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New York's Vivian Beaumont theater: classics and Woody Allen

The new season at the Vivian Beaumont Theater here will open with a production of Phillip Barry's 1939 classic American comedy "The Philadelphia Story," starring Blythe Danner, David Dukes, and Edward Herrmann, and directed by Ellis Rabb.

The second production of the season will be William Shakespeare's "Macbeth," starring Philip Anglim and Maureen Anderman, directed by Sarah Caldwell. The first performance of "Macbeth" is scheduled for Jan. 14, 1981.

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The third and final production of the season will be a new play by Woody Allen, scheduled for April 1, 1981. This production will mark Allen's return to the theater after 11 years. His most recent Broadway success was "Play It Again , Sam," done in 1969.

The small Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (299 seats), located downstairs from the Beaumont, would be a home for new plays, emphasizing American playwrights, experimental projects, and festivals. The initial production of the first season in the Newhouse will consist of a series of new one-act plays by major writers and will be under the guidance of Edward Albee. Further information on the Newhouse season will be announced later.

A year ago the reconstituted board of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre Inc. announced the formation of a six-person directorate consisting of Woody Allen, Sarah Caldwell, Liviu Ciulei, Robin Phillips, Ellis Rabb, and Edward Albee.The inaugural season will draw upon the talents of four out of the directorate's six members and involve some of the theater's finest actors and designers, as well as rising new talents. Richmond Crinkley, executive director of the Beaumont, will produce the season. Each play will run for a limited engagement, and a major subscription campaign has begun.

Funds were already available to undertake several physical improvements in the Beaumont Theater, including the creation of sorely needed rehearsal space and the refurbishment of public areas worn by 18 years of use. Plans have also been drawn up for a large renovation of the seating in the Beaumont, which will start with the completion of the first season in the spring of 1981.

The 1,100 seat Vivian Beaumont Theater will be the home of the Lincoln Center Theater Company.

"The Lincoln Center Theater Company will not be a company in the older theatrical sense, meaning a company of actors," says one spokesman. "The LCTC will be a producing company whose goal over the next several seasons is to establish a major institutional theater devoted to substantive productions of classics, of important new works, and of new adaptations of both established and rediscovered scripts."

Blythe Danner recently completed her appearance on Broadway in Harold Pinter's "Betrayal," for which she received a Tony Award nomination as best acress, and has just attracted high praise for her performance in the film "The Great Santini." Miss Danner won a Tony Award for originating the role of Jill Tanner in "Butterflies Are Free," and a Theater World Award for her performance as Elise in "The Miser." David Dukes was heralded for his portrait of Horst in last season's Broadway success "Bent," for which he received a Tony Award nomination for outstanding performance by a featured actor. Mr. Dukes has numerous Broadway credits including the title role in "Dracula." He won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for re-creating the role of Henry Carr in "Travesties" in Los angeles.

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