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Star power drives Williams marathon

Four join production

HARTFORD, Conn. — Thesps Elizabeth Ashley, Eli Wallach, Josh Hamilton and Rick Stear will join Olympia Dukakis and others in the Hartford Stage Co.’s Williams Marathon ’99. Event began Thursday with the opening of a revival of Tennessee Williams’ “Camino Real,” featuring Betty Buckley, Rip Torn and James Colby.

Ashley, Hamilton and Stear will be featured in Monday’s reading of Williams’ unpublished play “Masks Outrageous,” edited by Gavin Lambert.

Wallach, who originated the role of Kilroy in the 1953 Broadway premiere of “Camino Real,” will join HSC artistic director Michael Wilson and Williams scholars Linda Dorff and Brenda Murphy for the Williams Marathon ’99 Humanities Panel on Sept. 22. The panelists will discuss “the challenges and newfound popularity” of “Camino Real.”

The Williams’ large-cast fantasy has been revived in recent months by both the Williamstown (Mass.) Theater Festival and the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival. Following its HSC production through Oct. 10, “Camino Real” is scheduled for a fourth East Coast production in the spring at Washington, D.C.’s Shakespeare Theater, directed by Michael Kahn.

HSC’s Williams Marathon ’99 will end with Dukakis heading the cast for a reading of “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore” on Oct. 4.