THEATRE NEWS FOR SAN FRANCISCO week of January 29
The latest hit from Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Annie Baker comes to The Strand this February “John”by Annie Baker Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll February 22–April 23 A.C.T.’s Strand Theater
A.C.T. is excited to announce that TV legend Georgia Engel will reprise her critically acclaimed performance of Mertis, joining the esteemed company of actors Ann McDonough, Joe Paulik, and Stacey Yen, in Annie Baker’s modern hit John. A sell-out at New York’s Signature Theatre Company, John is “so good, on so many levels, that it casts a unique and brilliant light” (New Yorker).
Twentysomethings Jenny and Elias (Yen and Paulik) arrive at an old bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—he wants to tour the historic battlefield, she wants to be left alone. But in the creaking Civil War house, amid the shelves of smiling dolls and the ghostly landlady Mertis (Engel), every crack between the couple starts to surface. Echoing with tension, humor, and unease like a modern-day Chekhov, playwright Annie Baker creates a twenty-first-century nerve-jangler that had critics raving.
BERKELEY REP ANNOUNCES CASTING FOR WORLD PREMIERE OF MONSOON WEDDING New musical adapted from the acclaimed film
Berkeley Repertory Theatre today announced the casting for the world premiere of Monsoon Wedding. The musical stage production will be directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair and hosts a cast of 20 actors from around the globe.
Monsoon Wedding is the perfect storm that starts brewing when family members from around the world descend on Delhi for a nonstop four-day celebration of an arranged marriage between a modern upper middle-class Indian family’s only daughter and an American guy she’s never met. But the bride is having an affair, her father’s financial troubles deepen, and dark family secrets surface. The forecast calls for drama, love, hope, laughs and a whole lot of rain. Previews begin Friday, May 5, 2017 and the show runs through Sunday, June 25, 2017. Press night for Monsoon Wedding will be Friday, May 19, 2017. Individual tickets start at $35 and can be purchased online at berkeleyrep.org and also be available by phone at 510 647-2949.
Monsoon Wedding features a book by Sabrina Dhawan, music by Vishal Bhardwaj, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, scenic design by Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, costume design by Arjun Bhasin, lighting design by Donald Holder, projection design by Peter Nigrini, music supervision by Carmel Dean, music direction by Greg Kenna, and choreography by Lorin Latarro.
THE CAST IS AS FOLLOWS
Jolly Abraham (Pimmi) Monsoon Meetu Chilana (Ma/Maid/Auntie/Ensemble Namit Das (Dubey) Sharvari Deshpande (Ria) Jaaved Jaaferi (Lalit) Dani Jazzar (Ensemble). Rohan Gupta (Varun) Mahira Kakkar (Vijaya), Namita Kapoor (Ensemble). Krystal Kiran (Saroj Rai) Michael Maliakel (Hemant)Ali Momen (Vikram/Congress) Anisha Nagarajan (Alice Alok Tewari Levin Valayil (Sidekick) Kuhoo Verma (Aditi) Sorab Wadia (Cl Chawla/Tameesuddin)
CENTRAL WORKS 2017 SEASON 4 World Premiere Plays: A Comedy, a Drama, a Mystery and a Musical February – November 2017 – A Season of New Works About Personal Choice, Fate, Free Will & Civil Rights Years in the Hundreds by Jesse Potterveld (Feb 18–Mar 12) Edward King by Gary Graves (May 13–Jun 11) Winter by Julie Jensen (Jul 15–Aug 13) Strange Ladies by Susan Sobeloff (Oct 14–Nov 12)
Central Works 2017 Season (CW ‘17) reflects the growth and compensation of more than a quarter century of new play creation. Central Works 25th anniversary season launched with Patricia Milton’s Enemies: Foreign and Domestic, winner of the TBA award for “Outstanding World Premiere Play,” and concluded with the SRO premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s new play Ada and the Memory Engine. The 2016 season followed with 3 productions extended after sold out performances and included CW’s first NNPN Rolling World Premiere Into the Beautiful North by Karen Zacarías. Overall box office has grown by 23% over the last two seasons.
