Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard Join O'Hare in CSC's UNCLE VANYA, Begins 1/17

By: Dec. 11, 2008
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Acclaimed film and stage actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard have joined the cast of Classic Stage Company's upcoming new production of Anton Chekhov's UNCLE VANYA, starring Tony Award winner Denis O'Hare as Vanya, and directed by Austin Pendleton, it was announced today by CSC Artistic Director Brian Kulick and Executive Director Jessica R. Jenen. UNCLE VANYA will begin previews on Saturday, January 17 at Classic Stage Company at 136 East 13th Street. An official press opening date will be announced in the coming weeks. UNCLE VANYA will play a limited engagement through March 1, 2009.

The cast will also feature Mamie Gummer (Sonya), Louis Zorich (Waffles), George Morfogen (Srebryakov), Delphi Harrington (Maria) and Cyrilla Baer (Marina). UNCLE VANYA will feature scenic design by Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto, who received wide acclaim last season at CSC for his design of The Seagull and who has designed numerous Chekhovian productions in his esteemed career including the famed Lincoln Center production of The Cherry Orchard in 1977. Costume design is by Suzy Benzinger, who also designed last season's The Seagull, and lighting design is by Jason Lyons.

O'Hare, who last performed at CSC in Yasmina Reza's A Spanish Play, stars as Vanya, the quintessential superfluous man, who wakes up one morning to discover he has wasted his life in the service of others, in Chekhov's tragicomic masterpiece of dashed dreams, thwarted love and eternal longing. The play was first performed at the legendary Moscow Art Theater in 1899, directed by Constantine Stanislavsky.

Maggie Gyllenhaal (Yelena Adreevna) has garnered rave reviews for her performances in such films as Sherrybaby (Golden Globe nomination), Secretary (Golden Globe nomination), The Dark Knight, Donnie Darko, Happy Endings and World Trade Center, among others. Her stage work includes Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul.

Peter Sarsgaard (Astrov) is currently co-starring in the Broadway production of The Seagull, as Trigorin, opposite Kristin Scott Thomas. Other stage work includes the Signature Theatre production of Lanford Wilson's Burn This, as well as Kingdom of Earth, opposite Cynthia Nixon. He has received acclaim for his work in such films as Shattered Glass, Boys Don't Cry, Kinsey, Garden State, Jarhead, The Dying Gaul and Rendition, among others.

Austin Pendleton has directed UNCLE VANYA twice before, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 1972 and at the Hartman Theatre in Stamford in 1980; both times featuring sets by Santo Loquasto, however, CSC's new production will feature a new direction and design. Mr. Pendleton has also played Vanya several times: at the Whole Theatre Co. (directed by Olympia Dukakis); at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (directed by Jeff Blechner); at CSC (directed by Maria Irene Fornes); at Steppenwolf (directed by Sheldon Pantinkin); and twice in an event called the Chekhov Cycle, a series of staged readings of the four major Chekhov plays, organized by Olympia Dukakis and presented first at Williamstown and later at the Two River Theatre in New Jersey. He has also performed in numerous other productions of Chekhov's plays.

Denis O'Hare (Vanya) Broadway: Sweet Charity (Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), Assassins (Tony Award nomination), Take Me Out (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent Awards), Inherit the Wind, Major Barbara, Cabaret,Racing Demon. Off-Broadway: A Spanish Play, Pig Farm, Take Me Out (Obie, Lucille Lortel Awards), Vienna: Lusthaus (revisited),Helen, Ten Unknowns, The Devils, Woyzeck; Lonely Planet, Hauptmann. Regional: Hartford Stage, CenterStage, NYS&F, McCarter, Long Wharf, Seattle Repertory, Goodman. London: Never the Sinner; Take Me Out. Film: Milk,Changeling, Baby Mama, Half Nelson, Stephanie Daley, Angel Rodriguez, Derailed, Garden State, The Anniversary Party, Hamlet, Rocket Science, The Babysitters, Train Wreck: My Life as an Idiot, Michael Clayton, Awake, Charlie Wilson's War, A Mighty Heart, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. Television: "Brothers & Sisters," "Law & Order," "Once Upon a Mattress."

Maggie Gyllenhaal (Yelena Andreevna) Film roles include in Secretary, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical; Sherrybaby, for which she received her second Golden Globe nomination; Happy Endings, opposite Lisa Kudrow and Tom Arnold; Donnie Darko; Trust the Man with Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup and David Duchovny; Oliver Stone's World Trade Center with Maria Bello and Nicholas Cage; Marc Forster's Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson; John Sayles' Casa De Los Babys with Daryl Hannah and Lily Taylor; Mike Newell's Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst; Criminal with Diego Luna and John C. Reilly; Spike Jonze's Adaptation; and most recently as Rachel Dawes in Dark Knight. She will soon be seen in Crazy Heart, opposite Jeff Bridges, directed by Scott Cooper.

On stage, Gyllenhaal starred as "Alice" in Patrick Marber's award-winning Closer at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles for director Robert Egan, and previously at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She has also appeared in Anthony and Cleopatra at the Vanborough Theatre in London. In 2004, Maggie starred in Tony Kushner's play Homebody/Kabul, which ran in both Los Angeles and at B.A.M.

