Cast for Westport's Production of Dear Brutus Announced

News   Cast for Westport's Production of Dear Brutus Announced
The cast of the new Westport Country Playhouse production of J.M. Barrie's Dear Brutus, set to run July 7-24, with Gregory Boyd directing, has been announced.

Featured are Cheryl Lynn Bowers, Corinne Chandler, Curzon Dobell, Beth Fowler (The Boy From Oz), Meg Gibson, Patrick Horgan, Simon Jones (Waiting in the Wings), Allison Mackie, Emma Roberts, Noble Shropshire and Christopher Evan Welch (The Crucible).

Production credits include set design by David Gordon; costume design by Linda Fisher; lighting design by Rui Rita; and sound design and composition by John Gromada.

Interest in Barrie's work has increased since the release of the film "Finding Neverland," which details how Barrie hit upon the creation of Peter Pan. Dear Brutus starred a young Helen Hayes, Louis Calverg, William Gillette and Violet Kemble-Cooper when it debuted on Broadway in 1918.

The play's title, "Dear Brutus," comes from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

* As previously reported, the season will commence with a staging of the musical Finian's Rainbow starring Melissa Errico and Malcolm Gets. The production is adapted and directed by Charlotte Moore, who staged the piece at Irish Rep in Manhattan in 2004, where Errico and Gets starred.

The Playhouse will open its newly renovated home and simultaneously launch its 75th anniversary season with the musical, which begins its run on June 16.

Also in the cast is veteran actor Milo O'Shea as Finian, as well as Wendi Bergamini, Stephen Buntrock, Jonathan Hadley, Andi Hopkins, A.J. Irvin, Eric Jackson, Kimberly Dawn Neumann, John Sloman, David Staller and Joacquin Stevens.

The fantastical tale follows Sharon, who has left Ireland with her father, Finian, to settle in the mythical Southern state of Missitucky. Finian has stolen a leprechaun's pot of gold, and the angry sprite, named Og, has followed the thief to America, where they encounter romance, but also bigotry, economic disparity and social injustice.

The show also features the talents of music director Mark Hartman, choreographer Barry McNabb, set designer James Morgan, costume designer David Toser and lighting designer Mary Jo Dondlinger.

After Dear Brutus is Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding, July 28-Aug. 14. Joanne Woodward, who will end her run as artistic director after the 2005 season, will direct. Finally comes Journey's End by R. C. Sheriff, directed by Boyd, set for Aug. 18 Sept. 4. The war drama, set in a dugout in the British trench before St. Quentin during World War I, the play premiered on Broadway in 1929, with Jack Hawkins in the cast. It ran 485 performances. It was revived for a short Broadway run in 1939.

The above line-up will be followed by the Playhouse's first-ever winter play series, consisting of one play in October, a holiday show in December, plus a third production in March 2006. Dickens' David Copperfield, adapted by Giles Havergal, will be the Dec. 1-18 holiday show. The other two shows are to be named later.

The Playhouse presented an abbreviated two-play "on the road" season in 2004 as it waited for its classic barn-theatre home to be modernized and renovated. Both shows were presented at Westport's temporary home at The Ridgefield Playhouse for Movies and the Performing Arts.

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