WILLIAMSTOWN THEATER FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SPECIAL EVENTS AND MORE FOR ITS 2019 SEASON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
ANNOUNCES TWO SPECIAL EVENTS AND ADDITIONAL CASTING FOR THE 2019 SUMMER SEASON
“LORRAINE HANSBERRY – A LIVING LEGACY / NEW ARTISTS AND NEW VISIONS” – A PUBLIC CONVERSATION FEATURING JOI GRESHAM, SOYICA COLBERT, TALVIN WILKS, AND TRACEY SCOTT WILSON WILL TAKE PLACE JULY 10
READING OF THE SOAP MYTH FEATURING ED ASNER AND TOVAH FELDSHUH TO BENEFIT THE WTF PROFESSIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM WILL TAKE PLACE JULY 22
3-TIME GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD WINNER RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN, TONY AND GRAMMY AWARD WINNER KATRINA LENK, AND MORE JOIN FRIDAYS@3 CASTING
New York, NY (June 12, 2019) – Williamstown Theatre Festival (Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director) has announced two special events for the 2019 season as well as additional casting for the Nikos Stage and Fridays@3.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Broadway opening of A Raisin in the Sun, the 2019 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will include a special public conversation: Lorraine Hansberry – A Living Legacy / New Artists and New Visions, featuring Hansberry Literary Executor, Joi Gresham, Hansberry biographer Soyica Colbert author of the forthcoming LORRAINE HANSBERRY: ARTIST/ACTIVIST (Yale University Press, 2019), and playwrights Talvin Wilks and Tracey Scott Wilson. Participants will explore the persistent resonance of Lorraine Hansberry’s signature work, A Raisin in the Sun, sixty years after its Broadway premiere and speak to how the writer, artist, intellectual, and activist has influenced their own creative works and identities as artists-activists. This free event will take place on Wednesday, July 10th at 10am at the Clark Auditorium (225 South Street). Reservations are required.
The 2019 season will also include a special reading of The Soap Myth by Jeff Cohen, directed by Pam Berlin, and starring 7-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) and 2-time Emmy and 4-time Tony Award nominee Tovah Feldshuh (Golda’s Balcony). It will be followed by a talkback with the playwright and cast, as well as Williams College professor and author of Living with Hate in American Politics and Religion, Jeffrey Israel. Holocaust survivor Milton Saltzman (Ed Asner) implores historians and journalists alike to record the specific Nazi atrocities he witnessed. In the face of a Holocaust denier (Tovah Feldshuh) and complicated journalistic practices, Milton will not relent in his quest to ensure the world reckons with the truth. The Soap Myth explores what it means to be a survivor and who has the right to write history. This event will take place on Monday, July 22nd at 7pm on the Main Stage. Tickets are $15 and proceeds benefit the Williamstown Theatre Festival Professional Training Program.
Joining the previously announced Nikos Stage casts is: Nicole Villamil (Network, The Rose Tattoo at WTF) in Tell Me I’m Not Crazy (July 24 – August 3), replacing the previously announced Nadine Malouf who had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict.
Casting for Fridays@3, a weekly new play reading series that is open to the public, will include Mia Barron, Richard Chamberlain, Katrina Lenk, and Tom McGowan in For Nina (July 12), Kate Bornstein, Samy El-Noury, Dana Levinson, Shakina Nayfack, and Ianne Fields Stewart in Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club (July 26), and Michele Pawk joins previously announced André Braugher in Tell Them I’m Still Young (July 5).
LORRAINE HANSBERRY – A LIVING LEGACY / NEW ARTISTS AND NEW VISIONS
July 10, 10am
With Soyica Colbert, Joi Gresham, Talvin Wilks, Scott Wilson
Clark Auditorium (225 South Street)
Lorraine Hansberry believed that theater serves a vital social function to motivate, mobilize and lead us to imagine alternative possibilities, a new social order. Her living legacy challenges us as audience, artists, thinkers and can-be activists. The challenge asks,” What is the purpose of art? How can art position us to act? What is the necessary give-back to the communities of which we are a part?” In this public conversation with Hansberry Literary Executor, Joi Gresham, biographer Soyica Colbert, and contemporary playwrights Talvin Wilks and Tracey Scott Wilson. Participants will explore the persistent resonance of her signature work, A Raisin in the Sun, sixty years after its Broadway premiere. Each participant will speak to how the writer, artist, intellectual and activist has influenced their own creative works and identities as artists-activists.
