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Maureen Silliman to Star in Emily Dickinson Solo Play The Belle of Amherst

Robert Rechnitz will direct the production at Two River Theater.

Maureen Silliman will star as Emily Dickinson in William Luce's biographical drama The Belle of Amherst at Two River Theater.
(© Yurik L. Lozano)

Two River Theater continues its 25th anniversary season with William Luce's biographical drama The Belle of Amherst, directed by Robert Rechnitz. Maureen Silliman will star as poet Emily Dickinson in the solo play, running from April 13-May 5 with an official April 18 opening.

William Luce wrote The Belle of Amherst for Julie Harris, who premiered it on Broadway in April 1976. Harris also starred in Luce's plays Lucifer's Child (about Isak Dinesen) and Brontë (about Charlotte Brontë). Luce's other Broadway plays include Barrymore, which starred Christopher Plummer as John Barrymore, and Lillian, about Lillian Hellman, which starred Zoe Caldwell.

The Belle of Amherst draws from Dickinson's poems, diaries, and letters to tell the legendary writer's story. "Our Emily is very much a human being, who falls in love, who experiences loss, who dreams of the future," says Silliman. "Audiences will see a girl, a woman, who is not so far from themselves, but with a gift of putting her feelings — indeed all our feelings — into such beautiful words."

Maureen Silliman first performed at the Two River Theater in 1998 when she was cast in The Real Thing, and went on to appear in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and Our Town. Also at Two River, she appeared as Sonya in Uncle Vanya and Amanda in The Glass Menagerie under the direction of Robert Rechnitz, as well as in the world premiere of his play (written with Kenneth Stunkel), Lives of Reason. On Broadway, her credits include Jenny in Shenandoah and Katrin in I Remember Mama.