Thursday, May 19, 2011

Marsha Mason, Paxton Whitehead Circle Over to Westport Playhouse

Westport Country Playhouse’s “The Circle,” features, from left, seated, Gretchen Hall, Nicholas Martin (director), Marsha Mason, Bryce Pinkham; standing, John Horton, Paxton Whitehead, Christina Rouner, Marc Vietor, James J. O’Neil. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Golden Globe Award winner and Academy Award nominee Marsha Mason and Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee Paxton Whitehead will head the cast of Westport Country Playhouse’s scintillating comedy of manners, The Circle, written by W. Somerset Maugham and directed by Nicholas Martin, playing June 7 - 25.

Many years ago, Lord Champion-Cheney (Whitehead) was abandoned by his wife, Lady Catherine (Mason), who ran off to Italy with her lover. Bringing matters full circle, his stuffy son Arnold is now involved in a love triangle of his own as his bored wife is smitten with a handsome house guest. “The Circle” explores how history often is destined to repeat itself.

In addition to Mason (films “The Goodbye Girl” and “Cinderella Liberty”) and Whitehead (Broadway’s The Importance of Being Earnest, My Fair Lady and Noises Off), the cast includes Gretchen Hall as Elizabeth; John Horton as Lord Porteous; James J. O’Neilas Butler; Bryce Pinkham as Edward Luton; Christina Rouner as Mrs. Shenstone; and Marc Vietor as Arnold Champion-Cheney.

Director Nicholas Martin previously directed Westport Country Playhouse’s The Substance of Fire and A Cheever Evening. On Broadway, he directed Present Laughter, Butley, Match, Hedda Gabler, The Rehearsal and You Never Can Tell. He is the former artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company.

Westport Country Playhouse’s five-play 2011 season continues with Lips Together, Teeth Apart, a perceptive comedy about people struggling against their limitations, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, July 12 – July 30; Suddenly Last Summer, the poetic, sensual and evocative drama, written by Tennessee Williams and directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, Aug. 23 – Sept. 10; and Twelfth Night, or What You Will, the beguiling comedy/romance, written by William Shakespeare and directed by Lamos, Oct. 11 – Nov. 5.

Subscriptions to all four plays are available for preferred seating and discounts up to 45% off single ticket pricing. Students and educators are eligible for 50% discounts. All Friday evening performances are $25 for patrons aged 35 and under. Groups of 10 or more save up to 30%. For group sales information call 203-227-5137, x120.

For more information or tickets, call the box office at 203-227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online at

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)
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