The Wharton Salon 2012: The Inner House August 15-26

L-R Richard Jackson, Edith Wharton and Tod Randolph by Kevin Sprague

The Wharton Salon joins The Mount’s year-long celebration of Edith Wharton’s 150th birthday by putting Edith Wharton herself onstage this year in The Inner House, August 15-26, 2012. Adapted by Dennis Krausnick from Wharton’s 1934 autobiography, A Backward Glance, actress Tod Randolph plays Edith Wharton in a vivid account of Wharton’s public and private life directed by veteran Wharton director, Normi Noël.

Tickets are $35 General Admission. Performances take place in The Stables Theatre at The Mount Wednesday to Friday at 5:30 pm and on weekends Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday, May 24, 2012. For tickets and information go to www.whartonsalon.org or call 1-800-838-3006.

In December, The Wharton Salon will bring The Inner House to New York City to The New York Society Library (NYSocLib) on E. 79th St. and Madison Ave. as part of the NYSocLib’s Wharton birthday events, the only performing arts group to join a year-long series that has included celebrated biographer Hermione Lee and an photographic exhibition called “Wharton’s New York City: A Backward Glance.” (Date and time to be announced shortly).

“It’s fitting to celebrate Wharton’s birthday with an appearance from Wharton herself,” says Producing Artistic Director Catherine Taylor-Williams. “It will give patrons to The Mount a perfect context for visiting her home this summer, and I’m delighted to have Normi Noël on board to direct. We’re also very excited to join the Wharton birthday series at the New York Society Library in December and to perform in another beautiful building from Wharton’s time.”

The Inner House is taken from Edith Wharton’s 1934 autobiography A Backward Glance and several of her private letters and poems. It begins with Wharton at five years old taking a walk with her father down “the old Fifth Avenue” in New York City, her earliest years of “making up” which sewed the seeds of her later writing career, her early unpreparedness for marriage to Teddy Wharton, days at The Mount, unhappiness and divorce, her later affair with Morton Fullerton, her journey abroad, assistance to France in The Great War, and loving descriptions of her close friends, mentors, and companions Henry James, Walter Berry, and Bernard Berenson to name a few.

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, Wharton was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The 150th Anniversary of Edith Wharton’s birth has led to lively discussion by modern novelists about Wharton’s life and writing this year. Jonathan Franzen’s essay in The New Yorker (“A Rooting Interest: Edith Wharton and the Problem of Sympathy,” February 13, 2012) and the response from writer Victoria Patterson in The Los Angeles Review of Books (“Not Pretty,” Feb 25, 2012), followed by others in The Daily Beast, and Salon.com unleashed a firestorm of comments in the blogosphere about how women writers and their work are portrayed in the media.

The Wharton Salon is a professional theatre company that performs the stories of novelist Edith Wharton and her contemporaries in site-specific locations, offering a unique intimacy between author, actor, and audience; and drawing connections between literature, architecture, and nature. For tickets, cast bios, video, performance archives, and photos go to http://www.whartonsalon.org.

The Mount is a center for culture inspired by the passions and achievements of Edith Wharton. Designed and built by Wharton in 1902, the house embodies the principles outlined in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses (1897). The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design, surrounded by extensive woodlands. Programming at The Mount reflects Wharton’s core interests in the literary arts, interior design and decoration, garden and landscape design, and the art of living. For more information go to www.edithwharton.org.

The New York Society Library was founded in 1754 and is the city’s oldest library. The beautiful landmarked building at 53 East 79th St. dates from 1917 and includes reading rooms, spaces for study, stacks, and the Assunta, Ignazio, Ada and Romano Peluso Exhibition Gallery. The Library has approximately 300,000 volumes and hosts a variety of special events, seminars, and workshops. Information on the Library and its history can be found at www.nysoclib.org.

At A Glance

Production: The Inner House
Adapted from Edith Wharton, by Dennis Krausnick
Theatre: The Stables Auditorium at The Mount, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA
Cast: Tod Randolph with music performed by Alexander Sovronsky
Director: Normi Noël
Producer: Catherine Taylor-Williams
Stage Manager: Jamie Steffen
Technical Director: Maia Robbins Zust and Berkshire Production Resources
Costume Design: Arthur Oliver

Dates/Times: Wednesday August 15 and Thursday Aug 16 at 5:30 pm
Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19 at 3:00 pm

Wednesday August 22- Friday Aug 24 at 5:30 pm
Saturday, August 25 and Sunday August 26 at 3:00 pm

Tickets: $35, General Admission. Wheelchair accessible.
Online ticketing anytime at www.whartonsalon.org
Box office for telephone orders: 1-800-838-3006
*Tickets go on sale Thursday, May 24, 2012*

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