While a Harry Connick, Jr. musical version is in the works for Broadway, Maryland's Olney Theatre Center will stage Neal Bell's straight play adaptation of Emile Zola's classic psychological thriller, Therese Raquin, opening Aug. 25. Performances of this debut production in the space's newly-constructed Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab began Aug. 22 for a run through Sept. 24. Helen Hayes Award winner Jim Petosa (Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris) directs.
In Therese Raquin, the young heroine is forced into a loveless marriage with her sickly cousin, Camille. As the lifeless union begins to stifle her, she meets Camille's passionate friend Laurent, with whom she falls in love and begins a descent into adultery, guilt and murder.
The founder of literature's naturalist movement, Zola is best known for his "Therese Raquin," although he also penned "Germinal" and was outspoken in defending falsely accused French Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus.
Valerie Leonard stars as Therese, with Daryl Lozupone as Camille and Christopher Lane as Laurent. Also in the cast are Helen-Jean Arthur (Madame), James Slaughter (Michaud), Tim Carlin (Grivet), Kathleen Coons (Suzanne) and Peter Finnegan (Olivier).
The set, framed in decaying gilding, is by James Kronzer and the costumes, based on both the colors and clothing of Claude Monet's painting, "Camille on Her Deathbed," are by Debra K. Sivigny. Six-time Helen Hayes winner Daniel MacLean Wagner did the lighting, with David McKeever on sound. Tickets are $32-$15. The Olney Theatre Center for the Arts is located at 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road. For tickets and information, call (301) 924-3400. The Olney Theatre is on the web at http://www.olneytheatre.org.