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“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Is Back at 50

Tracy Letts and Amy Morton bare fangs in the 50th anniversary production of "Virginia Woolf"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Michael Brosilow
    "Never mix, never worry": Amy Morton, as Martha, has had a few too many in this production photo from Steppenwolf's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

    And they said it wouldn’t last.

    One of theater’s enduring, if not endearing, marriages gets a fresh dissection this week as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” goes into previews at the Booth Theatre. This is the Steppenwolf Theatre Co.’s acclaimed production of Edward Albee’s troubling comedy, featuring the Chicago company’s original cast.

    Opening night, Oct. 13, will mark 50 years to the day of the play’s original Broadway opening in 1962. It’s been all blood under the bridge, since, to paraphrase the playwright.

    Broadway's new George and Martha are Tracy Letts and Amy Morton, respectively, the playwright and star of the 2007 hit “August: Osage County.” Letts and Morton are joined by the youthful Madison Dirks and Carrie Coon as the unwitting couple who are invited over for a nightcap, but instead end up in the crosshairs of the dysfunctional duo. Pam MacKinnon (“Clybourne Park”) directs.

    Broadway’s first George and Martha were Arthur Hill and Uta Hagen (with Elaine Stritch stepping in for matinees!). The most recent Broadway revival was in 2005, with Bill Irwin and Kathleen Turner. The 1966 film was directed by Mike Nichols and starred the ever-warring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

    Playbill.com has some nifty background on Steppenwolf’s history with the production, including the surprising tidbit that this is the eighth time Morton and Letts (“the Comden and Green of Chicago”) have teamed up to play husband and wife.

    At a press event for the new production, Letts told Broadway.com that Albee’s story seems more like a football game than a play: “You run a play, and maybe it doesn’t go well, but there’s no time to mess with it. You’re on to the next moment. It’s a wild ride.” The full video is below.