Stage West's BEYOND THERAPY Begins Tonight

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Stage West's BEYOND THERAPY Begins Tonight

Two neurotic people looking for love and two therapists who are clearly less sane than their patients. What could go wrong? That's the question posed by Christopher Durang's sharply satirical farce Beyond Therapy, beginning a 6-week run at Stage West tonight, August 21.

Prudence and Bruce are both in therapy, and are trying to find love-or something close-via the personal ads. Their first date is already typically awkward, but then Bruce announces that he is bisexual and has a live-in lover, Bob. Epic first-date fail. Both seek counsel from their therapists. Unfortunately, Prudence's therapist, Dr. Stuart Framingham, has major problems relating to women, and slept with her after their second session. And Bruce's therapist, Charlotte Wallace, is more than a bit eccentric, constantly mixing up her words and speaking to and through her stuffed dog. Can Prudence and Bruce overcome the meddling of their therapists (not to mention Bob's jealousy), and achieve some sort of relationship? Seems unlikely, but who knows?

It's a wild and enjoyable ride for audiences, as Durang aims his savage wit at psycho-babble and the pitfalls of dating in the 80s. Time Magazine said "offers the best therapy of all: guaranteed laughter," while the LA Times called it "wickedly funny, terribly slanted, and essentially true."

Christopher Durang was born in Montclair, N.J., and received a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama. His plays include The Idiots Karamazov (coauthored with Albert Innaurato), A History of the American Film (Tony nominee),Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy (off and on Broadway), Baby with the Bathwater, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie for playwriting; Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award), Laughing Wild, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie for playwriting), Miss Witherspoon (2005 Pulitzer finalist), Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them, and Vonya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013 Tony Award for Best Play). He has won the Harvard Arts Medal and the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, and was inducted in the Theatre Hall of Fame. For 18 years he and Marsha Norman have been co-chairs of the Juilliard Playwriting Program, and he is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council. The New Yorker called him "one of the funniest and most original playwrights at work."

Jim Covault is directing the production, which features Stage West Co-Producing Director Dana Schultes, most recently seen in Stage West's The Unmentionables, as Prudence, and Mark Shum, Stage West's Business Manager, seen here earlier this season in Orlando, as Bruce. Amber Devlin, who starred as Mrs. Malaprop in our season opener The Rivals, will play Bruce's therapist Charlotte Wallace, with Jakie Cabe, just seen as Dromio in The Comedy of Errors and Trinculo in The Tempest for Trinity Shakespeare Festival, as Dr. Stuart Framingham, Prudence's therapist. Bruce's roommate/lover Bob will be played by Tyler Martin, most recently seen as Ellard in the Theatre Arlington production of The Foreigner, while Mitchell Stephens, whose Trinity Shakespeare Festival credits include Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, will appear as Andrew.

The set will be designed by Jim Covault, with lighting by Michael O'Brien. Costume design will be handled by Michael Robinson and Dallas Costume Shoppe, with props and set décor by Lynn Lovett.

Beyond Therapy will preview Thursday, August 21 at 7:30 and Friday, August 22 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, September 28. Performance times will be Thursday evenings at 7:30, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 3:00. The opening night reception will be Saturday, August 23. Ticket prices range from $28 to $32, with discounts for the preview performance, and for students, seniors, and military. Food service is available 90 minutes prior to performances (reservations are necessary), and the Friday Prix Fixe special (dinner and show for $39) will be available beginning August 29. Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org.

Photos by Buddy Myers

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