The McCarter Theatre production of Electra, starring Zoe Wanamaker, Pat Carroll, Claire Bloom, Stephen Spinella, and Michael Cumpsty, will begin performances at the Princeton NJ theatre Sept. 15, for a run through Oct. 4. Director David Leveaux, taking his first American job since directing Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Anna Christie, will stage Sophocles' tragedy. The show officially opens Sept. 18.
Renowned British actress Wanamaker will recreate her Olivier winning- performance in the title role. Bloom will play Clytemnestra, and Carroll is the Chorus Leader. Frank McGuinness, who adapted the recent Janet McTeer revival of Ibsen's A Doll's House, penned the translation.
Bloom's four-decade career has included countless acclaimed performances in the classics, particularly the works of Ibsen. On Broadway, she has appeared in Vivat! Vivat! Regina, Rashomon and Hedda Gabler. Her films include Limelight, Richard III and Look Back in Anger. Earlier this year, she performed her one-woman show, Enter the Actress, at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle.
Another stage veteran, Pat Carroll's credits include Grace & Glorie Gertrude Stein and Catch a Star. Also know for her television and film work, she won an Emmy for "Sid Caesar Hour" and provided the voice of Ursula in The Little Mermaid.
Spinella last played the narrating lawyer Alfieri in A View From The Bridge, advising Eddie Carbone of his rights and summing up Eddie's life at the play's finale. Spinella's other credits include two Tony Awards for playing Prior Walter in both parts of Angels In America. Also in the Electra cast are Michael Cumpsty (Racing Demon, 1776), Marin Hinkle (A Dybbuk at the NYSF), Daniel Oreskes, Myra Lucretia Taylor and Mirjana Jokovic.
In other McCarter news, playwright-director and McCarter Artistic Director Emily Mann (Execution of Justice, Having Our Say) will premiere her new play, Meshugah, this fall. Mann adapted the drama from Yiddish novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer's story of the same name, in which Aaron Greidinger, a struggling writer, falls in love with the mistress of a friend. The play is scheduled to run Oct. 20-Nov. 8. No cast has been announced. Mann's last work, Having Our Say, transferred from the McCarter to a Broadway run.
The third show of the season will be Two Sisters and a Piano (Feb. 16-Mar. 7, 1999), a world premiere by playwright Nilo Cruz (A Park in Our House). Set in Cuba in 1991, it tells of two women under house arrest whose fates are toyed with by a military official. No director has been selected.
Two classic comedies round out the mainstage season: Moliere's The School for Wives (Mar. 23-Apr. 11, 1999), in Richard Wilbur's translation; and Noel Coward's Design for Living (May 4-23, 1999), directed by Stephen Wadsworth.
McCarter's Second Stage was to see the world premiere of Yehuda Hyman's The Mad Dancers (Jan. 11-28, 1999), but that work (subtitled "A Mystical Comedy with Ecstatic Dance") has been cancelled.
For information of the season, call (609) 683-8000.