Pasadena Playhouse's THE HEIRESS to Star Richard Chamberlain, Heather Tom and Julia Duffy

Pasadena Playhouse's THE HEIRESS to Star Richard Chamberlain, Heather Tom and Julia Duffy

The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director) announces the full cast and creative team for THE HEIRESS at The Pasadena Playhouse. The production will star Richard Chamberlain in the role of "Dr. Austin Sloper," Heather Tom as his daughter "Catherine Sloper" and Julia Duffy as Dr. Sloper's sister "Lavinia Penniman."  THE HEIRESS by Ruth and Augustus Goetz (suggested by the Henry James novel Washington Square), will be directed by Dámaso Rodriguez and performs April 24 – May 20, 2012.

"Dámaso has assembled an incredibly exciting cast for our production of this great American classic," said Artistic Director Sheldon Epps.  "I know that this company, led by the thrilling pairing of Richard Chamberlain and Heather Tom, will work together during the rehearsal period to bring theatrical vitality and emotional depth to this beautifully written play.  I look forward to having them all on the stage of our theatre."

"I am extremely excited to return to The Playhouse to direct this riveting play," stated director Dámaso Rodriguez.  "The intricate, psychological nuances in the Goetz's script - along with influences from Henry James' acclaimed novel will drive what I hope to be a fresh look at this hugely popular classic.   I am very much looking forward to working with our acclaimed cast of Los Angeles theatre talent led by the legendary Richard Chamberlain who brings his towering charisma and experience to the role of Austin Sloper and Heather Tom whose magnetic interpretation of the title character I find thrillingly complex---as well as reuniting with the equally accomplished Julia Duffy, who I've had the pleasure of working with both on The Playhouse stage and with the Furious Theatre Company."

Based on Henry James' 1881 novel Washington Square, THE HEIRESS is the 1995 Tony Award-winner for Best Revival of a Play.  Catherine Sloper, who stands to inherit a fortune from her ailing physician father, is a plain-looking young woman living under his malevolent scrutiny, as well as his well-meaning but cold-hearted demeanor. Dr. Sloper disapproves of Catherine's passionate suitor, Morris Townsend, certain that the penniless young man has proposed marriage to win Catherine's inheritance. Catherine is too much in love to consider this potential betrayal, and when circumstances lead her to misinterpret Morris's intentions, THE HEIRESS reaches an unforgettable conclusion that supports the richly psychological nuance brought to the preceding romance.

Richard Chamberlain became an overnight heartthrob with the 1961 title role in the medical series "Dr. Kildare," winning him is first Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star in 1963.  In 1969 he became the first American actor to portray the role of Hamlet in a British production of the Shakespeare classic at Birmingham Repertory Company. The following year, he reprised the role for an unabridged televised production on HallMark Hall of Fame. Most of his noteworthy and popular performances later followed with the television mini-series "Centennial" (1978: Golden Globe nominee for the role of "Alexander McKeag"); "Shogun" (1980: Golden Globe winner for  the role of "John Blackthorne");  the legendary 1982 mini-series "The Thorn Birds" as the tormented Father Ralph de Bricassart (Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee); and one of Chamberlain's most treasured roles, "Raoul Wallenberg" in "Wallenberg: A Hero's Story."  On stage, he starred in the New York premiere of Joseph Papp's production of Fathers & Sons playing Wild Bill Hickok, which he then recreated in Los Angeles to much acclaim.   In 1993-1994 he starred as Henry Higgins in the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady, which also toured throughout the U.S., and a second production which toured extensively throughout Europe.  In 1997, Chamberlain starred in the Broadway revival of The Sound of Music, which also was followed by a U.S. tour. Other recent television credits include the BBC series "Hustle" as well as guest roles on "Will & Grace," Desperate Housewives," "Brothers & Sisters," "Nip/Tuck," "Chuck" and "Leverage." He also appeared in the Adam Sandler 2007 comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

