fest's final attraction, Moss Hart's Light Up the Sky will conclude on that date.
Williamstown assembled a group of both rising and veteran New York stage talents to populate its revival of Light Up the Sky. The cast includes Tony winners Ron Rifkin, T. Scott Cunningham and Frank Wood, as well as Peter Bartlett, Eric Stoltz, Jessica Hecht, Enid Graham and Angelina Phillips.
Rifkin won a Tony for his performance at Herr Schultz in the Broadway revival of Cabaret. Still, he is perhaps best known for his searing turns in the Jon Robin Baitz plays The Substance of Fire and Three Hotels. His most recent Broadway turn was as the acerbic poet in David Hirson's short-lived Wrong Mountain.
Peter Bartlett is a regular in the work of Paul Rudnick, including Jeffrey and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Cunningham, meanwhile, is perhaps best remembered for his various unhinged portrayals in the plays of Nicky Silver, including Pterodactyls and Fit to Be Tied.
Phillips and Graham have worked together before, in CSC Repertory's Off Broadway revival of Look Back in Anger last fall. Phillips starred in WTF's All My Sons several seasons back, a production which traveled to New York and made her name in theatre circles. Graham was first noticed in the Broadway staging of Honour. She has since appeared Off-Broadway in Turn of the Screw at Primary Stages. Frank Wood won a Tony for her performance as a feckless trumpet play in Side Man by Warren Leight (whose Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine was seen at Williamstown last summer). Hecht, meanwhile, is a darling of Gotham critics, winning plaudits for her appearances in The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Stop Kiss, Plunge and Lobster Alice.
Thrown into this mix is Eric Stoltz, a veteran film actor ("Pulp Fiction") who occasionally graces stages in New York (Three Sisters) and Williamstown (The Glass Menagerie).
Hart's backstage comedy will be directed by Christopher Ashley, the helmsman behind such shows as Jeffrey and As Thousands Cheer.
Williamstown's mainstage 2000 season included a star-studded mounting of Noel Coward's Tonight at 8:30, Lanford Wilson's 1970s hit, The Hot L Baltimore, Jon Robin Baitz's new adaptation of Ibsen's classic, Hedda Gabler, Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, and the U.S. premiere of Simon Gray's The Late Middle Classes. The smaller Nikos stage featured Austin Pendleton's Orson's Shadow, and Joel Fields’s romantic comedy How I Fell In Love.
Orson's Shadow is expected to have a New York run sometime this coming season. Producers also reportedly shows interest in The Late Middle Classes. Last year, Williamstown's stagings of The Price and The Rainmaker both traveled to Broadway, while their production of John Guare's Chaucer in Rome is set for Lincoln Center Theater's 2000-01 schedule.
--By Robert Simonson