Kate Burton In "The Corn Is Green"
January 9 - February 8
Nicholas Martin Returns To Direct
Huntington Theatre Company Artist Emeritus
Nicholas Martin will return to Boston to direct
“The Corn is Green,” Emlyn Williams’
classic story of an inspirational teacher and the power of human
production stars acclaimed actress Kate Burton (at left),
last seen at the Huntington in Martin’s production of Anton
Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard.” Burton’s
son, Morgan Ritchie (at left), appears as the student
whose life is transformed. Performances are January 9 – February 8,
2009, on the Huntington’s main stage.
Martin, Burton, and Ritchie are reuniting after receiving
critical acclaim for their production of “The Corn is Green”
at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2007, about which
Variety wrote, “Kate Burton is dazzling in Nicholas Martin’s
moving and inspired revival.”
“The Corn Is Green” tells the story of Miss Moffat, an idealistic
and hard-nosed school teacher who moves to a small Welsh mining town to
open its first school. When she discovers unexpected promise in Morgan
Evans, a gifted but illiterate teenager, she guides his ascent from bully
to brilliant student.
The play is a personal one, inspired by Emlyn Williams’ own relationship
with a transformative teacher he encountered in his rural Welsh hometown.
Williams himself portrayed schoolboy Evans in the production’s 1938
premiere in London, which he also directed. The play itself enjoyed great
success in London and on Broadway where it played for three years in its
Nicholas Martin commented, “This play concerns itself
with and the indomitable nature of its leading character, played by the
indomitable Kate Burton, and where we are in the world today and particularly
in this country. I think there’s a kind of symmetry between us opening
this play at the same time as in Washington, there is hope and there is
fondness and there is love."
In another interesting personal note, Burton’s father, renowned
actor Richard Burton, became close to Williams after
appearing in one of his plays. Like the playwright, Burton later portrayed
the character of Morgan Evans in the BBC’s 1947 production. The
two Welshmen remained close, with Burton naming Williams godfather to
his daughter Kate when she was born.
Kate Burton now follows in a long line of renowned actresses who have
played the role of Miss Moffat over the years, including Ethel
Barrymore, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn.
Adding even further to the personal resonance of this production, she
plays opposite her son who follows in his grandfather’s footsteps
more than sixty years later.
Williams’ twenty plays include “Night Must Fall,”
“A Murder Has Been Arrange” and “The
Druid’s Rest.” He directed frequently for stages
both in the West End and on Broadway. His numerous performance credits
include international tours performing readings from the works of Charles
Dickens and Dylan Thomas, as well as appearing
in his own plays and 41 films. A prolific screenwriter, he wrote, directed,
and appeared in the film “The Last Days of Dolwyn.”
As Artistic Director of the Huntington from 2000 until 2008, Martin directed
many acclaimed and hit productions including “She Loves
Me,” “Present Laughter” and “Butley”
with Nathan Lane, which transferred to Broadway.
In addition to previously directing Burton at the Huntington in
“The Cherry Orchard,” the two also teamed up on
“Hedda Gabler,” which transferred to Broadway and
earned Burton a Tony Award nomination. Martin recently
directed “The House of Blue Leaves” at the
Mark Taper Forum and “Saturn Returns for Lincoln Center
Theater.” He is Artistic Director of the Williamstown
“I’m excited that Nicky and Kate are coming back,” commented
current Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “I want
the Huntington to remain an artistic home for both of them, and with Morgan,
we’ll introduce Boston to the next generation of this remarkable
family of artists.”
Kate Burton recently appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning
musical “Spring Awakening,” in the Encores!
revival of “Applause” at City Center, and
in “The Corn is Green” at the Williamstown
Theatre Festival. She is a three-time Tony Award nominee
for her appearances in “The Constant Wife,”
“Hedda Gabler” and “The Elephant
Man,” and a two-time Emmy Award nominee
for her appearances on the ABC-TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Morgan Ritchie has appeared in “The Corn is
Green,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Big
Money,” and “Street Scene,” among
others at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and is currently attending
The cast also features Will LeBow, Bobbie Steinbach, Kristine
Nielsen, Roderick McLachlan and Mary Faber.
Related Events (free with ticket purchase to the indicated
Thursday, January 15,
at 7:30 p.m.
Post-show Out & About Club
Sunday, January, at 2 p.m.
Post-show Humanities Forum with guest speaker
January 29, at 7:30 p.m.
Actors Forum with cast members
Saturday, January 31, at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, February 4, at 2 p.m.
Actors Forum with cast members
Friday, February 6, at 8 p.m.
American Sign Language-interpreted performance
For tickets and information, stop by the box office, call
617-266-0800 or visit www.huntingtontheatre.org.
Photo: Joan Marcus