December 14, 2011 by Lisa Craig, Public Relations Manager
CLEVELAND, OH (December 14, 2011) – Cleveland Play House (CPH) is thrilled to produce Jeffrey Hatcher’s backstage comedy Ten Chimneys as the inaugural production in the new Second Stage, one of only three fully outfitted, flexible theatres in the nation. Ten Chimneys peeks into the private lives of theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne at their secluded Wisconsin retreat where they often entertained the titans of Broadway and Hollywood – including Noël Coward, Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier. In this comedy, a young starlet arrives to rehearse the Lunts’ latest production, Chekhov’s The Seagull, and unwittingly ignites a romantic triangle that eclipses any on-stage drama. The CPH production of Ten Chimneys, starring Emmy® award-winning actress Mariette Hartley, will begin in the Second Stage at PlayhouseSquare on Friday, January 13 and run through Sunday, February 5, 2012. Tickets are available at PlayhouseSquare ticket office by calling 216-241-6000 or online at www.clevelandplayhouse.com. Ten Chimneys is presented with support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council.
“I can’t think of a better way to open our fantastic Second Stage than with a play about two American theatre legends, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne,” states Michael Bloom, CPH Artistic Director. “We will be celebrating their artistic home, Ten Chimneys, in our new artistic home, the Second Stage in the Allen Theatre Complex at PlayhouseSquare.”
ABOUT THE PLAY
“Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were universally regarded as the greatest acting team in the history of the English speaking theatre. They were married for 55 years and were inseparable both on and off the stage.” So reads the epitaph on the Milwaukee graves of Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne, the couple whose stage performances delighted generations of theatre-goers in the early and middle 20th century. While the Lunts are considered theatre royalty, because they were determined to make their career in theatre rather than film, their legacy is preserved not on celluloid, but in the minds of those fortunate enough to have seen them perform live.
The Lunts in Cleveland
During their time as America’s premier acting couple, the Lunts made multiple appearances in Cleveland, beginning in the 1920s and continuing until their farewell tour with The Visit in 1959. By far, the Lunts’ most anticipated visit to Cleveland occurred in January 1933, when the couple acted with Noël Coward in the world premiere of his controversial comedy Design for Living.
About Ten Chimneys
For much of the 20th century, Ten Chimneys (in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin) was considered the center of the theatrical world – an important place for artistic creation, discussion, mentorship and inspiration. Every summer, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne returned home to their beloved Ten Chimneys. And, every summer, they reveled in welcoming close friends. The Lunts’ idyllic retreat beguiled and inspired the country’s finest actors, writers and artists: Noël Coward, Helen Hayes, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Julie Harris, John Gielgud, Katharine Hepburn, and Alexander Woollcott. Carol Channing was fond of saying, “What the Vatican is to Catholics, Ten Chimneys is to actors.” In 2003 (after nearly being lost to development), Ten Chimneys opened to the public as a world-class house museum and a national resource for theater, the arts and the art of living. For more information, go to www.tenchimneys.org.
ABOUT SECOND STAGE
As one of only three venues in the country, the Second Stage has a system for flying scenery, a floor with a trap, premium seating and the flexibility of a black box space. Custom-designed, rolling seating carriages allow Second Stage to change into multiple audience configurations (i.e. arena-style seating, runway-style seating, thrust-style seating, and more) in a matter of hours. It affords CPH the opportunity to fit the venue to the play rather than adapt the play to the venue. With only seven rows of seats, the Second Stage continues a CPH trademark for enhancing the quality of the entire theatre experience – including intimate settings that facilitate interaction between spectators and performers.
TEN CHIMNEYS cast:
Anchoring the cast is Emmy® award-winning actress Mariette Hartley, who will play the role of Hattie Sederholm, mother of Alfred Lunt. Hartley has performed in Cabaret on Broadway; Ancestral Voices, Lincoln Center; Sylvia, Manhattan Theatre Company; Enchanted April, Pasadena Playhouse; and national tours of the The Sisters Rosenzweig and Copenhagen (Helen Hayes Award and League of American Theatres and Producers National Touring Broadway Award). Hartley has over 300 film and television appearances including Law & Order: SVU, Dirt, Grey’s Anatomy, Big Love, Star Trek and M*A*S*H. Hartley is a three-time Clio Award-winner for her Polaroid commercials with James Garner. The role of the legendary stage actor Alfred Lunt will be performed by actor Donald Carrier, who previously appeared at CPH in Noises Off (2008) and Lincolnesque (2007). Regional credits include The Old Globe, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, The Wilma Theater, Huntington and Intiman Theatres, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Making her CPH debut, Jordan Baker will perform the role of Lynn Fontanne, wife to Alfred. Baker created the role of C in Edward Albee’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Three Tall Women and received a Theatre World Award for her Broadway debut in Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer. Also making his CPH debut, Michael McCarty will perform the role of Sydney Greenstreet, based on the real character actor. McCarty appeared on Broadway in Mary Poppins, To Be or Not to Be, Oklahoma! (2002 revival), 42nd Street (2001 revival), Amadeus, King of Hearts, Teddy & Alice, Sweeney Todd (1989 revival), Big River, Oliver! (1984 revival), and Dirty Linen. Actor Jeremy Kendall will perform the role of Carl Sederholm. Kendall was at CPH this season playing the role of A Little Monk in The Life of Galileo. The role of Uta Hagen, also based on the real stage and film actress and educator, will be performed by Kelli Ruttle, who has been seen in Case Western Reserve University/CPH MFA Acting Program productions of Present Laughter, An Orchard and Cloud 9. Making her CPH debut, Gail Rastorfer will perform the role of Louise Greene. Her regional credits include Northlight Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Indiana Repertory Theatre.
