Four by Tenn Has Growth Spurt; Kahn Adds Fifth Tennessee Williams Piece in MTC Run, with Robert Sella & David Rasche

News   Four by Tenn Has Growth Spurt; Kahn Adds Fifth Tennessee Williams Piece in MTC Run, with Robert Sella & David Rasche
Manhattan Theatre Club patrons will get an extra helping of Tennessee Williams this fall with the addition of a fifth one-act in an evening first announced as Four by Tenn on MTC's Stage II. It's now Five by Tenn.

The complete cast was announced Sept. 10. Previews for the collection of plays seen in one sitting, under the direction of Michael Kahn, start Oct. 19. The newly announced title is the world premiere, The Fat Man's Wife. Additionally, Summer at the Lake is the new title of the previously announced piece once called Escape.

Robert Sella (Side Man, Cabaret, the national tour of Angels in America) and David Rasche (MTC's Last Dance, Broadway's Getting and Spending, Speed-the-Plow) will join the previously announced Kathleen Chalfant, Penny Fuller, Cameron Folmar, Hunter Gilmore, Jeremy Lawrence and Myk Watford.

Getting its world premiere at MTC is Adam and Eve on a Ferry and The Fat Man's Wife. New York premieres are Summer at the Lake (the new title of Escape) and Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens.... A play called I Can't Imagine Tomorrow, seen in a TV production and Off-Broadway, is also on the schedule.

The plays will be presented in one sitting.

Williams is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (also known for his compelling and sensual short stories) who penned The Glass Menagerie, The Rose Tattoo, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Orpheus Descending and more. Fuller is known for Broadway's Applause and The Dinner Party. Chalfant was praised and awarded for Wit and Angels in America in New York.

Performances play MTC's Off-Broadway Stage II at City Center through Dec. 19.

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The cast breakdown is Adam and Eve on a Ferry (David Rasche, Kathleen Chalfant, Penny Fuller); The Fat Man's Wife (David Rasche, Kathleen Chalfant, Robert Sella); I Can't Imagine Tomorrow (Kathleen Chalfant, David Rasche); And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens (Myk Watford, Cameron Folmar, Hunter Gilmore, Robert Sella); Summer at the Lake (Kathleen Chalfant, Penny Fuller, Cameron Folmar).

Michael Kahn, the respected artistic director of The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, similarly staged a clutch of Williams' short plays in a slate called Five by Tenn at The Kennedy Center's Terrace Theatre April 21-May 9, 2004. The works were produced by The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. Among the cast were Folmar, Watford and Chalfant.

The five one-acts seen in DC were: These Are the Stairs You Got to Watch, Escape ("a compelling work tinged with a sense of loss and hopelessness that foreshadows the mother-and-son relationship found in The Glass Menagerie"), And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens... ("Williams' only openly gay-themed play follows the story of a young, burnt-out man in his 30s living in New Orleans' French Quarter"), The Municipal Abattoir and I Can't Imagine Tomorrow ("a captivating drama, the play explores the friendship between a middle-aged man and woman who are both paralyzed by their individual pain").

Michael Kahn previously oversaw an Off-Broadway staging of Williams' one-acts under the title Ten by Tennessee.

The creative team for Five by Tenn in Washington, DC, earlier this year included Andrew Jackness (set design), Catherine Zuber (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Adam Wernick (original music) and Martin Desjardins (sound design).

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