Peter Sarsgaard (Astrov)Theatre: The Seagull, opposite Kristin Scott Thomas, Kingdom of Earth (dir. John Cameron Mitchell), Burn This (Signature Theatre Company, dir. Jim Houghton), Horton Foote's Laura Dennis (Signature Theatre Company). Film: Rendition, Kinsey (Critics Choice nomination, Independent Spirit nomination), Shattered Glass (Awards: Boston, SF, St. Louis, Toronto, Nat'l Society of Film Critics; Golden Globe, Spirit nominations, Best Supporting Actor), Boys Don't Cry, Year of the Dog, Jarhead, The Center of the World, Flightplan, The Dying Gaul, Garden State, Elegy. Upcoming: An Education, Orphan, In the Electric Mist, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Education: Actors Studio at Washington University.

Mamie Gummer (Sonya) last appeared on Broadway in the Roundabout production of Les Liasons Dangerueses. Other New York theater credits include Hunting & Gathering at Primary Stages and Water's Edge at Second Stage, for which she received a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Featured Actress. Film work includes the upcoming Taking Woodstock, directed by Ang Lee.

Louis Zorich (Waffles). Broadway: 45 Seconds from Broadway, Follies, Little Murders (Voices!), On a Clear Day (Encores! Series), She Loves Me, The Marriage of Figaro, Arms and the Man, Death of a Salesman, They Knew What They Wanted (Drama Desk nomination), Hadrian VII (Tony nomination), Herzl, Goodtime Charley, Lincoln Center Rep, The Odd Couple, Moby Dick, Fun City, Becket. Movies: 45 films including Fiddler on the Roof, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Commandments, Honor Thy Father, City of Hope, Fish in the Bathtub, Hole in One, etc. TV: 300 shows. TV series: "Brooklyn Bridge," "Mad About You." Co-founder with wife Olympia Dukakis, Whole Theatre Co., Montclair, NJ.

George Morfogen (Srebryakov) Broadway: Fortune's Fool, An Inspector Calls, Arms and the Man, John Gabriel Borkman, Kingdoms. Off-Broadway:Mrs. Warren's Profession, The Country Girl, Cyrano York in Richard II(CSC; Bayfield Award); All's Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra (TFANA); The Madras House, Uncle Bob (Mint; L.A. Drama-Logue); Heartbreak House (Pearl);Hamlet, Othello, Cymbeline, Henry V, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Public); The Oxford Roof Climber's Rebellion (Urban Stages). Regional: Baltimore, Seattle, Long Wharf, Dallas, Manitoba, Williamstown. Films include Twenty Bucks; What's Up, Doc? TV includes "Oz."

Delphi Harrington (Maria). Broadway: The Seagull (National Actors Theatre), Chapter Two, Thieves, Romeo & Juliet (Circle in the Square), Edward Albee's Everything in the Garden. Off-Broadway: Beckett/Albee, Footfalls with Marian Seldes, Three Tall Women, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Roundabout), After the Fall, Moon for the Misbegotten (Circle in the Square).

Cyrilla Baer (Marina) has appeared off-Broadway in The Adding Machine and The Hatpin at the NYMF. Regional credits include The House of Blue Leaves, Ruthless!,Morning's at Seven and Falsettos.

Austin Pendleton (Director) most recently directed in New York Fifty Words, by Michael Weller, for Manhattan Class Company, and Lillian Yuralia, by Barbara Eda-Young, at La Mama. Previously he directed, on Broadway, Spoils of War (also by Michael Weller, with Kate Nelligan), The Little Foxes (with ElizaBeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton), The Runner Stumbles (by Milan Stitt) and Shelter (a musical by Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford). He is currently appearing Off-Broadway in The Black Monk. Other recent acting appearances in New York include: Mother Courage (with Meryl Streep) and Romeo and Juliet (with Lauren Ambrose) at the Public Theatre in Central Park, as well as at the Abingdon Theatre, where he played in Bruce Robinson's Another Vermeer, and this spring will appear in Romulus Linney's Love Drunk. For many years he has apprenticed, acted and directed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and is a member of the Ensemble at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, where he has also acted and directed extensively. He has appeared in over 100 movies and on television, where he will soon be seen in episodes of "Life on Mars" and "Cupid". Earlier TV work includes many appearances on "Homicide," "Oz," and "Law and Order." He has written three plays: Orson's Shadow, Uncle Bob and Booth, all of them published, and produced internationally and in New York.

Santo Loquasto (Scenic Design) is a designer for theatre, film, dance and opera has been the recipient of 3 Tony Awards and nominated 14 times. He has collaborated with Woody Allen on 24 films. Designs include CSC's The Seagull, the recent Broadway production of American Buffalo, Three Days of Rain, Prelude to a Kiss, Inherit the Wind and 110 in the Shade. He also designed the landmark Lincoln Center production of The Cherry Orchard starring Irene Worth. He received the Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration in 2002, was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2004, and received the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for the Arts in 2006 and the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007.

Suzy Benzinger (Costume Design). Last season designed the costumes for the CSC production of The Seagull, starring Alan Cumming and Dianne Wiest. Broadway credits include Miss Saigon, Saturday Night Fever, Ain't Broadway Grand and the recent production of A Chorus Line (Associate Designer). Her film credits include Deconstructing Harry and Celebrity.

Jason Lyons (Lighting Design). Broadway credits include the recent revivals of The Threepenny Opera and Barefoot in the Park andGood Vibrations. As Associate Lighting Designer: The Pillowman, Fiddler on the Roof, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Into the Woods.

In its 41st season as one of New York's most exciting Off-Broadway theaters, 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, 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 best-established and emerging theater practitioners working in this country. Highly respected and widely regarded as a major force in New York and American theater, Classic Stage has been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theater awards: Obies, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and 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.

UNCLE VANYA will be performed Tuesday through Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $70 and $75. For tickets and information, visit, 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.

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

Photo by Sara De Boer/Retna Ltd.