Arizona Theatre Company will welcome back four-time Academy Award-nominee Marsha Mason, who will direct Neil Simon’s autobiographical romantic comedy Chapter Two to open ATC’s 51st season, Oct. 5-22 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe in Phoenix.
Mason, who directed last season’s ATC smash hit, An Act of God, was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the movie version of Chapter Two, which originally opened on Broadway in 1977 and ran for 857 performances.
Based on Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Award-winner Simon’s own life story, Chapter Two is the story of successful writer George Schneider, who is mourning the recent death of his beloved first wife when he meets the bright, vivacious actress Jennie MacLaine, played on Broadway by Mason. George is eager to rush into another marriage following a whirlwind courtship. But, the memories of his first wife threaten to ruin his second chance for happiness.
“Dealing with love, grief and second chances, Simon’s story is timeless and universal,” wrote the Del Mar Times.
Simon, who lost his own wife of 20 years to cancer in 1973, met and married Mason later that year. Their collaborations on stage lasted longer than their marriage and resulted in The Goodbye Girl (1971), The Cheap Detective (1978) and Only When I Laugh (1981). Mason earned additional Best Actress nominations for Only When I Laugh, The Goodbye Girl and Cinderella Liberty (1973).
“What an auspicious start to our 51st season as we embark on the next ‘chapter’ of ATC’s unwritten future,” said ATC Artistic Director David Ivers. “Neil Simon’s brilliantly funny and touching Chapter Two has it all and doubly so considering the central character was written in honor of his wife, Marsha Mason, who happens to be directing our production.”
Chapter Two stars four actors making their ATC debuts: David Mason (no relation to Marsha) as George Schneider, Ben Huber as Leo Schneider, Blair Baker as Jennie Malone and Diana Pappas as Faye Medwick.
Single ticket prices range from $25 to $73 in Tucson and $25-$80 in Phoenix and can be purchased at the box offices at the Temple of Music & Art and the Herberger Theatre Center or online at www.arizonatheatre.org.
Chapter Two will be followed by The River Bride, (directed by Kinan Valdez), in Phoenix from Nov. 16 to Dec. 3; a new production of Man of La Mancha (directed by David Bennett, choreography by Kathryn Van Meter) in Phoenix, Jan. 5-27, 2018; Outside Mullingar (directed by ATC Artistic Director David Ivers), from the author of Doubt and Moonstruck, in Phoenix from Feb. 15 to March 4; Low Down Dirty Blues (directed by Randal Myler), in Phoenix, April 5-22; and The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by ATC Artistic Director Emeritus David Ira Goldstein, in Phoenix, May 17 to June 3.