For a complete list of cast bios, go online at http://www.clevelandplayhouse.com/main-stage/ten-chimneys
TEN CHIMNEYS Creative Team:
Jeffrey Hatcher: (Playwright) adapted Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the stage and wrote Ella (produced by CPH in 2007). He co-wrote Work Song: Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright, and Tuesdays with Morrie (produced by CPH in 2005). He also authored the book for the Broadway musical Never Gonna Dance. Hatcher plays produced off-Broadway include Three Viewings and A Picasso at Manhattan Theatre Club, Scotland Road and The Turn of the Screw at Primary Stages, Tuesdays with Morrie (with Mitch Albom) at Minetta Lane Theatre, Murder by Poe and The Turn of the Screw with The Acting Company, Neddy at The American Place Theatre, and Fellow Travelers at Manhattan Punchline. His plays – among them Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Mrs. Mannerly, Murderers, Mercy of a Storm, Smash, Armadale, Korczak's Children, To Fool the Eye, The Falls, A Piece of the Rope, All the Way with LBJ, The Government Inspector, and Work Song (with Eric Simonson) – have been seen at Arizona Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, South Coast Repertory, Seattle Rep, Intiman Theatre, Florida Stage, The Empty Space, California Theatre Center, Madison Repertory Theatre, Illusion Theater, Denver Center Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Milwaukee Rep, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Asolo Rep, City Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre and dozens more in the United States and abroad. Hatcher wrote the screenplays for Stage Beauty, The Duchess, and Casanova, as well as episodes of the Peter Falk series Columbo. He is a member and/or alumnus of The Playwrights’ Center, The Dramatists Guild of America, Writers Guild of America and New Dramatists.
Michael Bloom: (Director) is the eighth artistic director of Cleveland Play House. Recently for CPH he adapted Emma (published by Samuel French) and directed Lost in Yonkers, Heaven’s My Destination, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Lincolnesque, Rabbit Hole and Well. He has directed at many of the country’s other major theatres including American Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Old Globe Theatre, South Coast Rep, Seattle Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre and the Sundance Playwrights’ Institute. His productions have also been seen throughout Japan and in Tokyo at the Aoyama Theatre and Theatre Cocoon. His off-Broadway production of Sight Unseen garnered three Obie Awards, and he received a Drama Desk nomination for direction. Other productions include the American premiere of A Young Lady from Rwanda; Gross Indecency, Elliott Norton Award for Best Directing, 1998; the world premiere of Dinner with Friends at Actors Theatre of Louisville; Los Angeles premieres of The Cryptogram and The Old Neighborhood at Geffen Playhouse; Major Barbara and The Philadelphia Story at Kansas City Rep; and the world premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Spring Storm. Among the many playwrights he’s worked with are John Robin Baitz, Anthony Clarvoe, Don DeLillo, John Guare, David Hare, William Hauptman, Arthur Kopit, Neil Labute, David Lodge, Donald Margulies, David Mamet and Wallace Shawn. Bloom has been associate artistic director at Hartman Theatre Company and associate director at American Repertory Theatre. He has taught at New York University, Harvard University, University of Texas and Scripps College. His articles have appeared in American Theatre Magazine and The New York Times; and his book Thinking Like a Director was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2001.
The design team for Ten Chimneys includes Lee Savage (Scenic Design), Michael Lincoln (Lighting Design), David Kay Mickelsen (Costume Design), and Lindsay Jones (Sound Design). Also on the team: Stage Manager John Godbout. For a complete list of design team bios, go online at http://www.clevelandplayhouse.com/main-stage/ten-chimneys
Single tickets are on sale now; prices range from $49 to $69. Tickets are $15 for all students under the age of 25. For single tickets, please contact the PlayhouseSquare ticket office at 216-241-6000 or online at www.clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10+ save up to 50% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theatre. More than 11 million people have attended over 1,100 productions at Cleveland Play House – including more than 100 American and/or World Premieres. Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Bloom and Managing Director Kevin Moore, Cleveland Play House is an artist-driven theatre that serves the community by holding true to its mission: To inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards.
Cleveland Play House is funded through the generosity of Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and The Ohio Arts Council helps to fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
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