Actor Bruce Norris is the latest performer to turn playwright, following in the footsteps of fellow thespians David Marshall Grant (Snakebit), Anne Meara (After-Play) and Patrick Breen (Marking). Norris' The Infidel will premiere at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Studio space Feb. 24, 2000, for an opening on March 5 and a run through March 26. An extension through April 30 is a possibility.
Anna D. Shapiro, a resident director at Steppenwolf, will direct.
Norris has become a familiar face on the New York stage in recent years, appearing in Marco Polo Sings a Solo at the Signature Theatre Company, Plunge at Playwrights Horizons, La Terrasse at Manhattan Theatre Club, and An American Daughter on Broadway. He spent this past summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.
The 1999-2000 season as Steppenwolf's Studio Space runs as follows:
€ Her Name Was Danger, a Lookinglass Theatre-Steppenwolf co- production, created and directed by David Catlin, Nov. 17-Dec. 12. € The Infidel, by Bruce Norris, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, Feb. 24 March 26, 2000.
€ Redmoon's Hunchback, a Redmoon Theater-Steppenwolf co production, by Jim Lasko, based on Victor Hugo's novel, music by Michael Zerang, May 17-June 11, 2000.
In other news, Orson Welles, Laurence Oliver, Vivien Leigh, Joan Plowright and Kenneth Tynan are the quintet featured in Orson's Shadow, the latest play by actor-director-dramatist Austin Pendleton. The play, Pendleton's third, will receive a production at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's new Garage space, Jan. 13-Feb. 13, 2000 (opening Jan 16, with a possible extension through March 19).
Orson concerns the 1960 London premiere of Ionesco's Rhinoceros, which starred Olivier and was directed by Welles. At the time, Olivier was going through a nasty divorce from his second wife, actress Vivien Liegh, who named actress (and, from 1961, Olivier's third wife) Joan Plowright as co-respondent in her divorce filing. Tynan was London's leading dramatic critic and all-around enfant terrible, a friend of both Welles and Olivier (he would co-found the Royal National Theatre with Oliver in 1963), and a frequent sparring partner of Ionesco's.
Pendleton, best known as an actor (The Diary of Anne Frank, the upcoming Finian's Rainbow) and director (The Runner Stumbles, The Little Foxes), debuted as a playwright in the early 90s with Booth, a bio-drama which starred Frank Langella as legendary actor Junius Booth. Though that work did not go far, Pendleton's second play, the searing Uncle Bob, went on to enjoy productions in New York, Los Angeles, Hartford and Chicago.
No casting has been announced, but readings have featured John Mahoney, Jeff Perry and Sally Murphy.
The Steppenwolf Garage season will begin with Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth, presented Oct. 14-Nov. 14 in collaboration with Roadworks Productions.
For information, call (312) 335-1888.
--By Robert Simonson