THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT

Gloucester Stage Secures First Regional Production of

Recent Broadway Hit

THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT

Gloucester Stage Artistic Director Robert Walsh and Interim Managing Director Chris Griffith recently announced that the non-profit theater’s 40th anniversary season will include regional premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact from August 30 through September 22.  Gloucester Stage will be the first theater in the country to produce the critically-acclaimed The Lifespan of a Fact since the play’s SRO smash hit world premiere Broadway run featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale closed in January 2019. Written by Jeremy Karekan, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell, based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal, The Lifespan of a Fact is the ultimate showdown between truth and fiction. A determined young fact checker is about to stir up trouble. His demanding editor has given him a big new assignment: a groundbreaking piece by an unorthodox author. Together, they take on the high-stakes world of publishing in this new play about the comedy of conflict. The Lifespan of a Fact reunites director Sam Weisman, actor Mickey Solis and Academy Award nominee and Gloucester resident actress Lindsay Crouse after their celebrated collaboration in GSC’s 2017 New England premiere of Lucy Prebble’s, The Effect. Prior to 2017 Crouse and Weisman worked together in the 1995 feature film Bye-Bye-Love which was directed by Weisman and starred Crouse.

Artistic Director Walsh on why GSC wanted to produce The Lifespan of a Fact, “I couldn’t be more excited to reunite Lindsay Crouse, Sam Weisman & Mickey Solis for this incredibly topical play! The opportunity to share such a timely and provocative story with our Boston & New England audiences is truly a joy for us.” Interim Managing Director Griffith on securing this important new work for the theater’s 40th Anniversary Season,” This is a defining year for Gloucester Stage, and a play of this caliber, direct from Broadway, is the shining example of where we’re headed in the next 40 years. We’re grateful to Jeffrey Richards Associates and Dramatists Play Service for allowing a small, tenacious stage company on the North Shore the opportunity to present this brilliant new show, but more so to our audience who are hungry for socially relevant and stimulating stories like Lifespan.”

Lindsay Crouse is an award-winning veteran of stage and screen.  In the New York theater she spent seven years with the Circle Repertory Company, winning critics’ praise for her portrayal of Ophelia in Hamletand Viola in Twelfth Night, and garnering an Obie Award for David Mamet’s Reunion.  On Broadway she won a Theater World Award for her performance as Ruth in Pinter’s The Homecoming. For the last decade Ms. Crouse has played a wide range of characters at Gloucester Stage. She joined the cast of the riotous trilogy, The Norman Conquests, by Alan Ayckbourn, sharing with them Boston’s IRNE award for Best Ensemble, and she received an IRNE nomination for her performance as Lettice in Peter Schaffer’s madcap comedy, Lettice and LovageOn the dramatic side she played the doctor in the searing duet, Going to St. Ives, received raves for her portrayal of Emily Dickinson in The Belle ofAmherst, and won the IRNE Award for Best Actress for her performance as Daisy in Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisydirected by Benny Sato Ambush. On television she played three different characters on Law & Order, and spent a season on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the infamous Maggie Walsh. She was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Performer in the Children’s Special, Mother and Daughter, and for a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album, “The Complete Shakespeare Sonnets. Some of Lindsay’s best known feature films include All The President’s Men, House of Games, The Verdict, The Insider, Mr. Brooks, Slapshot, Prince of the City, Daniel, and Places in the Heart, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. A longtime Gloucester resident, Ms. Crouse began spending her summers in Gloucester as a child and is now a Gloucester resident. Her parents began summering in Gloucester in the late 1940’s as an escape from New York City. Lindsay’s father playwright Russel Crouse found inspiration on Cape Ann. He often worked here with his longtime partner and collaborator Howard Lindsay. Their partnership of over 28 years is one of the longest in theater history and responsible for such hits as The Sound of Music, Anything Goes, Life With Father and the Pulitzer Prize winning The State of the Union among others.

Director Sam Weisman made his GSC directing debut with 2017’s The Effect.  He has directed directorial film, television, and theatre including the feature films, George of the Jungle (which received a British Academy Award nomination for Best Children’s Movie); The Out-of-Towners (starring Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, and John Cleese); D2: The Mighty Ducks, and Dickie Roberts (starring David Spade, produced by Adam Sandler). He also was Co-Producer of the feature film, DAD (starring Jack Lemmon, Olympia Dukakis, and Ted Danson). Mr. Weisman has directed or produced over 200 television episodes, for such shows as Family Ties, Moonlighting, L.A. Law, Seventh Heaven (Pilot Episode), Law and Order, Monk, In Plain Sight, and The Bernie Mac Show. His television work has received three Emmy Nominations, multiple Humanitas Awards, two Golden Globe Nominations, and a Golden Globe Award. His Pilot of the critically acclaimed series, Brooklyn Bridge, was honored by TV GUIDE as one of the best television episodes of all time.
Mr. Weisman’s theatre work has received much recognition, including multiple Drama-Logue and LA Weekly Awards, and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Best Director honors for the West Coast premieres of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal (starring Ian McShane and Penny Fuller) and Simon Gray’s The Common Pursuit (featuring Nathan Lane). Other West Coast theatre credits include James Lapine’s Table Settings, and an acclaimed production of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child (starring Ralph Waite and Nan Martin) at South Coast Repertory Theatre. At The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, he directed Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, and the world premiere of John Kolvenbach’s Gizmo Love. Recent work includes developing several feature film projects, such as The Miracle of St. Anthony, a Walden Media film based on the New York Times best-selling book of the same name. In addition, he is the co- creator and Executive Producer of THE SING OFF, NBC Television’s a cappella singing competition.

