Coward tops legit slate

'Tonight,' 'Classes,' 'Christmas' highlight Williamstown Fest

SOUTHBURY, Conn. — Six of Noel Coward’s 10 one-act plays from “Tonight at 8:30,” two work-in-progress world premieres, the American preem of Simon Gray’s “The Late Middle Classes” and Maria Tucci’s new translation of Eduardo de Filippo’s “Christmas in Naples” will be among the highlights of this summer’s 46th annual Williamstown (Mass.) Theater Festival. The fest runs June 14-Aug. 27.

The two work-in-progress plays will be Joel Fields’ “How I Fell in Love” and Frank Pugliese’s “The Talk.” The six Coward one-acters, performed in two separate presentations of three plays apiece, will launch the WTF’s mainstage season June 16-July 2. The plays, some of which include singing and dancing, will be directed by Michael Greif and Ann Reinking, and will feature “an ensemble of WTF favorites.”

Revival, revision

They will be followed by a revival of Lanford Wilson’s “The Hot L Baltimore,” directed by Joe Mantello (July 5-16). Next will be Jon Robin Baitz’s recent version of Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” (July 19-30), directed by Nicholas Martin and with Kate Burton in the title role.

Then comes Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” (Aug. 2-13), directed by Darko Tresnjak, who staged the WTF’s expert revival of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” last summer. The mainstage season will end Aug. 16-27 with a Christopher Ashley staging of Moss Hart’s “Light Up the Sky.”

The season in the fest’s small Nikos Stage will open with Austin Pendleton’s “Orson’s Shadow” (June 14-25), directed by David Cromer. It has been announced that this production, which revolves around an imaginary meeting of Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier engineered by critic Kenneth Tynan, will also play the Westport (Conn.) Country Playhouse after Williamstown.

Single-life laffer

The Nikos Stage season will continue with “How I Fell in Love,” a comedy about the trials and tribulations of contemporary single life (June 28-July 9, director to be announced), and “The Talk” (July 12-23), about four brothers who return home after their mother’s suicide, directed by Scott Ellis.

Next will be “The Late Middle Classes” (July 16-Aug. 6), a dark comedy set in 1950s England, directed by Roger Rees. And finally, “Christmas in Naples” (Aug. 9-20), with a director also to be announced. Casting and other details are yet to be completed.

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