In 2017 the nation and world are careening through wave after wave of disruption and seemingly unimaginable change. But disruption often leads to innovation. So it is with Central Works 2017 season, launching in February with Years in the Hundreds by Jesse Potterveld (Feb 18–Mar 12), a quirky look at identical twins who have shared illicit secrets for the past half a century. Spring brings the new comedy Edward King by Gary Graves (May 13–Jun 11), in which a hard working couple hilariously confront the hapless enmity of Fate. The funny and touching summer NNPN Rolling World Premiere, Winter by Julie Jensen (Jul 15–Aug 13), is a thought-provoking look at our right to die. And marking the 100th anniversary of the imprisonment of Suffragists for picketing the White House, CW’s 2017 season concludes this fall with Strange Ladies by Susan Sobeloff (Oct 14–Nov 12), a Central Works Method Musical about the struggle to get the vote.
Years in the Hundreds written by Jesse Potterveld: For over half a century, identical twin sisters, Jessie and Inez, have concealed a series of illicit secrets behind the locked door of their neatly arranged apartment. But then Marcus arrives, and their carefully constructed life begins to unravel. Peculiar intimacies, unabashed love, and criminal misconduct make for the strangest of bedfellows in this quirky new look at “twin nature.” Cast features Tamar Cohn, Anne Hallinan and Adam Roy. Directed by Gary Graves. World Premiere #54: from the Central Works Writers Workshop,
Feb 18–Mar 12.
Edward King written and directed by Gary Graves. Ed King is a mail carrier for the US Postal Service. He’s been married to his wife, Jo, for almost twenty years. They’re a hard working couple, struggling to maintain a modest home in the San Bernardino Valley. And they’ve gone deep into debt in order to get their son into college. But there’s a problem in the house. There’s something growing in the basement. Some kind of mold? Whatever it is, it’s spreading. And it’s eating away at the foundation of the house, threatening ultimately to bring the whole place down. Ed vows to figure out what the hell this hideous blight on his home is, and to get rid of it – whatever it takes. “God save us from the hapless enmity of Fate.” Edward King: a new comedy, based on a very old story. Cast features John Patrick Moore (member AEA), Michelle Talgarow and Jan Zvaifler. World Premiere #55: A Central Works Method Comedy (May 13–Jun 11).
Winter written by Julie Jensen. A beautiful, empowering story about a woman whose once-brilliant mind is now diminishing. Her decline is troubling not only to herself, but to her family, who each have different ideas about what’s right for her. Funny, touching, and very topical, Winter is a thought-provoking look at our right to die inspired by the story Robeck, written by renowned bio-ethicist, Margaret Pabst Battin (in Ending Life: Ethics & the Way We Die). Winter is produced at Central Works as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Other partnering theatres are Salt Lake Acting Company (Utah) and Rivendell Theatre Exchange (Illinois). World Premiere #56: a NNPN Rolling World Premiere (Jul 15–Aug 13).
Strange Ladies written by Susan Sobeloff. The story of a diverse group of Suffragists fighting to gain the vote for women as the US enters the First World War in 1917. Torn between loyalty to their political cause, and loyalty to the war effort, these women each struggle to make difficult choices in a time of tremendous social upheaval. The personal pits each against the political in this new musical from Central Works. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the imprisonment of the “Silent Sentinels” of the Suffrage movement. These women were arrested and sent to Occoquan Workhouse Prison after picketing the White House and demanding the right to vote. Their brutal treatment and subsequent hunger strike earned them the epithet of the “Strange Ladies” and forced the issue of Woman Suffrage into the national consciousness. 2020 will be the centenary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the constitution, granting women the right to vote. World Premiere #57: A Central Works Method Musical (Oct 14–Nov 12)
DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND, LOVE SICK, A NEW MUSICAL PLAY BASED ON “THE SONG OF SONGS,” ANNOUNCES AN EXTENSION AT BERKELEY’S THE OSHER STUDIO TICKETS NOW ON SALE THROUGH SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2017
Due to popular demand, Berkeley’s Jewish Circle Theatre, in association with John Gertz Productions, announced the extension of Love Sick, a passionate new musical based on the ancient Hebrew text, “The Song of Songs,” at Berkeley’s The Osher Studio. Tickets are now on sale through Sunday, February 12, 2017 at LoveSickMusical.com. The production, which the San Francisco Chronicle gives its “Highest Rating” and calls “Extraordinary,” will also make its South Bay premiere at SecondStage at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts beginning February 23, 2017. Helmed by internationally-acclaimed director Christopher Renshaw (Broadway: The King and I [Best Revival Tony Award, 1996], Taboo; West End We Will Rock You, Zorro: The Musical), the production features the Bay Area’s Ofra Daniel in this original story of one woman’s journey through a relentless and fervent love affair—and her gradual descent into madness. Single tickets and low-priced preview performances (ranging from $25–$54) are available online at lovesickmusical.com.
