Category Archives: Theatre Announcements

Jersey Boys Kicks Off Ogunquit Playhouse 2019 Season

Ogunquit Playhouse Season Opens with the Multi-Tony Award-Winning Musical “Jersey Boys”

Runs From May 15 Through June 15

The Ogunquit Playhouse 2019 season kicks off with Jersey Boys! The multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation that performed to sold-out houses during its run in 2018, is back by popular demand May 15 through June 15. The cast that BroadwayWorld exclaimed to be “the closest you’ll ever get to having seen Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,” also returns to the Ogunquit stage – Jonathan Mousset (Frankie Valli), Matt Magnusson (Tommy DeVito), Andy Christopher (Bob Gaudio), and Matthew Amira (Nick Massi).

Follow the incredible story of four guys bound by one dream, who worked their way from the streets of New Jersey to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys takes audiences on an exhilarating journey with the electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these hometown boys from Jersey all the way to the top of the charts: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Dawn,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and many more. If you missed it last year, don’t miss your chance to see this blockbuster show – you’re sure to leave exclaiming, “Oh, What a Night!”

Starring as Frankie Valli, lead vocalist of The Four Seasons is Jonathan Mousset. His phenomenal performance, falsetto, and range was described as astounding by the Portland Press Herald last season. Mr. Mousset has performed in many regional theatres across the U.S. in such shows as Newsies, In the Heights, and Godspell. He has also performed in concerts at New York City venues including 54 Below, the Times Center, and the Town Hall. Matt Magnusson returns to play charming bad-boy Tommy DeVito, the lead guitar player of The Four Seasons, who serves as the show’s primary narrator and founding member of the band. Mr. Magnusson has numerous regional theatre credits including Grease, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, and Ring of Fire. 

Reprising his role from last season as Bob Gaudio, the sensible and poised songwriter behind The Four Seasons is Andy Christopher. He has performed as Buddy Holly in the National Tour of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and in many regional theatres across the U.S. including Bucks County Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, West Virginia Public Theatre, The Muny, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Great Lakes CFA, Fulton Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, Casa Mañana, and the Ogunquit Playhouse where he got his start in 2012. Matthew Amira also returns to the Playhouse after his highly regarded portrayal of The Four Seasons bassist Nick Massi. Mr. Amira also performed at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the 2016 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His many regional theatre credits include Madame Defarge, She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, and South Pacific among others.

The Ogunquit Playhouse production will once again be helmed by Award-winning director, writer and producer Holly-Anne Palmer. Ms. Palmer is the lead Producer and Creative Director of theglobal hits Wine Lovers the Musical, PROHIBITION, and Holiday Happy Hour. She has numerous Broadway credits including Jersey Boys, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, Bring It On: The Musical, Dracula, Walking With Dinosaurs, and Cover Girls. Her many Off-Broadway and regional credits include the 25th Anniversary Production of Steel Magnolias at Le Petit Theatre, Gentleman’s Wish and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? at Barrow Group, Platforms at TASC, Autophobia at Ars Nova, Inventing Avi Aviv at Abingdon Theatre, Oklahoma! for the Reagle Players, and for the Ogunquit Playhouse 2009 production of All Shook Up starring Sally Struthers.

www.ogunquitplayhouse.org

Box Office 207.646.2402 

Video From Last Year’s Outstanding Run. This year Jersey Boys plays from May 15 through June 15:

ARTSEMERSON PRESENTS “SEE YOU YESTERDAY” 

SECOND-GENERATION SURVIVORS OF THE KHMER ROUGE GENOCIDE SHATTER ITS SILENCE 

ARTSEMERSON PRESENTS 

SEE YOU YESTERDAY 

BY GLOBAL ARTS CORPS
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PHARE PERFORMING SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AND PHARE PONLEU SELPAK ASSOCIATION

FIVE PERFORMANCES ONLY
MAY 16 – 19, 2019
AT THE EMERSON PARAMOUNT CENTER

Photo Credit:Jacqueline Lessac

On the heels of Cambodian New Year, ArtsEmerson is honored to welcome See You Yesterday, a moving performance by Global Arts Corps which explores the painful history of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Directed by Michael Lessac, nineteen Cambodian performers utilize their extraordinary physical skills, including acrobatics and circus arts, to travel back in time and shatter a legacy of silence. Global Arts Corps brings See You Yesterday’s U.S. premiere to Boston to close ArtsEmerson’s 2018/2019 season, for five performances only, May 16-19, at the Emerson Paramount Center Robert J. Orchard Stage. 

