Westport Country Playhouse will stage Terrence McNally's summer sizzler, "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," directed by Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos, playing July 12 - 30. The third production in The Playhouse's 80th birthday year, "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" is a perceptive comedy with powerful dramatic conflicts about two straight couples spending a July weekend on Fire Island.
"I'm thrilled and honored to be able to direct and present Terrence McNally's now-classic depiction of four people dealing with the reality of illness and renewal, connection and separation, and the constantly surprising upheavals of life as we think we know it," said Lamos.
"Two years ago, I wanted to direct this play for Westport Country Playhouse," Lamos noted, "but New York's Roundabout Theatre Company had just acquired the rights and was planning a Broadway revival. We couldn't get a hold of it. When the production was canceled, the rights became available again, and we snapped them up."
In a Fire Island beach house, a brother and sister and their respective spouses gather to celebrate the Fourth of July. With food, cocktails, fireworks and stinging barbs, they fortify themselves against their individual anxieties---and their gay neighbors partying in the houses on either side. The New York Times called the play "a work with real teeth and equally penetrating compassion." The play contains adult content and language.
The cast includes Chris Henry Coffey ("Resurrection Blues," directed by Mark Lamos; "The Front Page" at Long Wharf Theatre) as John Haddock; John Ellison Conlee (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Broadway's "The Full Monty") as Sam Truman; Jenn Gambatese (Broadway's "Is He Dead?," "Tarzan," "All Shook Up," "Hairspray," "A Year with Frog and Toad," "Footloose") as Chloe Haddock; and Maggie Lacey (Westport Country Playhouse's "Our Town"; Broadway's "Dividing the Estate," "Inherit the Wind," "Our Town") as Sally Truman.
Playwright Terrence McNally won Tony Awards for best play for "Love! Valour! Compassion!" and "Master Class." In addition, "Love! Valour! Compassion!" won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and the New York Drama Critics' Circle awards for best play. McNally's other plays include "Corpus Christi," which was named one of the best plays of 1998 by Time magazine; "A Perfect Ganesh," a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; "The Lisbon Traviata"; and "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune." He has written a number of television scripts, including "Andre's Mother," for which he won an Emmy Award. McNally has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller grant, a Lucille Lortel Award and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Director Mark Lamos has collaborated with some of the most important contemporary writers, including Arthur Miller ("Resurrection Blues" - Old Globe Theater); Tony Kushner ("Dybbuk," a Lamos commission, as well as "The Illusion," both for Hartford Stage); A.R. Gurney ("The Grand Manner," "Black Tie," "Big Bill" and "Buffalo Gal" - Off-Broadway). He staged the premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's "The End of the Day" (Off-Broadway); directed Edward Albee's "Seascape" (Broadway) and "Tiny Alice" (Hartford and Off-Broadway - Lortel Award); Jeffrey Hatcher's "Compleat Female Stage Beauty"; David Edgar's "Pentecost," also at the Globe; U.S. premiere of Simon Gray's "Hidden Laughter" (Hartford Stage); "Love's Fire," short plays by Wendy Wasserstein, Eric Bogosian, Marsha Norman, Ntozake Shange, William Finn and Kushner (The Acting Company at The Public Theater; played on U.S. tour at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts). He made his Broadway directing debut with Timberlake Wertenbaker's "Our Country's Good" (Tony Award nomination) and has also staged Alfred Uhry's "Edgardo Mine" for the Guthrie Theater. He began his directing career with Athol Fugard's "Hello and Good-Bye" at the Guthrie Theater.