SPECIAL READING OF THE SOAP MYTH
July 22, 7pm
By Jeff Cohen
Directed by Pam Berlin
with Ed Asner, Tovah Feldshuh
Holocaust survivor Milton Saltzman (Ed Asner) implores historians and journalists alike to record the specific Nazi atrocities he witnessed. In the face of a Holocaust denier (Tovah Feldshuh) and complicated journalistic practices, Milton will not relent in his quest to ensure the world reckons with the truth. The Soap Myth explores what it means to be a survivor and who has the right to write history. It will be followed by a talkback with the playwright and the cast.
ABOUT THE SEASON
A Raisin in the Sun | June 25 – July 13
By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Robert O’Hara
with Francois Battiste, Kyle Beltran, Eboni Flowers, Joe Goldammer, Mandi Masden, Nikiya Mathis, S. Epatha Merkerson, Warner Miller, Owen Tabaka
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner S. Epatha Merkerson and Francois Battiste breathe new life into this American classic. Lena Younger (Merkerson) and her son Walter Lee (Battiste) are at odds. Lena wants to use her late husband’s life insurance to move her family out of their cramped apartment on Chicago’s South Side. Walter Lee would rather use the funds to start a business and become an independent man. As their dispute intensifies, the powerful and destructive forces of 1950s America come knocking at the Youngers’ front door. Directed by Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara, Hansberry’s fearless interrogation of hope in the face of racial and economic strife is as provocative and powerful today as when it premiered.
A Raisin in the Sun is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
Grand Horizons | July 17 – July 28
By Bess Wohl
Directed by Leigh Silverman
with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Priscilla Lopez, Maulik Pancholy, Ashley Park, Thomas Sadoski, Jamey Sheridan, JoBeth Williams
Bill and Nancy French (Tony Award nominee Jamey Sheridan and Academy, Golden Globe, and Emmy Award nominee JoBeth Williams) have been happily married for fifty years. They can finish each other’s sentences and anticipate each other’s every sigh, snore, and sneeze. But there’s one thing nobody could have anticipated: Nancy wants out. As their adult sons Brian and Ben (Emmy Award nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Tony Award nominee Thomas Sadoski) descend on the Grand Horizons senior living community, the walls of the French family as-they-know-it come crumbling down. Directed by Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman, Bess Wohl’s world premiere play takes an intimate, funny, and painful look at the nature of love over time.
Grand Horizons is a Williamstown Theatre Festival and Second Stage Theater Co-Commission. WTF Commissions are made possible through the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program.
Grand Horizons is a recipient of a 2019 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Ghosts | July 31 – August 18
By Henrik Ibsen
Translated from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh
Directed by Carey Perloff
with Catherine Combs, Tom Pecinka, Thom Sesma, Uma Thurman, Bernard White
With great happiness, Mrs. Alving (Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Uma Thurman) welcomes her painter son Oswald (Tom Pecinka) home from years of living abroad. But when he starts to flirt with the family maid, she must intercede to save her son and herself from scandals present and past. Mrs. Alving struggles to find joy in a life bound by the strictures of Pastor Manders (Bernard White) and the spectral chains of mistakes from long ago. Directed by Carey Perloff, Henrik Ibsen’s vivid and passionate play asks – even now – how far one mother, caught between duty and desire, can or should go to protect her family.
Originally Commissioned by American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco, California; Carey Perloff, Artistic Director – Peter Pastreich, Executive Director
A Human Being, of a Sort | June 26 – July 7
By Jonathan Payne
Directed by Whitney White
with André Braugher, Michael Gaston, Sullivan Jones, Matthew Saldivar, Keith Randolph Smith, Jeorge Bennett Watson, Antonio Michael Woodard
It’s 1906, and at the Bronx Zoological Park, an African-American convict named “Smokey” (Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner André Braugher) is guarding the zoo’s most sensational exhibit: Ota Benga (Antonio Michael Woodard), a Congolese pygmy. As the public’s fascination intensifies and protestors call for Ota’s release, Smokey must grapple with the fact that his own freedom depends on another black man’s captivity. Based on a true story, Jonathan Payne’s world premiere play, directed by Whitney White, exposes the complexity of power and compliance in a world where all lives do not seem to matter equally.
