WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES ITS 2019 SUMMER SEASON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
TONY AWARD ®-WINNING
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
2019 SUMMER SEASON
LINE-UP INCLUDES FIVE WORLD PREMIERES AS WELL AS A
60TH ANNIVERSARY PRODUCTION OF LORRAINE HANSBERRY’S
“A RAISIN IN THE SUN” AND A NEW TRANSLATION OF HENRIK IBSEN’S “GHOSTS”
SEASON TO INCLUDE FRANCOIS BATTISTE, JESSE TYLER FERGUSON, MARK FEUERSTEIN, JANE KACZMAREK, S. EPATHA MERKERSON,
OMAR METWALLY, LEIGH SILVERMAN, MARY STEENBURGEN,
UMA THURMAN, AND MORE
New York, NY (February 12, 2019) – Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield has announced the Williamstown Theatre Festival 2019 Summer Season, the 65th season for the Tony Award-winning theatre company, which will include a production of A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry marking the 60th anniversary of the Broadway opening, a new translation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, five world premieres, two WTF-commissioned plays, and much more.
The season, running from June 25 – August 18, 2019, begins on the Main Stage with A Raisin in the Sun (June 25 – July 13) by Tony Award nominee Lorraine Hansberry, directed by Obie® and NAACP® Award winner Robert O’Hara and featuring Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award winner S. Epatha Merkerson and Obie Award winner Francois Battiste. A Raisin in the Sun premiered on Broadway in 1959 and ran for 530 performances between the Ethel Barrymore and Belasco Theatres.
The Main Stage season continues with the world premiere of Grand Horizons
(July 17 – July 28), a Williamstown Theatre Festival and Second Stage Theater Co-Commission by Drama Desk® Award winner Bess Wohl, directed by Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominee Leigh Silverman and featuring Academy®, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild® Award winner Mary Steenburgen and Screen Actors Guild and Drama Desk Award winner and Emmy Award nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
The final play of the Main Stage season will be Ghosts (July 31 – August 18) by Henrik Ibsen, with new translation from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh, directed by Carey Perloff and featuring Golden Globe winner and Academy, Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Uma Thurman.
The Nikos Stage season kicks off June 26 with the world premiere of A Human Being, of a Sort (June 26 – July 7) by Jonathan Payne, directed by Whitney White. It will be followed by the world premiere of 2018 L. Arnold Weissberger Award winner Selling Kabul (July 10 – July 21) by Sylvia Khoury, directed by Tyne Rafaeli and featuring TV and film star Omar Metwally, Marjan Neshat, and Babak Tafti. The next production will be the world premiere of Tell Me I’m Not Crazy (July 24 – August 3), a WTF Commission by Sharyn Rothstein, directed by Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel and featuring Golden Globe, Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Jane Kaczmarek and stars of screen and stage Mark Feuerstein and Nadine Malouf.
The season on the Nikos Stage closes with the world premiere of Before the Meeting (August 7 – August 18) by Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee Adam Bock, directed by Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee Trip Cullman and featuring Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee Jason Butler Harner.
“In the course of just eight weeks, we will create world premiere work with some of the most thrilling theatre makers in this country and breathe new life into the all-too-resonant words of cherished playwrights of the western theatrical cannon,” Greenfield said. “Where else but Williamstown can a daring and loyal audience experience the range and impact of Lorraine Hansberry, Bess Wohl, Henrik Ibsen, Jonathan Payne, Sylvia Khoury, Sharyn Rothstein, and Adam Bock, not to mention the directors, actors, designers, technicians, administrators, and students who will make it all possible? The vital urgency of the questions at the heart of these plays hopefully equals a meaningful, relevant, and powerful Festival experience for us all. Now, more than ever, live theatre possesses the unique ability to remind us of our best selves. I am grateful to everyone who will fearlessly put their artistic guts on the line in service of these provocative and diverse plays.”
Additional programming and events, as well as complete casting and creative team information, will be announced at a later date. Ticket Bundles are available now at www.wtfestival.org.
ABOUT THE SEASON
A Raisin in the Sun | June 25 – July 13
By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Robert O’Hara
with Francois Battiste and S. Epatha Merkerson
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece, Emmy and Golden Globe 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.
Grand Horizons | July 17 – July 28
By Bess Wohl
Directed by Leigh Silverman
with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Mary Steenburgen
Bill and Nancy (Academy and Golden Globe Award winner Mary Steenburgen) French 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 (Emmy Award nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Ben 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.
Ghosts | July 31 – August 18
By Henrik Ibsen
Translated from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh
Directed by Carey Perloff
with Uma Thurman
With great happiness, Mrs. Alving (Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Uma Thurman) welcomes her painter son Oswald 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 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.
A Human Being, of a Sort | June 26 – July 7
By Jonathan Payne
Directed by Whitney White
It’s 1906, and at the Bronx Zoological Park, an African-American convict named “Smokey” is guarding the zoo’s most sensational exhibit: Ota Benga, 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 21
By Sylvia Khoury
Directed by Tyne Rafaeli
with Omar Metwally, Marjan Neshat, and Babak Tafti
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 (Omar Metwally) 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.
Tell Me I’m Not Crazy | July 24 – August 3
By Sharyn Rothstein
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
with Mark Feuerstein, Jane Kaczmarek, and Nadine Malouf
Forced into retirement and unsettled by the changing world around him, Sol Koening 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 (Nadine Malouf) 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.
Before The Meeting | August 7 – August 18
By Adam Bock
Directed by Trip Cullman
with Jason Butler Harner
Every day, Gail and the regular members of her early morning group set up for their meeting in the exact same way: Nicole makes the coffee, Gail arranges the chairs, and Ron 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.
TICKETS AND SCHEDULE
Ticket Bundles are now available at www.wtfestival.org. Advance single ticket reservations for the 2019 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be available in early April through the WTF website. The WTF season brochure will be mailed at the end of April (call 413-458-3253 to join the mailing list). The WTF Box Office will open on June 1 at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 01267.
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, Marsha Norman, Jiehae Park, Zoe Sarnak, Benjamin Scheuer, and many others, create new work supported by a year-round play development program. The Festival runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theatre talent, and artists and productions shaped at the Festival 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. In addition, the Festival’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and Actually played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs at Manhattan Theatre Club, and Paradise Blue had an extended run at Signature Theatre in New York.
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