Lois Smith Conjures The Illusion, Kushner's Rewrite of a French Classic, Opening June 5

News   Lois Smith Conjures The Illusion, Kushner's Rewrite of a French Classic, Opening June 5
Off-Broadway's Peter Norton Space has been transformed into a lamp-lighted cave for Signature Theatre Company's production of Tony Kushner's The Illusion, based on the play by 17th-century tragic playwright Pierre Corneille. Opening is June 5.

Lois Smith
Lois Smith Photo by Joan Marcus

Tony Award winner Michael Mayer directs the Off-Broadway staging featuring Peter Bartlett, Lois Smith, David Margulies, Sean Dugan, Amanda Quaid, Henry Stram, Merritt Wever and Finn Wittrock. Previews began May 17 for a now-extended run to July 17.

Mayer's scenic designer is his Tony Award-winning Spring Awakening and American Idiot collaborator Christine Jones, who dangles multicolored, eclectic lanterns from swirling metal rods on the ceiling. We're in the cave of a magician (played by seasoned Lois Smith), and all the secrets and spells of her lifetime seem to be locked within those twinkling vessels.

Mayer is no stranger to Kushner's work; he directed the national tour Angels in America in the 1990s.

Here's how Signature characterizes the play: "A lawyer [Margulies], facing mortality, desperate to find the son [Wittrock] he drove away years before, travels in the dead of night to a mysterious cave. There he engages the services of a wizard [Smith], who conjures up visions of the romantic, adventurous, perilous life the lawyer's son has been living since his father expelled him from home. The Illusion, freely adapted from Pierre Corneille's L'Illusion Comique, is Kushner's most joyfully theatrical play, a wildly entertaining tale of passion and regret, of love, disillusionment and magic."

The Illusion features costume design by Wicked Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Tony winner Kevin Adams (The 39 Steps, American Idiot, Spring Awakening), sound design by Bray Poor and fight direction by Rick Sordelet (whose sword fights here are dazzling and believable in the intimate space). Production stage manager is Paul J. Smith. Signature Theatre Company's current season also featured the first New York revival of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning epic work, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, directed by Michael Greif, which extended four times and played its final performance at the Peter Norton Space on West 42nd Steet on April 24. The New York premiere of Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures, also directed by Michael Greif and co-produced with The Public Theater in association with The Guthrie Theater, is currently playing at The Public.

For more information, visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.

Amanda Quaid, Peter Bartlett and Finn Wittrock
Amanda Quaid, Peter Bartlett and Finn Wittrock Photo by Joan Marcus
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