As the final of three mainstage productions during the two-month Eugene O'Neill Festival spearheaded by Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, Long Day's Journey into Night rounds out this celebration of O'Neill's life and work. The English-born and Canadian-based director and former Stratford Festival Artistic Director Robin Phillips makes his Arena Stage debut to direct his fourth production of this Pulitzer Prize-winning play in a theatrical career spanning more than 50 years.
Long Day's Journey into Night stars two-time Helen Hayes Award winner Helen Carey (Shakespeare Theatre's Major Barbara and Volpone) as substance-abusing mother Mary Tyrone alongside noted stage and screen actor Peter Michael Goetz (Broadway's Macbeth) as actor-father James Tyrone, Sr. Long Day's Journey into Night runs March 30-May 6, 2012 in the Kreeger Theater.
"I have admired Robin Phillips' work for over 20 years, and he's a true master of the theater. He is known for his brilliant direction-it is visual, elegant and focused on the actors," says Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. "I'm so pleased that Robin will be directing Long Day's Journey into Night at Arena as part of the O'Neill Festival honoring America's first theater giant."
Phillips first directed Long Day's Journey into Night with Jessica Tandy and William Hutt at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, and later revived the production during his term as artistic director of the Stratford Festival. He then directed Jessica Lange and Charles Dance in a production for London's West End in 2000.
"I feel very fortunate to be working with this remarkable theater company as I return to Long Day's Journey into Night," says Phillips. "I am grateful to Molly Smith for the chance to revisit this monumentally beautiful and tragic play. The play is filled with immense compassion and understanding."
Joining Carey and Goetz in the cast for Long Day's Journey into Night and also making their Arena Stage debuts are Nathan Darrow, who plays younger brother Edmund and was recently in Broadway's In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, and Andy Bean, who plays older brother James Tyrone, Jr. and was in the world premiere of From Prague at the Contemporary American Theater Festival. D.C. favorite Helen Hedman, who was last seen at Arena Stage in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, plays the family maid Cathleen.
Meet the Tyrones: Like most resilient, American families, they have had their share of highs and lows-from celebrity and financial success to illness and loss. One fateful day, as their increasingly drunken hours slip by, they are forced to confront the demons that plague them individually, in a final effort to save the family.
Published and produced posthumously, Long Day's Journey into Night unwaveringly illustrates the O'Neill household as it really was: conflicted, diseased and shattered.
Long Day's Journey into Night and Ah, Wilderness! are produced as part of the Eugene O'Neill Festival, a two-month citywide examination of the life and work of American playwright Eugene O'Neill. Featuring partnerships with education and arts organizations in the area, the festival runs March 9-May 6, 2012 and includes Shakespeare Theatre Company's mainstage production Strange Interlude, along with more than 20 readings, workshops, radio plays, lectures, panels, presentations and art exhibits. For a complete festival schedule, visit arenastage.org/shows-tickets/the-season/productions/eugene-oneill-festival/index.shtml.