Over 22 weeks of development since 2012, Global Arts Corps—whose celebrated work brings together people from opposite sides of violent conflicts—collaborated with these young Cambodian artists as they grappled with the painful history of their country’s genocide. While details of the four-year horror have largely gone unexplored by younger generations of Cambodians, the cast of See You Yesterday interviewed their elders (and even a former Khmer Rouge child soldier) to build a stunning performance that is both beautiful and cathartic. 

“In 2013, when we brought our Northern/North of Ireland production Hold your Tongue, Hold your Dead to Boston audiences, we witnessed two communities, separated by an ocean and burdened by their own personalized historical memories, find a common healing ground in talk- backs across the footlights,” says See You Yesterday director Michael Lessac. “At a time when we seem to be clinging to what separates us and not what connects us, we wanted to be in the same place again to see what happens when another, totally different, theatrical vision of honesty, tenacity, and imagination takes the ArtsEmerson stage. See You Yesterday brings to Boston a cast of young Cambodian circus artists whose culture has forced them to live in silence with a harrowing memory. They have created a performance that shows us how hope can emerge from despair and how truth can emerge out of a powerfully moral and courageously honest imagination. I could not be more proud to be working with David Dower and his extraordinary team, in the namesake space of my old friend, Rob Orchard, as we once again explore together what happens when inherited conflict and unspoken multiple truths are surfaced across continents so that generations can talk to each other again.” 

See You Yesterday is precisely the kind of experience that ArtsEmerson has become known for over these past nine seasons,” says ArtsEmerson artistic director David Dower. “The show puts one of most vibrant world cultures in the spotlight. Our region hosts one of the largest Cambodian communities in the nation and as with last season’s Bangsokol, we are presenting it in deep partnership with that community, both in Boston and in Lowell. This effort to put the world on stage in dialogue with diverse communities delivers that particular synergy between the art and the audience that our supporters have come to count on. See You Yesterday also uses a form of storytelling that is entirely ArtsEmerson – sharing its moving search for restorative justice through the tools of circus and dance. We are proud to be working with Michael Lessac and Global Arts Corps to tell this story.” 

artsemerson.org 

617-824-8400

Lyric Stage Presents “Pacific Overtures”

PACIFIC OVERTURES

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

May 10th Through June 16th

Book by John Weidman

Directed by Spiro VeloudosMusic Director, Jonathan GoldbergChoreography by Micheline Wu

Additional material by Hugh WheelerOrchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Original Broadway production directed by Harold Prince and Produced by Harold Prince in association with Ruth Mitchell

May 10 – June 16, 2019

This startling, entertaining, and thrilling masterpiece puts a cap on Spiro Veloudos’ multi-year Sondheim Initiative. An unlikely friendship is forged between a samurai, Kayama, and an Americanized fisherman, Manjiro, during Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853 mission to open trade relations with isolationist Japan. The two friends are caught in the inevitable winds of change and tell the story of Japan’s painful and harrowing Westernization. A highly original, inventive, powerful, and surprisingly humorous theatrical experience.

FEATURING:
Kai Chao, Sam Hamashima, Alexander Holden, Elaine Hom, Carl Hsu, Brandon Milardo, Gary Thomas Ng, Jeff Song, Karina Wen, Micheline Wu, Lisa Yuen.

Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Copley Square, Boston
Box Office 617-585-5678 lyricstage.com

boxoffice [at] lyricstage [dot] com

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Seaglass Chorale Presents Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sanford Performing Arts Center at Sanford High School, 100 Alumni Boulevard, Sanford, Maine 3:00 pm

Seaglass Performing Arts Chorale, conducted by Artistic Director and Founder JeanStrazdes, will be performing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at the new Sanford Performing Arts Center at Sanford High School, Sanford, Maine at 3:00 pm on April 28, 2019. The performance will be one of the premiere concerts at the new center and is in celebration of Seaglass Performing Arts’ 25th anniversary performance year. The Chorale will be collaborating with the Chamber Singers of Sanford High School under the direction of Jane Kirton and the Marshwood Middle School Chorus under the direction of Kris Bisson.

