John Guare's latest, Chaucer in Rome, has its world premiere July 28 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in western Massachusetts. Nicholas Martin, who successfully mounted Guare's Bosoms and Neglect at New York's Signature Theatre Company last winter, will pilot the new work, scheduled to run on WTF's main stage through Aug. 8.
Polly Holliday, Bruce Norris, Lee Wilkof and B.D. Wong head a cast of six. Holliday, Norris and Wong are all 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, and Wong replaced David Aaron Baker in the last several performances of Bosoms and Neglect.
Also in the cast are Kali Rocha and Jerry Hardin.
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.
* In other WTF news, Lea DeLaria, Mark Linn-Baker and Michael Cumpsty have joined the cast of the Gwyneth Paltrow As You Like It, due to take the Williamstown Theatre Festival's Main Stage Aug. 4-15. The Bard's classic comedy marks the Oscar-winning actress and former WTF regular's first stage turn in many years. She will play the heroine Rosalind, who -- much like her character in "Shakespeare in Love" -- dressed up as a man in order to snare her love.
Alessandra Navola will play opposite Paltrow as Rosalind's love, Orlando.
The season schedule, which runs June 16-Aug. 29, runs as follows:
The Main Stage:
A Raisin in the Sun (July 21-Aug. 1), Lorainne Hansberry's classic, directed by Jack Hofsiss (The Elephant Man). Gloria Foster and Viola Davis star.
As You Like It (Aug. 4-15), starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Rosalind, Mark Linn-Baker as Touchstone, Michael Cumpsty as Jaques and Alessandra Navola as Orlando.
Chaucer in Love (July 28-Aug. 8), John Guare's new play about pilgrims who journey to Rome to absolve their sins, directed by Martin, who successfully mounted Guare's Bosoms and Neglect at New York's Signature Theatre Company earlier this year. B.D. Wong stars.
The Waverly Gallery (Aug. 11-22), Kenneth Lonergan's new play about an 85-year-old Greenwich Village gallery owner who, while failing mentally, refuses to retire, directed by Scott Ellis (Steel Pier). Eileen Heckart stars.
WTF will also present Quark Victory, a musical by Robert Reale and Willie Reale, starring Karen Ziemba, at the Hunter Center for the Performing Arts; and several cabaret acts and play readings.
For information, call (413) 597-3399.