IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST & BLUE DEEP Open at Williamstown Theatre Festival Today

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IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST & BLUE DEEP Open at Williamstown Theatre Festival Today

Williamstown Theatre Festival Artistic Director Jenny Gersten has announced the opening of the first two productions of the 2012 season: The Importance of Being Earnest on the Main Stage and the World Premiere of The Blue Deep on the Nikos Stage on June 28. It is the first time in the Festival's 58-year history that two shows have opened on the same night to kick-off the season.

Oscar Wilde's quintessential comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest, is directed by David Hyde Pierce, whose portrayal of Niles Crane for 11 seasons on NBC's "Frasier" earned him four Emmy Awards. The cast features Marylouise Burke (Fuddy Meers) as Miss Prism, Louis Cancelmi (This) as Algernon Moncrieff, Helen Rita Cespedes as Cecily Cardew, Sean Cullen (South Pacific) as Lane, Tony and Emmy Award winner Tyne Daly ("Cagney and Lacey", Master Class, Gypsy) as Lady Bracknell, Glenn Fitzgerald (The Sixth Sense) as Jack Worthing, Paul Anthony McGrane as Merriman, Amy Spanger (Elf, Rock of Ages) as Gwendolen Fairfax, and Henry Stram (WTF's R Shomon) as Chasuble with Charlotte Bydwell, Julian Cihi, Alexander Seife, and Ariana Seigel.

What if a family of Guys and Dolls-style gangsters moved to Downton Abbey-style London in order to escape certain, shall we say, entanglements? What if two of these wise guys fell hard for two tough dolls? And what if the formidable dame who runs the aforementioned criminal family developed an appetite for cucumber sandwiches? Director David Hyde Pierce gives us Oscar Wilde's hilarious high society satire, The Importance of Being Earnest, in a very new way. Welcome to the family.

The creative team includes Allen Moyer (Scenic Design), Ben Stanton (Lighting Design), Michael Krass (Costume Design), and Jill BC Du Boff (Sound Design). Eileen Kelly is the Production Stage Manager.

The World Premiere of The Blue Deep by Lucy Boyle is directed by Bob Balaban (Bernard and Doris, Tennessee and Me). The new play stars Becky Ann Baker (WTF's Our Town), Emmy and Tony Award winner and WTF veteran Blythe Danner (WTF's The Seagull, Meet the Parents), Jack Gilpin (WTF's Design for Living), "Boardwalk Empire" regular Heather Lind (former WTF Non-Equity Company), and Finn Wittrock (Broadway's Death of a Salesman).

Though only in her twenties, Lila Miller (Lind) is stuck, while her mother, Grace (Danner), is perpetually in motion. When Lila returns home to her family's exquisite Hamptons house and garden with only a plastic bag and a broken heart, there's no nurturing to be found, except as pertains to horticulture. The same painful history that threatens to drive mother and daughter permanently apart ultimately evolves into the one realm where reconnection might be possible. The Blue Deep is an achingly honest and funny play about loss, growing up, and the benefits of aquaerobics.

Rounding out the creative team is Takeshi Kata and Andrew Boyce (Scenic Design), Mimi O'Donnell (Costume Design), Matthew Richards (Lighting Design), and John Gromada (Sound Design and Composer). Libby Unsworth is the Production Stage Manager.

As previously announced, the complete 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival season runs from June 26 – August 19, 2012 and includes Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, a Preview Production of the new musical Far From Heaven, and a new translation of Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country on the Main Stage, with Lucy Boyle's The Blue Deep, Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Bernard Pomerance's The Elephant Man, and Katori Hall's WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! on the Nikos Stage. The season also included a special workshop production of David Byrne's Here Lies Love, which played at nearby MASS MoCA.

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. Now under the leadership of Artistic Director Jenny Gersten, WTF was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2002 and The Commonwealth Award for Achievement in 2011.

Tickets to the Williamstown Theatre Festival may be purchased online (www.wtfestival.org), by phone at 413-597-3400, or in person at the '62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167.

The Festival's Nikos Stage is an intimate 173-seat venue that regularly sells out in advance from within the pool of Festival donors.

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