After reports that director Mike Nichols was looking at spaces such as Broadway's Booth Theatre, Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre and non traditional industrial buildings, the New York Times said Feb. 2 that the production has landed back at its originally announced location: the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.
Like in many a past Nichols venture, the cast will be packed with marquis names from the lead roles to the most minor supporting part. As first reported by PBOL on March 6, 2000, Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline will head the cast as Arkadina and Trigorin. Also in the cast, said the Times, are Natalie Portman as Nina, Christopher Walken as Sorin, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Konstantin, John Goodman as Shamrayev, Allison Janney as Masha, Debra Monk as Polina, Stephen Spinella as Medvedyedo and Larry Pine as Dorn.
Walken was missing from the stage for many years before returning in last year's surprise critical hit, James Joyce's The Dead. Janney, a theatre veteran now finding success on television's "The West Wing," last appeared on stage at the Delacorte as Kate in The Taming of the Shrew. Hoffman triumphed in a Broadway revival of True West last spring and recently directed Jesus Hopped the A Train, a success Off-Broadway.
Monk, last seen on the New York stage in Lincoln Center Theater's The Time of the Cuckoo, will star in Thou Shalt Not, the new Susan Stroman-Harry Connick, Jr., musical this fall. Goodman starred at the Delacorte a couple seasons back in Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth. Spinella, too, knows the Delacorte, from acting there in Troilus and Cressida. Pine is currently starring at Primary Stages in Krisit.
Nichols' predilection for stars is well known. His late-'80s staging at Lincoln Center Theater of Waiting for Godot starred Robin Williams and Steve Martin as Didi and Gogo. Several seasons later, he cast Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss and Glenn Close in Death and the Maiden on Broadway. *
The new Seagull began with a recent reading of Chekhov's classic held in Mike Nichols' Manhattan apartment, starring Streep and Kline.
Nichols, Streep and Kline have all been absent from the New York stage for some years. Though Nichols has "supervised" various plays, his last theatre assignment as director was Death and the Maiden. Streep, meanwhile, has been missing from the theatre for even longer. During the 1970s, she appeared in New York City stagings of The Cherry Orchard, Happy End and Taming of the Shrew. The winner of two Oscars, she was recently nominated for another for "Music of the Heart."
Kline has been slightly more faithful to the boards. Since taking the Tony for The Pirates of Penzance, he has appeared in Hamlet at the Public and, most recently, Ivanov at Lincoln Center Theatre.
The Seagull will begin performances in July or August of 2001.
—By Robert Simonson