Mickey Solis’ New York and Off Broadway credits include the American premiere of Ivan Viripaev’s Illusionsat the Baryshnikov Arts Center; An Orestia with Classic Stage Company; God of Carnage at Engeman Theater; White People at Ensemble Studio Theatre; Night Over Taos at INTAR, directed by Estelle Parsons; The Master and Margaritaat the Fisher Center; Beckett at 100 (at the 92nd St. Y with Alvin Epstein and Bill Camp; Error of Their Ways at HERE Arts Center; and Private Moments in Central Park directed by David Levine for Creative Time. Regionally he has worked at the Yale Repertory; American Repertory Theater; Dangerous Ground (Brooklyn); Triad Stage; Appalachian Summer Festival; New College Theater; Moscow Art Theater; Epic Theater; Shakespeare on the Sound; Kentucky Shakespeare Festival.

The New England Premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact runs from August 30 through September 22 at Gloucester Stage. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Following the 2 pm performances on Sunday, September 8; and Sunday, September 15, audiences are invited to free post-show discussions with the artists from The Lifespan of a Fact. Single ticket prices are $15 to $48 with discounts available for Preview Performances, Cape Ann Residents, Senior Citizens and Patrons 18 years old and under. In addition to regular reserved tickets, Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, August 31 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com

Photos:
Academy Award nominee and Gloucester resident Lindsay Crouse, Actor
Mickey Solis, Actor
Sam Weisman, Director
Sam Weisman and Mickey Solis at Gloucester Stage  Photo by Gary Ng
All photos by Gloucester Stage for unlimited use

CONGRATULATIONS TO GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY! Boston Critics’ Recognize GSC 2018 Season With SIX IRNE Award Nominations

Boston Critics‏ Recognize Gloucester Stage Company’s 2018 Season

Non-Profit Theater Receives Six IRNE Award Nominations

Gloucester’s Lindsay Crouse and Ken Riaf Garner Nominations

The Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) recently announced the nominees for the 23rd Annual IRNE Awards. Gloucester Stage Company received a total of eight nominations for the 2018 season. The IRNE Awards honor the best of the previous year’s actors, directors, designers and companies across the full spectrum of large, midsize and fringe theater companies in the New England area.

The nominations for Gloucester Stage’s 2018 season include Best New Play: My Station in Life  by Gloucester’s Ken Riaf; Best Lighting Design: Marcella Barbeau for Sam Shepard’s True West; and four nominations for Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa:Best Play-Midsize; Best Director-Play-Midsize: Benny Sato Ambush; Best Actress-PlayMidsize: Gloucester’s Lindsay Crouse, andBest Supporting Actress-Play-Midsize: Samantha Richert.

According to GSC Artistic Director Robert Walsh, “We’re very excited for all our nominees and appreciative of the IRNE committee for this recognition! Looking forward to celebrating these nominations on April 8 along with the entire Boston theater community.”

The winners will be announced at the 23rd Annual IRNE Awards to be held on Monday, April 8th, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ballroom of The Inn at Brookline, just outside Kenmore Square. Tickets, as always, will be free, courtesy of the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE).

Gloucester Stage Company’s 40th Anniversary Season opens on June 7 with Neil Simon‘s romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park.For information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase single tickets or subscription packages, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com.

Photo 1: True West by Sam Shepard featuring (L to R) Alexander Platt and Nael Nacer with IRNE nominated Lighting Designer
Photo 2 and 3: The world premiere of My Station in Life by Gloucester’s Ken Riaf:  Featuring Ken Baltin as Simon Geller and Gloucester’s Meagan Gallo: IRNE nomination for Best new Play
Photo 4 : Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa featuring Gloucester Resident and Academy Award nominee Lindsay Crouse: IRNE Nomination for Best Actress
Photo 5: Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa featuring(L to R) Samantha Richert(IRNE nominee for Best Supporting Actress) and Bryn Austin
Photo 6: Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa at GSC : IRNE Nomination for Best Play 
All photos above by Gary Ng for Gloucester Stage Company
Photo 7: Benny Sato Ambush Director of Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa at GSC: IRNE Nomination for Best Director Courtesy Photo

Humorist David Sedaris’ SANTALAND DIARIES AT THE GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Humorist David Sedaris’

