The American Century Theater presents The Country Girl

Aug 18, 2011
GunstonArts Center

No American playwright wrote better dialogue than Clifford Odets, and this crackling, complex drama about a troubled marriage complicated by the rollercoaster stresses of show business is one of his finest efforts, as well as one of the great American plays of the era.

The Country Girl tells the story of faithful, devoted Georgie Elgin, her alcoholic has-been actor husband, and the producer who offers him an opportunity to resurrect his career. Once the toast of Broadway, washed-up thespian Frank Elgin is drinking himself into oblivion until red-hot director Bernie Dodd offers him a starring role. While Dodd thinks he's giving Georgie and Frank a chance at redemption, his involvement in their life could as likely destroy them all. The Country Girl is a darkly beautiful play about theater and the art of it impacts our relationships and ourselves in ways that are transporting and also hurtful.

Director Steven Scott Mazzola directs his tenth show for American Century Theater. He last directed Lanford Wilson's Serenading Louie for TACT in 2010 and Edward Albee's Seascape in 2010, as well as producing Albee's 2011 season opener Beyond the Horizon. A reading of Seascape was featured in the 2011 Albee Festival at Arena Stage.

"This is the perfect Steven Scott Mazzola vehicle," says Artistic Director Jack Marshall. "The drama is really about the theater and what it means, as well as how it shapes and distorts personal relationships. As in the past, Steven will apply his nuanced and perceptive examinations of complex human relationships to his thoughtful direction."

Brian Crane (Seascape) returns to the TACT stage as Frank Elgin, with Vanessa Bradchulis (Serenading Louie) as his wife Georgie. Kevin O'Reilly (Ah, Wilderness) plays director Bernie Dodd and Steve Lebens (Visit to a Small Planet, Stage Door) returns for his third TACT show in 2011 as producer Phil Cook. Making their debuts at TACT are Kelsey Acers as Nancy, Christopher Holbert as playwright Paul Unger and Arturo Tolentino in the role of Larry.

Set design is by Patrick Lord and the Master Carpenter is Aly Geisler. Lighting Design is by Marianne Meadows. Costumes are by Dennis Kitmore. Ed Moser is the Sound Designer. Ian Millholland is the Production Manager and Ryan Breen is the Stage Manager.

Philadelphia-born Odets was a founding member of the Group Theatre, which was closely associated with the thinking of the Russian master Constantin Stanislavski. The Country Girl was first produced on Broadway in 1950 and was made into a film in 1955 starring Grace Kelly as Georgie (who won a Best Actress Award for the role), Bing Crosby as Frank Elgin and William Holden as Director Bernie Dodd.