Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Seattle Repertory Theatre and Hedgebrook Present:

Women Playwrights Festival

September 20-23, 2007

Seattle, WA - Seattle Repertory Theatre and Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers, are honored to present the tenth annual Women Playwrights Festival. This year's festival runs from September 20-23 in the PONCHO Forum at Seattle Rep. Now celebrating its 10th year, the annual Women Playwrights Festival (WPF) features some of the most exciting new plays and playwrights in the country. The 2007 festival will feature new works from Ellen McLaughlin, Naomi Iizuka, Caridad Svich and Kathleen Tolan. Seattle Rep audiences are invited to experience readings of these plays as they emerge fresh from the imaginations of the writers, and to witness their growth from the earliest stages of development. Tickets are $10 for each reading or a four-play pass for $30 and are available exclusively through the Seattle Rep Box Office, 206-443-2222, or toll-free at 877-900-9285. For more information about Hedgebrook please visit their website at or call 360-321-4786.

Established in 1998 by Leslie Swackhamer, then-interim artistic director of ACT Theatre, and Janice Kennedy of Hedgebrook, the Women Playwrights Festival was created to acknowledge and nurture the talents of women playwrights. Participants are selected from a highly competitive pool of nominees from throughout the country, and provided with an opportunity to further their plays through intensive work with actors, dramaturgs and directors. Each play is given a public reading at Seattle Rep, following which the playwrights adjourn to Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island for a week-long retreat. Ensconced in private cottages and armed with feedback from their directors, and dramaturgs as well as the audience, the playwrights are given solitude, time and space to focus on and further develop their work. Past participants include Lynn Nottage (Intimate Apparel), Theresa Rebeck (Omnium Gatherum), Sarah Ruhl (The Clean House), Julia Cho (99 Histories) and Tanya Barfield (Blue Door).

This year's plays are:


by Ellen McLaughlin

Thursday, September 20, 2006 7:30pm

Based on a true incident which occurred between the wars in France, Ellen McLaughlin's play in progress is the story of an unidentified amnesiac veteran. For several years he remained in an asylum, unable to remember who he was. Finally his photograph was published in the newspapers in an attempt to identify him, triggering a kind of national hysteria when he was claimed by hundreds of desperately grieving families as one of their own. The play is about what war costs, then as now, a lesson we seem never to learn. Ellen McLaughlin is an American playwright and actor. Her plays include Tongue of a Bird, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Helen, and Infinity's House. Winner of the Susan Blackburn Prize, she has taught playwriting at Barnard College since 1995.


by Naomi Iizuka

Friday, September 21, 2006 4:00pm

An American woman hitchhiking through Southeast Asia strikes a bargain with a mysterious stranger. Twenty years later, she's an acclaimed chef specializing in Asian cuisine with an adopted Vietnamese-born daughter and a life that is successful beyond her wildest dreams. Into her life the stranger from her past reappears collecting on an old debt. A retelling of the fable of Rumpelstiltskin, Ghostwritten explores the legacy of the Vietnam War and what it means to come face to face with the ghosts from your past. Naomi was born in Tokyo and raised in Japan, Indonesia, Holland, and Washington, D.C. She is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a McKnight Fellowship, an NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residence Fellowship, Princeton's Hodder Fellowship, a Jerome Fellowship, and a PEN Center USA West Award for Drama.

Lucinda Caval

by Caridad Svich

Saturday, September 22, 2006 7:30pm

In a city turned upside down, a woman searches for her missing brother while a blind architect dreams of an imagined past reconstructed from censored shards of books. In a world of surveillance and terror, safety is a comfortable lie. Lucinda Caval is a drama of suspense and identity. Caridad Svich is the author of over 40 plays and 15 translations. Awards include TCG/Pew National Artist Residency at INTAR, NEA/TCG Playwriting Residency at Mark Taper Forum Theatre, and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Bunting Fellowship.

