Animal Crackers and American Hero Launch Williamstown Season June 26; Joey Slotnick, Adam Chanler-Berat, Ari Graynor Among Casts
By Adam Hetrick
The Williamstown Theatre Festival mainstage season opens June 26 with the slapstick musical comedy Animal Crackers, starring Brad Aldous, Joey Slotnick and Jonathan Brody.
Adapted and directed by Henry Wishcamper, Animal Crackers will run through July 13. It has a book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, and music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby.
Here's how it's billed: "Hooray for Captain Spaulding! The intrepid African explorer, inveterate womanizer, and interminable jokester hobnobs with high society as the guest of honor at a swanky soiree. But when a priceless painting is pilfered, he and the guests are swept up in a screwball search for the thief."
Slotnick (The Big Knife) stars as Groucho, the role he performed to critical acclaim in The Goodman Theatre's 2009 production, with Brody, who performed alongside Slotnick in the Goodman production, as Chico and Aldous ("Boardwalk Empire") as Harpo. The cast also includes Joey Sorge (Nice Work if You Can Get It), Adam Chanler-Berat (Peter and the Starcatcher), Mara Davi (A Chorus Line), Renée Elise Goldsberry (The Color Purple), Ellen Harvey (How to Succeed...) and Jacob Ming-Trent (Hands on a Hardbody).
The creative team includes John Carrafa (choreography), Paul Kalina (physical comedy direction), Robin Vest (scene design), Matthew Richards (lighting design), Jenny Mannis (costume design), Erin Kennedy Lunsford (hair and wig design), Drew Levy (sound design) and Kris Kukul (musical direction).
Williamstown's Nikos Stage season also begins June 26 with the world premiere of Bess Wohl's American Hero.
Leigh Silverman (Chinglish, Well) directs the production that runs through July 7. The cast features Ari Graynor (The Performers, "For a Good Time Call") as Jamie, James Waterston (The Torch-Bearers) as Ted, Erin Wilhelmi ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower") as Sheri and Omar Metwally (Sixteen Wounded, "Munich") playing multiple roles.
Here's how it's billed: "Three ounces of meat. Two ounces of cheese. Four ounces of lettuce. Seventeen-year-old Sheri and her co-workers at a new submarine sandwich franchise have honed their skills making everything from the Turkey Torpedo to the Big Kahuna Tuna exactly as specified in the corporate manual. But when the franchise owner mysteriously disappears, they are forced to improvise, and Sheri takes charge of the ragtag band of 'sandwich artists.' See just how far they'll go to keep their shop afloat in Bess Wohl's hilarious, surreal tale of the struggle for optimism in tough times, the power of sandwiches, and the glorious, messy American Dream."
The creative team includes Tim Mackabee (scenic design), Clint Ramos (costume design), Jen Schriever (lighting design) and Jill BC DuBoff (sound design)
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