Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays, currently playing on Broadway in The Best Man, will head the cast of the inventive comedy/thriller, Stage Struck, by Simon Gray, a Script in Hand playreading at Westport Country Playhouse, on Monday, March 12, 7 p.m. The cast includes Jayne Atkinson, Michel Gill and Doug Stender. Part of Winter at the Playhouse, the reading will be directed by Anne Keefe, Playhouse artistic advisor. Tickets to the one-night-only event are $15.
“I'm a big fan of playwright Simon Gray, having worked on a number of his scripts over the years, Otherwise Engaged, The Common Pursuit, Butley, etc.,” said Keefe. “When I found this funny, scary thriller by a writer known for his arch and witty dialogue, I thought it would be a perfect addition to our series. It's got four juicy roles, and I've got four juicy actors!”
Stage Struck is about an ex-stage manager (Mays) who now keeps house for his bread-winning actress-wife (Atkinson) while amusing himself with various sexual adventures. He is a thoroughly happy man until his wife informs him, based on a psychiatrist's advice, that she is throwing him out and cutting him off. He plans revenge on his wife and the psychiatrist (Stender), drawing on his stagecraft expertise and delving into his old bag of theatrical tricks.
Jefferson Mays last appeared at Westport Country Playhouse in Outward Bound. On Broadway, he is currently in The Best Man, and won a Tony Award for I Am My Own Wife. Other Broadway credits are Pygmalion, Journey’s End and Of Thee I Sing. Off-Broadway credits include Blood and Gifts, Measure for Measure, Lydie Breeze, Quills, Orestes. Regional theater performances include My Fair Lady, Quartermaine’s Terms, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Misalliance, Importance of Being Earnest, The Cherry Orchard, Peter Pan, She Stoops to Conquer, Tartuffe, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Hamlet, Miss Julie, Private Lives. Film credits are Alfie, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Kinsey, The Notorious Bettie Page, Cousin Bette, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. Television work includes “The Good Wife,” Mildred Pierce, “Detroit 1-8-7,” “Lie To Me,” Fringe, “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: CI,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Closer,” Dolley Madison, Liberty! Mays is the recipient of many awards including Tony, Drama Desk, Obie (‘94,‘04), Outer Critic’s Circle, Helen Hayes, Elliot Norton, Lucille Lortel, Theatre World, Drama League, Jefferson, Dramalogue, Sir Robert Helpmann.
Jayne Atkinson appeared at Westport Country Playhouse in Triangles for Two and Our Town, which transferred to Broadway. She starred on Broadway with Angela Lansbury in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit. Other Broadway credits include Enchanted April and The Rainmaker with Woody Harrelson, both of which earned her Tony Award nominations. Television roles include “24” as Karen Hayes and the current “Criminal Minds” as Erin Strauss.
Michel Gill appeared on Broadway in A Man for All Seasons with Frank Langella. Off-Broadway, he was in the world premiere of The Milliner; Speaking in Tongues; A Winter’s Tale (w/ David Strathairn); and Othello (New York Shakespeare Festival w/ Christopher Walken and Raul Julia). He and his wife Jayne Atkinson appeared in The Guardsman and Candida at Berkshire Theatre Festival. Television credits include “L.A. Law,” “Law & Order CI,” “All My Children” and “Guiding Light.”
Doug Stender appeared at Westport County Playhouse in David Wiltse's A Marriage Minuet, and Script in Hand readings of Arsenic and Old Lace and And Then There Were None. Broadway credits include Pygmalion, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Noises Off and The Changing Room. Off-Broadway work includes The Rivalry, The Master Builder, Our Lady of 121st St. and The Libertine. Stender was in the National Tour of Deathtrap, with Elliott Gould. On television, he had a recurring role as Judge Thomas Flint on “Law & Order.”
Playwright Simon Gray (1936 - 2008) was born in England and attended Cambridge. His plays include Butley, Quartermaine's Terms, Otherwise Engaged and The Old Masters. He also wrote TV plays, film scripts and memoirs.
Director Anne Keefe served as artistic director of Westport Country Playhouse, with Joanne Woodward, in 2008 and as associate artistic director from 2000-2006, also with Ms. Woodward. She co-directed with Ms. Woodward the Westport Country Playhouse production of David Copperfield, and directed many Script in Hand readings.
Marc and Michele Flaster are Script in Hand sponsors; Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler are Script in Hand partners. The series is supported, in part, by the White Barn Program of the Lucille Lortel Foundation.
For more information or tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online 24/7 at www.westportplayhouse.org. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), view Playhouse videos on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse) or get an insider’s peek on The Playhouse Blog (www.theplayhouseblog.org).
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