SANTALAND DIARIES

Featuring

Steven Barkhimer

A ONE-NIGHT-ONLY HOLIDAY FUNDRAISER FOR GSC

Gloucester Stage Company presents a one-night only performance of David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, on Saturday, December 1 at 7:30 pm at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. This special holiday event is a benefit for the 39 year old non-profit theater. Tickets start at $50 and include festive libations and holiday treats. Originally featured on NPR’s This American Life, humorist David Sedaris wrote about the downside of holiday joy in a collection of fanciful stories based on his experiences called the Santaland Diaries. The Diaries are about Sedaris’ two Christmas seasons working as an elf in Macy’s department store in New York’s Herald Square. This one-elf show follows the somewhat-flawed Macy’s department store elf named Crumpet on some of his adventures during the holiday rush. Directed by Scott Caron, the one-night-only comic holiday tale features Steven Barkhimer. A GSC veteran, Barkhimer made his GSC debut in 2008’s chilling mystery play The Woman in Black. He went on to appear from 2010 through 2012 in GSC’s critically acclaimed The Norman Conquests trilogy, the story of a hilarious reunion of adult siblings and their spouses. Mr. Barkhimer has performed with The Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Company One, Stoneham Theatre and New Repertory Theatre. He can be seen on film in the award winning feature film The Fighter. A playwright as well, Mr. Barkhimer was the recipient of the John Cauble Award for Best Short Play at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Santaland Diaries director Scott Caron was the GSC 2018 Directing Apprentice. A director, actor and educator, Mr. Caron is a native of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Mr. Caron is a co-founder of The Regatta Players, a company he administrated from its 2010 inception until making his directorial debut with their 2017 productions, First Date and Evita. Mr. Caron is also a coach for Shrewsbury High School’s Speech and Debate Team with state-level and national champions in drama and public speaking. He holds a BFA in Music Theatre from The Hartt School (University of Hartford)

David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, is Saturday, December 1 at 7:30 pm at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Ticket prices start at $50 and include a reception with holiday treats. For more information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com

Photos:

Steven Barkhimer in Santaland Diaries

Courtesy Photo

Steven Barkhimer with Lindsay Crouse in 2010’s Table Manners, the first comedy in The Norman Conquests dan

Photo Credit: Eric Levenson

WORLD PREMIERE “MY STATION IN LIFE” OPENS THIS WEEK AT GLOUCESTER STAGE

WORLD PREMIERE

MY STATION IN LIFE

by Gloucester’s Ken Riaf

featuring Ken Baltin as Simon Geller

OPENS LIMITED RUN AT GLOUCESTER STAGE

Gloucester Stage Company wraps up its 39th season of professional theater with the world premiere of Ken Riaf’s My Station in Life from October 12 through October 28 at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. From the rubble of his studio dungeon, Simon Geller, the last standing single-handed radio operator in the country, broadcasts commercial free classical music from Gloucester – the town that loves and endures his peculiar presence. Known as “The Voice of Cape Ann”, for 24 years Geller ran WVCA-FM (104.9), a one-man classical music radio station from his home in downtown Gloucester. In Ken Riaf’s world premiere directed by Gloucester Stage Artistic Director Robert Walsh, this local legend comes to life through Boston actor Ken Baltin. The cast also includes Gloucester natives Meagan Gallo, a Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop student making her professional debut, and James Tarantino, a seafood inspector best known for competing on CBS-TV’s Survivor Nicaragua; and Boston actress Veronica Anastasio Wiseman who last appeared at GSC in 2016’s The Last Schwartz.

Playwright Ken Riaf lives and works in Gloucester, Massachusetts where he practices law. He has worked as a commercial fisherman and longshoreman, and as a visiting professor of law in literature and film at Endicott College and business law at Salem State University. Mr. Riaf’s newest play, For Whom the Ball Rolls, is a basketball parable about race, culture and rank set in the 1950’s at Boston’s Navy Yard. His film work, in collaboration with award winning Producer and Director Henry Ferrini, has been shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and broadcast and screened locally and abroad. Their award winning collaboration Radio Fishtowncreates a shifting, non-linear portrait of the enigmatic Simon Geller while debunking the myth that working people don’t listen to classical music.  Radio Fishtown, produced and directed by Henry Ferrini, written by Ken Riaf, associate produced by Judd Wilson and featuring an introduction by the late host of morning pro musica Robert J. Lurtsema won Bravo’s 1992 Hometown Video Award for Documentary Film by a Media Professional and was broadcast on Boston’s PBS affiliate WGBH.

Ken Baltin returns to GSC to play Simon Geller after last appearing here in 2009’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers. His recent local theatre credits include Shakespeare in Love at SpeakEasy Stage; Beckett in Brief with Commonwealth Shakespeare; Not Constantinople at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse and Blood on the Snow with Bostonian Society. Mr. Baltin has also appeared at many Boston area theatres including Death of a Salesman, Glengarry Glen Ross, Lost in Yonkers, and Laughter on the Twenty-Third Floor with Lyric Stage Co.; The Kite Runner, Eurydice, Waiting for Godot, and American Buffalo at New Repertory Theatre; Operation Epsilon, Fever Chart, and The Cherry Orchard at Central Square Theatre; The Screenwriter’s Daughter, and Copenhagen at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse; Deported-a Dream Play, King of the Jews, Permanent Whole Life at  Boston Playwrights; Art, The Illusion, and Oleanna with Merrimack Rep; Cymbeline and Romeo and Juliet with Actors Shakespeare Project; Brooklyn Boy at SpeakEasy Stage; and I Ought To Be in Pictures with  Jewish Theatre of NE. His recent film appearances include Equalizer 2, Vault, and A Case of Blue. On the stage Mr. Baltin will appear in Heartland at the New Repertory Theatre in January, 2019. .

Gloucester’s Meagan Gallo makes her professional theater debut in My Station in Life, although this is not her first time performing at Gloucester Stage. She has been an active member of the GSC Youth Acting Workshop program for 4 years, including leading roles in Holiday Delights 2016 (Daughter 1) and Holiday Delights 2017 (Mrs. Claus), as well as being a Playtime Stories company member. Ms. Gallo is a junior at Gloucester High School, where she is involved in the Drama Club both onstage and offstage, in Seussical, Nora’s Lost and Once Upon a Mattress.

