Hartford Stage Gets $500,000 Grant To Stage Horton Foote's Epic 'Cycle'
March 31, 2009
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is giving Hartford Stage a $500,000 grant to help stage the world premiere of "The Orphans' Home Cycle," the late Horton Foote's reconfiguring of his nine-play epic, described as an American "Odyssey."
The "Cycle," which spans three generations of Texas families in the early 20th century, comprises three three-hour presentations of the nine plays. Foote wrote the full-length plays in the '70s and '80s about the courtship and early marriage of his parents.
The grant is one of the largest in Hartford Stage's history and the largest for a specific production. The production also received a $50,000 gift and a $50,000 challenge grant from "an anonymous local individual" that could total $150,000.
The "Cycle" will occupy the first two slots in the 2009-10 season and will run from Sept. 3 to Oct. 24. The plays will be presented in repertory and, at several times during its run, back to back so theatergoers can see the nine plays in chronological order. Subscribers can choose any two of the three presentations.
Single tickets will go on sale in July. Subscriptions are available now.
"We could not do Horton's epic work without this great gift from the Mellon Foundation," said Hartford Stage artistic director Michael Wilson, who will stage the production.
After the Hartford run, the "Cycle" will move to off-Broadway's Signature Theatre, which is co-producing it with Hartford Stage. The Mellon grant is targeted for the Hartford production, which will cost $1.4 million.
Hartford Stage managing director Michael Stotts said the rest of the money will come from anticipated subscription and single ticket sales.
The reconfigured "Cycle," which the theater commissioned from Foote in 2007, will feature more than 22 actors (20 of them Equity professionals). Actress Hallie Foote, daughter of the playwright, will be featured in the production. No additional casting has been announced.
Foote died March 4 while staying in Hartford with his daughter, who was performing in the theater's production of "To Kill a Mockingbird." "These plays mean everything to my father because they instill everything that he's ever written about for 60 years," Hallie Foote said. "It is his master work."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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