Heather Tom is a three-time Emmy Award-winning actress (and thirteen-time nominee) best known for her roles as Katie Logan on "The Bold and the Beautiful," Kelly Cramer on "One Life to Live" and Victoria Newman on "The Young and the Restless." She began her lifelong career in entertainment at the age of two as a commercial actress and by age ten was dancing in the Seattle Pacific Ballet.  After her family moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career for herself and her brother and sister, she landed guest appearances on "Kids Incorporated" and "Who's the Boss."  She has also co-starred in two movies of the week: ABC's I'll Take Romance and CBS' Deadly Whispers and starred in the feature films Lessie's Rainbow and Lookin' Good.  In 2004, Tom made her Broadway debut in the Mark Medoff play Prymate as Allison, an attractive interpreter with a secret.  Most recently, she has guest-starred on "The Mentalist" and "Criminal Minds."  Heather is also politically active and is involved with several organizations including Planned Parenthood, SheVotes.org, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, AIDS Project Los Angeles and Project Angel Food.  She was a featured speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and has also frequently been featured on many political discussion shows such as "Politically Incorrect" and "Scarborough Country."  She currently has a development deal with HGTV.

Julia Duffy is best known for her television roles as Stephanie Vanderkellen on "Newhart" (Emmy, Golden Globe and American Comedy Award nominations) and as Allison Sugarbaker on "Designing Women."  Other television credits include: "Children in the Crossfire," "7 Things To Do Before I'm 30," "Social Studies," "The Mommies," "Baby Talk," "Wizards and Warriors," "The Blue and the Gray" as well as guest star roles on "Wizards of Waverly Place," "Campus Ladies," "Seventh Heaven," "Passions," "Joey," "Listen Up," "CSI: New York," "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody," the title role of Juliet in the PBS production of Romeo and Juliet  and a recurring role on Showtime's hit show "Shameless" as Mrs. Lishman. She has been seen on The Playhouse stage in The Little Foxes as well as Furious Theatre Company's boom at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre. Other stage credits include the Broadway production of Once in a Lifetime; The Enchanted at the Kennedy Center; Three Sisters and Curse of the Starving Class at Missouri Repertory Theatre; and Twelfth Night, Richard III and The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival. Her work in feature films includes Together Again for the First Time, Be My Baby, Dumb & Dumberer, Intolerable Cruelty, Cutter's Way and Charlotte's Web.

The full cast for THE HEIRESS features (in alphabetical order) Gigi Bermingham as "Elizabeth Almond, Richard Chamberlain as "Dr. Austin Sloper," Steve Coombs as "Morris Townsend," Julia Duffy as "Lavinia Penniman," Chris Reinacher as "Arthur Townsend," Elizabeth Tobias as "Maria," Heather Tom as "Catherine Sloper," Anneiliese van der Pol as "Marian Almond" and Jill Van Velzer as "Mrs. Montgomery."

In addition to direction by Rodriguez, the creative team for THE HEIRESS includes: scenic design by John Iacovelli (The Playhouse's recent Blues for an Alabama Sky), costume design by Leah Piehl (The Borrowers, South Coast Rep), lighting design by Brian Gale (co-owner, NYX Design) and sound design by Doug Newell (NOgoodDEED, Furious Theatre Company).

The original Broadway production of THE HEIRESS premiered at The Biltmore Theatre in 1947, starring Basil Rathbone as Dr. Sloper and earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play.  Since the original production, there have been three other Broadway revivals in 1950, 1976 and most recently in 1995.  The 1995 Lincoln Center production (Cort Theatre) won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play as well as the Best Actress in a Play award for Cherry Jones, Best Featured Actress in a Play for Frances Sternhagen, Best Director of a Play for Gerald Gutierrez and three other nominations.  This production was also nominated for six Drama Desk Awards, winning three for Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Actress in a Play and Outstanding Director of a Play.  In 1949, Universal Pictures released the film adaptation of THE HEIRESS, directed by William Wyler.  The film was the recipient of four Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Olivia de Havilland.

THE HEIRESS will play at The Pasadena Playhouse from April 24 – May 20, 2012, with the official press opening on April 29, 2012.  The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.  The performance schedule is Tuesday – Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Regular ticket price range is from $29.00 - $59.00, with Premium Seating available for $100.00. All preview performances are $10 off the regular ticket price (except Premium Seating).  Rush tickets are available for $15.00 one hour prior to the performance time and are subject to availability.  Rush tickets must be purchased at The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office. Tickets are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Monday from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday – Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates.  On performance dates the box office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Tickets are available 24 hours online at www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.  Group Sales (8 or more) are available by calling 626-921-1161. For additional information visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

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