'Tenn' retro to feature 8 Williams one-acts

SOUTHBURY, Conn. — The premiere of a one-act play by Edward Albee, “Home Life,” will be a highlight of the 40th-anniversary season of Hartford Stage in Hartford, Conn. A companion piece to Albee’s first play, the one-act “The Zoo Story,” the new play will be produced in tandem with that 1959 play May 20-June 20 next year.

“Zoo Story” is a two-character play in which two men, Jerry and Peter, meet in Central Park. Albee’s “Home Life,” written specifically for Hartford Stage’s 40th anni, is woven around Peter’s morning at home with his wife before his meeting with Jerry.

The 2003-04 Hartford Stage season opens Oct. 2-Nov. 2 with “8 by Tenn,” a two-evening retrospective, subtitled “Rose” and “Blue,” of eight Tennessee Williams one-act plays directed by HS artistic director Michael Wilson. They will be followed by HS’ annual “A Christmas Carol,” adapted and directed by Wilson, running Nov. 13-Dec. 28.

‘Mystery’ unfolds

Next will be Charles Ludlam’s “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” Jan. 8-Feb. 8, and then “Metamorphoses,” written and directed by Mary Zimmerman, Feb. 26-March 28. The latter is a co-production with Missouri Repertory Theater.

Prior to the Albee plays, which close the six-production season, the HS will present Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” April 8-May 9 in a co-production with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Co., Houston’s Alley Theater and the Dallas Theater Center.

Hartford also will present a Summerstage 2003 season of three productions. Two have yet to be set, but the summer season opens July 8 with an engagement direct from New York of “The Devil’s Music — The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith,” by Angelo Parra, conceived and directed by Joe Brancato and featuring Miche Braden as Bessie Smith. It runs through July 20.

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