RIALTIO CHATTER: Robin Wright Pulls Out of TALLEY'S FOLLY? Sally Hawkins to Step In?


New York Magazine is reporting that Robin Wright has pulled out of Broadway's TALLEY'S FOLLY. Reportedly, her would-be co-star Richard Schiff reportedly told the mag yesterday at fashion week: "Robin just had to drop out right now for personal reasons." Undeterred, Schiff has been hard at work trying to recruit Sally Hawkins, currently starring in Mrs. Warren's Profession.  He says of his efforts: "I'm trying to convince her to do Talley's Folly. I think she'd be great in it." No official departing announcement has been made.

Producers Phil Monat, T. Richard Fitzgerald and Randall L. Wreghitt will present TALLEY'S FOLLY, the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Lanford Wilson (Burn This, Fifth of July, Balm in Gilead) in its first-ever Broadway revival as part of the 2010-2011 Season. The production is scheduled to begin previews in spring 2011, with exact dates and a theater to be announced.

TALLEY'S FOLLY will be directed by legendary and five-time Tony Award-nominated director Marshall W. Mason (for Wilson's Talley's Folly, Fifth of July and Angels Fall, plus Knock Knock and As Is), who directed the original World Premiere production.

The production will star veteran film and stage actor and Emmy Award winner Richard Schiff (Toby Zeigler on "The West Wing," over 50 films including The Lost World: Jurassic Park, most recently seen on stage in New York in The Exonerated and on London's West End in Underneath the Lintel).  He was to star alongside Wright, a three-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominee and Golden Globe nominee (Forrest Gump, The Princess Bride, Hurlyburly, the recent State of Play and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee). It was to be Schiff and Wright's Broadway debuts.

TALLEY'S FOLLY is a timeless two-character comedy that unfolds on the 4th of July near the end of World War II in the romantic setting of a moonlit boat house in rural Missouri. Sally Talley (Ms. Wright) is the daughter of a prominent local family who is being courted by an unlikely suitor, Matt Friedman (Mr. Schiff), a Jewish accountant from St. Louis. Both are rebels against the conventions of the turbulent times, and finding each other may be their only chance for happiness.

A prolific writer of experimental and traditional drama, Lanford Wilson is one of the most commercially-successful playwrights of all time. Widely considered a major contributor to American theater, and father of the genre that has become known as "lyric realism," he has enjoyed success both on and Off-Broadway and his works are among the most regularly produced plays in regional, college and community theaters. He's been lauded by critics, actors and audiences alike for his ability to transform everyday vernacular into poetry and for his compassionate depiction of society's outcasts. He remains an important voice in American playwriting, as evidenced by the continued productions of his plays, especially the modern classics Balm in Gilead, Fifth of July and Burn This.

Mr. Wilson's 44-year collaboration with director Marshall W. Mason has been certified by Playbill as the longest collaboration between a writer and director in the history of the American theater. Together they co-founded (as Playwright-in-Residence and Artistic Director, respectively), the legendary Circle Repertory Company, acclaimed by The New York Times as "the chief provider of new American plays." Their collaboration on new works extends from the original production of Balm in Gilead in 1965 to the world premiere of Book of Days in 2000. Mr. Mason has directed twelve plays on Broadway that have earned him five Tony nominations for Best Director, including the original production of TALLEY'S FOLLY.

The production will feature scenic design by Tony Award winner John Lee Beatty (the original Talley's Folly, with 11 other nominations including The Color Purple, Doubt and Wilson's Fifth of July), costume design by Obie Award winner Jennifer Von Mayrhauser (the original Talley's Folly, plus Rabbit Hole, The Heidi Chronicles, Come Back, Little Sheba) and lighting design by Phil Monat (Obie Award for Woman Before a Glass, Lortel Award for Camping with Henry and Tom). Mr. Beatty and Ms. von Mayrhauser designed the original acclaimed scenic and costume designs for the World Premiere production.

TALLEY'S FOLLY had its Broadway Premiere on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1980, following a 1979 Off-Broadway production under the auspices of The Circle Repertory Company. Mr. Mason directed a cast that starred Judd Hirsch and Trish Hawkins at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where it ran for 286 performances and won both the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 1979-80 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play. The new Broadway producers joined with The McCarter Theatre to present a production of the play in the fall of 2008, also featuring direction by Mr. Mason, starring Mr. Schiff and featuring the iconic original designs by Mr. Beatty and Ms. von Mayrhauser.

Exact dates and a theater for TALLEY'S FOLLY will be announced in the coming months.


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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