Cardinal Stage Company is doing it again. And this time, the star is -- a goat.
On Feb. 22, O Lovely Glowworm, or Scenes of Great Beauty, will open at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. It is sponsored by Cardinal's 2007-08 season sponsor, Irwin Union Bank, and is a part of Arts Week, an IU community winter arts festival.
According to the news release for the production, O Lovely Glowworm is "the outrageously funny and profoundly moving story of a goat desperately trying to figure out who he is, where he is and why he is."
The goat, played by Henry Woronicz, imagines "scenes of great beauty" that will take the audience everywhere from a Belgian battlefield and Irish villages to a mermaid-inhabited lake.
Cardinal artistic director Randy White, who also worked on the well-received premiere of O Lovely Glowworm at the Portland Center Stage in 2005, is directing the production. He described the play as "a wonderful adventure and one of the two or three best plays I've ever worked on" in the news release.
The play, which won the Portland Drammy for Best Play, was written by up-and-coming playwright Glen Berger, who is writing the book for the 2008 Broadway-bound musical Spider-Man.
White and Berger have a solid history of collaborating on new productions. They recently worked on the children's musical Max and Ruby, which opened off-Broadway in December 2007, and White's production of Berger's Underneath the Lintel opened in 2001 and has since had over 75 productions around the world, according to the news release.
Cardinal hopes O Lovely Glowworm will attract the interest of New York City and regional theater producers, a goal that is in line with its overall objective to "not only bring the best artists to Bloomington to mix with local talent, but also to bring wonderful projects from Bloomington out to the rest of the country, making Bloomington a nationally important theater hub."
Diane Kondrat, a local favorite with two roles in the show, believes in Cardinal's ability to do this. O Lovely Glowworm will be her fourth Cardinal production. She said that working with White is great because of his high standards.
"It's a wonderful relief to work with someone who has the same standards that I do," she said. "Randy is great. He just directed a show off-Broadway that is getting fabulous reviews. So he's used to working at a pretty high level."
She said that it's a gift to have the opportunity to work in Bloomington with such a great script, production and cast.
"It's such an exciting piece of theater because it challenges the audience in a delightful way," she said. "The show is very intricate but with a lot of physical comedy."
Julia Coffey, who lives in New York City and worked previously with White on Pygmalion, is making her first appearance with Cardinal in her role as Philomel, a mermaid. She describes her character as a "science nerd, not your typical vain mermaid."
"It's always amazing when I do regional theater how much talent there is across this country," she said. "It's not just in L.A. and New York."
And Bloomington is also a nice change of pace for the New Yorker. "It's really lovely here," she said. "There are a lot of savvy, cultured people here. And you can stroll down the aisle at the grocery store."
Like Kondrat, Coffey was also drawn in by the well-written script. "It's nice to do a modern piece that's so well-written and structured," she said, as she usually does classical work such as Shakespeare.
"It's nice to be doing something that's fresh for a company," she said. "It's rare to have a play that's hilarious, almost childlike and imaginative, but at the same time adult in its profundity."
Alison Hamm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 22, 23, 27, 28, and 29; March 1 - 7:30 p.m.
Matinees on February 23 and March 1 - 2 p.m.
$19 adults, $16 seniors, $13 students (All tickets add $2 day of show)
Sunrise Box Office
114 E Kirkwood
Bloomingfoods East and Near West Stores
Cardinal Stage Company: http://cardinalstage.org/
ArtsWeek 2008: http://www.artsweek.indiana.edu/