Chautauqua Theater Company announces Principal Casting for Season, The Engine of Our Ruin by Jason Wells and Afterlove by David West Read selected for The New Play Workshop Signature Staged Readings
(Chautauqua, NY) Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, announced casting for their Mainstage 2015 Season, which includes blending Chautauqua Theater Company alumni with those making their company debuts. Principal actors are Andrew Borba, Carol Halstead, Tangela Large, Manu Narayan, Michael Potts, Shelia Tousey, and Kathryn Hunter Williams. The season features Our Town (July 3-12), Intimate Apparel (July 24-August 2), and Henry V (August 14-21), all performed at the Bratton Theater at Chautauqua Institution.
In addition to the Mainstage productions, Chautauqua Theater Company will produce The Engine of Our Ruin by Jason Wells (July 17-18) and Afterlove by David West Read (August 5-7) as The New Play Workshop’s Signature Staged Readings. The plays were selected from more than 150 submissions. The New Play Workshop (NPW) illustrates the company’s dedication to fostering important new American playwrights and to providing a safe and stimulating setting for artists to develop new work for the theater.
Bratton Stage to Host Exceptional Talent
“We are thrilled to welcome a remarkable ensemble this year,” says Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch. “Our Conservatory members represent the best young theater talent from across the country, and through the course of our eight-week season they have the opportunity to both work with and learn from an incredible group of veterans in the field.”
The 2015 season begins with Thornton Wilder’s heart-warming and groundbreaking masterpiece, Our Town. Directed by Paul Mullins (CTC’s You Can’t Take It With You), the cast is lead by Broadway’s Manu Narayan (Bombay Dreams) as the Stage Manager. Conservatory Actors Audrey Corsa (The Juilliard School) and Myles Bullock (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill) make their Chautauqua Theater Company debuts as Emily Webb and George Gibbs. Michael Potts (television’s “True Detective” and Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, Grey Gardens, and Lennon) will portray Dr. Gibbs with Carol Halstead (CTC’s Philadelphia Story and You Can’t Take It With You, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man on Broadway) playing Mrs. Gibbs in her eleventh season with Chautuauqua Theater Company. The company’s Associate Artistic Director Andrew Borba (CTC’s Arcadia, All My Sons, and Frankenstein and Dracula) returns to the stage as Mr. Webb accompanied by Sheila Tousey (numerous TV and film credits including Thunderheart, Drama Desk Nominee for acting and produced the feature film Christmas in the Clouds) as Mrs. Webb in her Chautauqua Theater Company debut.
Recent Chautauqua Theater Company alumna Tangela Large (CTC’s Clybourne Park; Pittsburgh City Theatre Company’s Mr. Joy; Trinity Rep’s Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike) returns to play Esther in Pulitzer Prize Winner Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel. Telling the story of an African American seamstress in 1905 New York City, this breathtaking play will be directed by Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch. The production also features Conservatory Actors Matthew Baldiga, Kate Eastman, Kyle Vincent Terry, and Whitney White, as well as Guest Artist Kathryn Hunter Williams, who frequents the stage as part of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC.
Closing the 2015 season is Shakespeare’s Henry V, one of the greatest war stories ever written by the world’s greatest playwright. Up-and-coming Director Evan Cabnet (Broadway’s anticipated Therese Raquin, Primary Stage’s The Model Apartment) makes his Chautauqua Theater Company debut. Henry V stars returning Conservatory Actor Jonathan Majors (Yale School of Drama). Majors received rave reviews for his performance in CTC’s 2014 productions of A Raisin in the Sun.
A Commitment to New Plays
As part of The New Play Workshop, Chautauqua Theater Company will present two Signature Staged Readings: The Engine of Our Ruin by Jason Wells and Afterlove by David West Read. “We’re dedicated to building the American theater of tomorrow. Supporting new and mid-career playwrights in their creative process by giving them the opportunity to see their work on its feet and developing with an astute audience is just one way for us to do this,” explains Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy.
Jason Wells’s first play, Men of Tortuga, had a critically-acclaimed debut at Steppenwolf Theatre’s First Look Repertory of New Work, went on to a successful run at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, and returned to Chicago for a production at Profiles Theatre. Wells’s second play, Perfect Mendacity, was a commission from Manhattan Theatre Club and the Sloan Foundation. Like Men of Tortuga, it debuted at Steppenwolf and went on to its official world premiere at the Asolo. In 2010, it was a finalist for the American Theatre Critics Association’s Steinberg/New Play Award, and won the ATCA M. Elizabeth Osborn Award. The North Plan debuted at First Look in 2010, and had its official world premiere at Portland Center Stage in Portland, Oregon, followed by numerous productions around the country. Wells’s newest play, The Engine of Our Ruin, is a mischievously sharp-tongued comedy of misinformation and misunderstanding that unravels as a routine trade agreement nearly escalates into a declaration of war.
David West Read’s new work, Afterlove, is a funny and poignant look at love from both sides of the grave. Read currently writes for the CBC comedy series “Schitt’s Creek,” starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. His other plays include: The Performers (Longacre Theatre on Broadway; Broadway.com Audience Choice nominee for Best New Play), The Dream of the Burning Boy (O’Neill Theater Conference, Roundabout Underground; Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award nomination for New American Play, Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Production of a Play), The Great Pretender (Old Globe New Voices Festival, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley; Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Original Script, Theatre Bay Area Award nomination for Outstanding World Premiere Play), Happy Face (Pacific Playwrights Festival), and The Dark Pines (Cape Cod Theatre Project).
Tickets for the 2015 season are on sale now. Tickets to Our Town, Intimate Apparel, and Henry V are $35; tickets to The New Play Workshop Signature Staged Readings are $20. For more information, please visit www.ctcompany.org.
About Chautauqua Theater Company
Dedicated to the next generation of theater artists, the development of new work, first-rate productions of modern and contemporary classics, and fresh insight into Shakespeare’s canon, CTC produces the best of a year-round regional theater within an eight week summer season as the resident theater of the Chautauqua Institution. Chautauqua Theater Company is where the finest theater artists of tomorrow bridge the gap between their training and the professional world.
The New Play Workshop at Chautauqua Theater Company
The New Play Workshop (NPW) is the component of Chautauqua Theater Company dedicated to fostering important new American playwrights and to providing a safe and stimulating playground for artists to develop new work for the theater.
About Chautauqua Institution
The pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution is a 140-year-old community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities.
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