Lanford Wilson, who won the Pulitzer in 1980 for “Talley’s Folly” and was most recently repped on Broadway by “Redwood Curtain,” is on the boards again. His new work, “Book of Days,” had its world premiere last month just outside Detroit, in Chelsea, Mich.’s Purple Rose Theater — a house owned by Jeff Daniels, the Hollywood actor who is also a hometown hero.
The Purple Rose commissioned the play from Wilson, and Guy Sanvile is directing. The talk’s now about touring the play in other principal cities.
* * *
The Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” looks to be a strong bet for Broadway. The star-studded New Jersey revival of the 1971 tuner is garnering terrific reviews, including a New York Times notice from chief critic Ben Brantley that said the show “definitely should” move across the Hudson.
“The Judas Kiss” co-producer Roger Berlind says he’s interested in moving the production to Broadway, but that “the economics look daunting.” A source close to the production said that at least a 1,400-seat house would be needed to create a profitable tuner with a cast as large as “Follies.”
Meanwhile, the Paper Mill “Follies” cast, which includes movie vet Ann Miller, Donna McKechnie, Kaye Ballard and Tony Roberts, will record the show for a two-CD set on TVT Records this August. Recording is slated to begin this June. The “Follies” CD will include the complete 22-song score, plus five songs cut from the show following the Boston tryout.
* * *
Livent now holds the rights to “House,” a two-act play written by Jon Robin Baitz and Terrence McNally. The play will appear at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Long Island this summer. Joe Mantello, who most recently directed Baitz’s “Mizlansky/Zilinsky or ‘Schmucks,’ ” will helm. Baitz wrote the play’s first act, about a couple selling their house, while McNally penned the second, about another couple moving in. The plan is to tour in the fall before a Broadway arrival.
A recent reading of the work featured Alan Alda, Blair Brown, Marlo Thomas, Debra Monk and Peter Gallagher — all of whom are being sought for potential roles for the Broadway production, a source close to the project said.
* * *
The Williamstown Theater Festival will once again be the hot spot for summer theater, with heavyweight actors and producers signing on to helm and star in five main stage productions.
Leading the slate from June 24 to July 5 is Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” which will be helmed by Neel Keller and will star Eric Stolz (Tom), Dana Ivey (Amanda Wingfield), and Tate Donovan (the Gentleman Caller).
Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker” will run from July 8-19, and will be directed by Nicholas Martin. “Matchmaker” will star Andrea Martin (Dolly Levi) and Kate Burton (Mrs. Molloy).
N. Richard Nash’s “The Rainmaker” runs from July 22 through Aug. 2 starring Jayne Atkinson as Lizzy Curry.
“The Rivals” by Richard Brinsley Sheridan will perform from Aug. 5-16, and with Roger Rees attached to direct. Casting is still being determined.
Finally, “Hecuba,” adapted by Timberlake Wertenbaker, will round out the main stage season, running Aug. 19-30. Carey Perloff will direct and Olympia Dukakis will star as Hecuba. A nine-member a cappella Greek chorus will also appear.