Captivity Narrative

by Kathleen Tolan

Sunday, September 23, 2006 4:00pm

In Captivity Narrative an aging professor of Early American Literature, a new professor of World Literature and a college student find themselves navigating the intricacies of academia, legacies of violence and loss, and a dangerous love. Kathleen Tolan's first draft of Memory House had its inaugural reading at Seattle Rep as part of the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival in the spring of 2003, and received a full production here last fall. Earlier plays by Ms. Tolan include The Wax, Approximating Mother, Kate's Diary, A Weekend Near Madison, and a translation of Marivaux's False Servant. Her play, What to Listen For, was read at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis where she was the recipient of the 2005 McKnight Commission and Residency. She resides in New York and teaches playwriting at SUNY Purchase.

For more info:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


To Kill a Mockingbird, the fourth production in the five-year American Cycle series and the centerpiece of numerous free public programs, features an ensemble of 15 actors and musicians including David Bishins as Atticus Finch, Patti Cohenour, Peter Crook, William Hall Jr., Josephine Howell, Lori Larsen and Keaton Whittaker as Scout Finch

Performances: September 14 – October 28, 2007

Press Night and Opening Night: Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 pm

SEATTLE— Intiman Theatre’s acclaimed American Cycle continues this season with Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, adapted by Christopher Sergel and directed by Fracaswell Hyman. To Kill a Mockingbird runs September 14-October 28, with the opening night performance on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 pm. For a full schedule of public performances, please see the Fact Sheet at the end of this release. Intiman will also offer 10 student matinees during the run of the production.

Tickets, ranging in price from $27 to $50 with discounts available for students and groups, may be purchased from or over the phone from the Intiman Ticket Office at 206.269.1900.

To Kill a Mockingbird, the fourth production in Intiman’s five-year American Cycle series of classic stories and civic dialogue, will be the centerpiece of numerous free programs taking place at locations across Puget Sound over a two-month period. These events include Front Porch Theater, a series of dramatic readings and conversations; a discussion on the question “Does Seattle have an empathy deficit?” moderated by Mimi Gan; an original play written and performed by Rough Eagles students from Cleveland and Roosevelt High Schools; and a lecture on Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird by author David Guterson.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the Depression-era Maycomb , Alabama , where Scout Finch lives with her brother, Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus, a lawyer. The central event of Christopher Sergel’s adaptation is Atticus Finch’s defense of Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. As seen through Scout’s eyes, Harper Lee’s classic story tells deep truths of life in the Deep South , and evokes Maycomb’s community of eccentric and mysterious neighbors, including the reclusive Boo Radley.

To Kill a Mockingbird is directed by Fracaswell Hyman, an award-winning writer, director and producer. His recent work, including original programming for children’s television, has focused on projects that engage the hearts and minds of young people. Mr. Hyman was the creator and executive producer of The Famous Jett Jackson (the first fictional original series created for the Disney Channel) and adapted Bill Cosby’s Little Bill books for television, serving as head writer/producer for the first two seasons. Little Bill received a 2002 Literacy Network Award, a 2003 Emmy Award and a 2004 Humanitas Prize. His other credits include Nickelodeon’s sitcom Romeo and the Children’s Television Workshop series, Ghostwriter, which became the basis for his book Just in Time. Mr. Hyman has also written four one-act plays that have been produced at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York . Prior to moving behind the scenes, Mr. Hyman was an actor. His credits include David Merrick ’s Broadway revival of Oh, Kay!, Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X and the ABC mini-series Separate But Equal starring Sidney Poitier. For five years he honed his improvisational skills as a member of the Living Stage Theater Company in Washington , D.C. He has also taught improvisation workshops to adults, teens and at-risk youth, and in prisons all over the U.S.

The production features David Bishins (Atticus Finch), Patti Cohenour (Miss Maudie Atkinson), Peter Crook (Boo Radley/Mr. Gilmer), David Drummond (Heck Tate), Stephen Grenley (Judge Taylor/Walter Cunningham), William Hall Jr. (Reverend Sykes), Russell Hodgkinson (Bob Ewell), Josephine Howell (Calpurnia), Lori Larsen (Miss Stephanie Crawford), Lino Marioni (Dill), Liz Morton (Mayella Ewell), Sean Phillips (Tom Robinson), Nick Robinson (Jem Finch), Walayn Sharples (Mrs. Dubose) and Keaton Whittaker (Scout Finch).

