Westport Country Playhouse (Joanne Woodward and Anne Keefe,
artistic directors, Jodi Schoenbrun Carter, managing director) has made some
revisions in the previously announced 2008 season of productions.
Distinguished actor and director Paul Newman will direct the
Playhouse's fall production, Of Mice and
Men by John Steinbeck; Timothy Busfield, Emmy Award-winning actor from "The
West Wing," "Studio 60" and "thirtysomething," will star in the dark comedy Vigil, launching its tri-state area
premiere on February 26; and Time of My
Life, a comedy by Alan Ayckbourn, reuniting author, director and cast
members from one of last season's biggest hits, is newly slated for April
In a significant milestone, Paul Newman will direct for the
Playhouse stage. Newman has received acclaim directing in the mediums of film
and television, but has not directed previously for the professional stage.
Opening the Playhouse's 78th season will be a black comedy, Vigil, by one of Canada's greatest award-winning
playwrights Morris Panych, starring Timothy Busfield and Helen Stenborg. Vigil
will receive its tri-state area premiere at Westport Country Playhouse before
moving off-Broadway. Vigil is
produced in partnership with Daryl Roth Productions and Angelo Fraboni.
Busfield plays Kemp, for whom childhood was anything but normal. His list of early age traumas include: A Rumanian dwarf tutor, force-fed accordion
lessons and a fear of the dark until age 18.
Not wanting to revisit a moment of it, Kemp successfully avoided all
family contact for 30 years. That is,
until the day he was guilted into taking care of his dying aunt, played by Ms.
Playwright Morris Panych is one of Canada's leading playwrights, receiving numerous
honors including the Governor General's Award—the most prestigious literary
prize in Canada.
To give an idea of the playwright's wonderfully dark humor, in a program note
for the West End production, Panych dedicates
the play "to all who have died and all who've not yet got around to
it." Vigil is scheduled February 26 through March 15. Stephen DiMenna
Timothy Busfield, who portrays Kemp in Vigil, is an Emmy Award-winning actor for his work on
"thirtysomething." He currently serves
as an executive producer and resident director of NBC's "Lipstick Jungle."
Busfield has been a regular or recurring character on numerous television
series including "All My Children," "Family Ties," "The West Wing," "Ed" and
"Without a Trace." Busfield has appeared in over 30 feature films and
television movies, including "Stripes," "Revenge of the Nerds," "Field of
Dreams" and "Quiz Show." As a theatre actor, he has appeared in over 50 plays,
including the Broadway productions of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and
Aaron Sorkin's "A Few Good Men."
Helen Stenborg will play the role of Grace in Vigil. A Drama Desk Lifetime Achievement
Award winner and Tony Award nominee, Stenborg's Broadway credits include
"Waiting in the Wings," "A Month in the Country," "A Life," "A Doll's House,"
"Trail of the Catonsville 9," "Sheep on the Runway" and "Da." She has made countless television appearances
including "Law & Order," "Homicide," "St.
Elsewhere" and "LA Law."
From the playwright and director of last season's hilarious
hit Relatively Speaking, comes
another Alan Ayckbourn comedy, Time of My
Life, directed by John Tillinger with cast members Geneva Carr, Cecilia
Hart and Paxton Whitehead, and others to be announced. Audience favorite Paxton Whitehead plays
Gerry Stanton, family patriarch, who gets together with his sons and their
significant others to celebrate their mother's 54th birthday at their favorite
family restaurant. Based on what transpires following the night of the birthday
party, time begins to flow differently for each couple. Jane Greenwood, the legendary Tony Award
winner for best costumer design, will design costumes. The comedy is set for
April 1 – 19. Due to the incredible
demand of last season's production of Relatively
Speaking and the same core talent returning, the Playhouse has added a fourth
week of performances for Time of My Life,
Thursday, Friday and two Saturday performances, April 24 - 26.