Elizabeth Ashley and Penny Fuller Will Star In Reading Of WHARTON/WILLIAMS

By: Nov. 22, 2019

Tony Award-winner Elizabeth Ashley and Tony Award-nominee Penny Fuller will star in a reading of Wharton/Williams, a work based on the short stories of novelist Edith Wharton and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams. Adapted by award-winning playwright/librettist Charles Leipart, Wharton/Williams will be directed by Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award-winner Michael Wilson.

Wharton/Williams is adapted from two memorable short stories, Roman Fever by Edith Wharton and Happy August the Tenth by Tennessee Williams. Each story offers a contrasting portrait of female friendship-the perils and the joys of a lifetime of familiarity.

The reading will be presented on Thursday, December 5 at 3:00 PM at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Studio at Playwrights Horizons (416 West 42nd Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues).

Elizabeth Ashley is a Tony Award-winning and multi-nominated stage, film, and television actress. She currently co-stars with Natasha Lyonne in the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series, "Russian Doll." Considered one of the definitive interpreters of Tennessee Williams' work, she was nominated for her performance in Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana at A. R.T, Harvard University. Her other performances in works by Williams include the landmark 1974 Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer, The Red Devil Battery Sign, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, Out Cry, Sweet Bird of Youth, and The Glass Menagerie. She is the first actress to have played Maggie in Cat and years later to play Big Mama in a highly praised production at Hartford Stage. Her many films include: Ocean's Eight, Villa Capri, The Cake Eaters, Happiness, The Carpetbaggers, Ship of Fools. Recent Broadway: Dividing The Estate, the acclaimed 2015 revival of You Can't Take It With You, and Gore Vidal's The Best Man. Her audio book recording of John Lahr's definitive biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, was hailed by The New York Times as "the finest recorded interpretation of English Language Literature in many years."

Penny Fuller began her Broadway career starring in Barefoot in the Park, three Shakespeare-in-the-Park productions, and the musicals Cabaret, Rex, and Applause (Tony Award nomination for 'Eve Harrington'). She recently appeared in Anastasia and the 2017 Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George, and was also seen in Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate, and Neil Simon's The Dinner Party (Tony nomination). Lincoln Center: William Finn's A New Brain. Off-Broadway: Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Beautiful Child; Southern Comforts; Three Viewings; and New England. Her television work garnered her six Emmy Award nominations and the Emmy Award for ABC's "The Elephant Man." Regional: 'Amanda' in The Glass Menagerie, 'Arkadina' in The Seagull, 'Desiree' in A Little Night Music, 'Leona' in Do I Hear a Waltz?, 'Claire' in A Delicate Balance. With the encouragement of cabaret director Barry Kleinbort, she has embarked on a new career as a cabaret artist in New York clubs and theaters. Their latest collaboration is a solo musical play, Thirteen Things About Ed Carpolotti (book, music and lyrics by Mr. Kleinbort), which has been seen in New York and California.

Charles Leipart is a Kleban Award-winning playwright and librettist. His latest play, George and Martha's Wedding Gift, A Play of Enslavement, is currently under consideration by theatres for upcoming seasons. His screenplay, A Kind of Marriage, based on his play of the private life of English novelist E. M. Forster, was awarded the Grand Prize in the 2019 Hollywood Screenplay Competition, Biography/Historical category, and most recently listed as one of the top five screenplays of the London Lift-Off Film Festival. A Kind of Marriage, the play, was awarded a 2015 Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation LGBTQ Playwriting Award and a developmental grant. His urban millennial comedy, A Short History of Western Civilization was awarded the Silver Prize in the Segora International Playwriting Competition, 2019. Cream Cakes in Munich was awarded 1st Prize Award 2016 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. Charles is a former Fellow of the Edward F. Albee Foundation and member of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP. Visit: www.charlesleipart.com

Michael Wilson directed the Tony Award-nominated revivals of Gore Vidal's The Best Man and Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful (Tony Award - Best Actress in a Play for Cicely Tyson), as well as the Tony Award-nominated new plays Enchanted April and Dividing the Estate. A Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics' Circle Award winner for his acclaimed three-part nine-hour production of Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle, Mr. Wilson directed the 2016 Los Angeles premiere of the musical Grey Gardens starring Betty Buckley and Rachel York. He is currently represented with Foote's The Young Man from Atlanta starring Aidan Quinn and Kristine Neilson at Signature Theatre. Recent projects include the North American premiere of The King's Speech by David Seidler at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the premiere of the new musical Beau by Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar, The American Repertory Theatre revival of The Night of the Iguana, and the premiere of Fellow Travelers by Jack Canfora. From 1998 to 2011, Mr. Wilson was artistic director of Hartford Stage.

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