SpeakEasy Stage to Present Samuel D. Hunter's THE WHALE, 3/7-4/5

From March 7 through April 5, 2014, SpeakEasy Stage Company will present the New England premiere of the acclaimed Off-Broadway drama THE WHALE by Samuel D. Hunter.

Winner of the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, THE WHALE tells the story of Charlie, a morbidly obese man who hides away in his Northern Idaho apartment quietly eating himself to death in the wake of a personal tragedy. With his health quickly failing, Charlie makes one last desperate attempt to connect with his estranged daughter Ellie, a sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen whom he has not seen in 15 years. Also involved in Charlie's quest for redemption are Liz, Charlie's enabling caregiver; Elder Thomas, a Mormon on a mission; and Mary, Charlie's ex-wife.

THE WHALE was written by Samuel D. Hunter, whose play A Bright New Boise had its Boston debut last season. A native of Northern Idaho, Mr. Hunter lives in New York City and holds degrees in playwriting from New York University, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard. He has received the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, and the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship. Mr. Hunter is also a member of New Dramatists, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, a Core Member of The Playwrights' Center, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, and is currently a Resident Playwright at Arena Stage. He has three new plays set to debut nationally this season: The Few, A Great Wilderness, and Rest.

Norton Award-winner David R. Gammons will direct THE WHALE for SpeakEasy Stage. Mr. Gammons' previous directorial efforts for the company include the award-winning productions of Blackbird, Red, and The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

Boston actor, teacher, and playwright John Kuntz will play Charlie, and will share the stage with Josephine Elwood, Georgia Lyman, Maureen Keiller, and Ryan O'Connor.

The design team includes Cristina Todesco (scenic), Gail Astrid Buckley (costumes), Jeff Adelberg (lighting), David Remedios (sound), and Megan F. Kinneen (props). Christine Lomaka is the Production Stage Manager.

THE WHALE will run for five weeks, from March 7 through April 5, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston's South End.

Ticket prices start at $25, with discounts for students, seniors, and persons age 25 and under. For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com.

THE WHALE had its world premiere production at Denver Center Theatre Company in Denver, Colorado in January 2012. The show then premiered Off-Broadway in October 2012 at Playwrights Horizons with Tony Award-winner Shuler Hensley in the lead role. THE WHALE has since been produced by Victory Gardens, South Coast Repertory, a chick & a dude productions, and Stray Cat Theatre.

THE WHALE won the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, the 2013 Drama Desk Special Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre, and the 2013 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding New York Theater.

The play also received nominations for the 2013 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Play, the 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play, and the 2013 John Gassner Award for Outstanding New American Play.

SAMUEL D. HUNTER (Playwright) holds degrees in playwriting from New York University, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard. In addition to THE WHALE, his plays include A Bright New Boise (2011 Obie Award for Playwriting, 2011 Drama Desk nomination for Best Play) and the upcoming new works The Few, A Great Wilderness, and Rest. His plays have been produced by such theatres as Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Victory Gardens, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, The Old Globe, Denver Center Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, and Page 73. His work has been developed at the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, and Seven Devils. Mr. Hunter is the winner of a 2012 Whiting Writers' Award, the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, and the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship. He is a member of New Dramatists, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, a Core Member of The Playwrights' Center, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, and is currently a Resident Playwright at Arena Stage. A native of Northern Idaho, Mr. Hunter now lives in New York City.




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