Jenny Gersten and the Williamstown Theatre Festival have already announced a superb season with plenty of star power, but have saved the best for last. This morning news came that Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April; WTF’s The Ride Down Mount Morgan) and Bradley Cooper (Limitless; The Understudy at WTF) will return to Williamstown in The Elephant Man, written by Bernard Pomerance and directed by Scott Ellis, completing the Nikos Stage season and playing from July 25 – August 5, 2012.
David Byrne and Fatboy Slim to create “Here Lies Love” event as Hot Dance Event at Mass MoCA
In addition to the Main Stage and Nikos Stage productions, Williamstown Theatre Festival will also present a workshop of Here Lies Love, a new theatrical event created by David Byrne and directed by Alex Timbers, with music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Here Lies Love is a collaboration with WTF’s artistic neighbor, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and The Public Theater in New York City. The Public will present the World Premiere of Here Lies Love in the spring of 2013. After a three week rehearsal residency at Mass MoCA, Here Lies Love will play five workshop performances over four days, from June 21-24, 2012, at the Hunter Center for the Performing Arts at Mass MoCA (87 Marshall Street, North Adams, MA).
Here Lies Love might be compared to The Who’s Tommy in some respects, in that it more than a collection of songs, but rather tells a fascinating story. A collaboration with Fatboy Slim , Byrne’s upbeat series of songs is sung not in one voice, but by different singers. The songs are about Imelda Marcos and Estrella Cumpas, the woman who raised her. There have been many versions of the story and music, including an impressive package that includes 2 CDs (22 songs), a DVD with videos of 6 of those songs, and a 100-page book that explains it all. It is possible that each of the WTF performances at Mass MoCA will push these creative possibilities even further, bringing the story to life theatrically.
A Big Deal
Here Lies Love has been performed on stage before, four times in fact. It originally debuted at the Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts in Australia on March 10th 2006. It was further performed twice in Adelaide around the same time and then, lastly, at Carnegie Hall in New York on February 3rd 2007. Festival and concert performances are one thing, but now it will have a real theatrical treatment and both WTF and the Public Theatre are taking the work seriously in order to mine its future live performance possibilities.
Imelda Marcos, the first lady of the Philippines, was part of a regime in the 70′s and 80′s that was significant of corruption, extravagance and Marshall law. Money was frittered away on projects that were not of high priority at that time. Marcos lived the high life whilst her people suffered impoverishment. What could be more timely!
Byrne has always been notorious for his visual concepts and unique ways of exploring art. This is no exception.
These productions complete the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival season, which now includes: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a Preview Production of the new musical Far From Heaven based on a film of the same name, and a new translation of Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country on the Main Stage, with Lucy Boyle’s The Blue Deep, Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man, and Katori Hall’s WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! on the Nikos Stage.
These offerings round out the Festival’s 58th Season, the second under Ms. Gersten’s leadership.
ABOUT THE SHOWS
The Elephant Man: Nikos Stage, July 25 – August 5, 2012
Written by Bernard Pomerance, Directed by Scott Ellis
With Patricia Clarkson and Bradley Cooper
From a desperate existence in a Victorian freak show to his days as the toast of London high society, the life of John Merrick, the Elephant Man, has fascinated the world for well over a century. Though his disfigurement brought notoriety, it was his unblemished inner humanity that most astonished those around him, compelling examinations of their own prejudices and beliefs. Shattering our illusions of normalcy, Pomerance weaves Merrick’s tale into a parable on beauty, innocence, and human dignity.
Clarkson made her WTF debut as a member of the 1984 Non-Equity company and last appeared at the Festival in 1996 in Arthur Miller’s The Ride Down Mount Morgan. Cooper last appeared at WTF in 2008, in Theresa Rebeck’s The Understudy; he played ‘John Merrick’ in The Elephant Man as part of his senior thesis in for the Actor’s Studio Drama School.
Here Lies Love: The Hunter Center at MASS MoCA, June 21 – 24, 2012
Created by David Byrne, Directed by Alex Timbers
With Music by David Byrne & Fatboy Slim
Within a throbbing dance club environment, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim deconstruct the astonishing journey of Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos, from her meteoric rise to her descent into infamy. This wholly immersive spectacle combines disco beats, adrenaline-fueled choreography, and a remarkable 360-degree scenic and video environment — going beyond Imelda’s near-mythic obsession with shoes to explore true questions of power and responsibility. Directed by two-time Obie Award winner Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher), Here Lies Love is neither period piece nor mere biography, neither play nor musical, but a unique theatrical experience that raises the pulse and quickens the blood – all filtered through the remarkable vision of David Byrne, one of the great American artists of the last half century.
Here Lies Love is produced in association with The Public Theater and supported in residence by MASS MoCA. Tickets will go on sale April 20th, 2012 and will be available through the MASS MoCA box office at http://www.massmoca.org or by calling (413)-662-2111.
TICKETS AND SCHEDULE
Advance ticket orders for the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival season may be placed through the Festival’s website (www.wtfestival.org) or by mail order using the season brochure (call 413-597-3400 to join the mailing list). Advance ticket orders will be processed in late May. At that time, ticket orders from Festival donors will be given priority and will be filled by descending donor level. All other advance ticket orders received by May 25, 2012 will be filled in order of date received.
The Festival’s Nikos Stage is an intimate 173-seat venue that regularly sells out in advance from within the pool of Festival donors.
The Wiliamstown Theatre Festival Box Office will open on June 5th, 2012 at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 413-597-3400, or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167.
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
Since 1955, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought America’s finest actors, directors, designers, and playwrights to the Berkshires, engaging a loyal audience of both residents and summer visitors. Each WTF season is designed to present unique opportunities for artists and audience alike, revisiting classic plays with innovative productions, developing and nurturing bold new plays and musicals, and offering a rich array of accompanying cultural events including Free Theatre, Late-Night Cabarets, readings, workshops, and educational programs. While best known for our acclaimed productions, WTF is also home to one of the nation’s top training and professional development programs for new generations of aspiring theatre artists and administrators. Now under the leadership of Artistic Director Jenny Gersten, WTF was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2002 and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement in 2011.
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
2012 SEASON SUMMARY
The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde
Directed by David Hyde Pierce
June 26 – July 14, 2012
Far From Heaven
Book by Richard Greenberg
Music by Scott Frankel
Lyrics by Michael Korie
Directed by Michael Greif
With Kelli O’Hara
July 19 – 29, 2012
A Month in the Country
By Ivan Turgenev
Translated by Richard Nelson, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Directed by Richard Nelson
August 1 – 19, 2012
The Blue Deep
By Lucy Boyle
Directed by Bob Balaban
With Blythe Danner
June 27 – July 8, 2012
Last of the Red Hot Lovers
By Neil Simon
Directed by Jessica Stone
July 11 – 22, 2012
The Elephant Man
By Bernard Pomerance
Directed by Scott Ellis
With Patricia Clarkson and Bradley Cooper
July 25 – August 5, 2012
By Katori Hall
Directed by May Adrales
Presented in association with Signature Theatre
August 8 – 19, 2012
THE HUNTER CENTER AT MASS MOCA
Here Lies Love
Created By David Byrne
Directed by Alex Timbers
Music by David Byrne & Fatboy Slim
June 21 – 24, 2012
At Poker Flats
The Valley of Fear
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Steve Lawson
Directed by Lila Neugebauer
July 18 – 27, 2012