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Grove Festival Plans 3 Plays by Shakespeare Plus 5 Others

June 20, 1989|JAN HERMAN

The 1989 Grove Shakespeare Festival will include eight plays at the 550-seat outdoor Festival Amphitheatre and at the indoor, 178-seat Gem Theatre.

"Even though we've shortened the schedule to six months, it will be our most ambitious season," Grove artistic director Thomas F. Bradac says.

And the most expensive. The projected budget comes to $850,000, Bradac says--considerably more than last year's $570,000 and higher than the $660,000 projected for the season in January.

Bradac calls the budget "realistic," nonetheless. He expects the theater to cover the difference with more subscriptions, modestly higher ticket prices and higher attendance.

"We need to do about $100,000 more in ticket sales at the box office than last year," Bradac says, "which is an increase of about 25%."

The Grove has 2,200 season ticket-holders. It is projecting 2,600 by the end of June and hopes to have 3,000 by the beginning of August, Bradac says. Partial to full subscriptions range from $30 to $175.

The previously reported schedule has been finalized as follows:

-- "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare--July 15 to 22 (Amphitheatre)--directed by Jules Aaron, starring David Anthony Smith as Romeo and Sue Doupe as Juliet.

-- "The Songs of War" by Murray Shisgal--July 5 to Aug. 5 (Gem, a world premiere)--directed by Jerome Guardino, starring Steeve Arlen.

-- "Cyrano de Bergerac" by Edmund Rostand--July 20 to Aug. 12 (Amphitheatre)--directed by Bradac, starring Charles Lanyer.

-- "Heathen Valley" by Romulus Linney--Aug. 16 to Sept. 16 (Gem)--directed by Philip Killian, not cast.

-- "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" by Shakespeare--Aug. 24 to Sept. 16 (Amphitheatre)--directed by Victor Pappas, not cast.

-- "The Scoundrel" by Gregory Mortensen, an adaptation with music, from "The Alchemist" by Ben Jonson--Oct. 4 to Nov. 4 (Gem)--directed by Bradac, not cast.

-- "Twelfth Night" by Shakespeare--Nov. 21 to Dec. 23 (Gem)--directed by David Herman, not cast.

-- "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Jeremy Brooks and Adrian Mitchell, adapted from a Dylan Thomas reminiscence--Dec. 8 to 10, 15 to 17, 22 to 24 (Amphitheatre)--directed by Daniel Bryan Cartmell, not cast.

Gregory Itzin, who had been expected to play Cyrano, landed a role in "Nutt House," a Mel Brooks sitcom for NBC with Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman.

"They start shooting around the end of July, just when 'Cyrano' will be going into tech rehearsals," Bradac says. "We're sorry to lose him, but we've got a fine replacement."

Lanyer, who will play Cyrano, was seen as Prospero in "The Tempest" at the Grove in 1985 and in "Haut Gout" at South Coast Repertory in 1987. He also appeared in Elizabeth Swados' musical "Alice in Concert" starring Meryl Streep at the Public Theater in the early 1980s. (He sang "The Walrus and the Carpenter" with Amanda Plummer).

Arlen, the lead in "The Songs of War," is perhaps best known for his co-starring role in "La Cage aux Folles" on Broadway. He will be joined in the Shisgal play by Juliet Landau, Connie Danese, Raymond Lynch, Hale Porter and Paul Keith.

Killian ("Heathen Valley") recently staged the Los Angeles production of "Tamara" and "All My Sons" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Pappas ("Two Gentlemen") won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award this year for his production of "South Central Rain" at the Tamarind Theatre. And Herman ("12th Night") staged last season's Space Age "The Comedy of Errors" at the Grove.

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