Ryann Weir and Annie Tippe's DEBUTANTE. World Premiere Opens Tonight
Already selling out fast, DEBUTANTE. makes a much anticipated return to the stage at the Bernie Wohl Center (647 Columbus Avenue) after a sold out presentation at Ars Nova's ANT Fest last June.
DEBUTANTE. follows the preparations and ultimate debut of a group of restless young heiresses living in decadence during a worldwide financial crisis. Through late night bike rides, TAB soda overdoses, and Jazzercise sessions inspired by the soap opera "Dynasty," these poor little rich girls come of age as they come out to the world. At its heart, it is an unexpectedly loving portrait of a group of young women anxious to find their worth in a world defined by the almighty dollar.
The production stars Elizabeth Alderfer (CBS's "The Good Wife"), Eshan Bay (Netflix's "House of Cards"), Anna Abhau Elliott (HOME/SICK), Lena Hudson, Keilly McQuail (New Brooklyn Theater's THE DEATH OF BESSIE SMITH), Ben Otto (Pipeline's BYUIOO), Ronald Peet (La Mama's THE GOLEM OF HAVANA), Rochelle Slovin, and Liza de Weerd (FOX's "The Following").
Since its conception in 2012, DEBUTANTE. has been presented at "Guadalupe," a CUNY spon- sored evening of new work by female artists; Fresh Ground Pepper; and was one of the fastest selling shows at Ars Nova's 2013 ANT Fest. Ars Nova is one of the most exciting developmental theatre spaces in New York and has helped launch the careers of director Alex Timbers (Rocky on Broadway, Peter & the Starcatcher), composers Andrew Lippa (Big Fish, The Wild Party) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights) as well as dozens of others.
The upcoming production features scenic design by Daniel Dabdoub, costume design by Maria Hooper (Sarah Ruhl's Dear Elizabeth at Yale Rep), lighting design by Joe Cantalupo (The TEAM's RoosElvis), sound design by Jerome Ellis (Under the Radar's Aaron/Marie), hair and makeup design by Christian Edwards and projections by Ivaylo Getov. Sarah Rose Leonard serves as Dramaturg.
Presented in partnership with the community arts program at Goddard Riverside Community Center, DEBUTANTE. has a limited run beginning Wednesday, April 23 through Saturday, May 10. All performances are at 8pm. Tickets are on sale at http://debutante.brownpapertickets.com. Additional information can be found at www.debutanteplay.com.
ABOUT THE CAST
ELIZABETH ALDERFER (Brenda) - NY Credits: Debutante (Ars Nova), All the Rats and Rags (Joe's Pub, 3LD), Blind Alley Guy (Incubator), Ivanoff (The Tank), Ideal (59E59), The Footage (The Flea). TV: "The Good Wife", "Golden Boy", "Unforgettable". NYU, PHTS.
ESHAN BAY (Mirza) - Eshan Bay is an American film, TV, and stage actor. He studied Economics and Politics at NYU, trained at The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, and recently received his MA in Classical Acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He first appeared onstage in Long Wharf's Agnes Under the Big Top for which he won the Best Newcomer Award (CCC). He has worked with David Fincher on Netflix's "House of Cards," and starred in David Andalman's American Milkshake, which premiered at Sundance last year. Other credits include The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Atlantic Theater), and Madame Secretary. He resides in New York City.
ANNA ABHAU ELLIOTT (Frankie) -Anna Abhau Elliott is an actor and writer. Recent performances include The Record at Under the Radar, HOME/SICK at The Living Theater, Comrades of Time at The Whitney Biennial 2012, as well as a bunch of new plays with Aggrocrag, Aztec Economy, and others. Residencies include Fresh Ground Pepper BRB and the Pilot Balloon Church-House. Anna improvises with ComedySportz NYC. And once she was in a Beirut music video. www.Anna-Elliott.net
LENA HUDSON (Sylvia) -Lena Hudson is a New York based actor and theatre maker. Recent credits include DEBUTANTE. (Ars Nova), Folk Wandering (Joe's Pub/Ars Nova), an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five (FringeNYC '13), Cavale in Cowboy Mouth (Red Room), Valhalla (Boxed Wine Prod.), The Collected Rules of Gifted Camp (The Brick), and Oil of Ole?! (La MaMa). She is also a member of the all-female clown troupe Clowns Ex-Machina. BFA, Tisch.