The creative team for To Kill a Mockingbird includes scenic designer Alec Hammond, costume designer Elizabeth Hope Clancy, lighting designer Greg Sullivan, composer and music coach Grant Dermody, sound designer Joseph Swartz, fight director Geoffrey Alm and dialect coach Judith Shahn. The New York casting is by Janet Foster, C.S.A. and the stage manager is Wendiana Walker.

Please see for the full company bios.

The goals of The American Cycle are to produce great art, cultivate curiosity, advocate for literacy, encourage an informed citizenry and understand interconnectedness. American Cycle events take place at Intiman and at venues across Puget Sound , ranging from neighborhood gathering spots, such as cafés and bookstores, to public institutions including libraries and museums. Each season Intiman works with a Community Committee of civic leaders who offer advice and expertise to ensure that these programs address the circumstances and concerns of our region. The Community Committee for this production is co-chaired by Virginia L. Anderson, President of Safeco Insurance Foundation, and Christian Halliburton, Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law.

For a complete schedule of performances and post-play discussions at Intiman, please see the Fact Sheet at the end of this release. For information about all American Cycle programs, please see The American Cycle Events release or

The American Cycle is sponsored in part by WaMu, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, PONCHO, The Boeing Company, Metropolitan King County Council, Microsoft Corporation, Nesholm Family Foundation, The William Randolph Hearst Foundations and Ameriprise Financial.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents:

Twelfe Night, or What You Will

by William Shakespeare

Directed by David Esbjornson

September 13 - October 20, 2007

(Opening Night: Wednesday, September 19)

Seattle, WA - Seattle Repertory Theatre kicks off its 2007-2008 Season with William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfe Night, or What You Will, directed by Seattle Rep Artistic Director David Esbjornson. Twelfe Night, or What You Will plays in the Bagley Wright Theatre from September 13 through October 20. Previews begin September 13, with opening night set for September 19. Tickets are available through the Seattle Repertory Theatre box office seven days a week at (206) 443-2222, toll-free at (877) 900-9285, as well as online at

The Play: This is one of Shakespeare's most beautiful and haunting comedies. In Twelfe Night, or What You Will*, the inhabitants of Illyria are set awhirl by the absurdities of love. The Countess Olivia is deep in mourning, but her heart begins to warm when a shipwrecked Viola, disguised as a manservant, pays court to her for "his" master, Orsino. This play is famous for its clowns; the infamous drunk, Sir Toby Belch, and his band of party boys design a cruel joke on the priggish Malvolio in one of Shakespeare's most memorable sub-plots. But Twelfe Night is also a bittersweet reminder about the frailty and vulnerability of love. Seattle Repertory Theatre's production will feature many of the best Seattle actors, Nick Garrison, Mari Nelson, David Pichette and Charles Leggett, as well as talent from across the country.

*Twelfe Night, or What You Will is the spelling in the First Folio publication of Shakespeare's work.

The Director: David Esbjornson has directed The Lady From Dubuque, The Great Gatsby, Tuesdays with Morrie and the world premiere of Ariel Dorfman's Purgatorio for Seattle Rep. For seven years, Esbjornson was the artistic director of the Classic Stage Company. Mr. Esbjornson has been a resident director at the O'Neill Festival and Iowa Playwrights Festival, holds an M.F.A. from New York University (Seidman Award for Excellence in Directing), received a Quinn Martin Honorary Chair at University of California, San Diego and a Distinguished Alumni citation from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Performance Details: Performances of Twelfe Night, or What You Will are at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday with 2:00 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sundays. There will be no performance on Thursday, September 20. Pay-What-You-Can performance September 17 at 7:30 p.m. Post-play discussions will be held after performances on Sunday, September 30 at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, October 4 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 7 at 2:00 p.m. There is an audio-described performance on Saturday, October 13 at 2:00 p.m. and an American Sign Language (ASL)-interpreted performance on Sunday, October 41 at 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Full Casting Announced for LONE STAR LOVEA New Broadway-Bound Musical Comedy
Starring Academy Award Nominee RANDY QUAID
Tickets On Sale Today!

