May 28, 2010

Artistic Directors Vivienne Benesch and Ethan McSweeny are pleased to announce the schedule for the Chautauqua Theater Company’s 27th season as the resident theater on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution -- western New York’s premier summer arts festival.

The season opens with Hart and Kaufman’s screwball family comedy You Can’t Take It With You, directed by Paul Mullins, and concludes with Shakespeare’s political thriller Macbeth, directed by Andrew Borba. In between, CTC returns to the stage of the famed Chautauqua Amphitheater, joining with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra to offer a unique concert production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus— an incredible event which will be repeated with the Buffalo Philharmonic at Artpark. The three productions will be complemented by our New Play Workshop series and a host of other theatrical events.

“It’s a notable season,” says McSweeny. “One that welcomes extraordinary artists, both new and returning, to our company, and sees CTC achieving vibrant new visibility as an arts ambassador for Chautauqua Institution in our partnership with the BPO.”

After his 2008 triumph as Willy Loman in Death of A Salesman, two-time Emmy Award winner Stuart Margolin returns to CTC as Grandpa Vanderhoff in You Can’t Take It With You. He’ll be joined by OBIE Award winner Kristine Nielsen to lead a remarkable cast that includes Stephen Pelinski, Matt Sullivan, and CHQ favorites Carol Halstead and Andrew Weems (both last seen in 2008's Reckless.)

"I'm so pleased to be coming back. I found a second wind of artistic fervor at CHQ," says Margolin. "And then over time I came to realize that it is an artistic nourishment for all involved: actors, directors, writers, designers, crew and audience."

You Can’t Take It With You director Paul Mullins has worked at many of the country’s most prestigious regional theaters, including The Studio Theater and the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Portland Stage and The Old Globe. He leads a creative team that includes CTC veterans Lee Savage (sets) and Alixandra Gage Englund (costumes), as well as first-time Chautauquan Michael Giannitti (lights).

Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch takes the helm as CTC returns to the stage of CHQ's celebrated amphitheater for what is sure to be a highlight of the Institution season: a collaboration with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in a unique production of Peter Shaffer’s Tony winning Amadeus. “Shaffer's Amadeus is a theatrical masterpiece in it's own right." says Benesch. "It's thrilling to have the opportunity to augment that experience with the full-scale, live sounds of Mozart's immortal music."

Golden Globe nominee (A Serious Man) and Drama Desk winner (Pillowman) Michael Stuhlbarg leads the cast as Antonio Salieri, a man at war with Mozart, God and himself. He’ll be joined by returning company member Blake Segal in the title role.

“Michael Stuhlbarg is one of the best actors of his generation,” says Benesch. “We are honored that he has chosen to share with CHQ and Artpark his craft, depth and showmanship in this iconic role. Audiences are in for a real treat.”

On July 24th, two days after its Amphitheater performance, CTC will make its first trip outside CHQ’s gates to present Amadeus in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of JoAnn Faletta at Artpark. “This exchange presents an unparalleled opportunity for us to showcase for Buffalo audiences the quality arts programming that is happening at CHQ,” says General Manager Robert Chelimsky. “And, though the script will remain the same, it will be exciting to see how the change of venue and orchestral collaborators will create a new version of Amadeus.”

In what has become one of the most anticipated parts of our annual schedule, we’ll round out our season with the incomparable Conservatory Company in Shakespeare’s political thriller Macbeth. Two first-time company members, Yale School of Drama's Brett Dalton, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Megan Ketch, will lead the cast as the Scottish Lord and Lady. They are just two of the 14 bright emerging actors who'll make up the extraordinary 2010 Conservatory ensemble. Once again, CTC’s core company represents the country's top training programs and offers members an unparalleled professional and training opportunity.

Associate Artistic Director Andrew Borba directs Macbeth. No stranger to the Bard in Chautauqua, Borba has been involved in each of the past five CTC Shakespeare productions as a text coach and as director of the 2006 production of Twelfth Night. Nationally known designer James Kronzer joins CTC for the first time to create the sets for Macbeth. He’s joined by Wade Laboissonniere (costumes) and Tyler Micoleau (lights). After a year’s absence, Steven Cahill returns to CHQ to compose the score.

The popular New Play Workshop series CTC/NPW will again be featured alongside our lineup of full productions. CTC/NPW introduces CHQ audiences to important new voices in the theater and to the staged reading as a thrilling theatrical event in its own right. In a uniquely Chautauquan twist, CTC/NPW selects plays that correspond with the Institution’s weekly morning lecture themes. The summer’s first new play offering, Molly Smith Metzler’s Close Up Space, for example, will complement the Week One literary arts theme, “Roger Rosenblatt and More Friends,” and the second, Anna Zeigler’s An Incident will reflect Week Five’s theme, “Picture This: Photography.”

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Chautauqua Institution box office at (716) 357-6250, or by visiting the Chautauqua Theater Company website at www.CTCompany.org.