Seaglass Chorale is proud to present Carl Orff’s masterwork, Carmina Burana, featuring soprano Sierra Marcy, baritone Will Prapestis, and a children’s choir from Sanford Middle School. Carmina Burana is a scenic cantata composed by Carl Orff in 1935 and 1936, based on 24 poems from the medieval collection of the same name. The first and last movements of the piece are called “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” (“Fortune, Empress of the World”) and start with the very well known “O Fortuna”. Carmina Burana was first staged in Frankfurt, Germany, by the Frankfurt Opera on June 8, 1937, to wide acclaim. Since then, no other Orff composition has approached the renown of Carmina Burana, as evidenced in both pop culture’s appropriation of “O Fortuna” and the classical world’s persistent programming and recording of the work. In the United States, Carmina Burana remains intensely popular.

Tickets for this single performance of Carmina Burana are $20 (at the door); $15 (online and advance purchase); $10 (students 12 to 18); free for students under 12. Tickets can be purchased online at seaglassperformingarts.org, from any chorale member and are also available at Morse Hardware on Route 1 in Wells.

Seaglass is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

“Million Dollar Quartet” Opens At Greater Boston Stage Company April 25

GREATER BOSTON STAGE COMPANY
PRESENTS THE TONY AWARD-WINNING SMASH HIT MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET 

Greater Boston Stage Company proudly presents the beloved rock ‘n’ roll musical Million Dollar Quartet. Million Dollar Quartet brings to life the famed 1956 on-the-fly recording session at Sun Records that brought together icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Featuring a score of hits that includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Hound Dog,” and more, Million Dollar Quartet will have audiences dancing in their seats. Directed by Associate Artistic Director Ilyse Robbins, performances run April 25 – May 19, 2019. 

Shares Robbins, “I first heard about Million Dollar Quartet from my parents. They enjoyed it so much, that they saw it twice – in New York and on tour. It turns out that in one of the productions, my parents saw our Music Director and Jerry Lee Lewis, James Scheider, who was their favorite part of the show.” She continues, “Million Dollar Quartet is an evening of song, joy, and story – three things that I love.” 

The Million Dollar Quartet Cast features Melissa Geerlof, Nile Scott Hawver, Luke Linsteadt, Trey Lundquist, Matthew Pitts, Austin Wayne Price, Robert Saoud, and James Scheider. 

The Design Team is comprised of Scenic Designer Patrick Lynch, Lighting Designer Jeff Adelberg, Costume Designer Stephen LaMonica – a Young Company alum, Sound Designer John Stone, and Props Master Emme Shaw. Music Direction is by James Scheider.

pastedGraphic_6.pngBox Office: (781) 279-2200, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA 02180 Mondays – Fridays, 11am to 6pm; Saturdays, 1pm to 6pm  www.greaterbostonstage.org

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“Twelfth Night” Opens At The Lyric Stage March 29

If Music Be The Food Of love, Play On! Give Me Excess Of It!

Orsino, Act 1 Scene 1

The Lyric Stage Company and Actors’ Shakespeare Project will be co-producing a production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. ASP founding member Paula Plum will will direct. Paula has worked as an actor and director with the Lyric Stage since 1975. She has won numerous awards including three Eliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Actress.

The cast will feature Rachel Bell;eman, Dominic Carter, Jennie Israel, Samantha Richert, Alejandro Simoes, Richard Snee, Hayley Spivey, Bobbie Steinbach, and Michael Forden Walker.

Twelfth Night is a tale of unrequited love – hilarious and heartbreaking. Twins are separated during a shipwreck and are forced to fend for themselves in a strange land. The first twin, Viola, falls in love with Orsino, who dotes on Olivia, who falls for Viola but is idolized by Malvolio. Enter Sebastian, who is the spitting image of his twin sister… is it possible for this to all end well?   Well, it IS a comedy!

