When the search for romance gets serious
Preview by Larry Murray
Note: The review with production photos is now posted here.
You probably don’t know much about the new comedy Romance Novels for Dummies by Boo Killebrew since it is another world premiere play for the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Directed by Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel, it has a top notch cast replete with personal favorite Justin Long, the stunning Mary Wiseman, plus the enchanting Emily Lyons, Ashley Austin Morris, Connie Ray, and the anchor, a solid Andrew Weems.
The set up is wonderful, full of both dramatic and comic possibilities. Sisters Liz and Bernie couldn’t be more different: Liz is a good, Southern stay-at-home mom; Bernie is a flailing actress smoking and swearing her way through New York City. But when Liz is suddenly widowed, she and her young daughter move in with Bernie to start again. While Bernie challenges all of Liz’s assumptions about life, love and raising a child, Liz goes out on a series of internet dates which eclipse the grief, fear and gentility she’s known for so long. Can Liz compel her own story to end like a romance novel?
Romance Novels for Dummies is a play which asks us to imagine how we might handle the curve-balls — big and small — that life throws us.
With Set Design by Timothy Mackabee, Costume Design by Tilly Grimes, Lighting Design by Justin Townsend, Sound Design by Palmer Hefferan. Romance Novels for Dummies runs from July 20-July 31, 2016 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Boo Killebrew is a playwright, actress and co-founder of CollaborationTown Theatre Company. She is also a Lila Acheson Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School and the recipient of The Vineyard Theater’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award. Her plays include Miller, Mississippi, Days Like Diamonds, The Play About My Dad, The d Life, Caveat Emptor, and The Momentum (NYC Fringe Festival Excellence Award for Overall Production of a Play; GLAAD Media Award Nominee).
Justin Long is from Fairfield, Conneticut though lives someplace near the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and returns to the summer haven for actors every summer. He attended Fairfield Prep, and after graduating, he attended Vassar College. He first really showed his promise as a member of the comedy troupe “LaughingStock.” His performing talent garnered favorable notices and he won roles in some independent productions, notably Galaxy Quest (1999). However, he refused to act full time until after he graduated, which he did in 2000. He first gained notice when he played the nervous teenager Warren Cheswick in the TV series Ed (2000). The following year, he starred in the offbeat horror film Jeepers Creepers (2001). The film, with its surprise ending, was a major hit on the horror circuit and raised his profile. He played the boyfriend of Britney Spears in Crossroads (2002), and won a supporting role in the Vince Vaughn comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004).
He also had high-profile roles in some offbeat independent films, most notably Raising Genius (2004) and Waiting… (2005), and scored commercial success again when he played Lindsay Lohan’s boyfriend in Herbie Fully Loaded (2005). He continues to win acclaim and fans. He scored commercial success again with a role in the Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy The Break-Up (2006). He is private about his personal life and does not make a point of attending nightclubs and parties. However, his personal life did get scrutiny in 2008, due to his romance with actress Drew Barrymore that year.
In addition to his film appearances, he gained a great deal of visibility as the spokesman for Apple Mac computers, appearing with John Hodgman in its commercials.
With enormous talent and a memorable stage presence, Mary Wiseman is an actress, known for her work on the films Three Dates (2014), Craft & Burn (2012) and The Characters (2016). Trained at Julliard, she made her Broadway debut in Thérèse Raquin. Off-Broadway: An Octoroon (TFANA and Soho Rep). Regional (including festivals): Off the Main Road (Williamstown), Clybourne Park, Comedy of Errors (CTC); TV: the upcoming Netflix original series “The Characters”.