Geva Opens the World Premiere of Mat Smart's TINKER TO EVERS TO CHANCE Tonight
Geva Theatre Center's 2014 Fielding Studio Series concludes with the world premiere of Tinker to Evers to Chance by Mat Smart and directed by Sean Daniels. The production begins performances tonight,, May 15 and runs in the Fielding Nextstage through June 1.
Play ball! Lauren makes a rare trip home to Chicago to take her ailing mother to the biggest Cubs game of the year, Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. But her mother has disappeared, leaving behind her caretaker and the fresh manuscript of a play about Cubs great Johnny Evers. A story about second chances and the redeeming power of baseball.
Mat Smart is a Core Writer at the Playwrights' Center, where he was a McKnight Advancement Grant and two-time Jerome Fellowship recipient. Samuel J. and K. premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival starring Justin Long and Owiso Odera (subsequent productions include Steppenwolf and Passage Theatre). Other plays include: The Steadfast (Slant Theatre Project), The Hopper Collection (Magic Theatre and Huntington Theatre Company), The 13th of Paris (City Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Public Theatre of Maine, Warehouse Theatre and LiveWire in Chicago) and The Bebop Heard in Okinawa (O'Neill Playwrights' Conference). He has been commissioned by South Coast Rep and Huntington and is a co-founder of Slant Theatre Project in NYC. He received his M.F.A. at UCSD. An avid baseball fan and traveler, Mat has been to 28 of the current MLB stadiums, all 50 states and 6 continents - including a recent stint working as a janitor at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. He is currently a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer's Group at Primary Stages and this summer, he will be in The Working Farm, the inaugural writer's group at SPACE on Ryder Farm. He lives in Brooklyn.
This production in the Fielding Nextstage will be the first full production of the play and Geva's fourth world premiere of the 2013-2014 season. Geva hosted a reading of Tinker to Evers to Chance during the 2012-2013 Season and playwright Mat Smart spent time in Rochester earlier this season as part of Geva's Festival of New Theatre, introducing Geva's audiences to his work, and in turn, getting to know Geva's audiences.
The title of the play is taken from a 1910 poem, "Baseball's Sad Lexicon" by Franklin Pierce Adams and is from the point of view of a Giants fan seeing the Cubs infield complete a double play. This poem made Tinker, Evers and Chance perhaps the most famous double-play combo in history. Ogden Nash's 1949 poem, "Line-Up for Yesterday," mentions the famous trio and in Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye, detective Philip Marlowe goes through his mail, opens it, and tosses it into the trash remarking, "Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Making their Geva Theatre Center debuts are James Craven as RJ and Emily Kitchens as Lauren. Mr. Craven has performed at Milwaukee Rep, Indiana Rep, Kansas City Rep, Arizona Theater Company, Cleveland Playhouse, ACT- San Francisco, LATC, Alley Theater as well as many other venues, in all ten of August Wilson's Decade Cycle plays. He appeared on Broadway in Gospel at Colonus. He is the 2005 recipient of the Spencer-Cherashore Artistic Fellowship Grant, a 2008 recipient of the McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship Grant and the 2011 Lunt-Fountaine/Ten Chimneys Fellowship. He is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University. Ms. Kitchens' regional credits include The Tall Girls at Alliance Theatre; Grace, or the Art of Climbing at Denver Center New Play Summit; Three Sisters adapted by Sarah Ruhl at Yale Repertory Theatre and Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Clybourne Park and A Christmas Carol at American Conservatory Theater; Lady Windermere's Fan, The Tempest, John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven and Much Ado About Nothing at California Shakespeare Theater; Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Ms. Kitchens received her B.F.A. from the University of Evansville and her M.F.A. from A.C.T.
Tinker to Evers to Chance is directed by Sean Daniels. The creative team includes Apollo Mark Weaver (Scenic Design), Amanda Doherty (Costume Design), Emily Stork (Lighting Design) and Stowe Nelson (Sound Design).
Tinker to Evers to Chance begins on May 15 and runs in the Fielding Nextstage through June 1.
The 2014 Fielding Studio Series is supported in part by the Gouvernet Arts Fund at The Community Foundation.