Twelfth Night will run from March 29 through April 28 at the Lyric Stage, Copley Square, Boston.

For more information: 617.585.5678 lyricstage.com  actorsshakespeareproject.org 

“Onegin” Opens At Greater Boston Stage

GREATER BOSTON STAGE COMPANY

PRESENTS THE U.S. PREMIERE OF ONEGIN

Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Greater Boston Stage Company proudly announces the U.S. Premiere of Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hill’s, Onegin. Based on Pushkin’s masterpiece novel in verse and Tchaikovsky’s stunning opera, Onegin tells the love story of the innocent Tatyana and the self-obsessed aristocrat Onegin. This soaring musical adaptation begs you to answer the question, “Look around, look around, look around, Do you see someone worth dying for? Directed by Producing Artistic Director Weylin Symes, performances run March 14 – 31, 2019

Says Symes, “I discovered this one in a bit of a strange way. Veda Hille (composer/co-writer) released several albums in the 90s and early 2000’s that I owned and loved. One day a few years ago, I discovered that she was still writing and moreover that she had written a brand-new musical based on Pushkin’s most famous poem, Onegin. After listening to one song, I was hooked. Veda’s modern pop/musical sensibility that includes motifs from the Tchaikovsky opera, combined with a ‘musical-meets-rock-concert’ setting seemed like the perfect way to capture the passion, vibrancy and tongue-in-cheek playfulness of this classic story for a modern audience.” He continues, “Like most of my favorite shows, Onegin is a true ensemble piece with a cast of seven playing multiple roles throughout the show. And what a cast it is.”

“The great Russian novels feel so contemporary to us,” shares co-creator Hill. “You know these people, and you’ve had these feelings. We are so thrilled to have our American Premiere at GBSC. This production marks the first time that Amiel and I are not directing/music directing the show. We’ve been looking for the right company to hand Onegin to, and we feel we’ve found such excellent people at GBSC.”

The Onegin Cast features Peter Adams, Christopher Chew, Kerry Dowling, Josephine Ellwood, Mark Linehan, Michael Jennings Mahoney, and Sarah Pothier.

The Design Team is comprised of Scenic Designer Katy Monthei, Lighting Designer Jeff Adelberg, Costume Designer Deirdre Gerrard, Sound Designer John Stone, and Props Master Emme Shaw. Music Direction is by Steve Bass with choreography by Associate Artistic Director, Ilyse Robbins. Young Company Alum, Stephen Zubricki IV Assistant Directs.

There will be complimentary Pre-Show Vodka Tastings at each of the Friday performances courtesy of Vodka Sponsor Deep Eddy Vodka.

Single Tickets for Onegin: $50-60 Adults; $45-55 Seniors; $20 Students (with valid ID). Thrifty Thursday tickets cost $15 at the door and are available for the Thursday, March 14, 2019 performance at 7:30pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at Greater Boston Stage Company at (781) 279-2200, or visit www.greaterbostonstage.org.

SPEAKEASY EXTENDS “ONCE” THRU APRIL 7, 2019

Hit Play Is Proving To Be Very Popular In Boston

New Block of Seats on Sale Friday, March 8 at noon 

MacKenzie Lesser-Roy and Scott Hawver
Photo Credit: Maggie Hall Photography

 Due to overwhelming demand, SpeakEasy Stage Company has added seven more performances of its acclaimed production of the Tony Award-winning musical ONCE.  The show will now play through Sunday, April 7, 2019.  

The entire original cast will remain for the additional week of performances. The new block of seats for these additional performances will go on sale this Friday, March 8, 2019  at noon.  

 Based on the 2007 Irish film written and directed by John Carney, ONCE employs an exceptional ensemble of actor-musicians to tell the story of an unlikely romance between a down-on-his-luck Dublin street musician and a determined Czech immigrant who inspires him to dream.  Featuring a book by Enda Walsh, and music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, ONCE is a charming tale that reminds us of the importance of pursuing our dreams and the power music has to connect us all.  

