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Sue Bush
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WTF In 2007

12:00AM / Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Roger Rees, artistic director of the Williamstown Theater Festival
Williamstown - Roger Rees, artistic director of the Williamstown Theater Festival,announced the festival's 2007 season on Jan. 29.

The season features three world premieres: "Dissonance" by Damian Lanigan, "Villa America" by Crispin Whittell and "Party Come Here," book by Daniel Goldfarb, with music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum.

Kathleem Turner will direct "Crimes of the Heart" this year at the WTF. [Photo couretsy of interaktivtv]
Among the artists to appear are Kate Burton who stars in "The Corn Is Green," Kathleen Turner who directs "Crimes Of The Heart," B.D. Wong who stars in "Herringbone," which will be directed by Roger Rees.

Two Center Stage Productions

In addition to presenting work on the Main Stage and Nikos Stage of the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, this season, the Festival presents two productions on the Center Stage, a studio theatre with an industrial character. On the Center Stage, the Festival presents "Herringbone," book by Tom Cone, music by Skip Kennon, lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, directed by Roger Rees, and "The Physicists" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, translation by James Kirkup, directed by Kevin O’Rourke, in association with the Williams College Summer Theatre Lab.

A Season Of "Great Promise"

Artistic Director Roger Rees said, “This season holds great promise. We are delighted to present our first commissioned work, a play by Crispin Whittell, a wonderful young writer. We are thrilled to welcome the return of artists richly associated with the Festival, including Kate Burton and Nicky Martin, and others yet to come. Also, it’s very exciting to welcome Kathleen Turner and B. D. Wong to our family, as they bring their rich talents and great experience to our season."

"The generosity and friendship of Williams College means that this year we are presenting two plays in the Center Stage, architect William Rawn’s marvelous free-form black box theater. I believe that our community in Williamstown, audiences and artists alike, will have a truly wonderful season, one that will entertain, enliven and enlighten.”

The schedule is:

June 14 – 24 Center Stage
B. D. Wong in

Tony-award winner B.D. Wong stars in this one-man musical that recounts the childhood of vaudeville wunderkind George after he is possessed by the angry spirit of a toe-tapping midget. This unconventional work deals with the exploitation of child stars and the drive to perform. Adult situations presented.

June 27 – July 8 Nikos Stage
by Damian Lanigan - world premiere
Directed by Amanda Charlton

Members of the Bradley String Quartet have their artistic differences. How will they be resolved when one of rock and roll’s biggest stars enters their world? Damian Lanigan, novelist and author for BBC Radio, explores the collision of two musical sensibilities in this engrossing new play.

July 4 – 15 Main Stage
"The Front Page"
by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur
Director to be announced

Concocted criminal charges, wily politicians, love nests and the daily grind of creating and selling newspapers are all in a day’s work in the classic Broadway comedy set in a Chicago newsroom. This much-loved work is presented in a crackling and humorous new production.

July 11 – 22 Nikos Stage
"Villa America"
by Crispin Whittell – world premiere
Directed by Crispin Whittell

Gerald and Sara Murphy were at the center of the circle of artists, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso, who migrated to France in the 1920s. Set on the sun-soaked coast of the French Riviera, this new play commissioned by the Festival and written by Crispin Whittell (DARWIN IN MALIBU), explores the lives, loves and losses of what Gertrude Stein called “the Lost Generation.” In a happy scheduling coincidence, the Murphys and their circle will also be celebrated in an exhibition at the Williams College Museum of Art that opens right before the play premieres.

July 18 – 29 Main Stage
"The Autumn Garden"
by Lillian Hellman
Directed by David Jones

America's foremost woman playwright, Lillian Hellman, believed THE AUTUMN GARDEN to be her best play. The setting is a summer resort on the Gulf of Mexico in 1949. Seven friends confronting middle age assess the choices they have made and are about to make. The work is compassionate, savagely funny and perhaps Hellman's most perceptive comment on the difficulties of "the great art of living together."

July 25 – Aug. 5 Nikos Stage
"Crimes Of The Heart"
by Beth Henley
Directed by Kathleen Turner

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this dramatic comedy takes us into the lives of the Magrath sisters. Past resentments bubble to the surface as they are forced to deal with assorted relatives and past relationships while coping with the latest incident to disrupt their lives. The play is warm-hearted, humorous and teeming with humanity.

Aug. 1 – 12 Main Stage
Kate Burton in
"The Corn Is Green"
by Emlyn Williams
Directed by Nicholas Martin

Miss Moffat is a strong-willed Welsh schoolteacher working in a small poverty-stricken coal mining town. Under her guidance, an illiterate teenager, Morgan Evans, transforms from bully to brilliant student. The distinguished lineage of actresses who have played Miss Moffat are Ethel Barrymore in the original Broadway production, Bette Davis in the film, Katherine Hepburn in the made-for-TV movie and Cicely Tyson in the Broadway revival. Now, Kate Burton takes on this classic role. Adding to the poignancy of the teacher-student relationship portrayed, Miss Burton’s son, Morgan Ritchie, plays the role of Morgan Evans.