Seattle Performances: September 8 – 30, 2007
Seattle Opening/Press Night: Wednesday, September 19 7:30 p.m.
New York Previews Begin: Thursday, November 1, 2007
New York Opening/Press Night: Monday, December 3, 2007
SEATTLE - LONE STAR LOVE, a new musical comedy starring Academy Award nominee Randy Quaid in his Broadway debut as Colonel John Falstaff, has announced full casting as it begins rehearsals this week for its Seattle engagement at The 5th Avenue Theatre, September 8 - 30. LONE STAR LOVE will open on Broadway on Monday, December 3 at New York ’s Belasco Theatre; previews will begin Thursday, November 1.

As previously announced, Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde) and three-time Tony Award nominee Dee Hoty (Footloose, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public ,Will Rogers Follies) will star as Frank Ford and Margaret Anne Page respectively. They are joined by Lauren Kennedy (Spamalot, Sunset Boulevard) as Agnes Ford, Clarke Thorell (Hairspray, The Who's Tommy) as Fenton, Ramona Keller (Smokey Joe's Café) as Miss Quickly, Drew McVety (Spamalot, Big River), as Doctor Caius, Dan Sharkey (The Music Man, Showboat) as George Page, Kara Lindsay as MissAnne Page, Nick Sullivan (Footloose) as Sheriff Bob Shallow and Brandon Williams (Off-B’way: Lone Star Love) as Abraham Slender.

Seattle audiences will recognize many of these faces (and voices) from past productions at The 5th Avenue . Dee Hoty starred as Reno Sweeney in The 5th Avenue ’s production of Anything Goes in 2000. Robert Cuccioli was last seen at The 5th Avenue in A Little Night Music and, before that, he took on the dual title roles in Jekyll & Hyde, which premiered at The 5th Avenue and then went on to Broadway, earning Cuccioli a Tony nomination. Clarke Thorell originated the role of Corny Collins in Hairspray here in Seattle and on Broadway. Ramona Keller starred as Lorrell in The 5th Avenue ’s recent production of Dreamgirls, and freshest in Seattle ’s memory is Miguel A. Romero, cast in the LONE STAR LOVE ensemble, and known at The 5th Avenue as Bernardo in last season’s acclaimed production of West Side Story.

The complete ensemble includes Stacey Harris, Amanda Lea LaVergne, Ryan Murray, Monica Patton, Miguel A. Romero, Chad Seib, Jeremy Benton, Anne Horak, Kristie Dale Sanders and Tony Lawson.

Red Clay Ramblers Chris Frank and Jack Herrick head up the on-stage band, which also includes Sam Bardfeld, Gary Bristol, Shannon Ford and Emily Mikesell. The Red Clay Ramblers won a special 1999 Tony® Award for FOOL MOON, for which Frank Rich in The New York Times described them as “a musical group whose eclectic repertory is that of a fantasy roadhouse band from a vanished rural America . Bluegrass, New Orleans , classical folk and gospel sounds emerge in nutty profusion from these talented instrumentalists and singers, whose music making is perfection.” FOOL MOON and The Red Clay Ramblers appeared on the 5th Avenue stage in 1998.

LONE STAR LOVE is inspired by Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor transplanted to the Wild West shortly after the Civil War. Directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner, the musical is conceived by John L. Haber, with a book by Robert Horn and Haber and a foot-stomping score by Red Clay Rambler Jack Herrick. John Rando (The Wedding Singer, Urinetown) is on board as creative supervisor for the production.

