The Huntington Theatre Company concludes its 28th season - a season of American stories - with the award-winning playwright Craig Lucas' modern classic Prelude to a Kiss. Peter and Rita are two young, happy lovers who are getting married. On their wedding day, an old man comes up to kiss the bride. During this kiss, their souls exchange, and the young, beautiful woman Peter just married now houses the soul of an old man, leading to a breathtaking series of events that explores the enduring power of love and the nature of commitment, and asks how well can we ever know the ones we love. Huntington Theatre Company Artistic Director Peter DuBois' will direct, following the direction of his hit 2009 Off Broadway production of Becky Shaw. The production will feature Brian Sgambati as Peter, Cassie Beck as Rita, MacIntyre Dixon as the Old Man, and local favorites such as Nancy E. Carroll, Ken Cheeseman, and Michael Hammond.
"Craig's play makes my heart race," says DuBois. "It quite literally takes my breath away. Craig has been an enormously influential artist on a generation of playwrights and I am thrilled to introduce this contemporary classic from a master playwright to the Huntington." This production marks Lucas' debut at the Huntington, and is the first professional production of his groundbreaking play in Boston.
Craig Lucas says of Prelude, "When I began to work on the play, I was listening to a lot of Duke Ellington, and I thought that song had extra reverberations for my story - more than just the ones in connection with the big kiss in Act One; there are a lot of kisses in the play, and there's an ultimate, metaphoric one..."
Playwright Craig Lucas is the author of Missing Persons, Blue Window, Reckless, God's Heart, The Dying Gaul, Stranger, Small Tragedy, The Singing Forest, and Prayer for My Enemy. He wrote the book for the musical The Light in the Piazza, with music and lyrics by Adam Guettel. His screenplays include Longtime Companion (Sundance Audience Award), The Secret Lives of Dentists (New York Film Critics Best Screenplay Award), Prelude to a Kiss, Reckless, Blue Window, and The Dying Gaul, which he also directed. On stage he directed Harry Kondoleon's Saved or Destroyed and Play Yourself, as well as his own play This Thing of Darkness, which is co-authored with David Schulner. With director Norman René he created Marry Me a Little: Songs by Stephen Sondheim, and he wrote the musical play Three Postcards and the libretto for the opera Orpheus in Love. Recently he adapted Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters and Strindberg's Miss Julie in new English versions. Twice nominated for a Tony Award (for Prelude to a Kiss and The Light in the Piazza), he is the recipient of the American Theater Critics/Steinberg Award for Best American Play for The Singing Forest, L.A. Drama Critics Award, the Hull-Warriner Award, the LAMBDA Literary Award, the Flora Roberts Award, the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Laura Pels/PEN Mid-Career Achievement Award, and has twice won the OBIE Award for Best Play (for Prelude to a Kiss and Small Tragedy). Mr. Lucas is the associate artistic director of the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, and is a graduate of Boston University where his papers are among the collection of B.U.'s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.
Director Peter DuBois is now in his second season as Artistic Director of the Huntington Theatre Company, during which he also directed Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw. During his inaugural season, he directed the world premiere of David Grimm's The Miracle at Naples. He directed the acclaimed world premiere (Actors Theater of Louisville, Humana Festival of New American Plays) and New York premiere (Second Stage Theatre) productions of Becky Shaw. Other directing credits include Bob Glaudini's Jack Goes Boating with Philip Seymour Hoffman (The New York Times Critics Pick) and A View from 151st Street (The New York Times Critics Pick), Measure for Pleasure (SSDF Callaway Award for Excellence in Direction; Drama League Award nomination), Richard III with Peter Dinklage (a Newsday top ten New York production of 2004), and Biro (The New York Times Critics' Pick) for The Public Theater where he served as associate producer and resident director; Sam Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class for American Conservatory Theater; and The Seagull, The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet, and more for Perseverance Theatre where he served as artistic director.
The Huntington's season of American stories is the first in the Company's 27-year history comprised entirely of shows by American writers. The plays of the season relate to one another through stories of opportunities lost and found, of intergenerational struggles and successes, and of the most intimate and meaningful relationships. Drawn from some of the best writing the country has to offer, the Huntington is engaging its audience in a season-long conversation about issues of race, class, values, and a shared American experience. "This season at the Huntington, we are taking on a range of compelling American writing," says DuBois. "Each production offers us a singular point of view about the American experience, and I'm very excited by the diverse perspectives these artists bring."
