PHOTO CALL: Broadway's The Heiress, Starring Jessica Chastain, Meets the Press
By Matthew Blank
The new Broadway production of Ruth and Augustus Goetz's period drama The Heiress, starring Jessica Chastain, Dan Stevens, David Strathairn and Judith Ivey, will open Nov. 1 following previews from Oct. 7 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The cast posed for photos at The Empire Hotel on Sept. 13.
Joining the quartet of stars will be Molly Camp as Marian Almond, Kieran Campion as Arthur Townsend, Virginia Kull as Maria, Dee Nelson as Mrs. Montgomery and Caitlin O'Connell as Elizabeth Almond. The complete cast was revealed on Aug. 27.
Academy Award nominee Chastain ("The Help") plays spinster Catherine Sloper, with Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Strathairn ("Good Night and Good Luck," "Temple Grandin") as her stern father, Dr. Austin Sloper, in the play inspired by the Henry James novel "Washington Square."
Stevens, known to millions of international TV viewers as romantic lead Matthew Crawley on the period drama series "Downton Abbey," will play suitor Morris Townsend. Two-time Tony Award winner Ivey (Steaming, Hurlyburly) plays Aunt Penniman.
This is a limited run to Feb. 10, 2013. The 1947 American classic will be directed by Tony Award-nominated playwright and director Moisés Kaufman (I Am My Own Wife, 33 Variations, The Laramie Project).
The Heiress will be produced by Paula Wagner, Roy Furman, Stephanie P. McClelland, Luigi Caiola/Rose Caiola, Jim Herbert, Ted Liebowitz, Stacey Mindich, Jill Furman, Ricardo Hornos, Jon B. Platt, Eric Schmidt, Margo Lion/Rachel Weinstein and Jujamcyn Theaters. (Clybourne Park's limited Broadway run at the Kerr ends Sept. 2.)
Stevens recently shot season three of "Downton Abbey," the Golden Globe-winning series written by Julian Fellowes, reprising the leading role of Matthew Crawley. On stage, his credits include Septimus Hodge in David Leveaux's West End production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, and the Doctor in Tom Stoppard and André Previn's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre.
His forthcoming feature films include British independent picture "Summer in February" co-starring Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning (which he also executive-produced) and Amy Heckerling's "Vamps" with Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter and Sigourney Weaver (for fall 2012).
Chastain played the title role of Salome opposite Al Pacino in the 2006 Los Angeles staging of Oscar Wilde's play, and appeared in Othello at the Public Theater and Rodney's Wife at Playwrights Horizons, both Off-Broadway. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance as vivacious outsider Celia Foote in "The Help," the film version of the best-selling novel. Her 2011 film credits also include "The Tree of Life," "The Debt" and "Take Shelter." The Heiress will mark Chastain's Broadway debut.
Strathairn won an Emmy in 2010 for Best Supporting Actor in the HBO film "Temple Grandin." His stage work includes plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, the New York Shakespeare Festival, SoHo Rep, Hartford Stage, Ensemble Studio Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. Later this year he will appear opposite Daniel Day Lewis in the feature film "Lincoln," directed by Steven Spielberg.
Ivey appeared in the 1997 film "Washington Square." She starred in four television series, including "Designing Women." Recent television appearances include "Nurse Jackie," "Big Love," "Person of Interest," "White Collar," "Grey's Anatomy." Her recent New York stage performances include Eppie Lederer/Ann Landers in The Lady with all the Answers at the Cherry Lane, Shirley Valentine at the Long Wharf Theatre, and as Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie at Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre, for which she received the Lucille Lortel Award.
Here's how the producers bill The Heiress: "In this timeless New York love story, a protected young woman (Jessica Chastain) finds herself caught between her steely, grief-stricken father (David Strathairn) and a mysterious, handsome suitor (Dan Stevens). The power of passion, loss and money scars their lives in this unforgettable drama."
The design team includes Derek McLane (sets), Albert Wolsky (costumes), David Lander (lighting), Peter Golub (original music) and Leon Rothenberg (sound).
In 1995, Lincoln Center Theater had a major hit with a revival of the 1850-set play. It won Tony Awards for Best Revival, Best Actress (Cherry Jones), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Frances Sternhagen) and Best Direction of a Play (Gerald Gutierrez). It was the third Broadway revival for the play, and was celebrated for adding depth and psychological heft to a work that could be lazily sold as melodrama.
The property was a famous 1949 Hollywood film starring Olivia de Havilland (who won the Best Actress Oscar for her work) and Montgomery Clift. It was nominated for Best Picture.
Together Ruth Goetz and Augustus Goetz wrote the Broadway plays Franklin Street (1940); One Man Show (1945); The Immoralist (1954), an adaptation from the novel by Andre Gide; and The Hidden River (1957), an adaptation of a novel by Storm Jameson. The Goetzes also collaborated on the films "The Heiress" (Academy Award, 1949), "Sister Carrie" (1950), "Rhapsody," "Trapeze" and "Stagestruck." Ruth Goetz is the sole author of the plays Sweet Love Remembered (1959), written after her husband's death in 1957; and Madly in Love (1963).
Tickets for The Heiress are now available by visiting Telecharge.com, calling (212) 239-6200 and (starting Sept. 15) at the box office of the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 W. 48th St.). Ticket prices range from $50 to $135. Group bookings are being accepted now. Visit telecharge.com/groups or call Telecharge Group Sales at (800) 432-7780.
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