Drawing on the passionate poetry of the ancient Hebrew text, “The Song of Songs,” Love Sick weaves narrative poetry, and movement, creating a uniquely original theatrical event set against a backdrop of modern-day Tel- Aviv and a Jerusalem unbound by time. Featuring an unparalleled collection of international and Bay Area artists, Love Sick’s story is penned by Israeli born Ofra Daniel, features original music by Daniel and San Francisco based world-musician Lior Ben-Hur, and features a company that includes celebrated world-musician Ali Paris, who has collaborated with such artists as Alicia Keys, Bobby McFerrin, and Quincy Jones, Syrian percussionist Faisal Zedan, London based choreographer Matt Cole, and musical direction by world-renowned composer Yuval Ron (Film: 2007 Academy Award Winner West Bank Story).
The cast of Love Sick is led by Ofra Daniel and Ali Paris with support from Aleksandra Dubov*, Bekka Fink*, Regina Morones, and Deborah Del Mastro*. Musical accompaniment will be provided by Ali Paris (Kanun), Patrick Kelly (Bass), David McLean (Guitar), Josh Mellinger (Drums), Qanun Asaf Ophir (Woodwind) and Faisal Zedan (Drums).
*Indicates Actors Equity Association
The creative team for Love Sick is led by Christopher Renshaw (Director) and includes Yuval Ron (Musical Director), Jeff Rowlings (Production Manager), Shannon Reilly (Stage Manager), Matt Cole (Choreographer), Erik Flatmo (Set Designer), Connie Strayer (Costume Designer), Kate Boyd (Lighting Designer) and Brendan Aanes (Sound Designer).
Love Sick is made possible by executive producers John Gertz, Seavan Sternheim, Arje Shaw and Ofra Daniels.
IDEATION, a Marin Premier by Aaron Loeb, directed by Queenelle Minet Opens February 17 Order tickets now until February 4 for a 15% discount. February 17 – March 4, 2017 Tickets available at TICKETS A group of corporate consultants are working together on a project to save humanity. .. or is it something more sinister? SF Playhouse premiered this play in 2012, then moved it to New York Off-Broadway to rave reviews. We are very lucky to get the rights to this play, and we are offering early 15% discounts on all tickets until Feb 4. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, 2 pm matinees on Feb 25 & Mar 4. Tickets are $24 to $12 (15% off until Feb 4). For tickets, go to www.MarinOnstage.org/Tickets or call 415-448-5162 The Belrose Theatre 1415 5th Ave, San Rafael Cast: Marianne Shine – Hannah Len Shaffer – Ted Ben Ortega – Brock Heren Patel – Sandeep Jeremy Judge – Scooter
MCSWEENEY’S TO PARTNER WITH SAN FRANCISCO’S CURRAN TO CREATE OFFICIAL HOUSE PROGRAMSWITH THE TONY AWARD-WINNING BEST MUSICAL “FUN HOME”
Two iconic San Francisco institutions, the Curran and publishing house McSweeney’s, will partner to create the next generation of printed programs exclusively distributed to theatergoers at the Curran, launching tonight, January 26, 2017, as the theater re-opens its doors with the groundbreaking Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Fun Home. This specially-curated and produced house publication, which will be handed out to theatergoers in place of a ‘standard’ program booklet, will feature essays and information curated by McSweeney’s, the independent press founded by local author Dave Eggers. Content from this house publication will also live online on the Curran’s online publication, The Curran(t). For more info and to access The Curran(t) online, visit SFCurran.com.
The initial publication for this partnership, in celebration of Fun Home, will feature an original cover by Alison Bechdel, whose best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home forms the basis for the landmark musical. The program also includes an essay by McSweeney’s founder/editor and best-selling author Dave Eggers, whose most recent novels include The Circle and Heroes of the Frontier. Additional content in the Fun Home program is provided by Kevin Sessums, Kara Swisher, Sophia Foster-Dimino, and Curran historian, Gracie Hays.