LONE STAR LOVE’s creative team includes set designer Derek McLane (Grease, Lestat, Threepenny Opera), costume designer Jane Greenwood (Heartbreak House, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf), lighting designers Ken Billington (Chicago, The Drowsy Chaperone) and Paul Miller (Legally Blonde, Laughing Room Only), sound designer Tom Morse (Jake’s Women, Lost in Yonkers) and hair/wig designer Tom Watson. Barry Moss is casting director, Jack Herrick is musical director and Ken Lundie is associate musical director.

LONE STAR LOVE will be produced on Broadway by Avenue A Productions, Roger Berlind, Robert Boyett Theatricals, Edmund and Eleanor Burke, Rusty and Susan Carter, Jon and Jeanne Cutler, Daisy Theatricals, and Michael Speyer/Bernard Abrams. Executive Producer is Mary Ann Anderson, and Linda Wright and the late Frederic B. Vogel are associate producers. Roger Gindi is general manager.

An earlier version of LONE STAR LOVE presented by Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, producing director, Rosetta LeNoire, founder) played a highly successful limited engagement Off-Broadway as part of the 2004-05 season under Michael Bogdanov’s direction.

RANDY QUAID (Colonel John Falstaff). Oscar, Emmy, BAFTA, and Independent Spirit Award nominee and Golden Globe winner, Randy Quaid is one of the most versatile stars in the entertainment industry with over 25 years of memorable performances in film, television and stage. As a young man driven by an intense passion for the craft of acting, he rode a bus from Texas to Hollywood and took a job as a janitor. Within a year, he earned an Academy Award nomination for his first lead performance in The Last Detail. Quaid’s astonishingly varied film repertoire spans from modern day classics (Midnight Express, The Last Picture Show) to blockbusters (Independence Day, Days of Thunder) to comedies (Kingpin, Christmas Vacation) to Academy Award winners (Brokeback Mountain, Paper Moon). He recently appeared as the King of Spain in Milos Forman’s Goya’s Ghosts and will soon be seen in the films Gary the Tennis Coach and Real Time. The television roles created by Quaid have been equally indelible, including the larger-than-life Colonel Tom Parker in “Elvis,” the complex title role in “LBJ: The Early Years,” and the heartbreaking Lenny in “Of Mice and Men.” His previous stage credits include Shakespeare in the Park’s The Golem and Sam Shepard’s True West and God of Hell.

ROBERT CUCCIOLI (Mr. Ford) last appeared at The 5th Avenue Theatre in A Little Night Music. Broadway: Jekyll & Hyde (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Les Miserables. Off-Broadway: Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris , Temporary Help, Enter The Guardsman, And The World Goes ‘Round (Outer Critics Circle Award), Gigi, The Rothschilds. Tour: Jekyll & Hyde ( Chicago ’s Joseph Jefferson Award); Camelot w/ Richard Harris. Regional: Hamlet, Pajama Game, Bells Are Ringing, Guys & Dolls, Lorenzaccio (Helen Hayes Award nomination), Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Antony & Cleopatra, Carnival, The Sound of Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiction, The School For Scandal. Television: “Sliders,” “Baywatch,” “The Guiding Light.” Film: Celebrity, The Stranger.

DEE HOTY (Mrs. Page) has received three Tony nominations for her starring roles in Footloose, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public and Will Rogers Follies. Broadway: Mamma Mia!, City of Angels , Me and My Girl, Big River, The Five O' Clock Girl, Shakespeare's Cabaret. Off-Broadway: Personals, Vanities, Forbidden Broadway. Regional: St. Louis Rep, Hartford Stage, Pittsburgh CLO, Paper Mill, O'Neill Conference, Bay Street , Louisville , Cleveland Playhouse, Goodspeed, Ford's. Workshops: Dangerous Beauty and Night of the Hunter. TV: Law & Order: CI. Upcoming film: The Understudy. Dee appeared at The 5th Avenue Theatre as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes in 2000.