 SpeakEasy General Manager Paul Melone directed this production of ONCE. Winner of two Elliot Norton Awards for his direction of the musicals Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (2013) and Adding Machine: A Musical (2010), Mr. Melone also directed the company’s Boston premieres of  Carrie: The Musical; reasons to be pretty; The Little Dog Laughed; Fat Pig; The Moonlight Room; Our Lady of 121st Street; and The Shape of Things. 

  Also on the artistic team are Steven Ladd Jones (music director) and Ilyse Robins (choreographer).

 Nile Scott Hawver and Mackenzie Lesser-Roy play the lead roles of Guy and Girl.  Jacob Brandt, Billy Butler, Clara Cochran, Chris Coffey, Reagan Gardiner, Billy Meleady, Robert X. Newman, Marta Rymer, Stephen Shore, Jeff Song, Kathy St. George, and Ellie van Amerongen make-up the ensemble of actor-musicians. 

 The design team is Eric Levenson (scenic); Rachel Padula-Shufelt (costumes); Karen Perlow (lighting); and Andrew Duncan Will (sound). 

 ONCE will now run through Sunday, April 7, 2019, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End.

For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call the box office at 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com .         

Reveiwed Here

 

The Ogunquit Playhouse Announces Lineup For 2019 Season

Jersey Boys!, 42nd Street, Cabaret, and Murder On The Orient Express With More To Follow

The legendary Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to announce a sensational lineup of shows for audiences in 2019. For the first time in over a decade the Playhouse will stage a non-musical play in addition to five musicals, including the return of the multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation Jersey Boys; the quintessential tap dancing extravaganza 42nd Street; and the iconic and powerful jazz musical Cabaret. The play that will ignite the stage with murder and mystery is the beloved Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. Closing out the season is a hilarious musical comedy that will be announced soon and a Tony Award-winning, smash hit musical which will be announced in May. 

“As we head into our 87th season, we are delighted to present an exciting lineup of musicals for our audiences,” stated Bradford Kenney, Ogunquit Playhouse Executive Artistic Director. “I am very excited to produce my first play here at the Playhouse. I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and we have carefully chosen one of her most thrilling murder mysteries, a brand new play adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig. It will be seen here for one of the first times anywhere, live on our stage this summer.”

Season ticket subscription packages are on sale now and the only way to guarantee the best seats for the best price to these exciting shows! Prices start at only $250 for a five-show package and $150 for a three-show package. Gift certificates are also on sale online and through the Box Office. Individual tickets are on sale exclusively for Ogunquit Playhouse members the week of Monday, March 4. Individual public ticket sales begin Monday, March 11 with prices starting at $36. 

It’s just too good to be true! The season kicks off with the return of the multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation that performed to sold-out houses during its run at the Ogunquit Playhouse in 2018, Jersey Boys! The hit show is back by popular demand May 15 through June 15. Returning to the Playhouse stage as The Four Seasons are Jonathan Mousset (Frankie Valli), Matt Magnusson (Tommy DeVito), Andy Christopher (Bob Gaudio), and Matthew Amira (Nick Massi). Follow the incredible story of four guys bound by one dream, who worked their way from the streets of New Jersey to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys takes audiences on an exhilarating journey with the electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these hometown boys from Jersey all the way to the top of the charts: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Dawn,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and many more. Don’t miss your chance to see this blockbuster show – you’re sure to leave exclaiming, “Oh, What a Night!!”

Come and meet those dancing feet! The ultimate tap-dancing, show-biz musical sensation, 42nd Street celebrates Broadway, Times Square, and the people who make magical musical theatre, on stage June 19 through July 13 and featuring Emmy Award-winner Sally Struthers. The Ogunquit production will be staged by Randy Skinner, the creator of the Broadway revival and recent West End smash hit. Aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer comes to the big city and soon lands her first job in the ensemble of a glitzy new Broadway show. Mayhem and mirth ensue when just before opening night the leading lady breaks her ankle. Will Peggy be able to step in and become a star? The score is chock-full of Broadway standards, including “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me,” “Dames,” “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” and “Forty-Second Street.” Be sure to shuffle off to Ogunquit for this delightful and dazzling musical!

