Classic Stage Company Presents Dianne Wiest in THE FOREST

Classic Stage Company (CSC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Brian Kulick and Executive Director Jessica R. Jenen, will present two-time Academy Award-winner Dianne Wiest in THE FOREST, by Alexander Ostrovosky, translated by Kathleen Tolan, and directed by Brian Kulick, beginning performances Friday, April 23 at CSC (136 East 13th Street) with an official press opening Thursday, May 6 at 7pm. THE FOREST will also star Obie Award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson, who earned great acclaim last year for his title role performance in Othello at Theatre for a New Audience. THE FOREST will play a limited engagement through Sunday May 30 only.

Before Chekhov, there was Alexander Ostrovsky, Russia's first great theatrical reformer, who forged comedy and drama into a remarkably rich theatrical mix, paving the way for a generation of modern Russian playwrights. Wiest, who last dazzled audiences at CSC opposite Alan Cumming in The Seagull, returns to the theatre in this romantic romp, where the most dangerous creatures in the forest are two vagabond actors, posing as gentry, who crash a nearby estate, turning an orderly manor upside down.

The cast of THE FOREST also features Adam Driver, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Herb Foster, Lisa Joyce, Lizbeth MacKay, George Morfogen, John Christopher Jones and Tony Torn. Scenic design is by Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto, with lighting by Tony Award winner Peter Kaczorowski, costumes by Marco Piemontese, and original music and sound design by Christian Frederickson and Ryan Rumery.

THE FOREST will perform Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets are $70 for Tuesday - Thursday performances and $75 for Friday - Sunday performances. For tickets and information, visit or call (866) 811-4111, or (212) 352-3101, or visit the CSC box office at 136 East 13th Street, Monday through Friday 12 pm to 6 pm.

Dianne Wiest (Raisa) last appeared onstage in Arthur Miller's All My Sons on Broadway. Additional credits: Wendy Wasserstein's Third, Memory House by Kathleen Tolan, Salome, Oedipus, The Shawl, Hunting Cockroaches, After the Fall, Beyond Therapy and The Art of Dining. Film credits include The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters (Oscar), Radio Days, September and Bullets Over Broadway (Oscar), all by Woody Allen. She also appeared in Parenthood (Oscar nomination), Edward Scissorhands and The Birdcage. She recently completed Charlie Kaufman's movie Synecdoche and the acclaimed HBO series "In Treatment." Ms. Wiest appeared at Classic Stage Company two seasons ago as Arkadina in Chekhov's The Seagull.

John Douglas Thompson (Gennady) was recently seen as Othello at Theatre for a New Audience and played the title role in The Emperor Jones with Irish Rep. Broadway: Julius Caesar opposite Denzel Washington. Int'l: Henry IV Parts 1 and II (RSC). Off-B'way: Hedda Gabler (NYTW), King Lear (CTH), Overtime (u/s, MTC), Oroonoko (Mint Theater). Reg'l: Henry IV (Chicago Shakespeare), Bus Stop (Williamstown), Jesus Hopped the ‘A' Train (People's Light), King Lear (Yale Rep), Richard III (Shakespeare Theatre), Othello, Preface to an Alien Garden (Trinity Rep), Full Circle, Mother Courage, Richard II, Antigone, Winter's Tale, Othello (ART). TV/film: "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "All My Children," Conviction, Michael Clayton.

Alexander Ostrovsky (Playwright) (born April 12, 1823, Moscow, Russia - died June 14, 1886) Literary historians deem Ostrovsky the founder of Russian national drama, for he was the first to depict on the stage the ordinary merchants, government bureaucrats and other middle-class denizens of Moscow and the Volga River region. There were few acclaimed Russian playwrights before him, but when Ostrovsky began his career in the 1840s, "Russian theatre was more entertainment than art," asserted London Sunday Times writer John Peter. His second play, The Bankrupt (1850), exposed bogus bankruptcy cases and led to his dismissal from the civil service. Most of his plays treat characters from the Russian merchant class; they include the comedies Poverty Is No Disgrace (1853), The Thunderstorm (1859), and The Snow Maiden (1873), adapted as an opera by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. With his 47 plays Ostrovsky created a Russian national repertoire, and he is considered the greatest representative of the Russian realistic period.

