Williamstown fest preps ‘Opera’ revival

Season to include new plays by Gurney, Gilroy, Gersten-Vassilaros

SOUTHBURY, Conn. — Jesse L. Martin, Betty Buckley and Melissa Errico in “The Threepenny Opera” and Mandy Patinkin in Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” highlight this summer’s 49th Williamstown Theater Festival under producer Michael Ritchie.

The season will also include a new play by A.R. Gurney about gay tennis great William “Big Bill'” Tilden, as well as new plays by Frank D. Gilroy and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, and revivals of works by John Guare, Dylan Thomas and Tom Stoppard.

In addition to the staged productions there will be a series of readings of Chekhov plays and love letters, featuring Williamstown favorites such as Blythe Danner, Olympia Dukakis, George Morfogen, Austin Pendleton and Louis Zorich.

The season, which runs June 25 to Aug. 24, opens with the mainstage production of Brecht and Weill’s “Threepenny Opera” in the Marc Blitzstein version (June 25-July 6). With a cast and orchestra of more than 60, the production is directed by former Williamstown topper Peter Hunt, returning to the theater after a seven-year hiatus. Martin will play MacHeath, Buckley is Pirate Jenny and Errico is Polly Peachum.

Next up on the mainstage is Guare’s “Landscape of the Body” (July 9- 20), staged by Michael Greif. It will be followed by a Darko Tresnjak production of Thomas’ “Under Milk Wood” (July 23-Aug. 3).

Stoppard’s “Travesties” (Aug. 6-17) is directed by Gregory Boyd, and Gerald Freedman will direct Patinkin as Dr. Stockman in Christopher Hampton’s version “Enemy of the People.” The production will have an unusually short run of under a week (Aug. 20 to 24). The Williams College campus won’t be available beyond Aug. 24 this summer.

The season in the smaller Nikos Stage will open with Gurney’s “Big Bill” (July 2-13), which does not yet have a director attached. It will be followed by Gersten-Vassilaros’ “Mother of Invention” (July 16-27), directed by Nicholas Martin. Gilroy’s “The Lake,” directed by Scott Ellis (July 30-Aug. 10), will be followed by the Chekhov readings (Aug. 12-16).

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