LAUREN KENNEDY (Mrs. Ford). Broadway: most recently Lady Of The Lake in Monty Python's Spamalot, Sunset Boulevard, Side Show and Les Miserables. Cinderella at NYCO. London : Trevor Nunn's RNT revival of South Pacific as Nellie Forbsh. New works and Premieres: The Ten Commandments opposite Val Kilmer, Frank Wildhorn's Waiting For The Moon (Barrymore Award Nom.), The Rhythm Club (Helen Hayes Nom.), White Christmas, and The Last Five Years. Her debut solo album Lauren Kennedy Songs of Jason Robert Brown and her second album, to be released this fall, are both available on PS Classics.

john L. HABER (Conceiver/Co-Author) grew up in Asheville , North Carolina , graduated from UNC/Chapel Hill and holds an MFA in Directing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. His collaboration with The Red Clay Ramblers began with Diamond Studs, a 1975 Off-Broadway hit that he co-created with Bland Simpson and Jim Wann. Other projects he has developed and/or directed include Frimbo, a “train musical” that was mounted in the middle of NY's Grand Central Terminal, The Wonderful O, a musical based on James Thurber’s book, King Mackerel and the Blues are Running, another Simpson-Wann effort with Don Dixon, and outside of theatre, Habey’s Cookies.

JACK HERRICK (Music & Lyrics, Musical Director, Captain Pistol, the band). Artistic Director and member of The Red Clay Ramblers. Shows as composer/ lyricist/ performer include: Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, Far North and Silent Tongue. With Bland Simpson, he wrote Tar Heel Voices, Cool Spring and Kudzu. Other musicals include Ear Rings (with Tommy Thompson); Munci Meg (with Don Baker and Robin Mullins); Glory Bound (with Tom Zeigler) and Wilder (with Erin Cressida Wilson and Mike Craver). Children’s musicals include Johnny Appleseed, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Bah Humbug. With Bill Irwin, Dave Shiner, and the Ramblers, Jack created and performed in the Tony Award-winning FOOL MOON (which appeared at The 5th Avenue in 1998).

Randy Skinner (Director/Choreographer). Shows include: 42nd Street (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Astaire nominations), State Fair (Outer Critics nomination), Ain’t Broadway Grand (Tony, Outer Critics nominations), After the Night and the Music,(MTC/Biltmore), Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Do Re Mi, Of Thee I Sing, and Face The Music (the last three for City Center Encores), Lone Star Love (off-Broadway/Lucille Lortel nomination), Puttin’ on the Ritz (Kennedy Center), Stormy Weather (with Leslie Uggams/The Prince Music Theatre). In Los Angeles : Happy Days, Hello Dolly (with Nell Carter), Pal Joey (with Dixie Carter, Elaine Stritch), Strike up the Band (with Tom Bosley). The 2001 Tony Award Telecast (opening number). He has received the LA Drama Critics, LA Dramalogue, Bay Area Critics, Connecticut Critics, and Cleveland Times Theatre Awards.

Tickets to LONE STAR LOVE are on sale now and range in price from $20 - $77. Tickets are available over the phone by calling 206-625-1900 (toll free 888-5TH-4TIX), online at or in person at the box office in downtown Seattle . There is no service charge when purchasing tickets in person at The 5th Avenue Theatre Box Office.

A special mid-week Student Matinee is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26 at 10 a.m. Tickets cost $16 and may only be ordered through schools. Educators should call Group Sales at 888-625-1418 to order tickets.

The 5th Avenue Theatre is Seattle ’s premier musical theater. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater for the cultural enrichment of the Northwest community. The 5th Avenue Theatre maintains a subscription audience of more than 24,000 and an annual attendance of over 225,000. It ranks among the nation’s largest and most respected musical theater companies. The Theatre is committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its Educational Outreach Program which includes: The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue High School Musical Theatre Awards, the Student Matinee Program and Spotlight Nights. Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, the exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. Today, under the leadership of Managing Director Marilynn Sheldon and Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong, The 5th Avenue Theatre continues to achieve the highest standards in all aspects of artistic endeavors and facility operations, while preserving its artistic, architectural and historic legacy. Visit

September 8 – 30, 2007

Tuesday Evening 7:30 pm
Wednesday Evening 7:30 pm
Thursday Evening 8:00 pm
Friday Evening 8:00 pm
Saturday Matinee 2:00 pm
Saturday Evening 8:00 pm
Sunday Matinee 1:30 pm
Sunday Evening 7:00 pm

*Special Student Matinee*
Wednesday, September 26 10:00 am

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Prayer for My Enemy -- World Premiere

Intiman Theater
July 27-August 26, 2007
Tickets and Information

To say that this play is powerful, or compelling, would be to risk drowning it in the clichés of a reviewer who has seen many “powerful” works of theater. This play is indeed powerful and compelling (despite those being clichés), but it is, above all, truthful.

