THE OLD GLOBE PRESENTS EMMY WINNER RICHARD THOMAS IN
A DISTANT COUNTRY CALLED YOUTH,
BY STEVE LAWSON
ADAPTED FROM THE EARLY LETTERS OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS,
ICON OF THE AMERICAN THEATRE,
ONE-NIGHT-ONLY, MONDAY, JUNE 9 AT 7:00 P.M.!
SAN DIEGO (April 25, 2014)—The Old Globe today announced it will present Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Thomas (“The Waltons,” Fifth of July, “The Americans”) starring in A Distant Country Called Youth, an intimate look at the making of an artist, adapted by Steve Lawson from early letters Tennessee Williams sent to his family, friends, and professional associates. This one-night-only engagement takes place on Monday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Spanning Tennessee Williams’s life from his seminal younger years in St. Louis to the successful Broadway opening of The Glass Menagerie more than 20 years later, this one-man show weaves together elements from his extraordinary life, tormented family relationships, distant travels, casual lovers, and career ups and downs. This was the raw material that Williams fashioned into his theatrical masterpieces. At turns humorous, poignant, and highly personal, A Distant Country Called Youth reveals Williams as a writer as poetic and passionate in his letters as he was in his plays.
A Distant Country Called Youth is to play on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Tickets are currently available to subscribers only and will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, May 13 at 12 noon. Tickets begin at $33 for subscribers and $35 for general audiences and can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.
A Distant Country Called Youth was adapted by Steve Lawson from The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams, Volume I: 1920-1945, edited by Albert J. Devlin and Nancy M. Tischler, published by New Directions, and presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Inc. The solo evening premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club (5/7/2001), and Thomas has performed it at Hartford Stage (1/02), Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival (2/02), PAL Vancouver (2/03), Dallas Museum of Art (5/03), The Kennedy Center (6/04), Westport Country Playhouse (8/29/11), Stateside at the Paramount, Austin (11/14/12), Millersville University, Lancaster (9/13), and as part of Hartford Stage’s 50th anniversary (11/4/13).
“Thomas slowly but surely becomes the playwright because of the power of the letters themselves allied to the thesp’s beautifully nuanced acting skills ... Lively, amusing, vivid, evocative, poetic.” – Variety
“Appealing and enjoyable.” – Chicago Tribune
“It’s not often that we are given as unplugged and intimate a look at the making of an artist ... Thomas’ performance was impeccable ... the span of the letters is remarkable ... Lawson has applied a keen, astute, revealing eye to raw material that would become the stuff of art; the lifeblood of characters who would become indelibly woven into the fabric of American culture.” – The Berkshire Eagle
“Gentle and enlightening.” – The Washington Post
“Revealing, funny, naughty at times and sometimes piercingly poetic ... Richard Thomas brought a fine natural quality to his characterization ... and his youthful presence makes him ideal for an evening of theater that will certainly have a longer life. It all adds up to quite wonderful Tennessee.” – Hartford Courant
“There was Richard Thomas holding the audience in the palm of his hand,
a beautifully judged performance.” – The New Orleans Times-Picayune
“In an age when letter-writing seems like a lost art, Williams’ letters are especially refreshing ... Thomas’ subtle physical and vocal nuances greatly enabled the language to shine.” – New Haven Register
“Richard Thomas’ rendition was captivating. His voice rose and fell like swells in the ocean as he led the audience through different stages in Williams’ life ... The audience is completely drawn in, seemingly transported to a different time and place.” – Journal Inquirer
Following A Distant Country Called Youth, Thomas will make his Globe debut as Iago in Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Othello, the first show of the Globe’s 2014 Summer Shakespeare Festival, directed by Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. He will be joined by Blair Underwood (A Streetcar Named Desire, The Trip to Bountiful, “L.A. Law”) in the title role and Kristen Connolly (“House of Cards,” The Cabin in the Woods) as Desdemona. Despite the prejudices in Venice, the brilliant general Othello excels both on the battlefield and in the halls of state. But when he marries Desdemona, his envious lieutenant Iago sets in motion a diabolical plan to destroy him. Edelstein gives us a riveting, intense, and intimate production where poetry soars and swords clash, where true love and wrenching jealousy collide.
Both Thomas and Connolly continue collaborations with Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein that began in New York: Thomas starred in Edelstein’s critically acclaimed production of Timon of Athens at The Public Theater in 2011, and Connolly in three Shakespeare plays that Edelstein helped produce at The Public.
Performances of Othello run June 22 – July 27, with Opening Night on Saturday, June 28 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets to the Globe’s 2014 Summer Season are currently available by subscription only, and prices range from $92 to $332. Subscription packages may be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the box office.
