Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2012 Season Includes Neil Simon, Oscar Wilde and Turgenev

Playwright Katori Hall

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Works by Neil Simon, Oscar Wilde and Turgenev will be staged at Williamstown Theatre Festival in summer 2012 alongside the world premiere of Olivier Award-winner Katori Hall’s (The Mountaintop) WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! and the previously announced world premiere of Lucy Boyle’s The Blue Deep and the Main Stage preview production of Far From Heaven, a new musical based on the film of the same name.

The festival’s 58th season and second under artistic director Jenny Gersten’s leadership will kick off with a production of Oscar Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Tony Award-winner David Hyde Pierce (an alum of the WTF’s training programs, making his WTF directorial debut), playing from June 26 – July 14, 2012.

A new translation of Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country, directed by Tony Award-winner Richard Nelson (James Joyce’s The Dead) will be seen on the Main Stage from August 1 to August 19, 2012.

On the Nikos Stage, WTF veteran Jessica Stone (A Funny Thing…Forum) directs Neil Simon’s comedy Last of the Red Hot Lovers, playing July 11 – July 22, 2012. The world premiere of Olivier Award-winner Katori Hall’s (The Mountaintop) WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! will run, in association with Signature Theatre, August 8 – 19, 2012.

Playwright Lucy Boyle

These productions join the previously announced Nikos Stage’s World Premiere of Lucy Boyle’s The Blue Deep, directed by Bob Balaban, with a cast that includes Blythe Danner, and the Main Stage preview production of Far From Heaven, a new musical by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, with a book by Richard Greenberg and direction by Michael Greif, with a cast that includes Tony Award-nominee Kelli O’Hara.

An additional Nikos Stage show, which will run from July 25 – August 4, will be announced at a later date.

“These plays introduce some real merriment and unexpected pleasures into the 2012 Season,” Gersten said. “We’re so proud that two of the new plays premiering on the Nikos Stage this summer are homegrown, developed in front of our audience as part of our Fridays@3 new play reading series. Collectively, the 2012 Season is a gorgeous assembly of surprise and delight – with laughs, heartfelt longing, and genuine revelations for artists, students, and audiences.”

WTF’s Free Theatre, celebrating its 25th anniversary, will return to the outdoor venue at Poker Flats Field with a free production of The Valley of Fear, adapted by longtime WTF veteran Steve Lawson from the Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, July 18 – 27, 2012.



David Hyde Pierce

The Importance of Being Earnest
June 26 – July 14, 2012

Written by Oscar Wilde and directed by David Hyde Pierce

What if a family of Guys and Dolls-style gangsters moved to Downton Abbey-style London in order to escape certain, shall we say, entanglements? What if two of these wise guys fell hard for two tough dolls? And what if the formidable dame who runs the aforementioned criminal family developed an appetite for cucumber sandwiches? Director David Hyde Pierce gives us Oscar Wilde’s hilarious high society satire in a very new way.




Kelli O'Hara

Far From Heaven
Preview Production
July 19 – 29, 2012

Book by Richard Greenberg; Music by Scott Frankel & Lyrics by Michael Korie

Directed by Michael Greif

Cast includes Kelli O’Hara

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.


A Month in the Country
World Premiere
August 1 – 19, 2012

Written by Ivan Turgenev, translated by Richard Nelson, Richard Pevear, and Larissa Volokhonsky

Directed by Richard Nelson

It looks to be a long life of sylvan contentment for 29-year-old Natalya, who is comfortably married with a young son. One day, without warning, she falls under the influence of a force she has never known before: desire. Suddenly, her simple, predictable world is irrevocably changed. Both romantic and psychologically compelling, this rare production of Turgenev’s masterful A Month in the Country honors the Festival’s tradition of celebrating great works of Russian drama (think Chekhov) with some of America’s greatest actors. This new translation is the first collaboration between playwright Richard Nelson and Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky, the foremost contemporary translators of classic Russian literature (War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, and Anna Karenina).



Lucy Boyle

The Blue Deep
World Premiere
June 27 – July 8, 2012

Written by Lucy Boyle and directed by Bob Balaban

Cast includes Blythe Danner

Though only in her twenties, 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.


Last of the Red Hot Lovers
July 11 – 22, 2012

Written by Neil Simon; directed by Jessica Stone

Meet Barney Cashman. He’s a middle-aged restaurant manager who has a very nice married existence. But he’s tired of existing; he wants to live – before it’s too late. Maybe one afternoon of passion could be so exhilarating, so vivid, that the memory alone would sate his desire for more. Three women, three afternoons, three shots at living in Technicolor. As she did with her lauded WTF production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, director Jessica Stone reveals the humanity and the hilarity of this oft-overlooked early work of Neil Simon.

World Premiere
August 8 – 19, 2012

Written by Katori Hall

Presented in association with Signature Theatre

Katori Hall

One-percenter Eden Higgenbotham lives a cushy Upper-East-Side life surrounded by equally affluent, vain, and snobbish friends. When a sudden stroke causes her to contract the very rare Foreign Accent Syndrome, which makes her speak uncontrollably with a Jamaican accent, she’s forced to embrace a dramatically altered identity. WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! is a searing satire of race and class by the Olivier Award-winning writer of The Mountaintop, Katori Hall.

July 25 – August 4



The Valley of Fear
July 18 – 27, 2012

Adapted by Steve Lawson

Based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle

Celebrating its 25th anniversary with the return of Sherlock Holmes, the Free Theatre will present The Valley Of Fear, adapted by WTF veteran Steve Lawson from the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes saga, launched the Free Theatre in 1987, and now the legendary sleuth returns in this new theatrical version of Conan Doyle’s final novel. Spectators will don their crime-solving caps and lend Holmes and Dr. Watson a hand, with gasps and laughs guaranteed for all.

Special Discount Ticket Bundles are available for purchase until March 9, 2012 at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Single tickets for the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be available in April through Williamstown Theatre Festival and by mail order using WTF’s season brochure (call 413.597.3400 to join the mailing list). The WTF Box Office will open on June 5 at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167.



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.




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