Maureen Anderman, James Waterston & More to Lead Huntington's THE COCKTAIL HOUR, Begin. 11/15
A host of favorite Huntington Theatre Company artists return for a new staging of A. R. Gurney's American comedy of manners, The Cocktail Hour. Maria Aitken (Betrayal, Private Lives, and Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps at the Huntington) directs the company that features James Waterston (Private Lives and Ah, Wilderness!) as John, the young playwright that reveals to his family members that they are the subject of his newest play. Richard Poe (The Taming of the Shrew) plays his father Bradley, Tony Award nominee and renowned Gurney interpreter Maureen Anderman (Becky Shaw and Third) plays John's mother, Ann; and Pamela J. Gray (Present Laughter and Butley) plays Nina, John's sister.
Gurney's play is a window into a stalwart element of WASP culture: the pre-dinner cocktail hour. A revered ritual in John's parents' elegant home, all semblance of calm demeanor dissolves when he announces over martinis that he has written a play about his family. As the drinks flow, so do the revelations and recriminations, both funny and poignant, in this heartfelt comedy about the ties that bind. Performances begin November 15 at the Boston University Theatre.
"We have been talking about a revival of The Cocktail Hour for several years now," says Artistic Director Peter DuBois. "When we knew Maria Aitken was available to direct it, our cocktail was complete!" Hear more from DuBois about the production at huntingtontheatre.org/peter-cocktailhour.
"The idea of a year going by without working at the Huntington was so stressful that I sought solace in the occasionAl Martini while working elsewhere," confesses director Maria Aitken. "I was filled with joy when the opportunity arose to return to my favorite theatre in America to direct The Cocktail Hour, for I was already in training in the cocktail department."
The Cocktail Hour is one of Gurney's most autobiographical plays. "Despite its post-modern tone, it is probably the most personal thing I had written up to this time," he recalled. "Because the details are so close to home, I promised my family not to let it be produced in Buffalo, my home town, until after both my parents were dead. I personally don't feel that it's terribly tough on either one of them, but the world I grew up in treasures its personal privacy and doesn't enjoy being displayed on stage. And, of course, that's the big issue in the play."
The ensemble cast includes:
· Maureen Anderman (Becky Shaw, Rabbit Hole, and Sisters Rosensweig at the Huntington, Gurney's Later Life and Ancestral Voices Off Broadway) as Ann;
· Pamela J. Gray (Present Laughter and Butley at the Huntington and on Broadway) as Nina;
· Richard Poe (Taming of the Shrew in the Huntington's first season, M. Butterfly, The Pajama Game, and Journeys End on Broadway) as Bradley ; and
· James Waterston (Private Lives, Ah, Wilderness!, and Gross Indecency at the Huntington, An Enemy of the People on Broadway) as John.
Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski