John Guare's latest, Chaucer in Rome, will open June 7 at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. It began previews on May 10. Nicholas Martin, who did memorable work with Guare's Bosoms and Neglect at Signature Theatre Company, directs.
The cast includes Polly Holliday, Bruce Norris, Lee Wilkof, Umit Celebi, Susan Finch, Dick Latessa, Nancy McDonial, Tim McGeever, Carrie Preston, Antonio Edwards Suarez, Jon Tenney and Grant James Varjas. The first three starred in a 1999 Williamstown Theatre Festival production of the play, also piloted by Martin. Holliday and Norris were additionally veterans of the Signature's 1998-99 season, which was dedicated to Guare's work. Holliday and Norris starred in the company's revival of Marco Polo Sings a Solo.
Chaucer in Rome boasts a typically theatrical, absurdist Guare plot, in which the story of a painter trying to find himself in the Eternal City is matched with the tale of a Queens family searching for their son, all during the last year of the past millennium. The story is said to be a sequel of sorts to Guare's The House of Blue Leaves and includes the son of one of the earlier play's characters.
Chaucer continues a collaboration between the playwright and LCT which began with the mid-80s revival of The House of Blue Leaves and continued with Six Degrees of Separation and Four Baboons Adoring the Sun.
Guare's career stretches back nearly 40 years to the days of Greenwich Village's Cafe Cino. His works include The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year, Rich and Famous, The Lanscape of the Body and Two Gentleman of Verona. His proposed four-part series of Nantucket plays, which includes Women and Water, Lydie Breeze and Gardenia, was presented in a revised form as two plays at New York Theatre Workshop in 2000. For more information, call (212) 239-6200.
—By Robert Simonson