WILLIAMSTOWN --Williamstown Theatre Festival Artistic Director Jenny Gersten announced the full casts for the first two productions of the 2013 Festival season:
"Animal Crackers" will be presented on the Main Stage from June 26 through July 14 (opening June 27), and the World Premiere of "American Hero" will grace the Nikos Stage from June 26 through July 7.
Hooray for 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. A family-friendly musical, Animal Crackers overflows with mirthful melodies, and dynamite dancing.
Full of slapstick and song, "Animal Crackers" brings a new interpretation of the Marx Brothers’ hit Broadway musical and classic film to the Main Stage. Adapted and directed by Henry Wishcamper ("Graceland"), the nine-person cast portrays 21 roles.
Playing the iconic trio of Marx Brothers are Joey Slotnick ("The Big Knife," "Twister," "Nip/Tuck") as Groucho, the role he performed to critical acclaim in The Goodman Theatre’s 2009 production; Jonathan Brody, who performed alongside Slotnick in the Goodman production as Chico; and Brad Aldous ("Boardwalk Empire") as the hilarious Harpo.
The cast also includes Joey Sorge ("Nice Work if You Can Get It"), Adam Chanler-Berat ("Peter and the Starcatcher"), Mara Davi ("A Chorus Line"), Renée Elise Goldsberry ("The Color Purple"), Ellen Harvey ("How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"), and Jacob Ming-Trent ("Hands on a Hardbody"), all making their Festival debuts.
"Animal Crackers" features a book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind with music with lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby.
The world premiere of "American Hero" marks playwright Bess Wohl’s return to the Nikos Stage, following her play "Touch(ed)," an audience favorite, in 2011. "American Hero" is a humorous and heart-filled tale, directed by Leigh Silverman, who is widely celebrated for her skillful direction of new plays such as David Henry Hwang’s "Chinglish" and Lisa Kron’s "Well." The cast includes star of stage and screen Omar Metwally ("Sixteen Wounded," Steven Spielberg’s "Munich") playing multiple roles, Ari Graynor ("The Performers," "The Sopranos") as Jamie, WTF favorite James Waterston (WTF’s "Children and The Torch-Bearers") as Ted, and newcomer Erin Wilhelmi ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower") as Sheri.
In the play, Sheri and her co-workers have honed their skills at a new submarine sandwich franchise, 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." See just how far they’ll go to keep their shop afloat in Bess Wohl’s hilarious, surreal tale of the struggle for optimism in tough times, the power of sandwiches, and the glorious, messy American dream.
The complete 2013 Williamstown Theatre Festival season runs from June 26 to Aug. 18 and includes the highly anticipated world premiere of "The Bridges of Madison County," a new musical by Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman; and a Nicholas Martin-directed production of George Bernard Shaw’s classic "Pygmalion" on the Main Stage. On the Nikos Stage, audiences will see a revival of Tom Stoppard’s "Hapgood"; the new musical "Johnny Baseball" by Richard Dresser (book), Robert Reale (music), and Willie Reale (lyrics); and The Debate Society’s darkly comic thriller "Blood Play."
The season will also see the return of many Williamstown veterans including Kate Burton in "Hapgood," and Robert Sean Leonard in "Pygmalion," plus Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher making his directing debut at the festival.
Tickets for all WTF productions can be purchased online at wtfestival.org, by phone at 413-597-3400, or in person at the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St.
2013 Season Summary
June 26 - July 14
Book by George S. Kaufman & Morrie Ryskind
Music and Lyrics by Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby
Adapted and Directed by Henry Wishcamper
July 17 - 27
By George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Nicholas Martin
The Bridges of Madison County
Aug. 1 - 18
Book by Marsha Norman
Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Bartlett Sher
Scott and Zelda
Monday, July 1
A staged reading by Kay Cattarulla
Directed by Maria Tucci
With Patricia Clarkson and John Benjamin Hickey
My Fair Lewis: An Evening of Stand-Up with
Monday, July 22
June 26 - July 7
By Bess Wohl
Directed by Leigh Silverman
July 10 - 21
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Evan Yionoulis
July 24 - Aug. 3
Book by Richard Dresser
Music by Robert Reale; Lyrics by Willie Reale
Directed by Gordon Greenberg
Aug. 7 - 18
Written By Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen
Directed and Developed by Oliver Butler
Made by The Debate Society
Dracula, or The Un-Dead
July 10 - 19
By Bram Stoker; Adapted by Steve Lawson
Directed by Jordan Fein