Joanne Woodward stepped into the Williamstown Theatre Festival's final performances of Kenneth Lonergan's new play The Waverly Gallery this past weekend, substituting for an ailing Eileen Heckart, confirmed a WTF spokesperson. Heckart who originated the role when the drama opened at the summer festival on Aug. 11, bowed out after the Thursday, Aug. 19, performance. Reportedly, Woodward filled in during the final four shows, carrying out her duties script in hand.
The Waverly Gallery closed out its run on Aug. 22.
In the play, aged gallery owner Green (Heckart/Woodward) fights to hold on to the gallery, even as Alzheimer's disease takes possession of her mind. Also in the cast are Maureen Anderson, Anthony Arkin (Power Plays), Mark Blum (Lost in Yonkers), Josh Hamilton (As Bees in Honey Drown) and Stephen Mendillo.
Woodward has often performed and directed at Williamstown. She is also active in New York's Blue Light Theatre.
Heckart won a Tony Award for her turn in Butterflies Are Free and nabbed an Oscar when she repeated the performance on film. Scott Ellis, fresh from piloting Warren Leight's The Glimmer Brothers, directed.
Eileen Heckart plays Gladys Green, the ancient owner of a Washington Square art gallery, in Kenneth Lonergan's new play, The Waverly Gallery, which ends its run at the Williamstown Theatre Festival on Aug. 22 after an opening Aug. 11.
The remaining season schedule, which runs June 16-Aug. 29, runs as follows:
The Main Stage:
The Price (Aug. 18-29), Arthur Miller's play about family loyalty and responsibility, directed by James Naughton.
For information, call (413) 597-3399.
-- By Robert Simonson