Aug. 7 – 18 Center Stage
"The Physicists"
by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
translated by James Kirkup
Directed by Kevin O’Rourke
In Association with the Williams College Summer Theatre Lab

Three inmates at the Cherry Trees Sanatorium believe themselves to be world famous physicists: Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and Johann Mobius. But are they indeed insane? And what are their actual identities: madmen, murderers or scientists? Dürrenmatt’s 1962 comedy is a provocative examination of the impact of nuclear science on global power and the moral tolls of sanity.

Aug. 8 – 19 Nikos Stage
"Party Come Here"
Book by Daniel Goldfarb, Music and Lyrics by David Kirshenbaum – world premiere
Directed by Christopher Ashley

A nervous groom, a statue of Christ and a 500 year-old Jewish caveman converge to make miracles happen during a tropical storm on one magical night in Rio. Part farce, part fable, PARTY COME HERE is a musical comedy that promises a collision of cultures as tantalizing as the sexiest city in the world.

Aug. 15 – 26 Main Stage
Play to be announced
Directed by Maria Mileaf

Tickets will be available by mail in April. The box office and phones open in June. Additional information is available at


In addition to the new productions on the Main, Nikos and Center Stages, the Festival has an extensive schedule of other performances and readings. Each Monday night the spotlight turns to these events.

July 2: Reading of "Don Jaun In Hell" by George Bernard Shaw

This work, (also the third act of Shaw’s "Man And Superman), consists of a philosophical debate between Don Juan (a confirmed bachelor) and the Devil, with Doña Ana (persistent in her efforts to get Juan to marry her) and the Statue of Ana's father looking on.

July 9: Free Theatre Opening Night

The Festival’s Free Theatre brings vibrant productions to family audiences free of charge. This season, the Festival premieres an imaginative new adaptation of Aristophanes’ "The Birds" by Gordon Cox, with Music by Kris Kukul, Directed by Suzanne Agins. Free Theatre runs July 9 – 14.

July 16: leapFROG Play Opening Night

The Festival’s leapFROG program pairs talented young writers and directors with members of the leapFROG Non-Equity Company to develop an original play during the season. The play runs July 16-19.

July 23: Piano Recital w/ New York Piano Competition Prize Winners

At last year’s festival recital featuring winners from the competition, one critic was impressed with the “talent, solid training, and rounded musicianship of these young pianists.”

July 30: "What You Will – An Evening By And About The Bard"

Roger Rees created and stars in this one-man show celebrating Shakespeare's works. Rees incorporates hysterical, historical, and histrionic observations on the Bard by notable personalities, ranging from David Garrick to George Bernard Shaw to Stevie Wonder. This new show premieres March 30 – April 1 at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, as part of the Shakespeare in Washington Festival.

Aug. 6: Greylock Theatre Project Playmaking Performance

The Greylock Theatre Project is an outreach program that brings together professional theatre artists with kids from neighboring North Adams to create theatre. The project offers three programs: One-on-One, Teen Ensemble and Playmaking. In Playmaking, kids learn how to write plays during eight weeks of classes. When they have completed the classes, they are paired with a professional dramaturg/director who helps them write a play which is performed by Festival actors.

Aug. 13: leapFROG Musical Opening Night

The Festival’s leapFROG program pairs talented young writers, composers and directors with members of the leapFROG Non-Equity Company to develop an original musical during the season. One goal is to create a work that will go on to be performed on other stages. Last season’s leapFROG musical BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON will be presented by Les Freres Corbusier in New York this year. This season’s new musical runs at the Festival August 13-16

More Events

Late-Night Cabaret July 5-7 and Aug. 9-11

Singing, dancing and comedy from stars both established and emerging. The Cabaret provides an opportunity to see another side of the extraordinarily versatile performers at the Festival.

Fridays @ 3 July 6 – Aug. 17 3 p.m. Nikos Stage

Readings of the latest works by talented writers featuring Festival actors and directors.

The series includes:

• "Truth And Reconciliation" by Etan Frankel, winner of the L. Arnold Weissberger Playwriting Award.

• A reading of a new play in development which was commissioned by the Festival. This new work is written by Dan O’Brien and directed by Tyler Marchant.

• "365 Days/365 Plays" Pulitzer-prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks wrote a play a day for a year. Her play cycle is a daily meditation on an artistic life. The Festival will present seven of the plays as a group. The Festival is a regional hub for this national event.

• The series concludes with the reading of a classic American play as it did last season.

Kids’ Theatre Day

Sat., July 14, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Pack a picnic and come enjoy the day! Kids and their families will see the 11:00 performance of Free Theatre. Then everyone will picnic on the lawn. At 12:30, there will be tours of the theatres, then a chance to learn stage sword-fighting, dance with a musical pro, and design and build scenery and costumes. The event concludes with cake!

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