Local News: Alley Theatre Replaces Born Yesterday

Posted by: Staffon 2006/1/2 21:30:13 2629 reads

The Alley Theatre will add R.C. Sherriff’s brilliant and compelling World War I drama Journey’s End, to its 2005-2006 Hubbard Stage season. Journey’s End is set during the last great German offensive of the war and concerns a group of British soldiers, showing the effects battle has on them—physically, mentally and spiritually—and celebrates the resilience of the human heart even during the most extreme of circumstances...

When Journey’s End was first staged in 1929 it was called “the play that swept the world” and created a sensation that remains unmatched. Certainly no play of its time had the same impact, and its power remains undiminished today.

Alley Artistic Director Gregory Boyd directed a new production of Journey’s End for Joanne Woodward’s Westport (Connecticut) Playhouse this past August, and has been interested in scheduling an Alley production for some time. Boyd’s Westport production received rave reviews. Frank Rizzo of Variety called the production “…finely calibrated” and “haunting,” saying, “What was once seen as a period piece now is unmistakably a work of timeless worth.” The New York Times described Boyd’s production as “expertly directed” and “a beautifully done, deeply affecting piece of ensemble acting.” The play itself, said the Times, “feels as fresh as the evening news”.

Journey’s End will fill the time slot previously scheduled for Garson Kanin’s comedy Born Yesterday featuring film and stage actress Marisa Tomei. Tomei, whose film schedule presented scheduling conflicts, is in discussions with the Alley about a collaboration in an upcoming season. Journey’s End will begin previews on the Alley’s Hubbard Stage Friday, February 24, with opening night scheduled for Wednesday, March 1, and running through Sunday, March 19.

“I am thrilled to recreate my production of Journey’s End at the Alley after an extraordinary experience with it at Westport. Journey’s End was a real highlight of my directing career and I’m pleased to be able to share this powerful play with our audiences. And though I’m disappointed that Marisa Tomei can’t be with us this season, we look forward to welcoming her to the Alley soon. So with that in the offing, and Journey’s End being made available to us to produce, it’s a situation we can all benefit from,” said Boyd.

In Journey’s End, Stanhope, a young captain prepares his men for a daring raid across No Man’s Land and an impending enemy attack. Meanwhile, his company is joined by his old schoolfriend Raleigh, who finds his one-time hero much changed. Based of Sherriff’s own experiences in the trenches of France in 1918, this outstanding piece of theatre, with its humor, courage, fear and suspense, is as pertinent now as ever. As a young star, Laurence Olivier was the first Stanhope, creating a sensation in the role when he was 24. Also making debuts in that first cast were soon-to-be-celebrated actors Jack Hawkins and Maurice Evans.

Alley Theatre Resident Company Actor James Black will recreate his role of Lieutenant Osborne from Boyd’s Westport Playhouse production. About his performance, Variety enthused, “As that kindly schoolmaster-lieutenant, James Black gives the production its human center…Black’s brilliant performance is an understated study of an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstance.”

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets to Journey’s End are available for purchase at www.alleytheatre.org, at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by calling 713/228-8421. Tickets to performances start at only $19. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at a discounted rate by calling 713/228-9341, ext. 346. The added convenience of reservations by phone or Internet is available for a nominal fee.

Subscribers and patrons with tickets to the previously announced production of Born Yesterday should use their tickets for the same day, same time performance of Journey’s End. For example, patrons with tickets to the 7:30 p.m. performance of Born Yesterday on Friday, February 24 may use those tickets for the 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 24 performance of Journey’s End. For further questions regarding ticketing and subscriptions, please call the Alley Theatre Box Office at 713-228-8421.

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