Kathleen Tolan (Adaptation) was a member of André Gregory's company, The Manhattan Project, in the early seventies and then went on to act in theater, TV and film. Her first play, A Weekend Near Madison, was produced in 1983 at The Actors Theatre of Louisville and subsequently in New York at the Astor Place Theatre, across the country and in Europe. Other plays include Kate's Diary (produced in New York at Playwrights Horizons and The Public), Approximating Mother (produced by The Women's Project) and Memory House (Playwrights Horizons) starring Dianne Wiest. A Girl's Life, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, premiered in Spring '98 at Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence. Kathleen is a member of various organizations, including the Dramatists Guild and PEN. Translator of Marivaux's The False Servant for Classic Stage Company.

Brian Kulick (Direction) is in his seventh season as Artistic Director of CSC, where he has directed The Tempest, Richard III, Richard II, Hamlet, The False Servant, The Mysteries and the world premiere of poet Anne Carson's adaptation of An Oresteia. From 1996-2001 he was an Artistic Associate at The Public Theatre, where he directed Twelfth Night, Kit Marlowe, The Winter's Tale, Pericles, A Dybbuk and Timon of Athens. Prior to this, he was the Associate Artistic Director of Trinity Repertory Company where he directed Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote and The Illusion. He has directed the premieres of works by Tony Kushner, Charles L. Mee, Nilo Cruz, Han Ong and David Grimm. His work in opera and musical theatre includes Carmen, Pelleas and Melisande, A Soldier's Tale, The Guilty Mother and The Anatole Cycle (all for Long Beach Opera). His work has also been seen at Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, the Mark Taper Forum, ACT (Seattle), the McCarter Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Magic Theatre, among others. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Mark Taper Forum and the Creative Director for The Shakespeare Society of New York. Currently he is on the faculty of Columbia University's School of the Arts Theatre Program, where he teaches directing with Anne Bogart.

Now in its 42nd year as one of New York's most exciting theatres, Classic Stage Company is the award-winning Off-Broadway theatre committed to re-imagining the classical repertory for a contemporary American audience. Led by Artistic Director Brian Kulick and Executive Director Jessica R. Jenen, last season the company presented three sold-out acclaimed productions: Shakespeare's The Tempest, starring Mandy Patinkin; Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Denis O'Hare and Peter Sarsgaard; and Anne Carson's An Oresteia. Recent productions: critically acclaimed sold-out runs of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, starring Dianne Wiest and Alan Cumming; the world premiere of David Ives' New Jerusalem, directed by Walter Bobbie; Richard III starring Michael Cumpsty; and Zoe Caldwell in Yasmina Reza's A Spanish Play, directed by John Turturro.

CSC presents plays from the past that speak directly to the issues of today. As we return to works of the past, we endeavor to keep a clear eye on the future, particularly in terms of the next generation of artists and audiences. Classic Stage's artists are the finest established and emerging theater practitioners working in this country. Highly respected and widely regarded as a major force in New York and American theatre, Classic Stage has been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theater awards: Obies, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and the 1999 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work. Memberships to Classic Stage Company productions are available at various price levels, including the flexible MasterPass membership, which in addition to prime seats entitles members to participate in CSC special series, including their sold-out Open Rehearsal events. For more information on Classic Stage Company visit the theatre's website at

CSC is currently presenting the acclaimed production of David Ives' VENUS IN FUR, directed by Walter Bobbie, extended through Sunday, March 28.

For further information on Classic Stage Company, call (212) 352-3101, visit the theatre in person at 136 East 13th Street, or go to

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