Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Wharton Salon

June 18, 2009

THE WHARTON SALON: Xingu (August 20-23)

[THE MOUNT, LENOX, MA] A new forward-looking theatre ensemble, The Wharton Salon, in partnership with The Mount returns the adapted stories of Edith Wharton to the stage August 20-23 for a limited run of two evening and two morning performances in the drawing room of Wharton's historic home. The Salon's first production will be the delightful comedy Xingu adapted by Dennis Krausnick featuring Wharton veteran actors Corinna May, Daniel Osman, Diane Prusha and Tod Randolph with newcomers Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, Jennie Burkhard Jadow, Rory Hammond and Karen Lee, directed by Catherine Taylor-Williams. Xingu performs Thursday and Friday at 5:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am. Tickets are $35 General Admission and include a Day Pass to The Mount. For tickets and information, call 413-551-5113 or visit;

"The Wharton plays were an enormous asset to the cultural life of the Berkshires and I am delighted we can bring them back in a new form,"
says Taylor-Williams. "I have missed the combination of these terrific actors, Wharton's home and her wonderful adapted stories. I am grateful to Susan Wissler and The Mount for the opportunity to share these plays with audiences once again, to Dennis Krausnick and Shakespeare & Company who began this work and inspired my love for Wharton, and I'm especially happy to be reunited with one of the most important characters in the plays, the house."

"We are thrilled to have The Wharton Salon with us at The Mount," says Executive Director Susan Wissler. "What an enlivening experience to see the stories of Edith Wharton performed in her historic home. We look forward to many great collaborations with The Wharton Salon"

Published in 1916, Edith Wharton's Xingu centers around Mrs. Ballinger (May), a society hostess in the town of Hillbridge, and the Lunch Club, a curious grouping of women who have gathered to host celebrated author, Osric Dane, (Randolph) with a discussion of her recent novel, The Wings of Death. The meeting is off to a terrible start, as no subjects of conversation can be found to endear the author to her audience and the meeting is heading for social disaster when the Club is "rescued" by the introduction of a fascinating subject, Xingu, by the Club's most unpredictable member, Fanny Roby (Lee). Roby immediately leaves, having remembered "a pressing engagement to play bridge" - celebrated author in tow. The Club members praise their good fortune of being rid of the author, and their knowledge of Xingu, until they make a startling discovery..

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into a tightly controlled society known as "Old New York" at a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage. Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America's greatest writers. Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Wharton Salon performs the stories of Edith Wharton and her contemporaries in adaptation, offering a unique intimacy between author, actor and audience, and a view of The Mount's fantastic gardens with the Berkshire hills beyond. Salon plays are performed in the air-conditioned drawing room, and on temperate days the terrace doors are open, welcoming the outdoors into the playing space.

The Mount was designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902. The house, three acres of formal gardens, and extensive woodlands are open to the public daily May through October.

At A Glance:

Production: Xingu

Adapted from Edith Wharton, by Dennis Krausnick

Theatre: The Drawing Room at The Mount, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA

Director: Catherine Taylor-Williams

Stage Manager: Lyn Liseno

Costumes Coordinated by: Arthur Oliver

Cast: Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, Jennie Burkhard Jadow, Rory Hammond, Karen Lee, Corinna May, Daniel Osman, Diane Prusha and Tod Randolph

Dates/Times: Thursday, August 20 at 5:30 pm Friday August 21 at 5:30 pm Saturday August 22 at 10:30 am Sunday, August 23 at 10:30 am

Tickets: $35, General Admission. Includes Day Pass to The Mount.
Wheelchair accessible.

Box Office: 413-551-5113 Box Office hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm or;