One might guess Tony nominee Tom Hewitt would be playing the title character in The Compleat Female Stage Beauty in Jeffrey Hatcher's fresh comedy, but no. The Rocky Horror Show's Frank'n'fuerter stars as King Charles II in the Globe Theatre's production, opening in the Old Globe Theatre April 6. Performances began March 31 for a run through April 27.
The rule of Charles II brought one startling change to theatrical history - women were finally allowed to play female roles. Edward Kynaston, hero of The Compleat Female Stage Beauty, once played Desdemona and Juliet, but under Charles, is relegated to the less-flashy men's roles and to tutoring the new actresses in the ways of Shakespeare's women.
Compleat Female Stage Beauty is the first of two Hatcher productions for the Globe, who is hosting the playwright as their first Donald and Darlene Shirley Playwright-in-Residence. The second will be Smash, an adaptation of An Unsocial Socialist, George Bernard Shaw's comic tale of a millionaire socialist who leaves his bride at the altar for the cause. The Globe will also present a reading of Hatcher and Eric Simonson's Frank Lloyd Wright piece, Work Song.
Robert Petkoff is Kynaston. Jonathan Fried (Orson's Shadow) plays Thomas Betterton with David Cromwell (The Scarlet Pimpernel) as diarist Samuel Pepys. Also in the cast are Christine Marie Brown (Miss Frayne), Ryan Dunn (Lady Meresvale/Mistress Revels), Laura Heisler (Maria), Krista Hoeppner (Margaret Hughes), Quentin Mare (Villiars, Duke of Buckingham), Kwana Martinez (Nell Gwynn), David McCane (Hyde/Lelly/Ruffian), D'Vorah Bailey, Deb Heinig, Antonie Knoppers and Lucas Rooney.
Director Mark Lamos recent credits include the much-praised, popular revival of the Edward Ablee's Tiny Alice. He was Tony nominated for Our Country's Good. Other New York credits include Broadway's Fascinating Rhythm and The Deep Blue Sea as well as Off-Broadway's Thief River, The End of the Day and Measure for Measure. As an actor, the former artistic director of Hartford Stage Company played Hamlet at the Globe under the direction of Jack O'Brien. Tickets are $40-$45. The Globe Theatres are located in Balboa Park. For reservations, call (619) 239 2255. The Globe Theatres are on the web at http://www.theglobetheatres.org.
— By Christine Ehren