Long Wharf picks ‘Cherry’

Prod'n to be helmed by Esbjornson

SOUTHBURY, Conn. — “Wit” star Kathleen Chalfant in Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” highlights the eight-play 2001-02 season at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater.

Chalfant will play Ranevskaya in a production directed by David Esbjornson (“The Play About the Baby”) that opens the five-play mainstage season (Sept. 19-Oct. 21).

Father-son prod’n

Cast will include David Strathairn, Paul Giamatti and Barnard Hughes, the father of Long Wharf artistic director Doug Hughes, as the 87-year-old valet Firs.

Hughes Sr. was also the inspiration for the second mainstage production, a revival of Hugh Leonard’s “Da” to be staged by Hughes Jr.

Barnard Hughes won a Tony for his role in “Da” in 1978 and repeated his role in the 1988 film. He will not be starring in this revival, however. “Da” will be produced in association with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater, where it will be seen first. It will be performed at the Long Wharf Nov. 7-Dec. 16.

Turkish delight

The third mainstage play will be Turkish-American playwright Sinan Unel’s 1997 “Pera Palas,” a play set at Istanbul’s Pera Palas Hotel. Staged by Steven Williford, it will run Jan. 16-Feb. 17.

Mainstage season will end with Moliere’s “The Miser” in a new translation by Doug Hughes, who also directs. Production will feature sets by Hugh Landwehr and costumes by Catherine Zuber.

The three-play Stage II season will begin with the premiere of David Schulner’s “An Infinite Ache,” directed by Greg Leaming. The 1986 comedy “Play Yourself,” by Harry Kondoleon, who died of AIDS in 1994, will follow, in a production directed by Hughes.

Last up on the second stage is the premiere of Dael Orlandersmith’s “Yellowman” in a co-production with Princeton’s McCarter Theater and Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater. Directed by Blanka Zizka, co-artistic director of the Wilma, it comes to the Long Wharf April 3-May 12.