Turner-Led HIGH Extends Thru 8/22 at TheaterWorks

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The world premiere production of HIGH, by Matthew Lombardo is quickly selling out many performances of its announced July 2 through August 15, 2010 run at TheaterWorks in Hartford, Connecticut.

The play, starring two-time Golden Globe winner, Academy Award and Tony Award nominee Kathleen Turner, along with Evan Jonigkeit (in photo) and Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse, will now perform through August 22, 2010, but cannot extend further.

Following its run in Hartford, HIGH opens the 2010-2011 Season at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, September 4 through October 2, 2010. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis then presents HIGH October 13 through November 7, 2010.

Lead Sponsor for TheaterWorks' production of HIGH is Aetna and Co-Sponsor is Webster Bank. The production corresponds with the 25th Anniversary of TheaterWorks' founding by Hartford-native Steve Campo. TheaterWorks' 25th Anniversary Sponsor is The Roberts Foundation.

In HIGH, when Sister Jamison Connelly, played by Kathleen Turner, agrees to sponsor a 19 year-old drug-user in an effort to help him combat his addiction, her own faith is tested. Struggling between the knowledge she possesses as a rehabilitation counselor and her own moral convictions, she begins to question the belief in miracles and whether people can find the courage to change. HIGH explores the universal themes of truth, forgiveness, redemption and human fallibility.

Kathleen Turner's indelible portrayals have made her part of the iconography of American cinema and stage. The character of Sister Jamison Connelly in HIGH offers Ms. Turner a role that perhaps only she can fully command. Her own struggle with rheumatoid arthritis, addiction and recovery is eloquently articulated in her bestselling autobiography. Ms. Turner has garnered acclaim for performances in classic films including Body Heat (Golden Globe Nomination); Romancing The Stone and Prizzi's Honor (Golden Globe Awards); Peggy Sue Got Married (Academy Award / Golden Globe Nominations); and War of the Roses (Golden Globe Nomination). Film credits also include The Man With Two Brains; Jewel of the Nile; The Accidental Tourist; V.I. Warshawski; Serial Mom; Naked In New York; Moonlight and Valentino; The Real Blonde; and The Virgin Suicides. She starred on Broadway in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (Tony Nomination); Indiscretions; The Graduate; and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Tony Nomination). She had a major role last season as Sue Collini on Showtime's Californication. This spring she starred as Molly Ivins in the World Premiere of Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins at Philadelphia Theater and starred in the film, The Perfect Family. She wrote of her many accomplishments and life experiences in Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on my Life, Love, and Leading Roles - a New York Times Best-Seller.

Sister Jamison Connelly's colleague and occasional adversary in HIGH, Father Michael Delpapp, is portrayed by Michael Berresse. Mr. Berresse received Tony Award, Olivier London), Outer Critics Circle and Astaire Award nominations for his "frighteningly agile" portrayal of Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me, Kate and another Outer Critics nomination for his work in Lincoln Center Theatre's acclaimed Broadway production of The Light in the Piazza. He made his Broadway director / choreographer debut in 2008 with [title of show], the Off-Broadway production of which had already garnered him an Obie Award and a Lucille Lortel nomination. Other major Broadway acting credits include A Chorus Line (Zach), Chicago (Billy Flynn), No, No, Nanette (Billy Early) and Damn Yankees (Joe Hardy). He made his feature film debut in Steven Spielberg's A.I. and was recently seen scaring the bejeezus out of Russell Crowe as Robert Bingham in State Of Play. Regional appearances include L.A.'s Mark Taper Forum, The Old Globe, The Kennedy Center and Channon in Gerald Freedman's production of The Dybbuk at Great Lakes Theatre Festival.

Evan Jonigkeit plays hustler and addict Cody Randall. A Philadelphia based artist, he has worked in many of that city's theaters, including Arden Theatre, Mauckingbird Theatre, Walnut St. Theatre, Montgomery Theatre, and People's Light & Theatre. He has been seen in the films "Calendar Girl", "The Gift", and on Fox TV's Amazing Sport Stories and As the World Turns. He serves on Playpenn new play development literary committee, as Director of Development for Mauckingbird Theatre, and as a teacher. He is a graduate of Temple University.

The opportunity for audiences to experience this exceptional trio of actors in the World Premiere of HIGH comes by way of playwright Matthew Lombardo. Born in Hartford, CT and raised in nearby Wethersfield, HIGH represents the second world premiere he brings back to his hometown. In 2002, his Katharine Hepburn bio-play Tea at Five (with Kate Mulgrew) debuted at Hartford Stage, instantly becoming an audience favorite and breaking all box office records. The play later debuted Off-Broadway prior to a successful national tour. Mr. Lombardo most recently made his Broadway debut at The Lyceum Theatre with the hilarious and poignant look at Tallulah Bankhead, Looped, starring Valerie Harper, in a Tony Award-nominated portrayal. The production established a working partnership with Hartford-based director and TheaterWorks' Senior Artistic Associate, Rob Ruggiero, who directs HIGH in Hartford, as well as in Cincinnati and St. Louis.

Rob Ruggiero has directed over forty productions at TheaterWorks including Shakespeare's R&J, No Child, Rabbit Hole, and The Little Dog Laughed. He staged the world premiere of Looped, by Matthew Lombardo at Pasadena Playhouse, and subsequent productions in West Palm Beach, Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and on Broadway. Regionally, he has earned recognition for his work on both plays and musicals, having received numerous awards including a Joseph Jefferson Award in Chicago, and currently has the distinction of being the only director to have received four Kevin Kline Awards in St. Louis. For Goodspeed Musicals, Mr. Ruggiero directed 1776, Big River, Camelot and Annie Get Your Gun. He conceived and directed the popular Ella (starring Tina Fabrique), which continues to play major regional theaters nationwide.

The design team for HIGH includes set designer David Gallo, winner of the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, American Theatre Wing Award, Lucille Lortel Award, LA Critics Circle Award, and the Obie Award; one of the most acclaimed and diversified costume designers in American theater, Tony Award winner Jess Goldstein; as well as TheaterWorks' veterans John Lasiter (Lights) and Vincent Olivieri (Sound and Composition).

HIGH, by Matthew Lombardo, runs July 2 through August 22, 2010 at TheaterWorks at City Arts on Pearl - 233 Pearl Street in Downtown Hartford.

Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. with weekend matinees at 2:30 p.m. (The play opens to press on Friday, July 30, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.)

Seats for HIGH are $49. Seating is general admission. Center reserved seats are $15 extra. College-age student rush seats are $15 at show time with valid school ID (subject to availability). Discounts are available for groups of 12 or more.

For complete information and reservations, call TheaterWorks at (860) 527-7838. Visit TheaterWorks at: theaterworkshartford.org.

 

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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