Cherry Jones Returns to New York Stage in Rotating Cast of
Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth for Women’s Project Theater
By: Ellis Nassour
Two time Tony- and three-time Drama Desk winner Cherry Jones returns to the New York stage for the first time since August of last year in the rotating casts of the New York premiere of Dear Elizabeth by two-time Pulitzer Nominee and Tony Nominee Sarah Ruhl (The Oldest Boy, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play). The play, running through December 5, is the inaugural production at Women’s Project’s new home, the McGinn/Cazale Theatre [2162 Broadway at 76th Street]. Directing is Kate Whoriskey (Ruined, Sweat). There’ll be six rotating casts, featuring stars of stage and screen.
Jones, also an Emmy winner for her portrayal of the President of the United States on TV’s 24, appears from November 16 – 21. Her co-star will be David Aaron Baker (Once Upon a Mattress, A Raisin in the Sun). He starred opposite Jones, as her husband, at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Jon Robin Baitz’s play, The Film Society (1997), directed by Roger Rees. Jones was seen from June to August 2014 at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage I in Sarah Treem’s When We Were Young and Unafraid. Her most recent Broadway appearance was during the 2013-2014 theater season in her Tony-nominated portrayal of Amanda Wingfield in John Tiffany’s acclaimed American Repertory Theater revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie.
Starring in Dear Elizabeth through October 31 are WP Theater founding artist, Tony nominee and DD and Lortel winner Kathleen Chalfant (Wit, Angels in America) and two-time DD and Emmy nominee Harris Yulin, noted stage and screen actor and director. Ruhl’s play is described as "an insightful and impassioned examination of the true nature of friendship and the correspondence between brilliant 20th Century poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowel and is a tale of unconventional friendship and intimacy that spanned 30 years and more than 400 letters from around the world."
In the coming months, Cherry Jones will be regularly seen on big and small screens. They include the role of legendary country singer/songwriter Hank Williams’ mother Lillie in Marc Abraham’s I Saw the Light, starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen, which is set for March release. In TV miniseries, she’ll be featured in the six-episode Mercy Street, about Civil War nurses on opposing sides, New England abolitionist Mary Phinney and Confederate supporter Emma Green, as human rights activist for the mentally ill Dorthea Dix; and starring as thrice-married Marguerite Oswald, mother of President John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
WP’s producing A.D. Lisa McNulty and managing director Maureen Moynihan have announced these cast rosters:
November 2 – 7 , Tony nominee and DD and Obie winner J. Smith-Cameron (Fuddy Meers, Our Country’s Good, As Bees In Honey Drown, Sarah, Sarah) and Obie winner John Douglas Thompson (The Iceman Cometh,Satchmo at the Waldorf, A Time to Kill, Cyrano de Bergerac).
November 9 – 14, yet to be announced.
November 16 – 21, Cherry Jones and David Aaron Baker.
November 23 – 28, Ellen McLaughlin (Angels in America) and Pulitzer finalist and Grammy winner Rinde Eckert (Slow Fire, And God Created Great Whales).
November 30 – December 5, Obie and Lortel winner Mia Katigbak (Awake and Sing!) and a co-star to be announced.
Polly Noonan, a veteran of many of Ruhl’s plays, has the role of Stage Manager for the entire engagement.
Women’s Project Theater, founded in 1978 by Julia Miles, is the nation’s oldest and largest company dedicated to developing, producing, and promoting work of female artists
Dear Elizabeth‘s performance schedule is Monday – Thursday at 7:30P.M.; Friday at 8; and Saturday at 3and 8. To book tickets, visit www.wptheater.org or call (212) 765-1706.