January 4, 2009

6 Days to Previews

Saturday - January 3rd

It's been a while since I've done a countdown series - so here we are. This means you'll get at least 6 posts this month! Today is Saturday, Jan 3rd. Our first preview is on Friday the 9th (six days) - with our press opening on the 14th.

This production is a remount of the one Nicky directed at Williamstown in 2007, but none of the show's production elements were available to us so we've rebuilt the set, with new props and costumes.

Our shops and offices have been quiet over the holidays - mostly because the BU Students are home doing laundry - but Costumes, Paints, Props, Lighting and Sound have been putting in their time this week. Kudos to the costumes shop, and designer Robert Morgan, who came in on New Years Day to keep on schedule. Bob did not design the Williamstown costumes - so we'll have a fresh new look in wardrobe.

Sound designer Drew Levy arrived a couple days ago to witness the last few rehearsals in the Hall. The music sounds vaguely familiar - I suppose it's lodged somewhere in my Welsh genetic memory. The transitions feature choral music - which sounds great on the new sound system we installed this past summer.

Scene designer Jim Noone was here on Monday and Tuesday giving us a few last minute notes. He's off now to California to work on the new musical Stormy Weather at the Pasadena Playhouse. Local designer and BU grad Cristina Todesco will be subbing in as his assistant for our tech week. Cristina also designed the Cabaret set up for our Upstairs at the Calderwood series this winter.

Lighting designer Frances Aronson arrived in town yesterday to see a run and is now onst
age for the lighting focus. I stopped in earlier today before heading over to the rehearsal hall to watch a run through.

The show is in great shape, and it's nice to see a stage full of actors. Kate is brilliant, as usual, and it's fun to see her interact with son Morgan Ritchie. Morgan is a student at nearby Brown - so he'll be commuting once classes begin again.

In case you haven't heard the rest of the family story (and it's a good one) - the playwright of The Corn is Green, Emlyn Williams, is Kate's godfather.

Kate's dad, Richard Burton, was good friends with Emlyn and once played the role of Morgan Evans that now grandson Morgan Ritchie is playing. It's nice to see the family traditions being carried on to the next generation.

(I'm sure those of you who saw Wishful Drinking with Carrie Fisher this fall can guess how to expand the family tree).

The rest of the cast is brilliant too...
Will LeBow as The Squire, Bobbie Steinbach as Sarah Pugh, Kristine Nielsen (To Be or Not to Be, Spring Awakening) as Mrs. Watty, Roderick McLachlan as John Goronwy Jones, Mary Faber (Avenue Q, Saved!) as Bessie Wattie, Kathleen McCafferty as Miss Ronberry, Stephen Gabis as Old Tom and Jared Craig as Idwal Morris. Nice to see so many locals in the mix. There are also about 16 local college age actors playing the students and villagers. Many are from BU, but Harvard, Boston Conservatory, Emerson, Wheaton College, and Brandeis are also represented.

I loved the run - needless to say - and I'm glad to not have read the script in about a year. It's nice to be surprised by a play. And this play has nice surprises.

That's enough for today... tune in later for Sunday's webisode. Use the comment feature to send me your questions or comments.

Photos: The Corn is Green - Joan Marcus 2007, Emlyn Williams - unknown, Richard Burton and daughter Kate - unknown.

The Huntington Theatre Company's production of The Corn is Green, by Emlyn Williams, playing January 9 through February 8, 2009 at the Huntington's mainstage, the B.U. Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA. Buy tickets online or call our Box Office at 617 266-0800

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