DC's Arena Confirms Casting for Virginia Woolf and At Home at the Zoo; Albee Festival Reading Titles Unveiled

By Kenneth Jones
27 Jan 2011

Amy Morton and Tracy Letts
Amy Morton and Tracy Letts
Photo by Michael Brosilow

Full productions of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and At Home at the Zoo are the centerpieces in a buffet of Edward Albee plays being laid out by Arena Stage in Washington, DC, this late winter and spring. Casting was announced for the mainstage works.

Nearly all of Albee's plays will be presented in reading format by DC-area companies in the two-month Edward Albee Festival in various spaces within Arena's Mead Center for American Theater.

The festival kicks off with Steppenwolf Theatre Company's acclaimed Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, directed by Pam MacKinnon (Arena's A Delicate Balance) starring Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts as George, Tony Award nominee Amy Morton as Martha, Carrie Coon as Honey and Madison Dirks as Nick. It will play the Kreeger Theater Feb. 25-April 10.

Simultaneously, Arena Stage mounts its own production of At Home at the Zoo directed by Mary B. Robinson and starring Jeff Allin as Peter, Colleen Delany as Ann and James McMenamin as Jerry, in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle Feb. 25-April 24.



Beginning in March through the end of April, 16 theatre troupes will present staged readings of Albee's work. Participating companies include The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Theater J, Taffety Punk, Round House Theatre, American Century Theater and Forum Theatre. Directors include Wendy Goldberg, Amy Freed, Mary B. Robinson, Aaron Posner, Irene Lewis and Howard Shalwitz, among many others. All readings will be followed by a discussion with its participating artists.

When asked what this festival means to him, Albee expressed, "Any playwright who would not be delighted to have this amount of intelligent and creative attention paid to his work would be a foolish and ungrateful person."

As part of the ongoing Arena Stage salon series, there will be an "Edward Albee Festival Salon" April 4 at 7:30 PM, featuring free public conversations with some of the artists from At Home at the Zoo, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the festival readings.

All staged readings are free, though reservations are required via the Arena Stage Sales Office at (202) 488-3300 or www.arenastage.org (the same avenues for the purchase of ticket to the full productions). The Arena Sales Office is at 1101 6th St., SW, DC.

*

In Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961-62), "audiences are invited for drinks with George and Martha," according to Arena. "As wickedly hilarious today as when it first shocked audiences, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is an ingeniously funny play that packs a helluva wallop. What starts as verbal sparring at an impromptu cocktail party, devolves into a no-holds-barred battle of wits and wills. With brilliant writing and some of the greatest characters ever created for the stage, Albee set a new standard for American theater with this sharp, vicious Molotov cocktail of a play."

The new Steppenwolf production, which premiered in Chicago, got raves; the DC booking had been previously announced.

The creative team for Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? also includes scenic designer Todd Rosenthal, costume designer Nan Cibula-Jenkins, lighting designer Allen Lee Hughes, sound designers Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen, fight choreographer Nick Sandys, stage manager Malcolm Ewen and assistant stage manager Keri Schultz.

In 2004's At Home at the Zoo, according to Arena notes, "Albee has outdone himself once again with a riveting drama that expands on The Zoo Story, the one-act that launched his career 50 years ago. In this meticulous and nuanced look at the lives of three New Yorkers, an everyday conversation between a husband and wife takes an unexpected turn into dangerously personal territory. The revelations and confrontations catapult them from their delicately balanced world onto life-changing paths. With the intensity and honesty for which Albee is known, At Home at the Zoo reveals the cutting truth about the razor's edge of our humanity."

The creative team for At Home at the Zoo also includes set designer James Noone, costume director T. Tyler Stumpf, lighting designer Nancy Shertler, sound designer Timothy Thompson, dramaturg Aaron Malkin, Arena Stage casting director Daniel Pruksarnukul, stage manager Martha Knight, stage management assistant Shaun Hart, stage management fellow Kristen Harris and directing fellow Felipe Vergara.

The Edward Albee Festival Reading Schedule

Knock, Knock, Who's There?
Ongoing Installation
In the Mead Center

Lolita
Round House Theatre Company
Directed by Blake Robison
Monday, March 7 and Tuesday, March 8 at 7:30 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

Finding the Sun
University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies
Directed by Eric Bone Steele
Tuesday, March 8 and Wednesday, March 9 at 6 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

Box and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung
Double-bill directed by Aaron Posner
Friday, March 11 at 6:30 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall


The Death of Bessie Smith
Directed by Irene Lewis
Friday, March 11 at 7:30 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

Fragments
Directed by Howard Shalwitz
Friday, March 11 at 8:30 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

The Lady from Dubuque
Directed by Wendy Goldberg
Saturday, March 12 at noon
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

Counting the Ways and Listening
Double-bill directed by Anita Maynard-Losh
Saturday, March 12 at 5 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

Marriage Play
Directed by Mary B. Robinson
Sunday, March 13 at 12:00 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

The Man Who Had Three Arms
Directed by Amy Freed
Sunday, March 13 at 5:30 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

Fam and Yam
Directed by Angelisa Gillyard
Tuesday, March 15 at 7 PM and Friday, March 18 at 10:30 PM
In the Molly Smith Study

All Over
Barracuda Carmela Theater Company
Directed by Felipe Vergara
Saturday, March 19 at 5:30 PM and Sunday, March 20 at 8 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
The Washington Rogues
Directed by Ryan S. Taylor
Sunday, March 20 at 6 PM and Monday, March 21 at 8:30 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

The American Dream
Colored People's Theatre
Directed by Jamil Jude
Monday, March 21 at 7 PM and Tuesday, March 22 at 6 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

Tiny Alice
Taffety Punk Theatre Company
Directed by Lise Bruneau
Friday, March 25 at 7 PM and Saturday, March 26 at 5 PM
In the Ammerman Rehearsal Hall

The Sandbox
Faction of Fools Theatre Company
Directed by Matthew R. Wilson and Toby Mulford
Tuesday, March 29 at 7 PM and Friday, April 1 at 10:30 PM
In the Molly Smith Study

The Play About the Baby
Production Workshop
Directed by Douglas Eacho
Sunday, April 3 at 5 PM and Monday, April 4 at 7:30 PM
In the Molly Smith Study

Occupant
The Shakespeare Theatre Company
Directed by Alan Paul
Friday, April 8 at 5:30 PM and Saturday, April 9 at 11:30 AM
In the Molly Smith Study

Three Tall Women
Theater J
Directed by Shirley Serotsky
Saturday, April 9 at 5:30 PM and Sunday, April 10 at 5:30 PM
In the Molly Smith Study

A Delicate Balance
Directed by Maya E. Roth
Monday, April 11 and Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 PM
In the Molly Smith Study

The Ballad of the Sad Café
CTEK Arts
Directed by Margaret Van Sant and Priscilla Sample
Friday, April 15 at 5:30 PM and Saturday, April 16 at 5 PM
In the Molly Smith Study

Everything in the Garden
Directed by D. Ohlandt
Sunday, April 17 at 5 PM and Monday, April 18 at 7:30 PM
In the Molly Smith Study

Seascape
American Century Theater
Directed by Steven Scott Mazzola
Thursday, April 21 and Saturday, April 23 at 5:30 PM
In the Molly Smith Study

Malcolm
Forum Theatre
Directed by Michael Dove
Sunday, April 24 at 5 PM and Monday, April 25 at 7:30 PM
In the Molly Smith Study