Edward Herrmann will be hearing Ancestral Voices at Lincoln Center Theater this fall when he appears in the new A.R. Gurney play by that name. Herrmann told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 19) he would stay with Voices until late fall and will then fly west to star in Neil Simon's The Dinner Party, set to premiere at the Mark Taper Forum Dec. 2.
Playing on the upcoming LCT musical Contact's dark nights at the Newhouse Theatre, Ancestral Voices will begin Sunday, Sept. 19 and officially open Oct. 18. Voices recently closed (June 7) an extended engagement at the Newhouse. Dan Sullivan, who directed Gurney's Far East, will helm the readings which, like Gurney's Love Letters, will feature a rotating cast.
Joining Herrmann in the first line-up are David Aaron Baker, Philip Bosco (Moon Over Buffalo), Blythe Danner and Elizabeth Wilson (the upcoming Waiting in the Wings).
In Voices, five actors sit on stage and read the script (making it easy to have changing casts) about a family whose lives are turned inside out when young Eddie's grandmother unexpectedly divorces his grandfather to marry the grandfather's best friend.
Mary Louise Wilson was in the recent Ancestral Voices cast, with Robert Sean Leonard, Debra Monk (Company), James Rebhorn (Far East), Nancy Marchand and Mason Adams in the January readings. *
In other Lincoln Center Theater news:
Debra Monk will star in a new Lincoln Center Theater revival of Arthur Laurents 1952 play The Time of the Cuckoo. The production will probably take place in the fall. A spokesman at LCT, however, said no specific dates had been set. No other cast members have been announced.
Cuckoo looks at the romances of two Americans in Venice. One story has a young painter cheating on his wife with his landlady, while another plotline follows a Yankee spinster's relationship with a Venetian merchant.
The original production opened at the Empire Theatre on Oct. 15, 1952 and ran for 263 performances. Harold Clurman directed a cast led by Shirley Booth, who won a Tony Award for her performance. The subsequent movie, retitled "Summertime," starred Katherine Hepburn and Rosanno Brazzi, and was directed by David Lean.
Monk was last seen at Lincoln Center Theatre in the revival of O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness!.
Laurents' other works include Home of the Brave, Jolson Sings Again (currently playing at NJ's George Street Playhouse), and the books for Gypsy and West Side Story.
The new Michael John LaChiusa musical, Marie Christine; Spalding Gray's solo-show Morning, Noon and Night; and the Susan Stroman and John Weidman dance play, Contact will all be featured in Lincoln Center Theatre's fall season.
The season will kick off with a bang, when one of the most highly anticipated new musicals, Marie Christine, begins previews Oct. 28 for a Dec. 2 opening at the Vivian Beaumont Broadway space. The production reunites LaChiusa with director choreographer Graciela Daniele; the two previously collaborated on Hello Again at Lincoln Center. Three-time Tony winner Audra McDonald will star in Marie. According to Charles Koppelman, LaChiusa's agent, the lead role was written with McDonald in mind. Though McDonald has been a star in the New York theatre world for some time now, this will represent her first time she has been asked to carry a Broadway musical on her own. Mary Testa (On the Town) and Darius de Haas (The Running Man) will also be featured in the production, while Anthony Crivello is in talks to star.
Set in the late 1800s in New Orleans and Chicago, Marie Christine is the tragic story of a passionate young Southern woman and her all consuming love for an ambitious sea captain.
Performing at the Vivian Beaumont during Marie's off-nights will be Spalding Gray's latest solo piece, Morning, Noon and Night on Sunday and Monday evenings, beginning Oct. 31.
Morning, Noon And Night covers a day in the Long Island life of Gray and features tales of his family: Kathie, Marissa, Forrest and Theo. In the storytelling tradition of Joyce's "Ulysses," the monologue covers the events of one day in Gray's life while he searches for meaning and substance in its traditional structure.
Taking over the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre, Lincoln Center Theatre's Off Broadway space, will be Susan Stroman and John Weidman when they premiere their Contact (billed as a "Dance Play") beginning previews Sept. 9 for an Oct. 7 opening.
Stroman will be directing and choreographing the musical-dance piece with the neo-swing pop outfit, The Squirrel Nut Zippers and librettist John Weidman (Assassins, Wiseguys).
Boyd Gaines (Cabaret) will star in the production, playing a man on the brink of committing suicide when he meets a dancer in a swing club. The play's title comes from the man ability to finally make "contact" with others through dance.
Along with music from The Zippers, the show will feature a compilation by such classic composers as Berlioz, Grieg and Tchaikovsky.
Tickets for any of Lincoln Center Theatre's shows are available through Tele Charge at (212) 239-6200.
--By Robert Simonson