Cherry Jones, Ashley Johnson, Sharon Lawrence, Marian Seldes and Diane Venora will be the featured players in Ellen McLaughlin's Tongue of a Bird, opening Jan. 14, 1999 at the Mark Taper Forum for a 3-week run.
Taper resident director Lisa Peterson stages the drama, which tells the story of an ace search-and-rescue pilot (Jones) hunting for an abducted young girl (Johnson). The Taper is co-producing with the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, which will also offer the piece in 1999 (though the Taper had no information on whether the same cast would travel to Manhattan).
"Rich in poetic text and stunning imagery, the play defines a quest that transcends time itself as it soars toward its haunting, inexorable climax," said a company spokesperson.
Bird was originally commissioned by the Taper and developed in the Taper's 1995-96 New Work Festival. It had its world premiere at the Intiman Theatre in September, 1997 and was subsequently produced at the Almeida Theatre in London.
Seldes was last seen on the New York stage in Lincoln Center's staging of Chekhov's Ivanov in fall 1997. Seldes won a Drama Desk nomination for her performance as the miserly wife of a drunken landowner. Seldes' other credits included the original U.S. productions of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance and Three Tall Women. Jones won acclaim last season in Lincoln Center's staging of Tina Howe's Pride's Crossing. She is expected in New York next season in a Broadway revival of O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten.
Bird is described as "the powerful and poetic story of a search-and rescue pilot who hunts for an abducted girl, while trying to come to terms with the loss of her own mother. . . about one woman's lost child, and another's lost childhood."
Venora is best known for playing Hamlet at the Public Theatre. Lawrence has a recurring role on ABC-TV's "NYPD Blue."
The Taper also announced that the company's Other Voices Project recently received funds from the California Arts Council's Artists-in Residence Program to support the residency of poet/playwright Lynne Manning through Aug. 1999.
Manning and the OVP will set up two separate theatre workshops for young people who have acquired a disability from some act of violence. "The overall goals of the workshops are to increase physical self-confidence and expressive capability of the participants, and to develop narratives that will serve as a basis for dramatic exploration," said a company spokesperson.
The first workshop is currently taking place in the Neuro-Rehabilitation Department at Rancho Amigos Hospital. The second workshop will take place at the Taper after the first of the year.
Call (213) 972-0790 for more information.