She has 40 years of acting credits and keeps going strong. She's Kathleen Widdoes, and she'll appear as Maria Callas in the Playmakers Repertory Company mounting of Terrence McNally's Master Class, opening Feb. 7. Previews begin Feb. 4 for a run through March 1.
Widdoes' credits include Ghosts at MA's American Rep (1982), opposite a then-unknown Cherry Jones; playing Gertrude in a Joseph Papp directed Hamlet (1982); a 1983 stint in Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway; and a 1967 staging of Pirandello's To Clothe The Naked Off-Broadway.
Terrence McNally's Tony-winning Master Class follows, Feb. 4 - March 1, 1998. Tazewell Thompson, former artistic director of Syracuse Stage, directs this look at imperious voice teacher Maria Callas, a legend on the opera stage, a wreck in her romantic life. The hopeful students who attend Callas' master class in singing include Culver Casson, Sherrita Duran and Pedro Porro. Christopher Berg serves as piano accompanist.
This 22nd season of North Carolina's PlayMakers Repertory Company is a varied one, with a Shakespearean frolic, a psychological drama, a socio political romance, a satirical musical -- and a singing lesson.
Opening the season, Sept. 13-Oct. 5, was Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by Thompson. David Hare's Skylight followed, Oct. 15-Nov. 9. After Master Class comes Mrs. Klein, March 11 April 5. Set in 1934, Nicholas Wright's drama shows pioneer child psychologist Melanie Klein and the effect her methods had on her own daughter. Ending the basic subscription season will be The Threepenny Opera, April 15 - May 10, 1998. With book and lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, music by Kurt Weill, Opera has been a major influence on musical theatre since its 1928 debut in Berlin. Author Brecht would have been 100 years old in 1998.
In addition to the five new plays this season, PlayMakers Rep brings back the family holiday show, The Nutcracker: A Play by David Hammond, based on stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann. (Runs Nov. 28 - Dec. 21.)
PlayMakers Rep is housed at the Paul Green Theatre on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Milly S. Barranger serves as producing director of the Equity theatre.
For tickets (subscriptions start at $60) and information on shows at Playmakers Repertory Company call (919) 962-7529.
-- By David Lefkowitz