The prolific Adam Rapp, whose American Repertory Theatre world premiere production of Nocturne reached Off Broadway last season, will enjoy another A.R.T world premiere of his Stone Cold Dead Serious. The show is scheduled to run Feb. 1-March 12 at the Massachusetts venue.
The dysfunctional family story of the Ledbetters — a bunch of dropouts, junkies, and QVC addicts — is suddenly thrown askew when their son becomes a finalist in a video game contest. Marcus Stern, who helmed last season's Nocturne reteams with Rapp for this production.
The cast of Ledbetters and others includes Guy Boyd (Signature Theatre production of Sam Shepard's The Late Henry Moss), Dierdre O'Connell (New York Shakespeare Festival's production of 'Tis Pity She's a Whore), Elizabeth Reaser (London premiere of Rapp's Blackbird) Robert Runck, Thomas Derrah and Matthew Stadelman.
The title for the play was inspired by an actual pitch made by a home-shopping host hocking goods on television. According to Rapp in an A.R.T. interview, "I usually come up with a title first. For this play it came when I visited Dallas Roberts [Nocturne] and we hung out in his apartment after a Saturday show. We were flipping around the TV and on QVC there was a baseball card special. It was the most bizarre, life-and death sales pitch I've ever heard. This salesman kept repeating, 'If you don't buy this card, you're making the biggest mistake of your life. I am stone cold dead serious.' Over and over." Among Rapp's other works, Blackbird will make its American debut in May at Pittsburgh's City Theatre, receiving their world premieres will be Faster at the Culture Project in New York City, Dreams Of The Salthorse at the Encore Theatre in San Francisco and Finer Noble Gases at the 2002 Humana Festival in Louisville.
Running in rep with Rapp will be The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade by Peter Weiss. The play, known better by its abbreviated title Marat/Sade, supposes that the Marquis de Sade is helming a production of the death of French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat in an insane asylum with a cast of sociopaths, schizophrenics, and narcoleptics. Hungarian director János Szász, who helmed last season's Mother Courage, stages this production Feb. 15-March 17.
Robert William Sherwood's Absolution will play at A.R.T.'s 350 seat Hasty Pudding Theatre March 29-April 14. The story of three high school friends who 15 years earlier committed a heinous act and now are faced with their secret resurfacing.
The final project announced for the Loeb mainstage is an adaption of Aristophanes' Lysistrata playing May 10-June 9. Forget about a writers' or actors' strike, in this classic comedy the women of Athens, weary of the years of war with Sparta, unite to withhold sex. Larry Gelbart (book writer for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) has retooled the work that features songs by William Bolcom and Arnold Weinstein. Andrei Serban is set to direct the production with A.R.T. founding member Cherry Jones starring.
For tickets to Stone Cold Dead Serious or any of the productions at A.R.T., 64 Brattle Street, just outside Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, call (617) 547-8300. For more information, visit their website at www.amrep.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez