(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Art-rock legend and all-around Renaissance man David Byrne, indie film icon Patricia Clarkson, and movie star Bradley Cooper – the “sexiest man alive” last year according to People Magazine, will be appearing in various roles and guises at Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer.
Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April; WTF’s The Ride Down Mount Morgan) and Bradley Cooper (The Hangover; The A-Team; Wedding Crashers; 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 to August 5, 2012. This isn’t Cooper’s first run at The Elephant Man — he played the title role of John Merrick, based on the real-life Joseph Carey Merrick, which he will be playing again, in the drama as part of his senior thesis in for the Actor’s Studio Drama School.
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 Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Here Lies Love is a collaboration with WTF’s artistic neighbor, MASS MoCA, and the Public Theatre in New York City. After a three week rehearsal residency at MASS MoCA, Here Lies Love will play five workshop performances over four days, June 21-24, at the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA (87 Marshall Street, North Adams, Mass). The Public will present the world premiere of Here Lies Love in spring 2013.
Here Lies Love has already enjoyed life as a concept album for a rock musical, released in April 2010 on Nonesuch Records. The album of songs by Byrne and Slim featured 22 guest vocalists, including Nellie McKay, Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant and Kate Pierson.
Within a throbbing dance club environment, Byrne and 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 Marcos’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.
This won’t be Byrne’s first appearance at MASS MoCA. One of the very first art installations at MASS MoCA, before the cultural laboratory even officially opened, was a photography exhibition by Byrne called Desire. Byrne also enjoyed watching Willie Nelson and his band perform in an outdoor courtyard at MASS MoCA about a year later.
These productions complete the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival season, the 58th overall and the second under the leadership of artistic director Jenny Gersten. The 2012 season now includes: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a preview production of the new musical Far From Heaven, 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.
Advance ticket orders for the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival season may be placed through the Festival’s website or by mail order using the season brochure. 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.