The Huntington Theatre Company's production
of “The Rivals,” Richard Brinsley
Sheridan's comedy of romantic duels and comic wordplay, will
open January 7, 2005, at the B.U. Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue in
Boston. Artistic Director Nicholas Martin directs.
Written by Sheridan (1751-1816) at age 24, “The Rivals”
satirizes the trappings of marriage and wealth. In the play, the affluent
Captain Jack Absolute disguises himself as a poor naval officer to woo
the idealistic Lydia Languish, an heiress to whom wealth means nothing.
Lydia falls for Jack but her aunt, Mrs. Malaprop, and his father, Sir
Anthony, have other plans for the young lovers. Mistaken identities,
quarrels and duels, and misconstrued circumstances set the stage for
a satire of romance, materialism and social pretensions.
Sheridan, considered one of Britain's greatest comic writers, was part
owner and playwright of the famed Drury Lane Theatre.
His other well-known works include “The School for Scandal,”
“The Critic” and “The Dilemma.”
Sheridan left the theatre at age 30 to become a statesman. He was elected
to Parliament and had a large hand in shaping British governmental affairs
until his death. Sheridan's own life and marital foibles (he himself
was challenged to a duel over a young love affair) shaped the plot of
While “The Rivals,” “The School for Scandal”
and others set the standard for bawdy romantic stories still being written
today, Sheridan's broadest legacy from the play may be the introduction
of the word "malapropism" to the English
language. The word is derived from the character Mrs. Malaprop, who
continually uses sophisticated words incorrectly to great comic effect.
The name Malaprop itself is derived from the French phrase, mal à
propos, meaning "inappropriate."
The cast includes (in alphabetical order) Eric
Anderson as David, Mia Barron as Julia, Cheryl
Lynn Bowers as Lydia Languish, Scott Ferrara
as Captain Jack Absolute, Brian Hutchison as Bob Acres,
Will LeBow as Sir Anthony Absolute, Helen McElwain
as Lucy, Nathaniel McIntyre as Thomas, Rod
McLachlan as Sir Lucius O'Trigger, Gareth Saxe
as Faulkland, Dennis Staroselsky as Drudge and legendary
theatre actress Mary Louise Wilson as Mrs. Malaprop.
Martin comments that the production will be "a big burst of sunlight,"
with eye-popping costumes, young lovers played by sexy (and youthful)
actors, as well as splashy, colorful sets. "The clothes and scenery
have the feel of an MGM musical interpretation. It's a romp that will
generate enough heat to help us through the cold, hard winter,"
Many cast members are making return trips to the Huntington. Anderson,
seen in many Boston area productions, previously appeared in Nicholas
Martin's production of “Dead End” and was an understudy
in “Betty's Summer Vacation.” Barron, a Brookline native,
appeared in Martin's production of “Springtime for Henry”
as well as “Heartbreak House.” Hutchison just appeared in
“Burn This.” LeBow, a longtime actor at American Repertory
Theatre, recently starred in the world premiere production of “Sonia
Flew” by Melinda Lopez and is currently serving as narrator for
a musical interpretation of "A Christmas Carol" featured in
this year's Boston Pops holiday concerts. McLachlan was in “Dead
End” and “Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the
Somme.” Staroselsky also was in “Dead End.”
Wilson last appeared with the Huntington in a 1986
production of “The Birthday Party.” Her
long theatre career includes Obie and Drama Desk Awards for her portrayal
of Diana Vreeland in the Martin-directed production of “Full
Gallop,” which she co-authored with Mark Hampton. She
was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Fraulein Schneider
in the groundbreaking revival of “Cabaret”
in New York.
Designed for theatregoers 35 and under and for members of the gay, lesbian,
bisexual, and transgender communities, Club Nights provide an opportunity
to mingle with fellow theatregoers and participating members of the
artistic team and cast at a pre- or post-show reception (free with the
purchase of tickets).
For theatregoers 35 and under
Thursday, January 13, following the 7:30 P.M. performance
OUT & ABOUT CLUB
For gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities
Wednesday, January 26
7:30 P.M. performance, with a pre-show reception at 6 P.M.
Learn more about theatre - what's onstage and what's happening behind
the scenes - with this exciting interactive program. Tuesday, February
1, 6 to 7 P.M..
Enjoy a presentation by a member of the Huntington's artistic staff,
featuring contextual background and production-related information.
Tuesday, January 11, 6:30 to 7 P.M.
Sunday, January 23, following the 2 P.M. matinee.
Humanities Forums are free and open to the public.
Participating members of “The Rivals” cast will appear after
the show to answer questions from the audience.
Wednesday, February 2, following the 2 P.M. matinee.
For tickets and more information call 617-266-0800, visit the B.U. Theatre
Box Office or log on to www.huntingtontheatre.org