In a statement, Curran leader Carole Shorenstein Hays said, “McSweeney’s is quintessentially ‘San Francisco’. We couldn’t be more thrilled for them to contribute their particular brand of genius to the audience experience with these thoughtful, engaging and just plain gorgeous programs.”
In a statement, representatives for McSweeney’s said, “We’re excited to be in the theater business with our San Francisco neighbor, the Curran, and equally jazzed to get in the hands of the savvy theatergoers who will be visiting the venue as it re-opens its doors with a lineup of extraordinary productions.”
McSweeney’s is a publishing company based in San Francisco. As well as operating a daily humor website, McSweeney’s also publishes Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and an ever-growing selection of books under various imprints. For more info, visit https://www.mcsweeneys.net/.
Exciting Indiegogo Campaign For The Highlighter Reading Series Pilot Through Feb 11th A New TV series that highlights NEW PLAY readings by diverse playwrights with diverse stories Info available at highlighterreadingseries.com Fundraising Support at indiegogo.com key word “Highlighter”Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 917 664-3052
The Highlighter Reading Series: New Plays / New Media, is raising $11,000 for this exciting new production. The fundraiser is raising money to film a pilot to pitch, as a series, to various media outlets like PBS, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Artistic Director Christian Haines (Shotz, Winner at NYC Fringe Fest) has partnered with Producing Artistic Director Mark Vashro (Sundance Grand Jury Prize for “Thunder Road”, Bike Against the Wind) to bring this series to life. Through this series they aim to expose a larger audience to amazing plays by modern playwrights, inspire artistic directors to see and take on new material, encourage more people to see live theater, engage audiences in a larger dialogue about storytelling, inspire theater artists, connect young audiences to new plays and increase diversity (ie racial, gender and LGBTQ representation). Further, their goals are to produce high quality filmed readings of new plays, find the best new plays out there, bring together the best talent and find a distributor for this series.
The pilot episode will feature Steven Cole Hughes’ (Fight or Flight Theater Co, Regis University, Denver Center Theater Company) A Good Indian. Set against the background of the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890, and idealistic Indian Agent must balance the tension between his unhappy wife, a bloodthirsty US army captain and a Lakota medicine man who wants his people to dance The Ghost Dance.
The Indiegogo campaign for, The Highlighter Reading Series: New Plays / New Media, runs through February 11th. Different donation levels offer recognition and a Highlighter Series Highlighter. For more information please visit www.highlighterreadingseries.com or visit www.IndieGogo.com and type in the word “Highlighter”. For any questions please email email@example.com.
OSF season opens Feb. 24
Season is dedicated to longtime company member Judith-Marie Bergan
Ashland, Ore.— The Tony Award–winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival will launch its 82nd year with preview performances beginning on February 17, and the season officially kicks off Friday night, February 24, in the Angus Bowmer Theatre with Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (director, Shana Cooper). On Saturday afternoon, Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One (director, Lileana Blain-Cruz) opens in the Thomas Theatre, while Lee Hall’s adaptation of Shakespeare in Love (director, Christopher Liam Moore) has its U.S. premiere in the Angus Bowmer Theatre that evening. On Sunday afternoon, OSF resident playwright Luis Alfaro’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (director, Juliette Carrillo) opens in the Angus Bowmer Theatre.
The 2017 season is dedicated to the memory of beloved actor and longtime company member Judith-Marie Bergan, who passed away last August. “Judith was a vital, treasured part of this company for 16 brilliant seasons,” said OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch. “Her dedication to the craft of acting, and the joy with which she partook in it, was an inspiration to everyone she came into contact with. She is truly and deeply missed, and our art this season will honor her unforgettable, bright spirit.”
OSF’s namesake playwright shines particularly bright in 2017 with four plays by the Bard (the second part of Henry IV and The Merry Wives of Windsor open later in the year), the rollicking Shakespeare in Love, a fictionalized account of young Will’s early misadventures in playwriting and courtship, and the July-opening Off the Rails, an irreverent, subversive adaptation of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. Fans of a certain larger-than-life Sir John Falstaff will note they get a triple helping of this legendary comic creation this season.
