Blythe Danner to Return to Williamstown Theatre Festival in Summer 2012; ‘Rent’ Director Michael Greif to Helm New Musical

Blythe Danner

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Tony Award-winning actress Blythe Danner will return to the boards of Williamstown Theatre Festival in summer 2012 for the first time in a dozen years, in the world premiere of Lucy Boyle’s new play The Blue Deep, on the Nikos Stage from July 11 – July 22, directed by Drama Desk Award-winner Bob Balaban, in a season that will also feature a “preview production” of a new musical adaptation of the Todd Haynes film, Far From Heaven, written by Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out), with an original score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and directed by Michael Greif (Rent; WTF’s Three Sisters), running on the Main Stage from July 19 – 29.

“It gives me a thrill to start telling our communities what we’re planning this summer, particularly by initiating our season announcement with these two new productions,” said artistic director Jenny Gersten. “Both Michael Greif and Blythe Danner have created exquisite work in Williamstown over many years, and with them we welcome new wonderful talent to our stages.  Next month when we announce the rest of the schedule, I think you’ll find a compelling mix of the familiar and the unexpected to round out the picture of our 2012 season.”

Far From Heaven at WTF will allow the creative team the ability to make changes over the course of the run to further develop the musical. Far From Heaven, a new musical based on the acclaimed, award-winning 2002 motion picture written and directed by Todd Haynes, starring Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid, and modeled on the classic films of Douglas Sirk. In Far From Heaven, Cathy Whitaker seems to be the picture-perfect wife and mother in 1957 suburban Connecticut. But roiling beneath the surface, secret longings and forbidden desires cause her world to unravel – with incendiary consequences. With a lush score that is both jazz-inflected and hauntingly lyrical, Far From Heaven is a powerful story of romance, betrayal, intolerance, and a woman grappling with her own identity in a society on the verge of great upheaval.

Bob Balaban and Blythe Danner both participated in a sold out reading of The Blue Deep last summer as part of WTF’s Fridays@3 series. In the new play, 26-year-old Lila Miller is stuck, while her mother, Grace, is perpetually in motion. When Lila returns home to her family’s exquisite Hamptons house and garden with only a plastic bag and a broken heart, there’s no nurturing to be found, except as pertains to horticulture. The same painful history that threatens to drive mother and daughter permanently apart ultimately evolves into the one realm where reconnection might be possible. The Blue Deep is “an achingly honest and funny play about loss, growing up, and the benefits of aquaerobics.”

“I’m ecstatic about returning to WTF, our family’s home for so many, many summers,” Danner commented. “Jenny Gersten heads the company with the same expertise and passion that has become WTF’s trademark since Nikos’s day. I hope audiences love this beautiful new play by the talented Lucy Boyle as much as I do.”





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