Craig Lucas’ Prayer for My Enemy begins with the surprise reuniting of two young men, Billy Noone (Daniel Zaitchik) and Tad Voekl (James McMenamin), who had been best friends—and each other’s first love—in school, but entirely lost touch. They meet the night before Billy leaves for Iraq. At Billy’s going-away party, Tad is thrown back into contact with Billy’s family—his bipolar father, Austin (John Procaccino), his mother, Karen (Cynthia Lauren Tewes) and his sister, Marianne (Chelsey Rives). Tad renews his relationship with the Noone family, while Billy is in Iraq, only able to talk to them over the phone. The dynamic becomes tense and disordered because of Billy’s experiences in Iraq, Tad’s habits and confused desires, and the inability of anyone in the family to say what they really want to say.

Within the scenes and human interaction that Lucas writes, he also gives voice to his characters’ internal thoughts, letting them speak them out loud as asides to the audience. These are not asides like Shakespeare’s, which are rarely and quickly said. Lucas’ asides are insights into a character’s real reaction to a situation. They happen sometimes over the top of others’ speech, often become monologues in themselves, and give the audience a chance to see further into a character than usual. In the midst of conversation, argument, or (otherwise) silent scenes, the audience hears what characters are thinking at any given moment. However, because these asides are visceral reactions, other characters will occasionally intuit things they cannot hear. The audience hears in the character’s minds what other characters read from their faces and silences. These “psychic asides,” as Lucas calls them, create a distinction between the way characters are seen by others the way they are seen by themselves (and in this case the audience).

A sixth character, Dolores Endler (Kimberly King), interacts only with the audience for most of the play. Her monologues tell us the story of returning to her childhood home in the country to care for an ailing mother, while dealing with her often frustrating relationship with the absent Charles, a workaholic psychiatrist in the city. Because Dolores converses only with the audience, all of her lines are analogous to the other character’s “psychic asides,” and we do not get the other/self distinction that the rest of the characters create. Until nearly the end, she seems to have a storyline quite unconnected to the rest of the characters.

Photo by Chris Bennion

Bartlett Sher’s direction is nearly undetectable, which is of course the sign of brilliant direction; the staging is clean and crisp and uses everything to its best effect. John McDermott’s set—at the beginning a simple, blank thrust stage—is created by taking various props (a couch, bed, a TV, chairs, etc) on and off as they are needed, which lends a sparse feel to the production, complementing the complexity and rawness of the characters. The lighting (Stephen Strawbridge) and sound (Stephen LeGrand) are similarly crisp and effective, creating spaces out of blank stage. For example, in the first scene, Billy and Tad meet at a gas station, which is composed only of the two actors, mimed gas pumps, and the precise sounds of the environment around them, including the beeps of the credit card machine. The actors are each phenomenal. They make Lucas’ unusual asides as natural as any other lines, and they inhabit their characters to perfection. All this combines to support the story and create a seamless, whole production.

Austin’s last monologue is an outpouring of disordered, desperate lessons spoken to his son, things learned too late in Austin’s life, but with the potential to help Billy, if he could hear them. In essence, he tells us nothing we do not already know. But he reminds us, forcefully and eloquently, of the few clear and simple things that should guide our actions, interactions, and choices; of how we should be in the world. “Charity. Civility. Sacrifice. Contemplation. Those are the pillars of human history,” he says; we can only hope that this is not lost on Billy, Tad, Marianne and the rest of those who still have the ability to change the world.

Review by Lia Morgan and Roy Oros