Artistic director Rauch praises the continued relevance of this season’s Shakespeare selections. “We knew when we picked the season early last year that we’d be coming off a hotly contested presidential election,” said Rauch, “but I don’t think any of us could have predicted just how timely and necessary Julius Caesar and both parts of Henry IV feel right now. I can’t wait to see how audiences engage with these perennially potent stories in 2017. And I am thrilled we have The Merry Wives of Windsor and Shakespeare in Love to bring us the joy and laughter that feel just as necessary right now.”
The remaining shows in OSF’s 2017 season offer an irresistible mix of world premieres, a classic musical and compelling takes on ancient Greek stories. World premieres include the comic, surreal Hannah and the Dread Gazebo by Jiehae Park, the musical “August Wilson’s poetry in UniSon” from OSF’s ensemble-in-residence UNIVERSES, and Randy Reinholz’s aforementioned Off the Rails, the first play OSF has produced by a Native American playwright.
OSF’s resident playwright Luis Alfaro brings his bracing modern adaptation of the Medea story, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, to the Angus Bowmer Theatre in February, while frequent OSF guest artist Mary Zimmerman continues the classic Greek storytelling with her adaptation and direction of The Odyssey, debuting in June in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. The classic musical Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will also delight audiences young and old under the stars all summer long with an original, innovative production directed by Eric Tucker from New York’s acclaimed Bedlam Theatre.
“The 2017 season is going to be tremendously exciting and entertaining,” says Rauch. “It will also be the embodiment of the core values of this company, as our art illuminates our collective humanity from as diverse an array of perspectives as possible.”
U.S. Bank is the 2017 Season Sponsor. “For nearly four decades we’ve been honored to participate in celebrating the arts with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,” said Gloria Schell, U.S. Bank region president for southern Oregon and northern California. “We are excited for the 2017 season as OSF continues their mission to provide an exquisite lineup of performances.”
Julius Caesar (February 17–October 29) by William Shakespeare
Lead Sponsor: U.S. Bank; Producing Sponsor: The Robert and Star Pepper Foundation; Production Sponsor: Jim Collier
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings,” whispers Cassius to his friend and fellow conspirator Brutus, thus setting in motion the assassination of Julius Caesar and launching one of the most thrilling and oft-quoted plays in the Shakespearean canon.
Director Shana Cooper, who previously directed Love’s Labor’s Lost (2011) and The Unfortunates (2013) at OSF, easily sees the parallels between Shakespeare’s Rome and 2017 America. “Both worlds are going through a period of intense political transition which is causing a sense of unrest and dis-ease,” she observes, “and it’s often difficult to tell the difference between a passion for leadership and a passion for power. I’ve heard many people describe the recent U.S. election results as a waking nightmare, which is what the citizens of Rome are experiencing with the omens, ghosts, soothsayers and unruliness of nature surrounding Caesar’s assassination.”
Cooper is particularly interested in investigating the perpetual cycles of violence that have historically plagued political transitions. “Both through the masterful, exquisite language of Shakespeare and the movement vocabulary the cast is developing with choreographer Erika Chong Shuch, we are exploring the cost of this seemingly unending violence—physically, emotionally and psychologically. I hope the play can be a powerful call to action, particularly to students, about the kind of world they would like to see.”
The cast features Danforth Comins as Brutus, Rodney Gardiner as Cassius, Armando Durán as Julius Caesar, Jordan Barbour as Mark Antony, Barret O’Brien as Decius Brutus, Jon Cates as Trebonius, Stephen Michael Spencer as Caska, Ted Deasy as Metellus Cimber, Richard Howard as Caius Ligarius and Lepidus, Armando McClain as Cinna the Conspirator, Sheila Tousey as Cicero, Benjamin Bonenfant as Octavius Caesar, Julian Remulla as Lucius, Kate Hurster as Portia, Amy Kim Waschke as Calpurnia, Cindy Im as Artemidorus, Galen Molk as Cinna the Poet and Callan Skuratowicz and Brooklyn Williams sharing the role of Soothsayer.
Scenic design is by Sibyl Wickersheimer; costumes by Raquel Barreto; lighting by James F. Ingalls; music composition and sound design by Paul James Prendergast and choreography by Erika Chong Shuch. Barry Kraft is dramaturg, Michelle Lopez-Rios is voice & text director; U. Jonathan Toppo is fight director and Moira Gleason is stage manager.