Selling Kabul | July 10 – July 20
By Sylvia Khoury
Directed by Tyne Rafaeli
with May Calamawy, Marjan Neshat, Babak Tafti
Produced in association with Playwrights Horizons
Taroon (Babak Tafti), a former interpreter for the US military, lives in hiding from the Taliban in his sister Afiya’s (Marjan Neshat) home in Kabul, Afghanistan. As Taroon restlessly awaits news from the hospital on the eve of his first child’s birth, his brother-in-law Jawid works to protect him from dangers lurking outside the apartment walls. In this world premiere drama directed by Tyne Rafaeli, Sylvia Khoury examines loyalty, empty promises, and what it means to be left behind.
Selling Kabul is the recipient of the 2018 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award, administered by Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Selling Kabul is a recipient of a 2019 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Tell Me I’m Not Crazy | July 24 – August 3
By Sharyn Rothstein
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
with Mark Blum, Mark Feuerstein, Jane Kaczmarek, Nicole Villamil
Forced into retirement and unsettled by the changing world around him, Sol Koening (Mark Blum) buys himself a gun—and his family is up in arms. His wife Diana (Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Jane Kaczmarek) thought they’d spend more time together and with the grandkids, but Sol’s new hobby puts a bullet in that plan. Meanwhile, their son Nate (Mark Feuerstein) is trying to be a good stay-at-home dad while his jet-setting wife Alisa (Nicole Villamil) climbs the corporate ladder, and school is calling with concerns about their kid. Directed by Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Sharyn Rothstein’s world premiere comedy asks how one small firearm redefines a family and how two generations confront what it means to succeed and to sacrifice in America today.
Tell Me I’m Not Crazy is a Williamstown Theatre Festival Commission. WTF Commissions are made possible through the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program.
Tell Me I’m Not Crazy is a recipient of a 2019 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Before The Meeting | August 7 – August 18
By Adam Bock
Directed by Trip Cullman
with Cassie Beck, Kyle Beltran, Midori Francis, Jason Butler Harner, Deirdre O’Connell
Every day, Gail (Deirdre O’Connell) and the regular members of her early morning group set up for their meeting in the exact same way: Nicole (Midori Francis) makes the coffee, Gail arranges the chairs, and Ron (Jason Butler Harner) complains. As they forge a path toward sobriety and well-being, they come to rely on the routine and each other. But when Gail’s estranged granddaughter reopens old wounds, Gail knows it will take more than coffee, chairs, and companionship to keep her life from falling apart. Trip Cullman directs Adam Bock’s world premiere play, which examines how to truly make amends on the road to recovery.
Before the Meeting is a recipient of a 2019 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
TICKETS AND SCHEDULE
The WTF Box Office is now open. Tickets may be purchased online at www.wtfestival.org, by phone, or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 01267. The WTF Box Office phone number is 413.458.3253.
ABOUT WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together to create a thrilling summer festival of premiere work alongside fresh, new productions of the western canon, accompanying cultural events including COMMUNITY WORKS and Late-Night Cabarets, and readings and workshops of new plays. Under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, WTF launched the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, through which theatre artists, including Jocelyn Bioh, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Jiehae Park, Benjamin Scheuer, and many others, create new work supported by a year-round play development program. WTF runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theatre talent, and artists and productions shaped at WTF fill theatres in New York, London, and around the country each season. Williamstown Theatre Festival’s productions of The Bridges of Madison County, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love, Living on Love, and The Visit enjoyed critically acclaimed runs on Broadway, with The Elephant Man and The Visit receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical, respectively. WTF’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Actually, and Paradise Blue played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs. In the 2019-20 theatrical season in New York, Williamstown Theatre Festival will be represented on and off Broadway by several shows that originated on our stages, including Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, The Sound Inside, The Rose Tattoo, Seared, Grand Horizons, Unknown Soldier, and Selling Kabul.
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