Theater fans looking for a day-trip from New York City should check out the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. This week, Artistic Director Jenny Gersten announced the roster of Main Stage and Nikos Stage productions for the 2013 Williamstown Theatre Festival Season, which runs from June 26 – August 18.
The Main Stage lineup includes the World Premiere of Bridges of Madison County, a new musical by Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman; a revival of of the Marx Brothers' comedy Animal Crackers; and a Nicholas Martin-directed production of George Bernard Shaw’s classic Pygmalion starring Robert Sean Leonard. On the smaller Nikos Stage, audiences will see revivals of Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood (starring Kate Burton) along with productions of Bess Wohl’s American Hero (a World Premiere) and the new musical Johnny Baseball by Richard Dresser (book), Robert Reale (music) and Willie Reale (lyrics). The season will also see the debut of Festival directors Bartlett Sher and Leigh Silverman.
Each year, The Festival also presents a free outdoor production for family audiences at Poker Flats Fields. Gersten announced today that Dracula, written by Bram Stoker and adapted by Steve Lawson, will be the Free Theatre Production, running July 10 – 19, 2013.
The last Nikos Stage production and additional casting for all 2013 WTF shows will be announced at a later date.
Animal Crackers | June 26 – July 14, 2013
Book by George S. Kaufman & Morrie Ryskind; Music and Lyrics by Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby
Adapted and Directed by Henry Wishcamper
Captain Spaulding, the intrepid African explorer, inveterate womanizer, and interminable jokester hobnobs with high society as the guest of honor at a swanky soiree. But when a priceless painting is pilfered, he and the guests are swept up in a screwball search for the thief. This new interpretation of the Marx Brothers’ Broadway musical and classic film has plenty of fun music and silly slapstick.
Pygmalion | July 17 – 27, 2013
By George Bernard Shaw; Directed by Nicholas Martin
With Robert Sean Leonard
“You have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being.” With all the parallels of a modern reality-show makeover, an impoverished flower seller is taken in hand by a linguistics professor who attempts to change her accent and pass her off as the epitome of English society. For a wager. A sharp satire on class and women’s independence, Shaw’s century-old masterpiece features Robert Sean Leonard as Henry Higgins in a battle of wits between two of theatre’s most iconic characters.
The Bridges of Madison County | August 1 – 18, 2013
Book by Marsha Norman; Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Bartlett Sher
In 1992, a rural American romance by an unknown author became a literary phenomenon. Millions of readers have been captivated by the simple story of Francesca, a beautiful Italian woman who marries an American soldier to flee war-ravaged Italy. Her new life in Iowa is common until she encounters Robert, a loner and artist, whose photography at National Geographic shields him from commitment and connection. Their three days of flirtation, memories of Naples, food, and laughter inspire a timeless love, and an impossible choice. Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza) directs, making his Festival debut.
American Hero | June 26 – July 7, 2013
By Bess Wohl; Directed by Leigh Silverman
Seventeen-year-old Sheri and her co-workers at a new submarine sandwich franchise have honed their skills making everything from the Turkey Torpedo to the Big Kahuna Tuna exactly as specified in the corporate manual. But when the franchise owner mysteriously disappears, they are forced to improvise, and Sheri takes charge of the ragtag band of “sandwich artists” in Bess Wohl’s surreal tale of the struggle for optimism in tough times, the power of sandwiches, and the American Dream.
Hapgood | July 10 – 21, 2013
By Tom Stoppard; Directed by Evan Yionoulis
With Kate Burton
Treacherous twins and double (or triple?) agents abound in a twisty-turny look at the unlikely interrelation of quantum physics and international espionage. Simultaneously channeling John le Carré, Albert Einstein, and Mel Brooks, Tom Stoppard’s Cold-War thriller boasts equal shares of brains, guts, and sly humor. WTF mainstay Kate Burton takes on the tour-de-force title role, the brilliant but eccentric British intelligence chief working to expose a Soviet double agent while attempting to keep her personal life under wraps. Burton returns to WTF after a five-year hiatus, having appeared in the Festival’s Beyond Therapy, The Corn Is Green, Hedda Gabler, and more.
Johnny Baseball | July 24 – August 4, 2013
Book by Richard Dresser; Music by Robert Reale; Lyrics by Willie Reale
Directed by Marc Bruni
The infamous Curse of the Boston Red Sox is brought to life through the changing fortunes of three orphaned souls: Johnny O’Brien, a hard-luck right-hander on the 1919 Sox; his idol, Babe Ruth; and Daisy Wyatt, a dazzling African-American blues singer and the love of Johnny’s life. The mystical intertwining of their fates reveals both the source of the Curse and the secret to its triumphant end off Big Papi’s bat in 2004. Packing a resonant commentary on social history into a quintessentially American musical, Johnny Baseball will bring cheers and tears to baseball fans and theatre lovers alike.
The fourth production on the Nikos Stage, which will run from August 7 – 18, 2013, is to be announced.
Dracula: playing July 10 – 19, 2013
By Bram Stoker; adapted by Steve Lawson
Bram Stoker's 1897 novel comes alive under the stars in a new adaptation by Festival veteran and Free Theatre co-founder Steve Lawson.
Tickets for the 2013 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be available in April through the www.wtfestival.org. The WTF Box Office will open on June 4th at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the '62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167.