Henry IV, Part One (February 22–October 28) by William Shakespeare
Producing Sponsor: The Pigott Family; Sponsor: Hitz Foundation; Partners: The Dauer Family in Memory of Art Dauer, Wally and Sheila Weisman
OSF’s journey through Shakespeare’s history tetralogy continues after 2016’s acclaimed sold-out run of Richard II. Once again, the Festival’s intimate Thomas Theatre will play host to the political intrigues, machinations and battles of early 15th-century England, with a healthy dose of Falstaffian comedy thrown in. Henry Bolingbroke endures an uneasy reign as king, while his wayward son Prince Hal has fallen under the spell of Sir John Falstaff and his merry band of hooligans at the Boar’s Head Tavern. Rebel forces are threatening King Henry’s rule, and Prince Hal’s time to prove himself worthy of the crown is nigh.
Director Lileana Blain-Cruz, director of OSF’s Much Ado about Nothing in 2015, returns for her first foray into a Shakespeare history play. “I’m very excited about how we make a Shakespeare history play feel vibrant and alive to us right now in America,” she said. “There’s something about where we are as a country that feels like something is failing. Something is falling apart. And so we’re interested in finding a way to have this play live inside of that. I love that we get to do this play in the Thomas Theatre, with a playing space that is so intimate and personal. Everything feels visceral because we are so close.”
The cast features Jeffrey King as King Henry IV; Daniel José Molina as Prince Hal; G. Valmont Thomas as Sir John Falstaff; Tyrone Wilson as Northumberland and Sheriff; Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as Poins, Mortimer and Douglas; Robert Vincent Frank as Westmoreland and Bardolph; Jeremy Gallardo as Prince John and Francis; Lauren Modica as Peto and Glendower; Nemuna Ceesay as Lady Percy and Vernon; Michele Mais as Mistress Quickly; Alejandra Escalante as Hotspur; Kimberly Scott as Worcester, Vintner and Chamberlain; Moses Villarama as Sir Walter Blunt and Gadshill; and Rachel Kostrna as Lady Mortimer.
The scenic designer is Adam Rigg, costumes are by Dede M. Ayite, and lighting design is by Yi Zhao. The composer and sound designer is Palmer Hefferan, and dramaturgs are Lydia G. Garcia and Amrita Ramanan. Voice and text director is Rebecca Clark Carey; fight director is Christopher DuVal and Jill Rendall is stage manager.
Shakespeare in Love (February 18–October 29) Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard; Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall; U.S. Premiere
Lead Sponsor: Roberta and David Elliott/Buffett Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County; Sponsors: Brad and Louise Edgerton, Amy and Mort Friedkin; Partners: The Birrell Family, Peter and Jane Carpenter, The Collonge Family, Carole Howard, Jerry and Jeanne Taylor Family Foundation
Lee Hall’s stage adaptation of Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard’s Academy Award-winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love debuted in London in 2014 and earned critical raves, with The Telegraph enthusing “this inventive and touching comedy seems like a joyous celebration of the possibilities of theatre itself!”
Young playwright Will Shakespeare is stuck. He’s overdue with his new play—a half-baked mess called Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter—and he’s having a colossal case of writer’s block. His patrons want a comedy, but he hungers for something more. Enter Viola de Lesseps, a smart beauty who loves his work and ignites his creative flame, and also possesses quite a secret. This witty, warm, music-filled adventure is full of uproarious theatre in-jokes and thought-provoking takes on the origins of several Shakespeare characters, told through a fictional lens.
Director Christopher Liam Moore says, “This play is delightfully funny and very witty, as you would expect from a script that Tom Stoppard co-authored. It’s also quite touching and romantic, and is a beautiful testament to the power of company and ensemble. There’s something very appealing to me about the central love story, and how the journey of these two souls is intimately wrapped up in the creation of a particular work of art.”
