Virginia Woolf's ORLANDO to Play Stage West, Beg. 4/3

Virginia Woolf's ORLANDO to Play Stage West, Beg. 4/3

What happens when a strapping young Englishman suddenly finds he has become a woman? It's an amazing journey, to say the very least, in Sarah Ruhl's adaptation of Virginia Woolf's sweeping and witty Orlando, beginning a 5-week run at Stage West on Thursday, April 3.

Orlando is a typical young man. Well, typical except that he becomes the lover of Queen Elizabeth, is pursued by a number of other women, and then falls head over heels with a Russian princess named Sasha. Having abandoned his life at court, he is in turn abandoned by Sasha, and heartbroken. He tries to lose himself in Constantinople-and is unexpectedly successful, as he awakes one morning as a woman! Now he-or rather she-must learn to cope with both the penalties and privileges of a woman's position. And so she does, never growing older as the centuries roll by, and at last, finding love.

This wonderful, lyrical and funny piece is a time-and-gender-bending look at what it means to really live in the present moment, while imagining what we may become in the next. Orlando will offer audiences a completely unique theatrical experience.

Sarah Ruhl is originally from Chicago, receiving her MFA from Brown University, where she studied under Paula Vogel. In 2003, she was the recipient of a Helen Merrill Award and a Whiting Writers' award. She gained widespread recognition from The Clean House, winner of the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004 and a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Her Eurydice, which opened at New York's Second Stage in June 2007, prompted Charles Isherwood of the New York Times to write, "Ms. Ruhl's theatrical vision is an idiosyncratic one. She is not a journalist of domestic life, as so many playwrights today seem to be, but an adventurer who is not afraid to blend the quotidian and the fantastic, deep feeling and airy whimsy." Ms. Ruhl's other works include Melancholy Play, Late: a cowboy song, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony nominee), Passion Play, and Stage Kiss, closing April 6 in New York.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group, founded by her brother. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929) with its famous dictum, "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Her lengthy relationship with the aristocratic novelist and poet Vita Sackville-West led her to write Orlando, and the title character was meant to be a composite of Vita and her many lives. It was called by her son "the longest and most charming love letter in literature."

Orlando is co-directed by Garret Storms and Jim Covault. It features Anastasia Munoz, who recently appeared as Dr. Scientist/Bureaucrat in On the Eve at Theatre Three, as Orlando. Sasha will be played by Katherine Bourne, who played Bianca and other roles in Stage West's The Taming of the Shrew. And a chorus of three will handle multiple roles: Mark Shum, last at Stage West as Bertie in Thank You Jeeves; Nick Moore, who played Faulkland in Stage West's The Rivals; and Stephen Rosenberger, seen as Malvolio in Twelfth Night for Hits Theatre.

Costuming is from Michael Robinson and Dallas Costume Shoppe, with set design by Jim Covault, lighting by Michael O'Brien, and props and set décor by Lynn Lovett.

Orlando will preview Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 and Friday, April 4 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, May 4. 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, April 5. 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 April 11. Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org. NO PERFORMANCE EASTER SUNDAY.

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