Cleveland Play House (CPH) will to produce Jeffrey Hatcher's backstage comedy Ten Chimneys as the inaugural production in the new Second Stage, one of only three fully outfitted, flexible theatres in the nation. Ten Chimneys peeks into the private lives of theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne at their secluded Wisconsin retreat where they often entertained the titans of Broadway and Hollywood – including Noël Coward, Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier. In this comedy, a young starlet arrives to rehearse the Lunts' latest production, Chekhov's The Seagull, and unwittingly ignites a romantic triangle that eclipses any on-stage drama. The CPH production of Ten Chimneys, starring Emmy® award-winning actress Mariette Hartley, will begin in the Second Stage at PlayhouseSquare on Friday, January 13 and run through Sunday, February 5, 2012. Tickets are available at PlayhouseSquare ticket office by calling 216-241-6000 or online at www.clevelandplayhouse.com. Ten Chimneys is presented with support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council.
"I can't think of a better way to open our fantastic Second Stage than with a play about two American theatre legends, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne," states Michael Bloom, CPH Artistic Director. "We will be celebrating their artistic home, Ten Chimneys, in our new artistic home, the Second Stage in the Allen Theatre Complex at PlayhouseSquare."
ABOUT THE PLAY
"Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were universally regarded as the greatest acting team in the history of the English speaking theatre. They were married for 55 years and were inseparable both on and off the stage." So reads the epitaph on the Milwaukee graves of Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne, the couple whose stage performances delighted generations of theatre-goers in the early and middle 20th century. While the Lunts are considered theatre royalty, because they were determined to make their career in theatre rather than film, their legacy is preserved not on celluloid, but in the minds of those fortunate enough to have seen them perform live.
The Lunts in Cleveland
During their time as America's premier acting couple, the Lunts made multiple appearances in Cleveland, beginning in the 1920s and continuing until their farewell tour with The Visit in 1959. By far, the Lunts' most anticipated visit to Cleveland occurred in January 1933, when the couple acted with Noël Coward in the world premiere of his controversial comedy Design for Living.
About Ten Chimneys
For much of the 20th century, Ten Chimneys (in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin) was considered the center of the theatrical world – an important place for artistic creation, discussion, mentorship and inspiration. Every summer, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne returned home to their beloved Ten Chimneys. And, every summer, they reveled in welcoming close friends. The Lunts' idyllic retreat beguiled and inspired the country's finest actors, writers and artists: Noël Coward, Helen Hayes, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Julie Harris, John Gielgud, Katharine Hepburn, and Alexander Woollcott. Carol Channing was fond of saying, "What the Vatican is to Catholics, Ten Chimneys is to actors." In 2003 (after nearly being lost to development), Ten Chimneys opened to the public as a world-class house museum and a national resource for theater, the arts and the art of living. For more information, go to www.tenchimneys.org.