"Les Liaisons" Heats Up Huntington

Performances January 6 to February 5, 2006

Games of love and lust in 18th century Paris play out on a stylized, mirrored stage as the Huntington Theatre Company presents Christopher Hampton’s award-winning “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” from January 6 to February 5, 2006.

In this seductive and witty drama, the beautiful and cunning La Marquise de Merteuil (played by Tasha Lawrence) enlists her partner-in-crime Le Vicomte de Valmont, (television and film star Michael T. Weiss), to seduce her former lover's bride-to-be in this adaptation of the original novel by Choderlos de Laclos.

In addition to this play, Laclos’ scandalous story inspired numerous Hollywood re-tellings.  The films "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988, with John Malkovich and Glenn Close), "Valmont" (1989, with Colin Firth and Annette Benning), and "Cruel Intentions" (1999, with Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe), all featured versions of the original storyline, which snakes in and out of Parisian bedrooms and salons in the 1780s.
Director Daniel Goldstein has opted for a stylish, non-classical approach to what he calls “a massive production.”  The multi-layered set, designed by Drama Desk Award-winner James Noone, is an array of mirrors, staircases, and spirals that Goldstein describes as “a cyclone swirling around Valmont that makes the play move like lightning.” 

The costumes, by newcomer Erin Chainani, are inspired by period and contemporary fashion with the silhouette of period clothes, but not the traditional fabrics. Some of Valmont’s clothes in this show are inspired by Karl Lagerfeld’s personal style.  And one of Madame de Volanges’ gowns is an 18th Century version of Hillary Clinton’s inaugural dress. 

An original score, created by composer Loren Toolajian, is inspired by a modern jazz harpsichord composition.  “Loren breaks the rules for period music…the score has a pounding, pulsing feel to it,” Goldstein says.

Playwright Christopher Hampton’s plays include "The Talking Cure," "White Chameleon," "Tales From Hollywood" and "Total Eclipse." He has translated extensively from Chekhov, Ibsen and Moliére, as well as Odon von Horvath and Yasmina Reza ("Art," "Life (x) 3"). He wrote the books for the musicals "Dracula" and "Sunset Boulevard" and has won three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, and the New York Theatre Critics Circle Award.  His screenplays include "The Quiet American," "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Imagining Argentina," which he also directed.
Daniel Goldstein directed last season’s revival of "Falsettos" for the Huntington. Recently, he directed "Indoor/Outdoor," to be produced Off Broadway in 2006, and the World Premiere musical "But I'm a Cheerleader" for the New York Musical Theatre Festival. His credits also include "The Song of Songs," a musical he wrote with composer Michael Friedman based on the Sholem Aleichem story.
Related Events:  

Jan. 10
A presentation by a member of the Huntington’s artistic staff, featuring contextual background and production-related information, 6:30 p.m. in the theatre. Free with ticket purchase; call 617-266-0800.
Jan. 12
For theatregoers 35 and under to mingle with staff, artists, and each other.  Pre-show reception at 6 p.m. and post-show backstage tour included.  Free with ticket purchase; call 617-266-0800.
Jan. 19
For college students to mingle with staff, artists and each other.  Post-show party and backstage tour included.  Free with ticket purchase; call 617-266-0800.
Jan. 22
Humanities Forum is a lively discussion about the issues and ideas presented in the production, featuring M.I.T. professor and French historian Jeffrey Ravel. After 2 p.m. show.  Free with ticket purchase; call 617-266-0800.
Jan. 25
For members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities to mingle with staff, artists and each other.  Pre-show reception at 6 p.m. at Top of the Hub Restaurant and a post-show backstage tour included.  Free with ticket purchase; call 617-266-0800.
Jan. 27
For audience members who are deaf, this 2 p.m. performance will be interpreted in American Sign Language.  Call TTY 617-424-0694.
Jan. 19 and Feb. 1             
Participating members of the "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" cast will appear after the 2 p.m. performance to answer audience questions.  Free with ticket purchase; call 617-266-0800.

For tickets and information, call 617-266-0800, stop by the box office at 264 Huntington Avenue, visit www.huntingtontheatre.org or BostonTheatreScene.com.

-- OnStage Boston


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