The cast of Prelude to a Kiss includes:
· Brian Sgambati (The Blue Demon at the Huntington; national tour of Frost/Nixon; Tom Stoppard's Tony Award-winning trilogy The Coast of Utopia on Broadway) as Peter;
Cassie Beck (The Norman Conquests on Broadway; Craig Lucas' A Prayer For My Enemy and The Drunken City at Playwrights Horizons, Three Sisters at Williamstown Theatre Festival, and The Cherry Sisters at The Humana Festival 2010) as Rita;
MacIntyre Dixon (36 Views at the Huntington; Gypsy starring Bernadette Peters and Cyrano de Bergerac starring Kevin Kline on Broadway; the films School of Rock, In & Out, *batteries not included, and A River Runs Through It) as the Old Man;
Nancy E. Carroll (Present Laughter, The Rose Tattoo, Dead End, and Brendan at the Huntington; Present Laughter on Broadway) as Mrs. Boyle;
Michael Hammond (Big Bill, Long Day's Journey Into Night, M. Butterfly and Search and Destroy on Broadway; Othello, The Canterville Ghost, The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and many other productions in his seventeen seasons at Shakespeare & Company) as Dr. Boyle;
Ken Cheeseman (All My Sons and A Civil War Christmas at the Huntington; A Midsummer Night's Dream and Measure for Measure at The New York Shakespeare Festival; film and television appearances in Mystic River, The Crucible, Shutter Island and guest starring roles on Law and Order, and Monk) as Uncle Fred;
As well as Jason Bowen (A Civil War Christmas at the Huntington and Othello at Actors' Shakespeare Project), Ted Hewlett (Romeo and Juliet at New Rep and Coriolanus at Actors' Shakespeare Project), Timothy John Smith (Groundswell at the Lyric Stage Company and Jerry Springer: The Opera at SpeakEasy Stage Company), and Cheryl McMahon (The Rose Tattoo and Marty at the Huntington).
The Creative Team for Prelude to a Kiss includes Scenic Designer Scott Bradley (All My Sons at the Huntington); Costume Designer Elizabeth Hope Clancy (All My Sons at the Huntington); Lighting Designer Japhy Weideman (How Shakespeare Won the West at the Huntington, Little Flower of East Orange at The Public Theater; Bluebeard's Castle/Il Prigioniero at Teatro alla Scala in Milan); and Composer and Sound Designer David Remedios (Off Broadway designs at Theatre for a New Audience, New York Theatre Workshop, and New York Fringe Festival). Production Stage Manager is Leslie Sears. Stage Manager is Carola Morrone.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston's largest and most popular theatre company, hosting 64 Tony Award-winning artists, garnering 36 Elliot Norton Awards, and sending over a dozen shows to Broadway since its founding in 1982. In July 2008, Peter DuBois became the Huntington's third artistic leader and works in partnership with longtime Managing Director Michael Maso. In residence at and in partnership with Boston University, the Huntington is renowned for presenting seven outstanding productions each season, created by world-class artists and the most promising emerging talent, and reaching an annual audience of over 136,000. The company has premiered plays by Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award, and Tony Award-winning luminaries such as August Wilson and Tom Stoppard, as well as rising local literary stars such as Melinda Lopez and Ronan Noone. The Huntington has transferred more productions to Broadway than any other theatre in Boston, including the Broadway hit and Tony Award-winner Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. In 2004, the Huntington opened the state-of-the-art Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, which includes 370-seat and 200-seat theatres to support the company's new works activities and to complement the company's 890-seat, Broadway-style main stage, the Boston University Theatre. The Huntington is a national leader in the development and support of new plays, producing more than 50 New England, American, or world premieres in its 27-year history. The Huntington's nationally-recognized education programs have served more than 200,000 middle school and high school students in individual and group settings and community programs bring theatre to the Deaf and blind communities, the elderly, and other underserved populations in the Greater Boston area.