Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Opens on Broadway Oct. 13, the 50th Anniversary of the Classic
By Kenneth Jones
George and Martha, the English-speaking theatre's most contentious married couple since Katharina and Petruchio, are back on Broadway in a new production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opening Oct. 13 — 50 years to the day of its 1962 Broadway premiere.
This time around, Tracy Letts and Amy Morton play the college-town husband and wife — he the history professor, she the college president's daughter — in a staging that first surfaced in late 2010 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company's home in Chicago, where the actors are stage royalty. Tony Award nominee Pam MacKinnon (Clybourne Park) directs the production, which began Broadway previews at the Booth Theatre on Sept. 27. View the play's original 1962 Playbill (featuring Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill) here.
Letts and Morton are the playwright and the star, respectively, of the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning hit August: Osage County (Morton was nominated for a Tony for playing eldest daughter Barbara). Letts' plays include Bug and Killer Joe, among others. Morton, who has the role of a gubernatorial candidate on the TV series "Boss," is also a respected stage director. Read Playbill magazine's recent feature about Letts, who talks about George and Martha, and his collaboration with Morton.
The guests who are invited to late-night drinks at George and Martha's are Carrie Coon as Honey and Madison Dirks as Nick. They are caught in an outrageous night of cocktails and venom. All of the actors played Chicago and a later 2011 engagement at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.
The play about a marriage surviving on illusion and performance is in three acts, titled Fun and Games (Act One), Walpurgisnacht (Act Two) and Exorcism (Act Three).
Here's how the 2012 producers characterize the modern classic by Pulitzer Prize winner Albee: "On the campus of a small New England college, George and Martha invite a new professor and his wife home for a nightcap. As the cocktails flow, the young couple finds themselves caught in the crossfire of a savage marital war where the combatants attack the self-deceptions they forged for their own survival. Steppenwolf ensemble members Tracy Letts and Amy Morton face off as one of theatre's most notoriously dysfunctional couples in Albee's hilarious and harrowing masterpiece."
The Broadway production features the original Steppenwolf creative team: Todd Rosenthal (set design), Nan Cibula-Jenkins (costume design), Allen Lee Hughes (light design) and Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound design).
Steppenwolf’s production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is presented on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Susan Quint Gallin, Mary Lu Roffe, Kit Seidel, Amy Danis & Mark Johannes, Patty Baker, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Jam Theatricals, Cheryl Lachowicz, Michael Palitz, Dramatic Forces/Angelina Fiordellisi, Kathleen K. Johnson, and Will Trice.
Albee, 84, is the author of the following plays: The Zoo Story (1958); The Death of Bessie Smith (1959); The Sandbox (1959); The American Dream (1960); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961-62, Tony Award); Tiny Alice (1964); A Delicate Balance (1966, Pulitzer Prize, 1966 Tony Award); All Over (1971); Seascape (1974, Pulitzer Prize); Listening (1975); Counting the Ways (1975); The Lady From Dubuque (1977-78); The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981); Finding the Sun (1982); Marriage Play (1986-87); Three Tall Women (1991, Pulitzer Prize); Fragments (1993); The Play About the Baby (1997); The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2000, 2002 Tony Award); Occupant (2001); and At Home At the Zoo: (Act 1, Homelife; Act 2, The Zoo Story) (2004); Me, Myself and I (2010). Among his honors is a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.
The Booth Theatre is at 222 W. 45th Street. Tickets to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? can be purchased at Telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200.
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