George Bernard Shaw, Marx Bros Comedy, Musical ‘Bridges’ Top WTF 2013 Lineup

Kate Burton in 'The Corn is Green' at WTF, 2007, dir. by Nicholas Martin (Joan Marcus)

Kate Burton in ‘The Corn is Green’ at WTF, 2007, dir. by Nicholas Martin (Joan Marcus)

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – George Bernard Shaw’s classic Pygmalion, directed by Nicholas Martin, and the beloved Marx Brothers musical farce Animal Crackers, along with the world premiere of a musical version of the bestselling Bridges of Madison County, with book by Marsha Norman and songs by Jason Robert Brown, top the lineup of the 2013 Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) season, the festival’s 59th season and third under Jenny Gersten’s artistic directorship. The 2013 season runs from June 26, 2013 to August 18, 2013.

On the festival’s smaller Nikos Stage, audiences will see revivals of Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood along with productions of Bess Wohl’s American Hero (a world premiere) and the new musical Johnny Baseball by Richard Dresser (book), Robert Reale (music) and Willie Reale (lyrics).

Each year, WTF also presents a free outdoor production for family audiences at Poker Flats Fields. Dracula, written by Bram Stoker and adapted by longtime WTF personage Steve Lawson, will be the Free Theatre Production, running July 10 – 19, 2013.

The season will also see the return of many Williamstown veterans including Kate Burton (in Hapgood), and Robert Sean Leonard (in Pygmalion), plus first-time festival directors Bartlett Sher and Leigh Silverman.

“This is without question one of the most ambitious seasons in Williamstown Theatre Festival history – three musicals and a terrific lineup of plays, all of which engage different sensibilities,” Gersten said in a statement. “I especially enjoyed putting together this season’s slate because, ultimately, it embodies what makes the Williamstown Theatre Festival distinctive, providing artists with great opportunities, and allowing audiences to join us in our summertime joys and adventures.”

The last Nikos Stage production and additional casting for all 2013 WTF shows will be announced at a later date.


Hope Davis and Robert Sean Leonard in WTF's 'Dead End' 1997 (Richard Feldman)

Hope Davis and Robert Sean Leonard in WTF’s ‘Dead End’ 1997 (Richard Feldman)

Main Stage

Animal Crackers | June 26 – July 14, 2013

Book by George S. Kaufman & Morrie Ryskind; Music and Lyrics by Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby; Adapted and Directed by Henry Wishcamper

Hooray for Captain Spaulding! The intrepid African explorer, inveterate womanizer, and interminable jokester hobnobs with high society as the guest of honor at a swanky soiree. But when a priceless painting is pilfered, he and the guests are swept up in a screwball search for the thief. This new interpretation of the Marx Brothers’ hit Broadway musical and classic film overflows with mirthful melodies, dynamite dancing, and seriously silly slapstick.

Pygmalion | July 17 – 27, 2013

By George Bernard Shaw; Directed by Nicholas Martin With Robert Sean Leonard

“You have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being.” With all the parallels of a modern reality-show makeover, an impoverished flower seller is taken in hand by a linguistics professor who attempts to change her accent and pass her off as the epitome of English society. For a wager. A sharp satire on class and women’s independence, Shaw’s century-old masterpiece features Robert Sean Leonard as Henry Higgins in an uproarious, poignant, and unforgettable battle of wits between two of theatre’s most iconic characters. Leonard (“House,” Dead Poets Society) last appeared at the Festival in Dead End, directed by former WTF Artistic Director Nicholas Martin (She Stoops to Conquer, Our Town) who returns to Williamstown to helm Pygmalion.

The Bridges of Madison County | August 1 – 18, 2013

Book by Marsha Norman; Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown; Directed by Bartlett Sher

In 1992, a rural American romance by an unknown author (Robert James Waller) became a “literary phenomenon” and a mega-bestseller. Millions of readers have been captivated by the simple story of Francesca, a beautiful Italian woman who marries an American soldier to flee war-ravaged Italy. Her new life in Iowa is common until she encounters Robert, a loner and artist, whose photography at National Geographic shields him from commitment and connection. Their three days of flirtation, memories of Naples, food, and laughter inspire a timeless love, and an impossible choice. Lushly transforming the best-selling novel into an intimate musical work for the stage, Marsha Norman and Jason Robert Brown have added new resonance to a lyrical portrait of true love, loss, sacrifice, and devotion. Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza) directs this world premiere, making his WTF debut.


Bess Wohl's 'Touch(ed)' at WTF, 2011 (T. Charles Erickson)

Bess Wohl’s ‘Touch(ed)’ at WTF, 2011 (T. Charles Erickson)

Nikos Stage

American Hero | June 26 – July 7, 2013
Written by Bess Wohl; Directed by Leigh Silverman

Three ounces of meat. Two ounces of cheese. Four ounces of lettuce. Seventeen-year-old Sheri and her co-workers at a new submarine sandwich franchise have honed their skills making everything from the Turkey Torpedo to the Big Kahuna Tuna exactly as specified in the corporate manual in this world premiere. But when the franchise owner mysteriously disappears, they are forced to improvise, and Sheri takes charge of the ragtag band of “sandwich artists.” See just how far they’ll go to keep their shop afloat in Bess Wohl’s hilarious, surreal tale of the struggle for optimism in tough times, the power of sandwiches, and the glorious, messy American Dream. Wohl’s Touch(ed) received a 2011 world premiere at Williamstown; this marks Leigh Silverman’s (Chinglish) WTF debut.

Hapgood | July 10 – 21, 2013

By Tom Stoppard; Directed by Evan Yionoulis; with Kate Burton

Treacherous twins and double (or triple?) agents abound in a twisty-turny look at the unlikely interrelation of quantum physics and international espionage. Simultaneously channeling John le Carre?, Albert Einstein, and Mel Brooks, Tom Stoppard’s Cold-War thriller boasts equal shares of brains, guts, and sly humor. WTF mainstay Kate Burton takes on the tour-de-force title role, the brilliant but eccentric British intelligence chief working to expose a Soviet double agent while attempting to keep her personal life under wraps. Burton returns to WTF after a five-year hiatus, having appeared in the Festival’s Beyond Therapy, The Corn Is Green, Hedda Gabler, and more.

Johnny Baseball | July 24 – August 4, 2013

Book by Richard Dresser; Music by Robert Reale; Lyrics by Willie Reale; Directed by Marc Bruni

The infamous Curse of the Boston Red Sox is brought to life through the changing fortunes of three orphaned souls: Johnny O’Brien, a hard-luck right-hander on the 1919 Sox; his idol, Babe Ruth; and Daisy Wyatt, a dazzling African-American blues singer and the love of Johnny’s life. The mystical intertwining of their fates reveals both the source of the Curse and the secret to its triumphant end off Big Papi’s bat in 2004. Packing a resonant commentary on social history into a quintessentially American musical, Johnny Baseball will bring cheers and tears to baseball fans and theatre lovers alike.

The fourth production on the Nikos Stage, which will run from August 7 – 18, 2013, is to be announced.

Free Theatre:

Dracula: July 10 – 19, 2013

By Bram Stoker; adapted by Steve Lawson

Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel comes alive under the stars in a new adaptation by WTF veteran and Free Theatre co-founder Steve Lawson. One of the most haunting figures of our common imagination, “the Count” has stalked his nightmarish way through literature, art, theatre, and film, never failing to leave an impression, as well as the marks of his fangs. This dynamic new stage version of Stoker’s iconic tale is sure to hold audiences rapt. Leave your nerves at home…but bring the whole family and a picnic.


Special Discount Ticket Bundles are available for purchase until March 15, 2013, at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Single tickets for the 2013 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be available in April through the WTF website 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 4, 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, Mass.


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. 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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