by Lanford Wilson
The American Century Theater adds another great American playwright to its repertoire when Lanford Wilson, author of Talley’s Folly, Burn This!, and Fifth of July, will finally have one of his dramas grace the Gunston Theater Two stage. The play is Serenading Louie, his delicate and engrossing examination of mid-life regret and disappointment in suburbia. The 1970 play, while still largely unknown outside of the theater world and Wilson enthusiasts, has been building a reputation in recent years as a neglected masterpiece, and that placed it TACT’s sights.
“I love the play,” says Steven Scott Mazzola, the director of TACT’s acclaimed Seascape last season who recommended the play to the company. “I have frequently used excerpts from it in my acting classes. This is the kind of material--beautifully written, perceptive, connecting in different ways with each audience member according to his or her own experiences--that gives greats actors a chance to shine.” Serenading Louie takes its title from the famous Yale tune "The Whiffenpoof Song,” which refers to “the place where Louie dwells.” It is a song about "poor little lambs who have lost their way,” and the characters in Wilson’s drama indeed feel trapped in wistfulness, regret and confusion. Now they are trying to find their way, or at least understand where they took the wrong turn, and it is a harrowing and engrossing search.
Steven Scott Mazzola’s directorial work for TACT includes Seascape, Women Under the Influence, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale and other standout productions. He and Producer Sherri L. Perper have assembled an impressive team of designers, including Deborah Wheatley (Set), Frank Labovitz (Costumes), Andrew Griffin (Lighting), Matt Otto (Sound), and Suzanne Maloney (Props).
Jason Beagle serves as Technical Director and Master Carpenter for the production. Elena Maria Lower makes her TACT debut as Stage Manager.
Those who saw TACT’s 2008 production of Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale will remember the heart-wrenching performance of Vanessa Bradchulis, who returns to Theater Two in Serenading Louie. Three more TACT veterans join her in an expert cast: Theodore Snead (MacBird!, Hans Dettmar, last seen in Stalag 17,and Robin Covington, a stand-out performer in A Piece of My Heart.
Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes (including one 15-minute intermission).
Please note that there will be no late seating after the first 7 minutes of the show.
This performance includes cigarette smoking.