Richard Thomas starred in the award-winning series “The Waltons,” for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He has continued to star in series, films, plays, and over 50 movies for television. His theatre career began at age seven with the 1958 Broadway production of Sunrise at Campobello and continued with such shows as Fifth of July, The Seagull, The Front Page, Tiny Alice, Peer Gynt, Richard II, Richard III, Hamlet, and The Stendhal Syndrome. His other stage credits include Broadway’s Democracy and A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, the national tour of the Broadway revival of 12 Angry Men, and Unusual Acts of Devotion by Terrence McNally. His recent projects include the Broadway production of David Mamet’s Race; the title role in The Public Theater’s Timon of Athens; Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays for the Minetta Lane Theatre; and the world premiere of Camp David at Arena Stage. He last appeared on Broadway in the Manhattan Theatre Club revival of An Enemy of the People. Thomas can currently be seen on the hit FX series “The Americans.” He also had starring roles on series such as “Just Cause,” “It’s a Miracle,” and “The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson.” His television films include the Stephen King miniseries Nightmares & Dreamscapes, Stephen King’s It, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Silence, The Red Badge of Courage, The Master of Ballantrae, Johnny Belinda, Berlin Tunnel 21, Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story, Hobson’s Choice, Roots: The Next Generations, Go Toward the Light, In the Name of the People, The Christmas Secret, The Miracle of the Cards, Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anna’s Dream, Annie’s Point, Wild Hearts, and most recently Hallmark Channel’s film Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. As a producer, Thomas has worked on such television projects as What Love Sees and For All Time. Thomas has appeared in such movies as The Wonder Boys, Battle Beyond the Stars, The Todd Killings, Last Summer, Winning, Red Sky at Morning, Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, and the forthcoming Anesthesia.
Steve Lawson is Executive Director of the Williamstown Film Festival, which will hold its 16th season this fall. WFF has hosted such guest artists as David Strathairn, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, James Ivory, Campbell Scott, Sigourney Weaver, Barry Levinson, Alec Baldwin, and Patricia Clarkson; screened over 480 independent films including Frozen River, Spellbound, Roger Dodger, Off the Map, God of Love, Tape, Shadow of the Vampire, and A Birder’s Guide to Everything; and been called “a feast for the imagination and the soul” and “a world-class festival with a small-town heart.” As director of Manhattan Theatre Club’s Writers in Performance series, Lawson created events on Fitzgerald, Ellison, Colette, Hemingway, Cervantes, Millay, and Rimbaud and adapted Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying. His one-man play based on Tennessee Williams’s early letters, A Distant Country Called Youth, has been performed at The Kennedy Center, Hartford Stage, Williamstown TheatreÂ Festival, and Galway Arts Festival in Ireland, and the acting edition was published by Samuel French Inc. The sequel, Blanche and Beyond, premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club, was published, and played The Kennedy Center. Long associated with Williamstown Theatre Festival, Lawson was its first literary manager, helped launch the Free Theatre and the Cabaret, adapted Dickens, Twain, Doyle, Stoker, Fielding, and Schnitzler, and wrote the theatre’s 50th anniversary gala. He has interviewed Truffaut, Mamet, Hare, and Fugard and written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Film Comment, TV Guide, Commonweal Magazine, and New Republic. He directed benefits for Alley Theatre and The MacDowell Colony, and he teamed up with Alec Baldwin to create City Center’s Voices! series. Lawson’s television credits include a Christopher Award and nominations for an Emmy Award and a Humanitas Prize; the adaptation of Broadway’s The Elephant Man; a biopic of Edith Wharton; The Room Upstairs starring Stockard Channing, Sam Waterston, and Joan Allen; a year as story editor on “St. Elsewhere,” for which Lawson co-wrote the first teleplay on AIDS; and “Broadway’s Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theatre,” which won an Emmy Award. Lawson earned a B.A. cum laude in English from Williams College and an M.F.A. in Dramatic Literature from Yale University School of Drama.
LOCATION: The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. There are numerous free parking lots available throughout the park. Valet parking is also available during performances ($10). For additional parking information visit www.BalboaPark.org.
A REMINDER: Balboa Park’s 100-year-old Cabrillo Bridge, which provides access to Laurel Street and the west side of the Park, will be closed to automobiles and vehicular traffic through June during Caltrans’s seismic retrofitting process. The bridge will remain accessible to pedestrians and bicycles, so patrons could arrive a bit earlier and enjoy the short walk across the iconic bridge towards Plaza de Panama and the historic views of the California Tower and Dome. To access The Old Globe during this repair period, vehicle traffic should enter Balboa Park from the east via Park Boulevard and President’s Way. The Organ Pavilion, Alcazar Garden and the Hall of Champions lots all offer ample parking, and a lovely short walk through the Park. Guests may also be dropped off in front of the Mingei International Museum. The Balboa Park valet is located in front of the Japanese Friendship Garden. For directions and up-to-date information, please visit www.TheOldGlobe.org/Directions.
2013-2014 SEASON CALENDAR: Time and the Conways (3/29-5/4), Water by the Spoonful (4/12-5/11), What You Will (4/28), Thinking Shakespeare Live! (5/3), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (5/17-6/22), Dog and Pony (5/28-6/29), A Distant Country Called Youth (6/9), Othello (6/22-7/27), Into the Woods (7/12-8/10), Quartet (7/25-8/24), The Two Gentlemen of Verona (8/10-9/14).
2014-2015 SEASON CALENDAR: Bright Star (9/13-11/2/14), The Royale (10/4-11/2), Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (11/15-12/27), Murder for Two (1/24/15-3/1), The Twenty-Seventh Man (2/14-3/15), The White Snake (3/21-4/26), Buyer & Cellar (4/4-5/3), Arms and the Man (5/9-6/14), an exciting new American play to be announced (5/23-6/21).
PHOTO EDITORS: Digital images of The Old Globe’s productions are available at www.TheOldGlobe.org/pressroom.
The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theaters and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 75 years. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Managing Director Michael G. Murphy, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 14 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theater's education and community programs. Numerous world premieres such as A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, A Catered Affair, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theaters across the country.
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