'Irma Vep', 'Cyrano', and Shakespeare Join 'First Wives' This Summer at Old Globe

Lou Spisto, Executive Producer of the Tony Award®-winning Old Globe, has announced the Theatre’s complete 2009 Summer Season. As previously announced, the world premiere of The First Wives Club – A New Musical, book by Rupert Holmes, music and lyrics by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, directed by Francesca Zambello, will run in the Old Globe Theatre July 15 – August 16, 2009.  The Arena Theatre at the San Diego Museum of Art’s James S. Copley Auditorium will host Charles Ludlam’s hilarious gothic play, The Mystery of Irma Vep, directed by Henry Wishcamper, to run August 1 – September 6, 2009.

In the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, the Globe will present two works of Shakespeare productions: Twelfth Night and Henry VIII, along with Edmond Rostand’s celebrated classic, Cyrano de Bergerac. The three productions will be performed in nightly rotation in the Globe’s outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre June 13 – September 27, 2009. Globe Resident Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak will once again oversee the Festival and direct Henry VIII and Cyrano de Bergerac, while Festival favorite Paul Mullins (The Merry Wives of Windsor, Measure for Measure) will direct Twelfth Night.

For more information or to subscribe to The Old Globe’s 2009 Summer Season, please contact Globe Ticket Services at (619) 23-GLOBE or visit www.TheOldGlobe.org.

“In this sixth season after reinstituting the repertory format, as the Shakespeare Festival nears its 75th anniversary in 2010, we have chosen to break with recent practice and, as do many other major Shakespeare Festivals, again produce classical works, important revivals and sometimes contemporary plays in repertory with the works of Shakespeare as part of the Festival.  Cyrano is a play that fits this mission perfectly; and along with Twelfth Night and Henry VIII performed by a company of nearly thirty, complemented by a world premiere musical headed to Broadway and a hilarious satire that is already a modern classic, summer 2009 is going to be one joyous time for both our audiences and artists,” said Spisto. “We are particularly delighted that the repertory format has been so popular with audiences and that the past several seasons led by our resident artistic director, Darko Tresnjak, a company of actors, directors and designers  have brought San Diego and the region consistently excellent  productions. Adding the “non” Shakespeare may not be something we do every year but we have been planning this change for a while and it is particularly timely as we set the stage for the 2010 anniversary—so stay tuned!”

Set in Paris in 1640, Cyrano de Bergerac is a classic tale of romance and tragedy. Talented poet, swordsman and Cadet in the French army, Cyrano falls in love with the beautiful Roxane but lacks the confidence to reveal his true feelings due to his abnormally large nose. Resigned to his loss, Cyrano offers to help his fellow soldier Christian win her affections by writing love letters on his behalf. Roxane falls in love with author of the letters not realizng it is Cyrano. His tender verse gives voice to the inarticulate, dashing Christian, gaining him her heart just before both men depart for war. This classic romantic story is laced with swagger, gallantry and sacrifice, and some of the most beautiful verse ever written.

One of the Bard’s most beloved comedies, Twelfth Night centers on the beautiful heroine Viola, shipwrecked in a strange land. She disguises herself as the boy “Cesario” and works her way into the court of Duke Orsino. Impressed by this articulate and handsome young man, Orsino sends Cesario to woo Lady Olivia on the Duke’s behalf, but Cesario speaks so eloquently that Olivia is soon smitten – not with the Duke, but with Cesario. Meanwhile Viola has fallen in love with Orsino and finds herself, along with an entire comic entourage, entangled in a web of disguises, mistaken identities and misplaced affections.

Henry VIII ascended to the throne as a lithe, handsome 17-year-old and died after an extraordinary 38-year reign, an embittered, obese invalid. Desperate for a male heir, Henry casts aside the older, but loyal, Katharine of Aragon for a series of marriages with wives – the determined temptress Anne Boleyn, the pious yet tragic Jane Seymour, the outcast Anne of Cleves, the adulterous Katherine Howard and finally the devoted Katherine Parr. Full of Tudor splendor and pageantry, Henry VIII depicts the sexual intrigue, betrayal and rivalry that existed within his court, in a reign notable for its political and religious upheaval, violence and corruption.

Spisto continued. “Darko and I are delighted to bring Paul Mullins back for his third production at The Globe. Paul has been an important part of the success of The Shakespeare Festival and we are all looking forward to his take on Twelfth Night next summer.”

In Charles Ludlam’s hilarious Obie Award-winning play, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Lady Enid, newly married to the controversial Lord Edgar, arrives at his castle estate on a “dark and stormy night” under the spell of his deceased first wife and haunted by something prowling the moors. She quickly encounters a werewolf, a vampire, an Egyptian princess and the mystery of Irma Vep, whose portrait hangs over the fireplace. This hilarious, tongue-in-cheek production celebrates and skewers such classics as "Rebecca," Wuthering Heights," "Jane Eyre," and The Raven" in a fun-filled evening. With dozens of lightning-fast changes, two actors portray all the roles – men, women and monsters – in this hilarious tour-de-farce.

“Spisto added, “I am thrilled that Henry Wishcamper has accepted my invitation to make his directorial debut at the Globe next summer. I was very impressed with his work on his acclaimed production of Connor McPherson’s Port Authority earlier this year.  He is a wonderful addition to the growing list of the next generation of nationally recognized directors at The Globe.”

Based on the best-selling novel and Hollywood blockbuster of the same name, The First Wives Club – A New Musical is a thrilling, Broadway-bound production, featuring a book by Tony winner Rupert Holmes (Curtains!, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Say Goodnight Gracie) and a score by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, the threesome who created hits for Martha and The Vandellas, The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops and The Supremes. The production will be directed by award winning opera and theatrical director Francesca Zambello (The Little Mermaid for Disney on Broadway, Little House on the Prairie for the Guthrie Theatre, Rebecca at the Vienna Raimund Theatre and recently, Porgy and Bess and the Wagner Ring Cycle at the San Francisco Opera where she is the Artistic Advisor. Ms Zambello has won three Olivier Awards and has credits at The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Albert Hall, Bolshoi, Paris Opera, The Kennedy Center and the Chicago Lyric.)  The popular 1996 film “The First Wives Club” — about three divorced women who seek revenge on their former husbands — was based on Olivia Goldsmith's novel and featured a screenplay by Robert Harling. The motion picture grossed over $130 million and boasted a star-studded cast comprising Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton

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