Audra McDonald coming to Williamstown Theatre Festival in 'Streetcar Named Desire' revival
Four world premiere plays; one world premiere musical and return of Kate Burton on tap
WILLIAMSTOWN — A new production of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" directed by Robert O'Hara and starring six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald; four world premiere plays and a world premiere musical are on tap this summer at Williamstown Theatre Festival.
McDonald will open the season June 30-July 19 as Blanche in O'Hara's treatment of "A Streetcar Named Desire," co-starring Carla Gugino as Stella and Emmy, Drama Desk, and Obie Award winner and Tony Award nominee Bobby Cannavale as Stanley. O'Hara directed last season's production of "A Raisin in the Sun" and was represented on Broadway with "Slave Play," which just ended a limited run.
Kate Burton returns to Williamstown July 22-Aug. 2 with the world premiere of "Cult of Love" by Emmy Award nominee Leslye Headland, directed by Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee Trip Cullman, whose Williamstown credits include "Unknown Soldier" and "Before the Meeting, directs this dark comedy by Leslye Headland about a family whose fierce determination to love each other may not be enough to keep them together. Also in the cast are Michael Esper, Paige Gilbert, Rebecca Henderson, Chris Lowell, Taylor Schilling, and Miriam Silverman.
The final play of the Main Stage season will be "Photograph 51" (Aug. 6-23) by Anna Ziegler, directed by five-time Tony, Olivier, and Drama Desk Award winner Susan Stroman. Following a critically acclaimed run in London, Ziegler's play comes to Williamstown in a new production.
The Nikos Stage season kicks off July 1 with the world premiere of "Wish You Were Here" (through July 12) by Sanaz Toossi, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch and featuring Nikki Massoud and Marjan Neshat. It will be followed by the world premiere of "Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club" (July 15 - July 25) by Shakina Nayfack, directed by WTF associate artistic director Laura Savia and featuring Kate Bornstein, Annie Golden, and Shakina Nayfack.
Set over the course of 14 years, "Wish You Were here" begins as a young couple prepare for their wedding while their future life is threatened by the simmering Iranian Revolution outside their living room.
"Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club" is about a vibrant, international group of transgender women who band together at a hotel in Thailand to confront the challenges and joys of gender confirmation surgery.
Next is the world premiere of "Row" (July 30 - Aug. 9), a new musical with book by Daniel Goldstein and music and lyrics by Dawn Landes. "Row," inspired by "A Pearl in the Storm" by Tori Murden McClure, will be directed by Tyne Rafaeli. It's about a woman who aims to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. As a child, she raised her younger brother Lamar, defending him against discrimination and neighborhood bullies. Now, with nothing but her body and a hand-built boat, she squares off with her own tormentor: the ocean.
The Nikos Stage season closes with the world premiere of "Animals" (Aug. 12-23), a comedy by Stacy Osei-Kuffour, directed by Whitney White. Lydia and Henry's dinner guests are about to arrive when Henry's spontaneous marriage proposal threatens to burn the evening to a crisp. Wine bottles and years of unspoken tensions are uncorked, and, before the evening is through, Lydia must confront her long-held fears and feelings if she's going to commit to a future with Henry.
"I can't imagine a more dazzling, dynamic, provocative and powerful combination of theatrical talent than the artists who will gather in the summer of 2020 in Williamstown to make a season of work," WTF artistic director Mandy Greenfield said in a news release. "To examine and experience the plays of some of the most gifted and fearless living American writers for the stage alongside the canonical genius of Tennessee Williams offers us the opportunity to see ourselves, our culture, across time.
"Especially in a year when Americans will be asked to cast a vote for the future of our country, I am grateful to our brave artists for helping us to explore who we are, who we can be and who we want to be, ahead."
Additional programming and events, as well as complete casting and creative team information, will be announced at a later date.
Season ticket bundles are available now at wtfestival.org. Advance single ticket reservations for the 2020 season will be available in early April through the WTF website.
The WTF season brochure will be mailed at the end of April (call 413-458-3253 to join the mailing list). The WTF box office will open on June 3 at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the '62 Center for Theatre and Dance at 1000 Main St. (Route 2), Williamstown.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.