KEILLY MCQUAIL (Barbara) -Recent credits include Albee's THE DEATH OF BESSIE SMITH with New Brooklyn Theatre and I'M MISERABLE BUT CHANGE SCARES ME (The Brick, New Saloon). Film/TV: 'Not Fade Away' (dir. David Chase), "Shortcomings" for MTV, and "Are We There Yet?" (TBS). BFA from NYU Tisch and the Atlantic Theatre Company. www.KeillyMcQuail.com
BEN OTTO (Bill) -Ben Otto is a New York based actor living in Brooklyn. Since graduating Fordham University with an English degree and a bronze medal from the A10 Diving championships, Ben has worked in numerous capacities for a variety of theater companies. These include The Public Theater, St. Anne's Warehouse, The Flea Theater, The Arden Theater Company in Philadelphia, Fresh Ground Pepper (Shoot The Freak), Pipeline Theatre Company (Byuioo), Theatre Reconstruction Ensemble (You On The Moors Now), Tremor Collective (The Rub, Keep Following), Theatre in Asylum (Frankenstein, Ole!) and others. Ben also stars in Pepper and Paul, a web series paired with an online marketplace of stainable and ethically produced fashion goods. P&P premiered its first short film at this year's Sundance Film Festival (pepperandpaul.com). www.benotto.net
RONALD PEET (Thomas) - Readings: A. Zell Williams' The Biggest Valley directed by Jesse Jou (Ars Nova), Mashuq Deen's Untitled Project Crazy (NYTW), Sarah Gancher's I'll Get You Back Again directed by Rachel Chavkin (Ars Nova); NY: Nate Weida's BYUIOO directed by Andrew Neisler (Pipeline), The Golem of Havana directed by Michel Hausmann (La MaMa), Tilly the Trickster directed by Jeremy Dobrish (Atlantic Theater Company), Stiven Luka's The Little Chaos (The Brick); Regional: Palamon in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Lucy/Dainty Fidget in The Country Wife, Arthur in King John, and Morocco in The Merchant of Venice (American Shakespeare Center). BFA, NYU Atlantic Theater Co & International Theater Workshop. www.ronaldalexanderpeet.com
ROCHELLE SLOVIN (Edna) -Rochelle Slovin began her stage career at the age of 8 at the Henry Street Playhouse, working under the inspiring dance and theater artist, Alwin Nikolais. In the 1960s, she appeared in plays at La MaMa and other off-off-Broadway theaters. Recent work on stage: Anfisa in Three Sisters (Gowanus Art and Production), Mrs. Voynitsky in the Russian Arts Theater's Uncle Vanya (directed by Aleksey Burago), Beatrice in Do the Blind Dream? by Barry Gifford. Film and video: Great American (internet pilot), The Hyperglot (directed by Michael Urie), Sonnet XIV (NY Shakespeare Exchange Sonnet Project), music videos for the artists Autre Ne Veut and Mutual Benefit. She is the founder of Museum of the Moving Image, which she led for thirty years before returning to her first love -- acting -- in 2011.
LIZA DE WEERD (Ms Peasgood) - Liza's recent stage work includes Lady Macbeth at Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Yolanda/Jody in the New York and Los Angeles Premieres of Pulp Shakespeare (Cherry Lane, SoHo Playhouse, and Theatre Asylum), Janetta in the World Premiere of The Boomerang Effect at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, Lusia in A Shayna Maidel at ICT Long Beach, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing at Kentucky Shakespeare. She has been seen on television in recurring roles on "The Following" and "Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures," as well as "Grey's Anatomy," "Lie to Me," "Monk," "Big Love," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", and "Alias". Her film work includes Night Eyes, Salvation Road, and Paul Verhoeven's Zwartboek (Black Book), which was filmed in her native country, The Netherlands.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM:
RYANN WEIR (Writer) - Ryann Weir is an actor/playwright based in New York. Her work has been performed at Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center, NYU, NYTW's E. 4th St. Theater, The Second City's Donny Skybox, The Pit, Theater for the New City as part of The Dream Up Festival, The Cookery Festival at Playwrights Horizons Theater School, and Fresh Ground Pepper. Ryann is a member of Smith + Tinker, a collaborative writers' group at HERE Arts Center. She was also chosen as a playwright for FGP's inaugural writers retreat in 2013. Ryann holds a BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
ANNIE TIPPE (Director/Creator) - Annie is a New York-based director and performer. She was the Associate Director for the TEAM's production of Mission Drift, which recently toured Australia and Hong Kong (dir. Rachel Chavkin). Directing credits include Aaron/Marie (Under the Radar Incoming Series at the Public; Prelude Festival '13; Ars Nova's ANT Fest), Dinosaur Play (HERE Arts), The Collected Rules of Gifted Camp (The Brick), First Ladies Project (E. 4th Street Theater). Williamstown Theater Directing Intern 2012.
ROBB NANUS (Producer) - Robb is a New York based producer. He recently co- produced Andrew Lippa's I AM HARVEY MILK with Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook, Milk) this past June with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and will be bringing it to New York in the fall of 2014. Past Projects include sold out presentations of The Wild Party Swings (54 Below), DEBUTANTE. (Ars Nova's ANT Fest), The Tonganoxie Project (Rattlestick Playwright Thea- ter's Middle Voice Theater Company) and Love Labor's Found (The Producer's Club). Robb has worked in various capacities with the National Alliance for Musical Theater, the TONY Award winning Signature Theatre in DC, The Music Theatre Company in Chicago, Telsey + Co, and Turbovote. He also serves as a trustee on the NYC chapter of the Awesome Foundation.
ABOUT GODDARD RIVERSIDE & THE BERNIE WOHL CENTER: Since its founding in 1892, Goddard Riverside Community Center has been committed to bring- ing people together across barriers of culture, ethnicity, age, sexuality, and personal circum- stance. Goddard Riverside's programs are catalysts to advance a vision of a more just and com- passionate society. Goddard Riverside's Bernie Wohl Center was reopened in 2011, with a new initiative to bring high quality arts and entertainment accessible to all members of Goddard Riverside and the citizens of the Upper West Side at large.
Photo Credit: Bailey Carr