Williamstown Theatre Festival (Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director) has announced casting and creative team additions to the 2018 season including Tony Award winners Natasha Katz and Clint Ramos, as well as details on additional programming and special events for the 2018 summer season.
On the Main Stage, the creative team for The Closet (June 26 – July 14) includes: Allen Moyer (Scenic Designer), Jessica Pabst (Costume Designer), Japhy Weideman (Lighting Designer), and Jane Shaw (Sound Designer); for Lempicka (July 19 – August 1), the creative team includes: Riccardo Hernandez (Scenic Designer), Montana Levi Blanco (Costume Designer), Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Lighting Designer), Nevin Steinberg (Sound Designer), Remy Kurs (Music Supervisor), Cian McCarthy (Orchestrations), Charity Wicks (Music Director), and Raja Feather Kelly (Choreographer); and Bray Poor (Sound Designer) joins the creative team for The Member of the Wedding, now under the direction of Gaye Taylor Upchurch (previously announced Lila Neugebauer had to withdraw due to a personal matter); on the Nikos Stage, the creative team for The Sound Inside (June 27 – July 8) includes: Alexander Woodward (Scenic Designer), David Hyman (Costume Designer), Heather Gilbert (Lighting Designer), Daniel Kluger (Original Music and Sound Designer), Aaron Rhyne (Projections Designer); for Artney Jackson (July 11 – July 22), the creative team includes: Arnulfo Maldonado (Scenic Designer), Emilio Sosa (Costume Designer), Isabella Byrd (Lighting Designer), Stowe Nelson (Sound Designer); the creative team for Seared (July 25 – August 4) includes: Tim Mackabee (Scenic Designer),Tilly Grimes (Costume Designer), David Weiner (Lighting Designer), Palmer Hefferan (Sound Designer); and for Dangerous House (August 8 – 19), the creative team includes: 2018 Tony Award nominee Dane Laffrey (Scenic Designer), Dede Ayite (Costume Designer), Lap Chi Chu (Lighting Designer), and Palmer Hefferan (Sound Designer).
Additional casting for the Main Stage and Nikos Stage productions include Azudi Onyejekwe and Andrew Samonsky in Lempicka, Portia and Ray Anthony Thomas in Artney Jackson, and Leon Addison Brown and James Waterston in The Member of the Wedding.
The summer will also feature special events throughout the season including the Season Sneak Peek & Reading, The Hot Spot, and the always-popular Fridays@3 reading series. The Season Sneak Peek reading of Greg Keller’s new comedy The Jokers will include Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Gerry Bamman, and Debra Monk, in addition to the previously announced Marin Ireland and Morgan Spector. The Hot Spot is a sizzling series that shines a spotlight on a performer or group, and on August 4, Ophira Eisenberg, the edgy, witty, and self-deprecating host of NPR’s and WNYC’s “Ask Me Another” brings Playing The Odds, a new show all about the gambles of life and how to survive and fail up.
By popular demand, the 2018 season will include the Fridays@3 reading series. A number of new plays read at Fridays@3 have manifested into full Festival productions, including this season’s world premiere musical Lempicka on the Main Stage and the new comedy Seared on the Nikos Stage. This year, the line-up of readings includes Tell Me I’m Not Crazy by Sharyn Rothstein and featuring Mark Blum and Jane Kaczmarek (July 6); Saying Goodbye to the People I Love From My Bathtub by HalleyFeiffer, directed by Trip Cullman, and featuring Halley Feiffer, Paola Lazaro, Deborah Rush, and Ryan Spahn (July 13); Long Lost by Donald Margulies, directed by Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan, and featuring Kelly AuCoin (July 20); Secret Soldiers, book by Marsha Norman, music and lyrics by Zoe Sarnak, directed by Leigh Silverman, and featuring Jamar Williams, (July 27); and Selling Kabul by Sylvia Khoury and featuring Omar Metwally and Marjan Neshat (August 10). These readings have limited availability and will be hosted at The Clark Auditorium.
WORLD PREMIERE COMEDY
The Closet | June 26 – July 14
By Douglas Carter Beane
Inspired by Francis Veber’s play Le Placard
Directed by Mark Brokaw
with Ben Ahlers, Brooks Ashmanskas, Raymond Bokhour, Matthew Broderick, Will Cobbs, Ann Harada, and Jessica Hecht
Tony Award winner and Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Matthew Broderick stars in this world premiere comedy by Douglas Carter Beane, inspired by Le Placard, the French comedy by Academy Award nominee Francis Veber. Martin O’Reilly (Broderick) is stuck in Scranton in a dead-end job, his marriage is over, and his son won’t return his calls. His only friend is his eternally optimistic co-worker (Tony nominee Jessica Hecht), who can’t bake enough muffins to stave off her romantic longings. When a stranger (Tony nominee Brooks Ashmanskas) sashays into their world, he drags Martin—and everyone around him—out of their respective closets. Helmed by Mark Brokaw, this contemporary satire breaks the chains of political correctness and celebrates the possibility of finding authenticity and love (and show tunes) in unexpected places.