The cast features William DeMeritt as Will Shakespeare; Ted Deasy as Kit Marlowe; Brent Hinkley as Henslowe; Tony DeBruno as Fennyman; Al Espinosa as Wessex; Kevin Kenerly as Burbage; U. Jonathan Toppo as Tilney; Kate Mulligan as Queen Elizabeth; Jamie Ann Romero as Viola de Lesseps; K.T. Vogt as Nurse; James Ryen as Ned Alleyn; Michael J. Hume as Ralph and Juliet’s Nurse; Cristofer Jean as Actor, Robin, Boatman and Lady Capulet; Jacob W. Phillips as Proteus, Nol, Guard and Benvolio; Russell Lloyd as Lambert, Sir Robert de Lesseps, Burbage’s Heavy and Abraham; Will Dao as Sam and Juliet; Jonathan Luke Stevens as Valentine, Guard, Gregory, Tybalt, Adam and Peter; Preston Mead as John Webster; Rex Young as Frees, Wabash and Prince; Asia Mark as Mistress Quickly, Molly and Lady; and Brianca Knight as Kate and Lady. Austin Comfort will perform vocals, Mark Eliot Jacobs will play lute and guitar, and Michal Palzewicz will play cello, viola da gamba and violin. The role of Dog will be shared by Candy and El.
Scenic design is by Rachel Hauck; costume designer is Susan Tsu; lighting designer is Xavier Pierce; the composer is David Reiffel and sound designer is Amadon Jaeger. The video designer is Shawn Duan, and the choreographer is Jaclyn Miller. Martine Kei Green-Rogers is dramaturg; David Carey is voice & text director; U. Jonathan Toppo is fight director and Mandy Younger is stage manager.
Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (February 19–July 6) by Luis Alfaro, OSF Resident Playwright
Sponsor: The Goatie Foundation; Partners: Sid and Karen DeBoer, Claudette and George Paige
Playwright Luis Alfaro’s powerful, poetic adaptation of the classic Greek story of Medea has proven to be an award-winning juggernaut in its two previous productions, winning the “Jeff” Best New Play Award in Chicago in 2013 and three Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Awards (adaptation, direction and lead performance) for the 2015 Getty Villa version. Alfaro has continued to refine the script for its OSF debut, which features two actors—Sabina Zuniga Varela as Medea and VIVIS as Tita—from the Los Angeles production. Juliette Carrillo directs.
Alfaro is often drawn to the Greek classics in his playwriting, having also authored Electricidad, based on Sophocles’ Electra, and Oedipus El Rey. “The reason I adapt the Greeks is to re-interpret them to say something important about the time we’re in right now,” he states. “In this case, it’s the ongoing immigration debate in this country.”
“Medea embodies the immigrant experience,” continues Alfaro. “What is the price we pay when we come to a new country? The story may not have a happy ending, but we should not hate Medea—we should like and understand her when the play begins. She is a whole class of people—extraordinary people who work very, very hard to hold on to who they are as they navigate the waters of immigrating to America. The experience of trying to make it, to fit in, is a universally American experience.”
The cast features Sabina Zuniga Varela as Helena, Lakin Valdez as Jason, VIVIS as Tita, Nancy Rodriguez as Josefina, Vilma Silva as Armida, Jahnangel Jimenez as Acan and Connor Chaney as Soldier.
Scenic and costume design is by OSF Associate Artistic Director Christopher Acebo, with lighting by Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz. The composer and sound designer is David Molina, and video design is by Kaitlyn Pietras. The dramaturg is Tiffany Ana López; Michelle Lopez-Rios is voice & text director; Christopher DuVal is fight director and D. Christian Bolender is stage manager.
Biographies of directors, designers and actors for the 2017 season can all be found at www.osfashland.org/.
Previews, Openings and Tickets
Tickets remain available to previews and most opening performances. Patrons can save 15 percent on preview tickets. Please check ticket availability at www.osfashland.org or call the Box Office at 800-219-8161. Preview and opening times and dates are as follows:
Julius Caesar Friday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m. (preview)
Julius Caesar Tuesday, Feb. 21, 8 p.m. (preview)
Julius Caesar Friday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m. (opening)
Henry IV, Part One Wednesday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m. (preview)
Henry IV, Part One Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. (preview)
Henry IV, Part One Friday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m. (preview)
Henry IV, Part One Saturday, Feb. 25, 1:30 p.m. (opening)
Shakespeare in Love Saturday, Feb. 18, 8 p.m. (preview)
Shakespeare in Love Wednesday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m. (preview)
Shakespeare in Love Saturday, Feb. 25, 8 p.m. (opening)
Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 19, 8 p.m. (preview)
Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. (preview)
Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 26, 1:30 p.m. (opening)