Veronica Anastasio Wiseman has become a familiar face on Boston area stages. Recently: she has been seen in Old Money with Commonwealth Shakespeare Co; Timbuktu USA, Cleanliness, Godliness & Madness, 27 Tips for Banishing the Blues, Talk To At Me & Real Realism with Sleeping Weazel; Mrs. Packard, Mud Blue Sky, and Salome with Bridge Rep; Speech and Debate, the IRNE nominated The Goat or Who Is Sylvia with Bad Habit Productions; and The Edge of Peace at Central Square Theatre. Ms. Wiseman  produces and hosts the profile talk show Wise Friends for Sharon Community Television, where she serves as Vice President on their Board of Directors. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Huntington Theatre Company.

Artistic Director and director Robert Walsh has worked at Gloucester Stage as both an actor and director for close to 30years. Earlier this season he directed Cyrano; in 2017 he directed Bank Job; in 2016 he directed Songs For A New World; and in 2015 he directed the Elliot Norton Award winning The New Electric Ballroom and starred in Gloucester Blue. Walsh’s other GSC directing credits include North Shore Fish, Fighting Over Beverley, The Widow’s Blind Date,The Primary English Class, and Our Town. As an actor he has appeared on the stage in Gloucester in Sins of the Mother, The Subject Was Roses, The Barking Sharks, and Two for the Seesaw. He has also served as the Producing Artistic Director at the American Stage Festival where he directed Bus Stop, Intimate Exchanges, Jacques Brel…, andLend Me a Tenor, among others. As Artistic Associate at Actors’ Shakespeare Project he has directed As You Like It, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, and Measure For Measure. Other productions directed include:Othello with Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Round and Round The Garden, Table Manners, K2, Later Life andHoliday Memories at Merrimack Rep; Rancho Mirage, Race, Speed-The-Plow, and True West with New Repertory Theatre; The Secret of Sherlock Holmes and The Goatwoman of Corvis County at Shakespeare & Co.; Misalliance and A Life in the Theatre at Two River Theatre Co.; I Hate Hamlet with StageWest; The Little Foxes at Barter Theatre; and Of Mice and Men at Stoneham Theatre, among others. His roles in recent feature films include Black Mass, Patriot’s Dayand the upcoming, Altar Rock. Mr. Walsh directed the on-field ceremonies for the ’99 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. He is on the faculty at Brandeis University.

Ken Riaf’s My Station in Life runs from October 12 through October 28 at Gloucester Stage. Performances areWednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Following the 2 pm performance on Sunday, October 21 audiences are invited to free post-show discussions with the artists from My Station in Life. Single ticket prices are $35 to $45 with discounts available for Preview Performances, Cape Ann Residents, Senior Citizens and Patrons 18 years old and under. In addition to regular reserved tickets, Pay What You Wish tickets are available for theSaturday, October 13 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com

CYRANO: FAST-PACED FAMILY FUN AT THE GLOUCESTER STAGE CO!

Cyrano: Fast-Paced Family Fun at Gloucester Stage Company

By Tom Hauck

With a script by Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers, Cyrano, making its New England area premiere at Gloucester Stage Company, takes direct aim at our traditional notions of onstage storytelling. The opening scene, in which a group of people who appear to be real-life stagehands suddenly assume the roles of the characters, alerts us that this adaptation of the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand knows not the artificial boundary of the fourth wall. The costumes worn by the five energetic actors are a mishmash of ordinary street clothes, community-theatre “swashbuckler” capes, and various forms of period headgear, further reinforcing the idea that we’re seeing an edgy, improvisational performance.

The story is familiar and needn’t be told again here. During the two and one-half hour (including intermission) romp, the sparkling ensemble cast, anchored by Jeremiah Kissel as Cyrano and Andrea Goldman as Roxane, puts out enough comic energy to keep the audience riveted. James Ricardo Milord reveals the humility and humanity of love-struck Christian, and Erin Nicole Washington masterfully handles split-second costume changes to bring her five characters to life. Among his three other roles, GSC favorite Paul Melendy delights as Count De Guiche, the pompous commander of the army unit to which Cyrano and Christian belong, and who’s also smitten by Roxane.

Despite the slapdash appearance of the blocking, there are moments of precision choreography, most notably the breathtaking sword fight in which Cyrano efficiently dispatches a succession of foes. But again, the notion that we’re attending a contrived “play” is confirmed by seeing a vanquished actor roll off the platform only to spring to life, grab a different cloak, and attack again. Thus five actors economically create a swirling melee of dozens of combatants.

In keeping with the improv vibe, the set is minimal and the actors themselves are the stagehands, busily drawing curtains and positioning chairs as needed. Deftly directed by GSC artistic director Robert Walsh, Cyrano provides a feast of fine acting, frivolity, and family fun. Now through August 11. For tickets, go to www.gloucesterstage.com, or call 978-281-4433.

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE OF CYRANO OPENS AT GLOUCESTER STAGE

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE OF

CYRANO

OPENS AT GLOUCESTER STAGE

A New Version of the Classic Tale with a Contemporary Spin

Gloucester Stage Company continues its 39th season of professional theater with the New England premiere of Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers’Cyrano from July 13 through August 11 at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Gloucester Stage Artistic Director Robert Walsh directs this adaptation of Rostand’s 1897 classic, Cyrano de Bergerac. According to Walsh, “Cyrano, a new adaptation of the famous play by Edmond Rostand (Cyrano de Bergerac), by Brenda Withers & Jason O’Connell, is a fast-paced, contemporized version featuring a small cast breathing fresh life into this large-scale classic.  Witty, clever, insouciant and fully enjoying the poetic bravura through a modern-day lens and very approachable language, this New England premiere will be perfect for Gloucester Stage!  A beautiful tale told with panache.”

A cast of five plays a multitude of roles in this imaginative retelling of the classic story of Cyrano and his love for Roxane. Acclaimed Boston actor Jeremiah Kissel makes his GSC debut as Cyrano. Andrea Goldman last seen at GSC in 2016’s The Last Schwartz, returns to play Roxane. Salem resident Paul Melendy, last seen at GSC in 2016’s The Last Schwartz with Ms. Goldman and in 2017’s Bank Job returns to play DeGuiche. James Ricardo Milord and Erin Nicole Washington both make their GSC debut as Christian and LeBret/Duenna. Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers’ Cyrano had its world premiere in February 2018 at Amphibian Stage Productions in Fort Worth, Texas.”

Artistic Director and Cyrano director Robert Walsh has worked at Gloucester Stage as both an actor and director for over 20 years. Most recently, in 2017 he directed Bank Job, in 2016 he directed Songs For A New World and in 2015 he directed the Elliot Norton Award winning The New Electric Ballroom and starred in Gloucester Blue. Walsh’s other GSC directing credits include North Shore Fish, FightingOver Beverley, The Widow’s Blind Date, The Primary English Class, and Our Town. As an actor he has appeared on the stage in Gloucester in Sins of the Mother, The Subject Was Roses,The Barking Sharks, and Two for the Seesaw. He has also served as the Producing Artistic Director at the American Stage Festival where he directedBus Stop, Intimate Exchanges, Jacques Brel…, andLend Me a Tenor, among others. As Artistic Associate at Actors’ Shakespeare Project he has directed As You Like It, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, andMeasure For Measure. Other productions directed include:Othello with Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Round and Round The Garden, Table Manners, K2, Later Life and HolidayMemories at Merrimack Rep; Rancho Mirage, Race, Speed-The-Plow, andTrue West with New Repertory Theatre; The Secret of Sherlock HolmesandThe Goatwoman of Corvis Countyat Shakespeare & Co.; MisallianceandA Life in the Theatre at Two River Theatre Co.; I Hate

Hamlet with StageWest; The Little Foxesat Barter Theatre; and Of Mice and Men at Stoneham Theatre, among others. His roles in recent feature films include Black Mass, Patriot’s Dayand the upcoming, Altar Rock. Mr. Walsh directed the on-field ceremonies for the ’99 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. He is on the faculty at Brandeis University.

Jeremiah Kissel makes his Gloucester Stage debut as Cyrano. Winner of the 2003 Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, Mr. Kissel is a thirty-five year veteran of Boston’s professional theaters, and has played leading roles for The Huntington, American Repertory, Merrimack Rep, as well as The Lyric Stage, Shear Madness, and various out of town companies when they passed through Boston. His recent appearances include Old Money and King Lear for Commonwealth Shakespeare, and Fiddler on the Roof and Two Jews Walk Into a War for The New Rep. He is the winner of Helen Hayes, IRNE, Hatch, Graniteer and Arts Impulse Awards as well as several Elliot Norton Awards including most recently, Best Actor for playing Bernie Madoff in 2014, and most notably, the very first Norton Award given to a local Boston actor in 1990. His screen credits include The Town, The Fighter, Joy,Stronger and The Wrong Car, and he can be seen in the upcoming Hulu series, Castle Rock. The last time he was in Cyrano, it was as Christian at The Theater at Monmouth, in 1983.

Continue reading “NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE OF CYRANO OPENS AT GLOUCESTER STAGE”

Gloucester Stage Presents World Premiere of Madame Defarge

Robert Walsh, Artistic Director Jeff Zinn, Managing Director

WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL OPENS

GLOUCESTER STAGE’S 39th SEASON

 

Gloucester Stage Company opens its 39th season of professional theater on May 11 with the world premiere of Madame Defarge, Wendy Kesselman’s new musical inspired by Charles Dicken’s classic A Tale of Two Cities. The world premiere musical runs from May 11 through June 2 at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. A passionate re-imagining of Dickens’ infamous Madame Defarge illuminates this new musical by Wendy Kesselman. Set against the turmoil of the French Revolution, two men similar in face but separate in fate weave a story of sacrifice and salvation all driven by Madame Thérèse Defarge battling oppression with longings for love, freedom, justice, and revenge. Directed by Ellie Heyman in her Gloucester Stage debut, the cast features GSC veterans Jennifer Ellis as Madame Therese Defarge, the woman whose revenge sparked a revolution; Benjamin Evett as her husband Ernest Defarge; and Broadway veteran Rockport’s Wendy Waring as Miss Pross; along with GSC newcomers Broadway’s John Hillner as Monsieur Le Marquis; Boston Conservatory’s Sabrina Koss as Lucie; Jason Michael Evans as Sydney Carton; Rob Karma Robinson as Doctor Manette; Matthew Amira as Charles Darnay; Marissa Simeqi as Little Lucie; and John Shuman as Mr. Lorry. Massachusetts based playwright Kesselman wrote the book, music and lyrics for this untold story of Madame Defarge, New York’s Christopher Berg provides the musical arrangements, Mindy Cimini, is the music director and Asher Denburg is the associate musical director for this world premiere production.

Besides her Tony-nominated new adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank, Wendy Kesselman’s plays include My Sister in This House; The Executioner’s Daughter; The Notebook; The Foggy Foggy Dew; The Last Bridge; I Love You, I Love You Not; Maggie Maagalita; Merry-Go-Round; The Shell Collection; My Sister in This House, A Re-imagined Version (Deaf West Theatre); The Graduation of Grace and Spit. She has written the book, music and lyrics for The Juniper Tree, A Tragic Household Tale; Becca and The Black Monk, A Chamber Musical. A member of the Dramatists guild, among other honors she has received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the AT&T Onstage Award, The New England Major Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in the American Theatre, the first annual Playbill award, the Roger L. Stevens Award, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, the Lecomte du Noüy Annual Award, Meet the Composer Grants, a Massachusetts Cultural Grant and Guggenheim, McKnight and NEA Fellowships. Her screenplays include Sister My Sister (adapted from My Sister in This House), directed my Nancy Meckler, with Joely Richardson, Julie Walters and Jodhi May; I Love You, I Love You Not (adapted from her play of the same name), directed by Billy Hopkins, with Jeanne Moreau, Claire Danes and Jude Law; and Mad or in Love for Fox 2000. She won a WGA Award for her screen adaptation of John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, directed by Peter Yates. The CD of her chamber musical The Black Monk will be released Fall 2018.

Continue reading “Gloucester Stage Presents World Premiere of Madame Defarge”

GLOUCESTER STAGE JOINS “NOT IN OUR HOUSE” MOVEMENT

Gloucester Stage Joins “Not in Our House” Movement

By a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors, Gloucester Stage has joined the “Not in Our House” community, and adopted its Chicago Theater Standards (CTS). The CTS is a comprehensive document providing theater companies with procedures and protocols designed to prevent and respond to “unsafe events, environments or individuals,” with particular attention to the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Procedures for integrating these policies in the rehearsal process, daily operations, and orientation for new staff and apprentices, are already being enacted. With casting for Gloucester Stage’s 39th season beginning this week, Bob Walsh, Artistic Director shared, “We are already putting in place safeguards to support the artists.”

In a letter addressed to staff and colleagues late last year, Managing Director, Jeff Zinn, wrote, “So much of the work we do in the theater demands that we be open and vulnerable. This happens at all levels of the enterprise: playwrights, designers, directors, producers, all take risks daily. Actors, of course, must make themselves emotionally available in rehearsal and then in front of an audience. That’s why it is essential that we provide a safe space for that work to unfold.”

Zinn adds, “Theaters across New England are asking ourselves these questions: what policies are already in place? What can we do better? Collectively, there is momentum to adopt a common standard. We look forward to measuring our efforts and sharing our progress with our colleagues and sister companies.”

Elizabeth Neumeier, GSC Board President, stated, “We have been individually and collectively appalled by the allegations of past misconduct at Gloucester Stage and throughout the theater industry. We intend for Gloucester Stage, by our actions and example, to help change the culture that, for so long, has allowed such things to take place. Implementing the CTS this season will help ensure that Gloucester Stage is a place where people feel safe, free to do their best work, and to speak out without fear of reprisal.”

More about Not In Our House can be found at notinourhouse.org.The Chicago Theater Standards can be downloaded at http://www.notinourhouse.org/download-the-standards/

JEFF ZINN’S PRMOTIONAL VIDEO FOR GLOUCESTER STAGE’S “FLIGHT OF THE MONARCH”

Check out Jeff Zinn’s promo video for Flight of the Monarch, the current production at Gloucester Stage Company. Sunday’s talk back was a delight to attend. So many thanks to Jeff Zinn and Bob Walsh for the invitation. The playwright Jim Frangione has a deep love for Monarch butterflies and it was a joy to make his acquaintance!

For the video, Jeff borrowed footage from forthcoming documentary Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. The scenes that he selected from the film were all shot right here in our own backyards, in Gloucester.

For tickets and more information visit the Gloucester Stage website here.

To read Tom Hauck’s review for Good Morning Gloucester, go here.

COME JOIN US SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, FOR “FLIGHT OF THE MONARCH” TALK BACK AT THE GLOUCESTER STAGE

Please join myself and the cast, director, and author of Gloucester Stage Company’s current show “Flight of the Monarch” for a Talk Back on Sunday September 17th. The Talk Backs are fun and interesting events held during a show’s run where audiences are invited to ask questions of the players. In attendance will be Jeff Ziinn, the director; Jim Frangione, the playwright; Nancy Carroll, the lead actress who plays Shelia Callaghan; and Tucker Smith, the lead actor who plays Thomas Callaghan. I have been asked to join to answer any questions folks may have about Monarch butterflies and this year’s migration. The Talk Back is at 4:00pm and will be held in the theatre. Anyone is welcome to come, whether or not you have seen the show, so please do come!

Monarch Butterflies Gloucester Morning Awakening

“FLIGHT OF THE MONARCH” MAKES TRIUMPHANT WORLD PREMIERE!

“Flight of the Monarch” Makes Triumphant World Premiere

By Tom Hauck

Even by the high standards of the Gloucester Stage Company, one of America’s most respected venues for new dramatic works, “Flight of the Monarch” has made an astonishing first impression. This new work, penned by Jim Frangione and directed by GSC Managing Director Jeff Zinn, and featuring just two actors, Nancy E. Carroll (Sheila) and J. Tucker Smith (Thomas), hits the stage as a fully formed and incisive examination of a question that every person asks themselves at some point in their lives: “What do I have to live for?”

The premise, like many great dramas, is simple: The lights come up on Sheila, a woman of advanced age, who is lying in a hospital bed. But she’s not passive; she’s on the phone, arguing with her sister. Defiant in her confinement, she just wants to get on with her life. Her younger brother Thomas, who has been dozing in a visitor’s chair, wakes up, and the siblings waste no time in exposing the family’s secrets. As the layers are ripped aside, we quickly learn that under Shiela’s fiesty exterior she’s losing faith in herself. She feels only the crushing weight of what she believes has been a lifetime marked by failure.

In crafting the peppery dialogue, playwright Jim Frangione, himself a working actor, thankfully avoids the temptation to be clever. Sheila and Thomas feel like people we know, and it’s easy to forget that we’re not hearing transcripts of actual conversations. Frangione’s ear for dialogue is spot-on and the plot elements are true to life. Yes, there are plenty of laughs in this drama, but none are forced, and they come from the heart, not from a playwright seeking to pander to his audience.

The direction by Jeff Zinn is what it should be: invisible to the audience. The play unfolds with such ease and naturalism that we forget we’re watching a consciously crafted presentation. As the actors verbally attack, retreat, and make peace – often with the span of a few seconds – we stay with them, never feeling as though we’re seeing anything other than real people with real problems.

Gloucester Stage Company veteran and Rockport resident Nancy E. Carroll and GSC newcomer J. Tucker Smith carry the production with nary a misstep. They deliver astonishing performances that resonate with real passion, dreams, and regrets. They never reach for cheap laughs, which goes a long way toward building and maintaining their credibility with the audience. When they express their deepest emotions, we believe them.

The set by Cristina Todesco supports the actors and the story. When the lights come up on the second act, which is set in Sheila’s living room, you’ll swear you’ve been there before – every casually placed tchotchke evokes the kind of run-down middle-class Cape that could use a really good cleaning. The lights, costume, and sound design all contribute to the authenticity of the setting.

“Flight of the Monarch” is a poignant and astonishing family drama that aims for the heart and doesn’t miss. Congratulations to the Gloucester Stage Company for presenting this newly created jewel. See it before it triumphs in New York! Onstage now through September 30. For tickets – while they last! – visit gloucesterstage.com or call 978-281-4433.

 

Gloucester Stage Company Jalapenos Fundraiser

Heidi writes,

On Monday, July 31 from 5pm to close, we will be holding a fundraiser for Gloucester Stage at Jalapenos (86 Main St) in downtown Gloucester. 10% of proceeds from everything we order at Jalapenos (including drinks and take-out!) will be donated to Gloucester Stage. We will also be raffling off some fun prizes.

PLAYTIME STORIES CELEBRATES VIRGINIA LEE BURTON ON JULY 15

Live Theater Performances at Gloucester Stage for Young Audience Members Age 2 and Older

Gloucester Stage Company proudly announces A Celebration of local author Virginia Lee Burton at Playtime Stories,  on Saturday, July 15 at 10 am at Gloucester Stage, 267, East Main Street, Gloucester. An engaging combination of children’s stories and live performances for ages 2 and older, Playtime Stories offers young children the unique opportunity to experience the fun and magic of live theater as they watch their favorite books come to life onstage. Following the performance audience members will be invited to join the Playtime Stories Company in fun and interactive workshops relating to the story. Each Saturday the Playtime Stories Company, consisting of members of Gloucester Stage’s apprentice company, veteran Youth Acting Workshop students and special guest narrators will perform a children’s story against the backdrop of the story’s illustrations as well as create a dynamic weekly series of interactive events related to the story. Saturday, July 15 the stories are Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel The Little House narrated by Danvers native and 2016 Education Apprentice Sarah Vandewalle and performed by Youth Acting Workshop students and members of the 2017 Apprentice Company. According to Youth Acting Workshop Director and Teacher Heidi Dallin, “We had a great response to the Playtime Stories program over the past two summers. It is a terrific way for YAW to reach out to younger audiences to spark their excitement in live performance. Many of the veteran YAW students in the Playtime Stories Company have been involved in the YAW program since they were 5 years old and now they will inspire the next generation of YAW students!” Each week through August 19 Playtime Stories explores different stories ranging from classic fairy tales to new stories to works by local authors.  July 15 is a A Celebration of Cape Ann author Virginia Lee Burton with the books: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House

Playtime Stories at Gloucester Stage, 267, East Main Street, Gloucester runs throughSaturday, August 19. Upcoming books to be read and performed by the Playtime StoriesCompany include; July 22: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Doctor De Soto, The Little Mouse, the Ripe Red Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear ; July 29: Where the Wild Things Are andCorduroy ; August 5 Dr. Seuss Celebration: Oh, the Places You’ll Go and Green Eggs and Ham with more stories to be announced for August 12 and August 19. All Playtime Storyperformances are held at 10 am at Gloucester Stage, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Admission is $5. For more information or tickets, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com

THE RAINMAKER OPENS AT GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY!

