Kathleen Turner
(Photo © Joseph Marzullo)
Kathleen Turner
(Photo © Joseph Marzullo)
Kerry Butler, Matt Cavenaugh, Beth Fowler, Malcolm Gets, and Kristine Nielsen are among the actors who will star in shows at the Williamstown Theater Festival this summer. At a press conference held in New York this morning to announce initial casting for the season, it was also announced that Kathleen Turner will direct a reading of Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart on Friday, August 19 and will give a master class for young actors in the festival's training program.

As previously announced, Roger Rees, the Tony Award-winning actor who is entering his second season as WTF's artistic director, will helm the mainstage production of Anything Goes (1962 revision), July 5-16. Up next will be Tennessee Williams's Sweet Bird of Youth, about a male hustler and an aging actress, directed by David Jones (July 19-30). Will Frears will helm Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (August 2-13), and Rees will helm the final mainstage offering of the season: Double Double (August 16-27), a two-character thriller written by Rees and Rick Elice.

The Festival's Nikos Stage will house Cusi Cram's Lucy and the Conquest, directed by Suzanne Agains (July 12-23); A Nervous Smile, written by the recently deceased John Belluso and directed by Maria Mileaf (July 26-August 6); and the musical The Opposite of Sex (August 9-20), directed by its co-author, Robert Jess Roth. Adapted from Don Roos's film about a scheming 16-year-old girl who moves in with her gay half-brother and is impregnated by his boyfriend, the show features a score by Douglas J. Cohen.

Cavenaugh will play Billy Crocker and Gets will play Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes. The production will also feature Nikki Renee Daniels as Hope Harcourt, Catherine Brunnell as Bonnie, Remy Auberjonois as Moonface Martin, Tom Bloom as Elijah Whitney, Sandra Shipley as Evangeline Harcourt, and Paul O'Brien as the Captain; casting for the pivotal role of Reno Sweeney will be announced next week.

Fowler, a two-time Tony Award nominee, will play Aunt Nonny in Sweet Bird, which will also feature TV star Derek Cecil as Chance Wayne, Ted Koch as George, and Betsy Aidem as Miss Lucy. Casting for the central role of the Countess Alexandra de Lago will be announced shortly.

Nielsen will play the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, which Frears says will be a "very sexy production with a Latin American feel and a modern fantasy setting." The show will also feature Bill Camp as Friar Laurence, Daniel Oreskes as Capulet, Auberjonois as Tybalt, O'Brien as Montague, and Shipley as Lady Montague; the title roles have not yet been cast.

Butler and David Burtka will reprise their roles of DeeDee and Matt in The Opposite of Sex, which they first played in the show's 2004 production at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. According to Roth, the rest of that production's cast will not be seen in Williamstown due to other commitments.

Further casting will be announced shortly. Tickets to all shows in the season will be available online at www.wtfestival.org as of June 9 and by phone at 413-597-3000 as of June 16.