Decadent nightlife meets dangerous times at Berlin’s alluring Kit Kat Klub in Cabaret, on stage July 17 through August 10. The Ogunquit production is based on the searing Sam Mendez musical recently revived on Broadway and is set in the cabaret underworld on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power. This unforgettable musical tells the story of Cliff Bradshaw, a young American writer newly arrived in Berlin, who falls in love with cabaret singer Sally Bowles. Their romance sizzles amid the back room culture of the cabaret and the tumultuous atmosphere of pre-Nazi Germany. Cabaret is a raw and powerful jazz musical that explores the dark life of Berlin’s natives and expatriates as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. The show has had numerous Broadway and London revivals and is the winner of multiple Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score for Kander and Ebb’s compelling musical numbers which include, “Willkommen,” “Money,” “Tomorrow Belongs To Me,” “Maybe This Time” and “Cabaret.” Come to the Cabaret, your table’s waiting!

All aboard! The exotic Orient Express is hurtling down the tracks… to a murder! Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express hits the stage August 14 through August 31 with a train full of suspects and an alibi for each one. It’s the perfect mystery for detective Hercule Poirot, n’est-ce pas? Wax your mustache and hold on to your passport! Newly adapted for the stage from Agatha Christie’s masterpiece by two-time Tony-nominated playwright Ken Ludwig, the beloved mystery unfolds in a fresh and thrilling way. This exciting play will take audiences on a suspenseful, thrilling ride aboard the legendary Orient Express! Don’t go off the rails – hop on board today!

Closing out the season is a hilarious musical comedy on stage from September 4 through September 14 that will be announced soon and a Tony Award-winning, smash hit musical that will run from September 18 through October 27, which will be announced in May. Stay tuned – you won’t want to miss them!

“The Heath” Opens At Merrimack Rep

MRT Presents World Premiere of

New Lauren Gunderson Play,

The Heath

A Play with Original Songs by the Author of Silent Sky, I and You,

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) will present the world premiere of The Heath by Lauren Gunderson, one of the most produced playwrights in America (Silent Sky, I and You, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley) from February 13 to March 10 at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall, according to Artistic Director Sean Daniels and Executive Director Bonnie J. Butkas. 

A new play with music about the playwright’s relationship with her grandfather, The Heath is directed by Artistic Director Sean Daniels (The Lion, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Little Orphan Danny). The play includes banjo, four original songs, and several traditional tunes.

In The Heath, Gunderson turns her prodigious storytelling skills on herself as she wrestles with how you make peace with a beloved relative who seems unlike you in every way. This beautiful, funny meditation on her grandfather’s life draws on everything from Shakespeare to Bluegrass in a soul-stirring story of redemption, love, madness, and the science of memory. 

Of The Heath, Gunderson said, “I started the script before my PawPaw died as it occurred to me that the only reference I had for his condition was the literary figure of King Lear. It’s a love letter to him, an apology, and a reckoning, as well as a chance to discover a man I thought I knew so well.

I was inspired to add banjo to the play when I remembered how much PawPaw loved Flatt and Scruggs bluegrass music. It felt like a crazy challenge to myself. The songs are simple but full of emotion and heart. The big ending song, Storm Still, was the most cathartic to write. It really allows me to say, ‘I love you, I miss you, I’m proud of you,’ to my grandfather,” she said.

The cast features Miranda Barnett as Lauren and George Judy as KD, her grandfather, and King Lear. 

A classically trained musician-turned-actor, Barnett has been studying the banjo for the past three months in anticipation of the show. A native and resident of South Carolina, her credits include The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike; Sweeney Todd; and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. 

George Judy is the Gresdna A. Doty Professor of Theatre at Louisiana State University, as well as the former head of the MFA Acting Program there and former Artistic Director of Swine Palace, LSU’s Equity theatre-in-residence. He has appeared in numerous Shakespeare productions, including King Lear, The Tempest, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Royal National Theatre in London, and the Utah, Texas, and Kentucky Shakespeare festivals, among many other venues. FUN FACT: George Judy was Sean Daniels’ acting coach in college.

The Heath by Lauren Gunderson runs from February 13-March 10, 2019. For more information visit www.mrt.org or contact the MRT Box Office at 978-654-4678.