Kathleen Turner Returns to Long Wharf Theatre in The Killing of Sister George

Kathleen Turner returns to Long Wharf Theatre during the 2012-13 season, to star in and direct The Killing of Sister George, a new adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher of the play by Frank Marcus.

The show replaces the previously announced God of Carnage on the schedule and will take place November 28, 2012-December 23, 2012. 

“I announce this change in our season schedule with overwhelming excitement,” said Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein. “We are thrilled to welcome the great Kathleen Turner back to our stage.”

The estate of Frank Marcus has given Hatcher permission to re-envision the original 1964 play. “This is going to be another level of challenge to me. I truly enjoy directing. I love creating the overall picture, which is more than an actor usually gets to do,” Turner said. 

By day June Buckridge (Turner) plays Sister George tending to the sick and poor on the radio hit “Applehurst.” By night, she chews on cigars, swills gin and lets nothing and no one stand in her way, including her long suffering “secretary” Childie. When “Applehurst”’s ratings plummet, Sister George is shuffled meekly off to the Great Beyond. June refuses to go quietly from her starring perch, however, in this bawdy and witty comedy. 

“The characters are so vivid,” Turner said. “It caught my imagination, how to build and create these characters. Of course, the plot is also quite delicious. I am so drawn to comedy. In fact, if it isn’t there, I will create it. But, thankfully, it’s already there in this piece.” 

Turner believes that Long Wharf Theatre and the design team she is currently assembling will allow her to tackle the daunting task of directing and acting. “This is a very exciting step in my own development and in my own experience. Most actors of many years experience are quite used to directing themselves. It becomes a natural extension to me to carry it further, to direct others as well. In terms of the balance, having access to extraordinarily skillful and creative designers will take a great deal of the burden off me. I think I’m going to have the kind of support team that will make both jobs quite possible,” she said.

Turner is best known for a series of starring film roles in the 1980s, including Body Heat (Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year), The Man With Two Brains, Crimes of Passion, Romancing the Stone (Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy), The Jewel of the Nile, The War of the Roses (Golden Globe nomination), Prizzi’s Honor (Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy), Peggy Sue Got Married (Academy Award and Golden Globe nomination), Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Serial Mom, and The Virgin Suicides, among many others. “As well as being an internationally renowned movie star, Kathleen Turner is an electric stage actress,” Edelstein said. “Her performances in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway will live vividly in the minds of those lucky enough to have seen them.” 

She also appeared at Long Wharf Theatre during the 1986-87 season as Marguerite Gautier in Camille. “I was just standing outside, letting all of the memories wash back. When I did Camille here, we had a wonderful cast. David Hyde-Pierce was the count who was besotted with Camille. It was a wonderful production, quite magic … finding a way to reinvent it, to make it fresh was a challenge we met,” Turner recalled while visiting the theatre recently. 

The Killing of Sister George debuted on the West End in 1964. It made its New York debut on October 5, 1966, playing for over 200 performances at the Belasco Theatre. Beryl Reid won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as June Buckridge. Eileen Adkins and the play itself also received Tony Award-nominations. The play was adapted into a film in 1968, a work that has become a time capsule of London in the swinging 60s. The film also received an X rating due to racy content that does not appear in the play, a decision director Robert Aldrich tried to fight, to no avail. 

“This play was highly influential and controversial in England in the 1960s. Kathleen taking this role at Long Wharf Theatre is an extraordinary gift to our audience and the icing on the cake of what promises to be a remarkable season,” Edelstein said. 

The Killing of Sister George rounds out Long Wharf Theatre’s 2012-13 season. Previously announced shows are Satchmo at the Waldorf, by Terry Teachout; January Joiner, by Laura Jacqmin; Curse of the Starving Class, by Sam Shepard; Ride the Tiger, by William Mastrosimone; and Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris.

For more information about Long Wharf Theatre 2012-13 season, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.