"NORA," Based on "A Doll's House," Opens April 16 for Six Weeks
NORA, legendary film director Ingmar Bergman's adaptation of Ibsen's classic play, "A Doll's House," will be presented at the Century City Playhouse as the inaugural production of the Blue Angel Theatre. Ibsen's controversial play, written in 1879, centers on a woman's struggle to stand by her husband and be valued in her marriage given the subservient role society expects her to play. First presented in Germany in 1986, the Bergman version of the play exposes the heart of the original by cutting minor characters and keeping only what is necessary to tell the story. Opening on April 16th for a six-week run, this imaginative new production gets a distinctly modern presentation.
The Blue Angel production will star Aria Alpert as Nora. Alpert, who began developing her performance of Nora at The Actor's Center in New York City more than four years ago, has been seen in stage productions of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" at the Great Lakes Theatre Festival and "Gross Points" (performing opposite Alec Baldwin) as well as films such as "Super Troopers" and director Allison Anders' "Things Behind The Sun," which starred Don Cheadle and Rosanna Arquette.
NORA director Rod Menzies, who also plays Dr. Rank in the play, has directed over 40 stage productions. In Los Angeles, he directed Lee Blessing's "Two Rooms" at the McCadden Theatre and solo shows by Roz Browne ("Fried Clams with Bellies") and Nina Werman ("Around The Way Girl") at the Elephant Theatre. In New York, he directed solo shows by Jan Rudd ("Safety in Numbers"), Susan Ferrara ("Peasant") and Cheryl King ("not a nice girl") at Theatre Row. Ms. King's show is now on tour in Denmark. Mr. Menzies trained as an actor at England's famed Bristol Old Vic and has played leading roles at the Kennedy Center (opposite Peter O'Toole), and at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival.
NORA co-stars Gregory North as Nora's husband Torvald Helmer, Gary Imhoff as Nils Krogstaad and Christy Yael as Mrs. Linde. Gregory North's credits include the Broadway productions of "Grand Hotel" opposite Cyd Charisse, "The Secret Garden," "A Christmas Carol" and the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods." Currently, he can be seen in the film "In Good Company" with Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace and will appear in director Cameron Crowe's upcoming film "Elizabethtown" with Orlando Bloom. He has also made guest appearances on television's "ER," "Frasier," "The District" and "Judging Amy," among others. Gary Imhoff was a member of the original New York cast of Stephen Schwartz' groundbreaking musical, "Godspell," followed by roles in "Sherlock Holmes," "Fight Song" and the first New York production of "Snoopy!!!" After re-locating to the west coast, he appeared in productions of "The Beautiful Lady" at the Mark Taper Forum and "A Patriot for Me" and the musical "3HREE" at the Ahmanson Theatre, as well as the world premiere of "Florinda" and the west coast premieres of Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins" and "Personals," for which he won a Drama-Logue Award. His feature films include "The Seniors" with Dennis Quaid, "I Crave Rock and Roll," "Angel in Training" and "The Green Mile" with Tom Hanks, while his most recent television appearances have been on "Monk" and HBO's acclaimed "Carnivale."
Christy Yael was recently seen as Beatrice in Shakespeare Orange County's production of "Much Ado About Nothing" and has also appeared in productions of "Cyrano de Bergerac," "A Christmas Carol," "The Rimers of Eldritch," "Vinegar Tom" and "The Norman Conquests."
The Blue Angel's NORA will use design elements that acknowledge the period while concentrating on an emotionally gritty performance style that relies on bold, expressionist elements. The set designer for NORA is Sibyl Wickersheimer, and the costumer is Jeaw Nyee Tan. Lighting design is by Jeremy Pivnick and sound by Richard Ford.
"Nora" has been referred to as one of the great women's roles in modern theatre. Ibsen, who based her on a real woman whose scandalous financial actions were exposed in public, found himself identified as a supporter of women's rights as the result of his creation. Bergman, known for acclaimed films such as "The Virgin Spring," "Cries and Whispers" and "Through a Glass Darkly," among many others, took on "A Doll's House" while living in exile in Germany and afforded the luxury of risk taking. The production marked Bergman's return to theatre after a twenty-year absence, which he devoted to making films.