Ships coming in for Scott Thompson and Richard Byron, who get to stage Dames at Sea at the Goodspeed Opera House, and for Lynn C. Miller and Laura Furman, who will have their play Passenger on the Ship of Fools performed by legendary actress Irene Worth.
It's bon voyage to Austin Musical Theatre co-founders Scott Thompson and Richard Byron, who are off to "sea" again. The director/choreographer team has been hired to open the 2002 season at the internationally acclaimed Goodspeed Opera House with a new production of Dames at Sea. The Jim Wise-George Haimsohn-Robin Miller 21-gun salute to those plucky musicals of the Thirties (fresh-faced kid from the sticks taps her way to stardom and romance in a show staged on the deck of a battleship) seems to be lucky for Byron and Thompson. A few years ago, they staged a production for producer Charles Duggan at his Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco, and wound up with an award-winning hit on their hands. Now, the show has landed them a gig at one of the country's meccas for musicals. The production runs April 5-July 6 at the Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn. Have no fear, though. The guys will be back in plenty of time to get AMT's next show, Sweet Charity, in good shape for its May 1 opening at the Paramount. For more information, call 428-9696 or visit amtpresents.org.
Not long after Dames sets sail, a very special ship comes in for writers Lynn C. Miller and Laura Furman. On April 16, the two get to see a play they've written performed by one of the grandest dames of the American and English stages, Irene Worth. The play, titled Passenger on the Ship of Fools, is a solo show about celebrated Texas writer Katherine Anne Porter in which the author relives key moments in her life as she works to complete her novel Ship of Fools in the Yankee Clipper Inn in Pigeon Cove, Mass., in the summer of 1961. The show has been in development for several years, with a shortened version performed by Karen Kuykendall in FronteraFest 1998. Last year, part of it was performed by Worth at a benefit for Yaddo last May in New York. Now, the legendary actress, renowned for her classical work with the Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as contemporary roles in pieces such as Edward Albee's Tiny Alice, will present the full work in recital at our own Brockett Theatre in the Winship Drama Building on Tuesday, April 16, 7:30pm. Making the occasion even more auspicious is the possibility that the trustee of the Porter estate, the curator of the Porter papers, and a new biographer of Porter may all attend. As if that isn't enough, on Wednesday, April 17, from 3 to 4:30pm, Worth will lead an open class on biography in performance in the Harry Ransom Center auditorium.