By special arrangement with Simon Friend, Burnt Umber Productions and Scott Landis
WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL
Lempicka | July 19 – August 1
Book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer Music by Matt Gould
Choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
with Carmen Cusack, Eden Espinosa, Natalie Joy Johnson, Justin Gregory Lopez, Azudi Onyejekwe, Steven Rattazzi, Michael McCorry Rose, Andrew Samonsky, Nathaniel Stampley, Kay Trinidad, and Rachel Tucker
Featuring Tony nominee Carmen Cusack and Eden Espinosa, this world premiere musical is directed by Tony nominee Rachel Chavkin, with music by Matt Gould and book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer. Fleeing the Russian revolution and leaving behind a world of opulence and wealth, aristocrat Tamara de Lempicka (Espinosa) and her beloved husband Tadeusz (Andrew Samonsky) are forced to make a new life. In the rising tide of fascism, Tamara takes to painting to survive, and when she meets the free-spirited Rafaela (Cusack), a prostitute on the fringes of Parisian society, she’s torn between the life she cherishes with her husband and the passion, ambition, and possibility awoken in her by her new muse. Inspired by the life of the artist who transformed herself from penniless refugee to star of the art world when the world itself teetered on chaos, Lempicka looks at the beauty and danger of one painter pursuing it all.
By special arrangement with Seaview Productions and Marathon Live Entertainment
The Member of the Wedding | August 5 – August 19
By Carson McCullers
Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
With Ben Ahlers, Leon Addison Brown, Vinie Burrows, Will Cobbs, Tavi Gevinson, Louisa Jacobson, Tom Pecinka, Liv Rooth, Roslyn Ruff, Logan Schuyler Smith, and James Waterston.
Gaye Taylor Upchurch directs this revival of Carson McCullers’ beloved play. On the eve of a family wedding in 1945, housekeeper Berenice Sadie Brown (Roslyn Ruff) can’t calm the nerves of her 12-year-old charge, Frankie (Tavi Gevinson). Berenice has raised Frankie and her cousin John Henry (Logan Schuyler Smith) as though they are her own children. But as their companion, playfellow, and mother figure, Berenice is suddenly struggling to protect them from the harsh, racially motivated injustices lurking just outside their Southern home. This cherished American work explores the complicated reality of a thoughtful and hard-working woman caught between two worlds.
The Member of the Wedding is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
WORLD PREMIERE DRAMA
The Sound Inside | June 27 – July 8
By Adam Rapp
Directed by David Cromer
with Will Hochman and Mary-Louise Parker
Emmy, Golden Globe, and Tony Award winner Mary-Louise Parker stars in this world premiere play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp, directed by David Cromer. Bella Baird (Parker) is an accomplished professor at an Ivy League university who prizes her solitude. But when she faces a challenge she cannot tackle alone, she allies herself with a brilliant and mysterious student, Christopher (Will Hochman). Intensely intimate and deeply moving, this haunting play probes the question of what one person can do for another.
WORLD PREMIERE COMEDY
Artney Jackson | July 11 – July 22
By James Anthony Tyler
Directed by Laura Savia
with Joshua Boone, Alfie Fuller, Christopher Livingston, Portia, and Ray Anthony Thomas
In this world premiere play by James Anthony Tyler, Artney Jackson (Ray Anthony Thomas) is a devoted mentor, a respected employee at the local cable company, and an enthusiastic teller of “dad jokes.” After twenty-five years, he is finally up for promotion: he can almost taste the possibility of becoming a manager. Over the course of one week, Artney’s decades-old routine is shattered when his son makes plans to move out of their home, the higher-ups test his resolve to lead, and co-workers show their true colors. Will Artney Jackson overcome the turmoil and rise up? Directed by WTF Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia, this funny and touching play examines what it really means to give it your all at the office!
Seared | July 25 – August 4
By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
with Tré Davis, Michael Esper, Steven Pasquale, and Krysta Rodriguez
Chef Harry (Steven Pasquale) is a genius in the kitchen; his scallops are the “it” dish in Brooklyn. His business partner, Mike (Michael Esper), wants to expand their restaurant, but Harry sees that as selling out. When a shrewd consultant (Krysta Rodriguez) is brought in to make the case for expansion, Harry boils over. Can their most devoted employee (Tré Davis) help to put the lid back on? Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel directs this new fit-for-foodies comedy by critically acclaimed playwright Theresa Rebeck, which grapples with the intersection of creativity and commerce.
Dangerous House | August 8 – August 19
By Jen Silverman
Directed by Saheem Ali
with Phillip James Brannon, Michael Braun, Alfie Fuller, and Samira Wiley
Noxolo (Alfie Fuller) is an aspiring footballer from Cape Town who moved to London for a fresh start. With the World Cup coming to South Africa and the mounting sense that her ex-lover, Pretty (Emmy nominee Samira Wiley), is in peril, she is pulled back. Will Noxolo risk her safety to unravel the secrets of a life she swore to leave behind? Saheem Ali directs Jen Silverman’s new play that asks what one woman can do for her people, for her nation, and for the love of her life.
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.
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, and offers a rich array of accompanying cultural events including COMMUNITY WORKS, Late-Night Cabarets, along with readings and workshops of new plays. Under artistic director Mandy Greenfield, the Festival launched a New Play and Musical Commissioning Program through which theatre artists including Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justine Levine, Matthew Lopez, Marsha Norman, Jiehae Park, Zoe Sarnak and Benjamin Scheuer, among others, are creating new work year-round. 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 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 Musical, respectively. In addition, the Festival’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Drama) and Actually played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs at Manhattan Theatre Club, and the 2015 production of Paradise Blue is currently playing at Signature Theatre in New York.