Gloucester Stage Company's 35th Anniversary Season to Conclude with FENCER, 8/21-9/7
Gloucester Stage Company's 35th Anniversary Season wraps up with August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning Fences from August 21 through September 7 at the Gorton Theatre, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. The 1987 Winner for Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Fences tells the moving story of Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro baseball leagues who now works as a garbage man in 1957 Pittsburgh. Excluded from the major leagues during his prime, Troy's bitterness takes its toll on his relationships with his family. Gloucester Stage Artistic Director Eric C. Engel directs this powerful and poignant American work with GSC veteran Boston actress Jacqui Parker as Rose Maxson and a cast of GSC newcomers including Daver Morrison as Troy Maxson; Warren Jackson as Lyons; Gregory Marlow as Jim Bono; Jermel Nakia as Gabriel; Jared Brown as Cory and Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshops student Bezawit Strong in her professional stage debut as Raynell.
Director Eric C. Engel is in his eighth season as GSC's Artistic Director following two years serving as Producing & Associate Artistic Director and three years as a guest director. The 35th Anniversary Season opener, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris marked the 25th production he has directed at Gloucester Stage. In 2014 he also directed Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles for GSC. Recent GSC directing credits include Spring Awakening (recipient of IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Awards for Best Director and Best Production of a Musical), Dueling Divas, The Norman Conquests trilogy of plays, and Nine Circles (originally directed for the Publick Theatre Boston).
Jacqui Parker was last seen at GSC sharing the stage with Academy Award nominee Lindsay Crouse in 2008's Going To St. Ives. She also appeared at GSC in 2007's Ponies. An Elliot Norton award winning actress and seven-time IRNE Award winner, Ms. Parker's credits include Marilla in Anne of Green Gables with Wheelock Family Theatre; Coriolanus, Hamlet, and Much Ado About Nothing with Commonwealth Shakespeare Productions; Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Elizabeth in Old Settler, Jesus in Miss Witherspoon with the Lyric Stage Company; Mrs. Keckley and Mrs. Thomas in A Civil War Christmas, and Mother in Breath Boom at the Huntington Theatre Company; Caroline in Caroline or Change and Inez in Our Lady of 121st Street at Speakeasy Stage and Banquo in Macbeth with Actor's Shakespeare Project. Ms. Paker received the 2004 Boston Theatre Hero Award from Stage Source and the 2009 Dry Longso Award for consistent and courageous contributions in the struggle against racism.
Daver Morrison makes his GSC debut as Troy Maxson. Mr. Morrison has performed across the country from New York to Los Angeles in theatre, television, film, voiceovers, and commercials. He has appeared on stage with the Guthrie Theater, Portland Center Stage, North Shore Music Theatre, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Clarence Brown Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Geva Theatre, Roxbury Repertory Theatre, Charlotte Rep, Capital Rep. His favorite roles include Davenport in A Soldier's Play for which he won an IRNE Award; the title role in Othello; Simon in The Whipping Man; MacDuff in MacBeth; Lincoln in TopDog UnderDog; Willum in The Nerd; and The Man in Woody Guthrie's American Song for which he received an Ovation Award Nomination. Select television credits include 24, All My Children, and The Young and the Restless.
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Warren Jackson makes his GSC debut as Lyons Maxson. He was featured in national tours of Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet. Regionally, he appeared in the world premiere of Shoes, Cymbeline/Pericles and The Return of the King in Chicago and throughout the country in The Tempest; Railroad Bill and Clandestine Marriage. Off-Off Broadway he has been seen in Rainman, Coriolanus, Henry V, and as Edmund in King Lear and Romeo in R&J. As a company member with Brave New World Rep, Mr. Jackson appeared in The Long Christmas Dinner and Merry Wives of Windsor. Mr. Jackson received an MFA from the University of Arizona.
Chicago native and current NYC resident Gregory Marlow makes his GSC debut as Jim Bono. On Broadway he has been seen in Linda Eder, A Holiday Concert. Off-Broadway credits include Sawbones at Here Arts Center; Absolution of W.M with the Negro Ensemble Company; and Spring! Peace! at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Mr. Marlow toured nationally and internationally in Smokey Joe's Café and HAIR. Mr. Marlow received an MFA (Acting) from The Theatre School at DePaul University.
Los Angeles resident and Pepperdine University graduate Jermel Nakia makes his GSC: debut as Gabriel Maxson. Off- Broadway he appeared in A Gilbert and Sullivan Christmas Carol and regionally his credits include A Lesson Before Dying; A Raisin in the Sun; Once On This Island; Richard II, Show Boat; Disney's Aladdin Live; Tin Pan Alley Rag; Stone Heart: Everyone Loves A Journey West; Into the Woods; The Heart of Biddy Mason; and Biloxi Blues.
Emerson College graduate Jared Michael Brown makes his GSC debut as Cory Maxson. His credits include As You Like It with Actors Shakespeare Project; Whipping Man at New Repertory Theatre; How We Got On with Company One; and M.L.K: A Monumental Life at Constitution Hall.
Eight year old Gloucester resident Bezawit Strong makes her professional stage debut as Raynell Maxson in Fences. Ms. Strong was born in Ethiopia and came to the United States when she was six months old. She is a student in Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshops and appeared in the Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshops holiday season event Holiday Delights in December, 2013.
August Wilson's Fences runs from August 21 through September 7. Performance schedule: Thursday, August 21 through Saturday, August 23 at 8 pm; Wednesday, August 27 through Saturday, August 30 at 8 pm; Wednesday, September 3 through Saturday, September 6 at 8 pm; Saturday matinees on August 23, August 30 and September 6 at 3 pm and Sunday matinees on August 24, August 31 and September 7 at 4 pm. For the 3 pm Saturday matinee on August 23 only, the ticket price is Pay What You Can. Following the 4 pm performance on Sunday August 24, audiences are invited to a free post show discussion with the artists from Fences.
Gloucester Stage is handicapped accessible. Ticket prices are $40 for all performances. Senior citizen & student tickets are $35 for all performances. A limited amount of discount tickets are available to Cape Ann residents for all Wednesday and Thursday 8 pm performances. For these performances only, Cape Ann residents can purchase discounted tickets for $20. Advance reservations are strongly suggested to ensure tickets at the discounted price. Year round Cape Ann residents must identify themselves as such when making a reservation and proof of residency must be presented at the box office the night of the performance.
All performances are held at The Gorton Theatre, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at 978-281-4433 or at www.gloucesterstage.com
Photo by Gary Ng