Leave it to the actor who played George Costanza to direct a dark comedy about failed love.

Jason Alexander, who played one of the great sidekicks in TV history as the lovelorn George Costanza to Jerry Seinfeld’s title character on “Seinfeld,” will direct “The War of the Roses” at the Ogunquit Playhouse this summer. B.D. Wong, who spent years on TV as special agent Dr. George Huang on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” will direct “Mr. Holland’s Opus” at the playhouse this summer. Both are new titles that will be getting their regional or national premieres in Maine

B.D. Wong at the world premiere of his movie “Jurassic World” at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood in 2015. Jaguar PS/ Shutterstock

Jason Alexander

The playhouse announced the appointment of both directors on Thursday. Although they are known for their TV roles, both actors have won Tony Awards for their stage work on Broadway.

“These are two of the great stage, television and film actors of our time,” Bradford Kenney, the playhouse’s executive artistic director, said by phone from New York. “Both are Tony Award winners for their acting, but they are stepping aside from performance to take the helm of shaping these pieces.”

Alexander will direct the regional premiere of “The War of the Roses,” a new play based on the novel by Warren Adler, which was made into a film starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. It’s a comedy about a bitter divorce.

“The script is based on the novel, but it’s brand new. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and very adult. You will see many warnings on it,” Kenney said. “It’s about the Roses and the meltdown of their marriage, and it’s definitely for adults and hysterically funny. Jason Alexander understands that. He is at ease with the vernacular and how to bring that kind of classic comedy to something like this.”

Alexander has appeared often on Broadway, and won a Tony Award as best leading actor in a musical for his work on “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway” in 1989. He’s directed several musicals on the West Coast.

Wong won a Tony for his performance in “M. Butterfly,” which marked his Broadway debut in 1989. He is best known for his TV role on “Law & Order: SVU” and for his portrayal of Dr. Wu in the “Jurassic Park” movies and as Whiterose in television’s “Mr. Robot.” He currently plays Awkwafina’s father in “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens.”

“Mr. Holland’s Opus” is a new musical adapted from the 1995 film starring Richard Dreyfus. It tells the story of a composer who takes a job as a high school music teacher to make ends meet and ends up staying for decades. Wong will direct a musical that puts inclusion and diversity above all, Kenney said, calling the story “uplifting, joyous and inspiring.”

The Ogunquit season opens May 13 with “Dirty Dancing” and continues with “Crazy for You,” opening June 24; “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” opening Aug. 1; “The War of the Roses,” opening Aug. 26; and “On Your Feet!,” a musical based on the lives of Gloria and Emelio Estefan, opening on Sept. 23.

 


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