N. Richard Nash’s The Rainmaker Opens at

Gloucester Stage

Captivating Classic Set for Limited Run in Gloucester

Gloucester Stage Company continues its 38th season of professional theater on Cape Ann with N. Richard Nash’s moving American classic The Rainmaker from July 14 through August 5 at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Set in the time of a paralyzing drought in Depression-era America, The Rainmaker tells the story of a pivotal hot summer day in the life of spinsterish Lizzie Curry, whose father and two brothers are worried as much about her marriage prospects as they are about their dying cattle. Enter Starbuck, the consummate con man, who promises to solve all their problems, for a fee. Directed by Gloucester Stage Artistic Director Robert Walsh, The Rainmaker cast features Brian Homer as Starbuck; Jessica Bates as Lizzie Curry; David DeBeck as H.C. Curry, the patriarch of the Curry family; Joe Short and Sean McCoy as the Curry brothers; Dave Rich as File and longtime Gordon College Professor of Theater Arts Norm Jones as Sheriff Thomas. N. Richard Nash’s most celebrated play, The Rainmaker, appeared in all three mediums; on Broadway in 1954, as a motion picture starring Katharine Hepburn in 1956, and as a television production in 1982. A musical version of The Rainmaker, entitled 110 Degrees in the Shade, debuted on Broadway in 1963.

N. Richard Nash studied philosophy and literature at the University of Pennsylvania and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1934. While in school he directed plays at Bryn Mawr, a nearby women’s college, and received great reviews for a play he wrote featuring only female characters. Nash received the Maxwell Anderson Verse Drama award in 1940 for Parting at Imsdorf. His plays include Second Best Bed (1946), The Young and Fair (1948), See the Jaguar (1952), Girls of Summer (1956), Handful of Fire (1958), and the musical WILDCAT(1960). During the 1950s Mr. Nash was one of six writers selected by producer Fred Coe to create serious drama for television. His screenplay credits include Nora Prentiss (1946), Dear Wife (1950), and Top of the World (1955). Adapting the works of others, he wrote the script for The Sainted Sisters (1948) and Porgy and Bess (1959). Later in his career, Mr. Nash focused on writing novels. “East Wind, Rain” (1977), inspired by his time serving with the Office of War Information during World War II, took seven years to research. Other novels include Cry Macho (1975) and Radiance (1983). Mr. Nash also lectured on drama and philosophy at colleges and universities throughout the United States. He died on Dec. 11, 2000, in New York City at the age of eighty-seven.

A native Bostonian who now lives & works as an actor in NYC, Brian Homer has performed in numerous Off-Broadway productions, including Theater for a New Audience’s repertory production of Richard II/Richard III, Seattle Repertory Theater’s premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s Spinning Into Butter, and the New Repertory Theater’s world premiere of Stephen Belber’s Drifting Elegant. An actor as well as a theater arts educator, Mr. Homer holds an MFA in Acting from Brandies University where he studied with Robert Walsh.

All photos Gary Ng

Continue reading “THE RAINMAKER OPENS AT GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY!”

PLAYTIME STORIES RETURNS TO GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY ON JULY 8 

PLAYTIME STORIES RETURNS TO GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY ON JULY 8 

Live Theater Performances for Young Audience Members Age 2 and Older

Gloucester Stage Company proudly announces Playtime Stories, an engaging combination of children’s stories and live performances for ages 2 and older, on Saturday, July 8 at 10 am at Gloucester Stage, 267, East Main Street, Gloucester and runs through Saturday, August 19.Playtime Stories offers young children the unique opportunity to experience the fun and magic of live theater as they watch their favorite books come to life onstage. Following the performance audience members will be invited to join the Playtime Stories Company in fun and interactive workshops relating to the story. Each Saturday the Playtime Stories Company, consisting of members of Gloucester Stage’s apprentice company, veteran Youth Acting Workshop students and special guest narrators will perform a children’s story against the backdrop of the story’s illustrations as well as create a dynamic weekly series of interactive events related to the story. According to Youth Acting Workshop Director and Teacher Heidi Dallin, “We had a great response to the Playtime Stories program over the past two summers. It is a terrific way for YAW to reach out to younger audiences to spark their excitement in live performance. Many of the veteran YAW students in the Playtime Stories Company have been involved in the YAW program since they were 5 years old and now they will inspire the next generation of YAW students!” Each week from July 8 through August 19Playtime Stories explores different stories ranging from classic fairy tales to new stories to works by local authors.  July 8 is a A Celebration of author Eric Carle with the books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar; The Grouchy Ladybug and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me.   Upcoming books to be read and performed by the Playtime Stories Company include July 15: A Celebration of Virginia Lee Burton with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel; July 22: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Doctor De Soto, The Little Mouse, the Ripe Red Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear ; July 29: Where the Wild Things Are and Corduroy ; August 5 Dr. Seuss Celebration: Oh, the Places You’ll Go and Green Eggs and Ham with more stories to be announced for August 12 and August 19. All Playtime Story performances are held at 10 amat Gloucester Stage, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Admission is $5. For more information or tickets, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visitwww.gloucesterstage.com