Rehearsals begin next week for our upcoming production of Chekhov's The Seagull, and we couldn't be more excited about the team that we've assembled for this one. As many of you know, former Huntington Artistic Director had to step down from the production for personal reasons, but with Maria Aitken at the helm as director, we're not worried about a thing. I remember few years back at the first rehearsal for her production of Private Lives, Maria cracked a joke saying that she, "might as well toss a mattress in the corner of the rehearsal room," and then came back six months later to direct Betrayal. We certainly didn't expect that she would beat that record of time between shows, but lo and behold, here she is, three months after the closing of The Cocktail Hour, and we're all desperate to see her again because we've missed her that much.
Of course, the big news about the show, which we've been talking about from the start, is that Kate Burton will be returning to the Huntington to play Irina Arkadina, the mother of Konstantin, who is being played by her real-life son Morgan Ritchie. Kate and Morgan also appeared onstage together at the Huntington in Nicholas Martin's production of The Corn is Green in 2009. Here's a video of mother and son discussing that production:
If Kate's name alone doesn't ring a bell for you, you'll certainly recognize her face. She currently appears as Vice President Sally Langston on the TV show "Scandal," although others might remember her as Dr. Grey's mother on "Grey's Anatomy," or any of the other eighteen bazillion things she's been in. She also received a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of the title role in Hedda Gabler, which premiered here at the Huntington in 2001 before transferring to Broadway.
As with most Huntington productions, we try to use as many Boston actors as possible, and we're proud to welcome back some of our local favorites, and introduce a few new faces to our stage as well. Nancy E. Carroll will be returning to play Paulina Andreyevna, the wife of the estate manager. At the Huntington alone, she has appeared in Rapture, Blister, Burn, Good People, The Luck of the Irish, Prelude to a Kiss, Brendan, Present Laughter (also on Broadway), The Rose Tattoo, and Dead End, which is to say nothing of the countless other productions you can catch her in throughout the Boston area. You might say we're a fan.
The Seagull will also reunite two Our Town cast members, which feels particularly fitting for a production that's already bringing in so many other Huntington favorites. Nael Nacer will be appearing as Medevenko the teacher, while Jeff Marcus will be playing The Servant. Thomas Derrah will be returning, fresh off his stint on The Jungle Book, to play the decidedly less snake-y Sorin. We're also excited to welcome Boston actors June Baboian, Kyle Cherry, and Melissa Jesser to the Huntington for the first time, as The Cook, Yakov he workman, and The Maid, respectively.
Nael Nacer as Simon Stimson in Our Town Photo: T. Charles Erickson
The cast is rounded out by Ted Koch (The Pillowman, Death of a Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway) as Trigorin, Auden Thornton (Years of Sky at 59E59) as Nina, Meredith Holzman (After the Revolution at Playwrights Horizons) as Masha, Don Lee Sparks (Take Me Out on Broadway) as Shamarayev, and Marc Vietor (She Loves Me at the Huntington) as Dorn.
The design team also brings back several Huntington alumni, including scenic designer Ralph Funicello (Third, The Cherry Orchard, and Mary Stuart), costume designer Robert Morgan (The Corn is Green, Third, The Cherry Orchard, and more), sound designer Drew Levy (Present Laughter), and original music composer Mark Bennett (The Rose Tattoo), who will join with lighting designer James F. Ingalls, a Huntington newcomer who has previously worked on The Big Knife and Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway. Production stage manager Emily F. McMullen and assistant stage manager Jeremiah Mullane will round out the team.
Check back next week with our dispatch from the first rehearsal of The Seagull. For now, here's Peter DuBois discussing the production: