Frances Fisher & Gregory Harrison in The Lion in WinterBookmark this
Frances Fisher & Gregory Harrison in The Lion in WinterBookmark this
October 25, 2019…Laguna Beach, CA…Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard are thrilled to announce the final cast and creative team to join acclaimed film, TV and theatre veterans Frances Fisher (“Titanic,” Native Gardens, Barbeque), as “Queen Eleanor” and Gregory Harrison (“Trapper John, M.D.,” Broadway’s Chicago, Steel Pier), as “King Henry II” in THE LION IN WINTER, written by James Goldman and directed by Sheldon Epps. Comments Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard, “To tell this extraordinary story with such a superb cast led by Frances and Gregory, and staged by the brilliant Sheldon Epps is a theatre maker’s dream come true. Our subscribers and audiences are going to be dazzled by the machinations of the Plantagenet family.” THE LION IN WINTER begins previews on Wednesday, November 6; will open on Sunday, November 10 at 5:30pm and runs through Sunday, November 24, 2019 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.
Before Game of Thrones, there was THE LION IN WINTER. It's Christmas 1183, and King Henry II is planning to announce his successor to the throne. The jockeying for the crown, though, is complex. Henry has three sons and wants his boy, Prince John, to take over. Henry's wife, Queen Eleanor, has other ideas. She believes their son Prince Richard should be king. As the family and various schemers gather for the holiday, each tries to make the indecisive king choose their option. The Lion in Winter has all the makings of a modern-day classic - sibling rivalry, adultery, and dungeons. Comedic in tone, dramatic in action – the play tells the story of the Plantagenet family, who are locked in a free-for-all of competing ambitions to inherit a kingdom.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST
SHELDON EPPS (Director) was honored to be Artistic Director of the renowned Pasadena Playhouse for twenty years (1997-2017). Before beginning his tenure at the Playhouse, he served as Associate Artistic Director of the Old Globe Theatre for four years. He was also a co-founder of the Off-Broadway theatre, The Production Company. Currently he continues to serve Pasadena Playhouse as Artistic Director Emeritus. Mr. Epps has directed both plays and musicals at many of the country’s major theatres including the Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Guthrie, Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, the Goodman Theatre and Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars. He conceived the highly acclaimed musicals Play On! and Blues In the Night, which both received Tony Award nominations. He directed productions of both of those shows on Broadway, in London, and at theatres throughout the world. He also co-directed the Broadway production of Baby It’s You!, which had its World Premiere at The Pasadena Playhouse. He has had a busy career as a television director, helming episodes of shows such as “Frasier,” “Friends,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Girlfriends” and many others. Mr. Epps received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for his efforts and accomplishments at the Pasadena Playhouse. Under his leadership the Playhouse earned distinction for productions of artistic excellence, critical and box office success, and highly praised theatrical diversity. Sheldon is happy to be back at Laguna Playhouse, having directed Blues in the Night and Beauty and the Beast: A Christmas Rose here last season.
JAMES GOLDMAN (Playwright) (1927-1998) was an American playwright, novelist, and screenwriter, honored with an Academy Award for the screen adaptation of his own play The Lion in Winter. He is also the author of the screenplays for “Robin and Marion,” “Nicholas and Alexandra,” and “White Nights,” and the book for Stephen Sondheim's stage musical Follies. In 1961 his whimsical play They Might Be Giants, about a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes and is attended by a psychiatrist named Dr. Watson, was produced by Joan Littlewood in London and 10 years later was turned into a film starring George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward and directed by Anthony Harvey, who also directed the 1968 film version of The Lion in Winter.
Mr. Goldman's first play on Broadway was a comedy about life in the army, Blood, Sweat, and Stanley Poole (1961), written with his brother William. Other work for the stage includes A Family Affair, a collaboration with John Kander, starring Shelley Berman; Evening Primrose (1966), his second collaboration with Mr. Sondheim; Oliver Twist (1982), Anna Karenina (1985), Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986) and Tolstoy.
Mr. Goldman's novels include “The Man from Greek and Roman” (1974), “Myself as Witness” (1980), and “Fulton County” (1989).
FRANCES FISHER (Queen Eleanor) has starred in over 30 theatrical productions (experimental, touring, Regional, off-off and off-Broadway,) including Elia Kazan’s The Chain, Hay Fever, Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, Summer And Smoke, Orpheus Descending, 1984, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fool For Love, Arthur Miller’s last play Finishing The Picture, Three More Sleepless Nights (Drama League Award); The Taper’s The Cherry Orchard, and Barbecue at the Geffen Playhouse, which won three NAACP 2018 Theatre Awards, including Best Ensemble. Recently Ms. Fisher had a ball being funny in Native Gardens at the Pasadena Playhouse. On film, she is perhaps best known for her performance as Kate Winslet’s mother in “Titanic,” which garnered Fisher a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Ensemble Cast. The film went on to receive eleven Academy Awards. Her numerous film credits include the Oscar-winning “Unforgiven,” “In The Valley of Elah,” “True Crime,” “The Big Tease,” “Tough Guys Don’t Dance,” “Laws of Attraction,” “Awake,” among many others. Television: Ms. Fisher played Lucille Ball in “Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter” and has guest-starred on “The Shield,” “Eureka,” “Masters of Sex,” “Law & Order,” “Roseanne,” “The Mentalist,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “ER,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds,” “Fargo,” among many others. She starred in ABC’s critically acclaimed series, “Resurrection,” and Damon Lindelof’s “Watchmen” recently premiered on HBO.
GREGORY HARRISON (King Henry II) His four-decade career spans television, film, and theater. He has filmed nearly 50 TV movies, two dozen mini-series, and guest-starred on dozens of television series, beginning with “M*A*S*H” in 1975. Harrison has since starred in numerous series, including “Logan’s Run,” “Safe Harbor,” “Falcon Crest,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “One Tree Hill,” “Judging Amy,” “Strong Medicine,” “Joey” and “Reckless.”
Harrison recurs regularly in Hallmark Channel’s “Chesapeake Shores” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” series, and has starred in the Hallmark Original Movies “Cloudy with a Chance of Love,” “Undercover Bridesmaid,” “The Nine Lives of Christmas,” “After All These Years,” and the upcoming “Love, Fall, and Order.” On the big screen, Harrison has appeared in several feature films, including “It's My Party,” “North Shore,” “Razorback,” “Running Wild,” “Air Bud II: Golden Receiver,” “Love 'N Dancing,” “Give 'Em Hell, Malone,” “The M Word,” and the upcoming “Hour Of Lead.” Harrison made his Broadway debut in 1997 with Kander and Ebb’s Steel Pier and took the Broadway stage again in the 2001 Broadway revival of the critically acclaimed Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, co-starring Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey, and Treat Williams. Additionally, he played slick lawyer Billy Flynn in another Kander and Ebb musical, Chicago, both on Broadway and the national tour. Other dramatic theater roles include 2016 world-premiere of The Snake Can (Odyssey Theater), Surf Report (La Jolla Playhouse), Child's Play, Jules Feiffer's Carnal Knowledge, and the US and China tour of Top Secret: The Battle for The Pentagon Papers. Harrison also starred in productions of The Hasty Heart and Picnic (Ahmanson Theater), both taped for Showtime on Broadway. Harrison’s regional musical credits include Pump Boys and Dinettes, Of Thee I Sing, Paper Moon: The Musical, Festival, Guys and Dolls and The Music Man.
The Cast for THE LION IN WINTER will also feature: Spencer Curnutt as “John,” Burt Grinstead as “Richard,” Chelsea Kurtz as “Alais,” Ian Littleworth as “Geoffrey,” and Taubert Nadalini as “Philip.”
The Design Team for THE LION IN WINTER is as follows: Scenic Design by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz; Lighting Design by Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz; Sound Design by Kate Wecker; Costume Design by David Kay Mickelsen; Hair/Wig Design by Anthony Gagliardi. The Casting Director is Michael Donovon, CSA and the Production Stage Manager is Vernon Willet.
Why you will like this classic. What this excellent story adaptation for the stage conveyed to me was that money, fame, and success are major amplifiers to most human foibles. A decision that seems to be a manageable task, to choose the most qualified of your offspring becomes an intricate teeter-totter of trust issues, doubts, and ego. Playing the political game versus tending to the health of your family becomes a competition and often wins in favor of power to rule the land. These legislative victories widen the interpersonal gaps and weaken everyone that has a part in this play. Because of the story's comedic tone, you ponder even more about cunning betrayals in politics, family life of the rich and famous, the fragility of love relationships, and the lost art of dealing with death. The icing is the, not always politically correct language that brings truths to the surface, which is only allowed in the context of an artistic performance. The stage set is superb, where multiple levels convey this lifelike story. Acting, five checks. -- Michaell Magrutsche
ABOUT THE SCHEDULE AND PRICING
THE LION IN WINTER begins previews on Wednesday, November 6; will open on Sunday, November 10 at 5:30pm and runs through Sunday, November 24, 2019 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.
Performances will be Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm; Sundays at 1:00pm & 5:30pm. There will be added performances on Thursday, November 7 & Thursday, November 21 at 2pm & Tuesday, November 12 at 7:30pm. There will be no performance on Sunday, November 10 at 1pm.
There will be Talk-Backs following the performances on Saturday, November 16 at 2pm and Thursday, November 21 at 7:30pm.
Tickets range from $50 - $75 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. Prices subject to change.
The box office is open Mondays – Saturdays: 11a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); Sundays: 11a.m. – 4p.m.
For more information on all shows and programming visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com. LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.