World Premiere of COUNTY LINE Opens Tonight at Performance Network Theatre
From tonight, January 16 through February 16 Performance Network Theatre presents the world premiere of the 2013 National New Play Network Showcase Selection and Edgerton Award-Winning inspiring drama "County Line" by David Wells, who made his Performance Network debut in last season's audience favorite comedy, "Brill". He is a University of Michigan Alumnus and one of Michigan's most popular emerging playwrights. "County Line", directed
by David Wolber, is a coming-of-age story set in rural Kansas and explores the challenges young adults may face in foster homes, the lasting effects these memories can have on a person, and how 17-year-old Lois is able to overcome anything that is thrown her way. Tickets are available now at performancenetwork.org or by calling the box office at 734-663-0681.
After studying film and playwriting at the University of Michigan, David Wells moved west and saw his play "Last Sunday Morning" produced at The Third Stage in Los Angeles. Pursuing his M.A. in Playwriting at San Francisco State University, his play "Fairgrounds" received the Lawrence And Lee Playwriting Award. Wells then decided to pursue screenwriting and after his screenplay "The Floaters" was a finalist for The Motion Picture Academy's 2002 Nicholl Award, he gained representation in Los Angeles and proceeded, for nearly a decade, to work on projects at New Line, Sony Pictures, and Disney. Finally, David returned to playwriting with "Brill," which was a finalist for the National New Play Network 2012 Showcase and received its world premiere at Performance Network in January of 2013. "County Line", is a recipient of the 2013 Edgerton New American Play Award and will receive its world premiere in PNT's 2013- 14 season. He is currently working on the book and lyrics to a musical "Irrational", which will premiere as a staged reading Eastern Michigan University on January 24.
"County Line" is the whimsical and profound story of 17-year-old Lois' journey after the arrest of her lovably lackadaisical father. Lois is sentenced to the strict confines of a foster home run by Tanya - a woman who is not your typical guardian and owns the County Line Truck Stop & Travel Center. She and her foster brother Darius are then forced to overcome the devastating reality of being failed by the institutions charged with protecting them. In this coming-of-age story, Lois encounters both her first look at the subtle terrors one human can inflict upon another and a lifeline to humanity that will ultimately save her.
Directed by David Wolber ("Good People," "Brill," "Dead Man's Shoes"), "County Line" features an all-star cast and production team. Making her Performance Network Theatre debut, Alissa Nordmoe stars as the lead, Lois. Alissa is a young actress who is taking the Michigan theatre scene by storm! She was last seen onstage in Williamston Theatre's production of "boom." She also performs classic country and doo wop standards in the area.
Another fresh face, Emilio Rodriguez will make his Performance Network debut as the temperamental Darius. Emilio recently completed his apprenticeship at Two Muses Theatre and studied Drama at University of California Irvine. "I am enraptured to be working with a beautiful cast on a beautiful play in a beautiful space," said Emilio. He has recently been seen Waterworks' "Merry Wives of Windsor" and Two Muses' "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"
Michigan theatre veterans, Julia Glander and Phil Powers round out the dynamic cast. Julia Glander is thrilled to
be working both on and off the Performance Network stage for this 2013-14 season. An Ann Arbor resident for the past six years, she has appeared at many Michigan theaters including "Games Afoot" and "Holmes for the Holiday" at Meadow Brook Theatre, as well as the title role in "Mary Stuart" and "Shirley Valentine" at Williamston Theatre, "Lady with All the Answers" at the Tipping Point Theatre, and others. She has played leading roles coast-to-coast, Off-Broadway to the Hollywood Bowl, and many regional stages in between, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Asolo Rep, and American Stage. Her film work includes: "Trust," "Salvation Boulevard," "Highland Park," "Waterwalk," and "Answer This!". Julia is also directing Performance Network's "Richard III" in April 2014.
Phil is happy to be back in his home town of Ann Arbor at the Performance Network where he is a proud Associate Artist. This is Phil's second world premiere of a David Wells script. His performance as Jimmy Wise in Performance Network's "Brill" last January earned him a Wilde Award Nomination and he has also appeared as the Man in Chair for Performance Network's "The Drowsy Chaperone" (Wilde Award). Phil has also appeared at the Jewish Ensemble, Meadowbrook, Purple Rose, Gem, and City theaters as an actor. This summer he made his directorial debut with "Becky Shaw" at Performance Network. He recently appeared on HBO's "Hung" and AMC's "Low Winter Sun" and can be seen in Jeff Daniels' Michigan-made feature films "Escanaba in da' Moonlight" and "Super Sucker," as well as "Frozen Stupid" starring Ernest Borgnine.
About the production team:
Director, David Wolber became the Artistic Director at Performance Network Theatre in 2007. At the Network,
he has directed "Good People," "Brill," "Dead Man's Shoes" (Best New Script - Wilde Award 2012, and a co- production with Williamston Theatre) "The War Since Eve" (Best New Script 2011- Wilde Award), "Sonia Flew"
(a co-production with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre), "Christmas Carol'd," "The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead" (Best Local Play - AnnArbor.com 2009), "Exits and Entrances," "Souvenir" (co-director in a co-production with Boarshead Theatre), "The Clean House," "A Doll's House," "Language Lessons" (Best New Play - Ann Arbor News 2007), "The Stillness Between Breaths" (Best New Play - Oakland Press), "Necessary Targets" by Eve Ensler, "The White Rose" and more. As an actor, David has performed at the Network in "Retreat From Moscow," "A Life in the Theatre, Take Me Out," "The Home Team" (Favorite Male Performer-Comedy - Wilde Award), "The Spirit House," "The Maiden's Prayer," and "Three Days of Rain" (Best Actor - Ann Arbor News, Best Ensemble Awards - Oakland Press) among others, as well as "A Streetcar Named Desire" (Outstanding Ensemble Performance - Oakland Press) for Chimera. He has performed with the JET, Detroit Repertory Theatre and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. David is a member of Actors' Equity Association and Americans for the Arts, and has served on several committees for The Arts Alliance of Washtenaw County, the National New Play Network, the Cultural Alliance of Southeast Michigan, and the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance.
Assistant Director and Performance Network Associate Artist Sarab Kamoo was last seen in "Becky Shaw," "God of Carnage," "Sonia Flew," and "The War Since Eve." Other recent theater credits include "9 Parts of Desire" (Critic's Choice Awards- Between the Lines) with Waterworks, "Consider the Oyster" and "And the Winner Is" at the Purple Rose Theatre, "boom" and "Panache" (Best Comedy- Between the Lines 2009) at Williamston Theatre, "A Sleeping Country" and "Don't Dress for Dinner" with Tipping Point Theater, "White's Lies" and "Rabbit Hole" at Meadow Brook Theater and "The Blank Page" at the Jewish Ensemble Theater. Film credits include the feature films "Stone," "Conviction," "Trust," "Highland Park," "This Must Be The Place," "The Giant Mechanical Man," "Won't Back Down" and "Supersucker." Television movies include the Lifetime movie "Secrets in the Walls," Mitch Albom's "Have a Little Faith" and the ABC Family movie "Lovestruck the Musical." Sarab is also a part-time school social worker in the Rochester School District.
Dramaturg Carla Milarch is the Associate Artistic Director/Literary Manager at PNT and has filled many roles in
her 13 years, including: Artistic Director, Executive Director, Actress, Director, Sound Designer, Dramaturg, and Development Director. As a directors, she has helmed "Jerry's Girls," "Red," "The Drowsy Chaperone," "Little Shop of Horrors" (Best Musical - Wilde Award), "The Baker's Wife," "The Fantasticks," "Ice Glen," "She Loves Me," "The Sins of Sor Juana," and "Special Relativity" (Best Play - Wilde Awards). She has also served as Dramaturg on all of the Network's World Premiere's including "Dead Man's Shoes" (Best New Script - Wilde Award), "The War Since Eve" (Best New Script - Wilde Award), "Christmas Carol'd," "It Came From Mars," "Geoffrey and Jeffrey," "Language Lessons" (Best New Play - Ann Arbor News), "The Stillness Between Breaths" (Best New Play - Oakland Press) and "The Home Team" (Best New Play, Oakland Press). As an actor, Carla has performed at the Network in "The Glass Menagerie," "Dirty Blonde" (Best Actress - Wilde Awards), "A Doll's House," "Boston Marriage," "Spike Heels," "Defying Gravity," "The Spirit House," "Necessary Targets," "Sin," "Elizabeth Rex," "It's All True," "Stop Kiss," "The Maiden's Prayer," "Struggling Truths," "As Bees in Honey Drown," "Not Waving," "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," "... And Associates," "Some of My Best Friends Are," and "Inverted Pyramid," well as "A Streetcar Named Desire" (Outstanding Ensemble Performance - Oakland Press) for Chimera. Additionally, she has designed sound for 15 shows at PNT. Other awards include "Best Overall Season/Artistic Direction" and "Most Valuable Performer" from the Oakland Press, "Outstanding Contributions to an Ensemble" from The Detroit Free Press, and the Between the Lines "Angel" award for outstanding contributions to the LGBT community. Carla is the Board Chair of the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance, a member of Actor's Equity Association, and the National Showcase selection committee of the National New Play Network. Recent projects and accomplishments include organizing a performance of the Vagina Monologues on the Capitol Steps in Lansing with Eve Ensler. She received her conservatory training in acting at Interlochen Arts Academy and State University of New York at Purchase.
Set designer, Kirk Domer is happy to return to Performance Network after his recent scenic design for "Dead
Man's Shoes." Kirk is the Chair for the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University. He received his
MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has designed Scenery and Props for Stages Repertory Theatre, Eastman Opera, Mercury Opera, The Ohio Light Opera, Williamston Theatre, Stormfield Theatre, BoarsHead Theater, The Madison Repertory Theatre, Summer Circle Theatre, Riverwalk Theatre, Wharton Center, and Make*a*Circus. His scenic design for Mitch Albom's play "Ernie," a theatrical tribute to Detroit's Ernie Harwell has been playing for three years at the City Theatre in Detroit.
Lighting designer, Mary Cole is currently a Lecturer at the University of Michigan's Department of Dance as well as their Lighting Designer, Stage Manager and Technical Director. She also fulfills those same roles for Ann Arbor Dance Works. Mary is honored to continue being an Associate Artist with Performance Network. Her most recent shows were "Jerry's Girls," "Becky Shaw" at Performance Network, and "Red Noses" this fall with UM's Theater Department. She is looking forward to this year's season with designing "Other Desert Cities" and "The Renaissance Man." Mary received her BS in Dramatic Arts from Eastern Michigan University and did graduate work in lighting design at the University of Michigan.
Sound designer, Ed Weingart is the Assistant Professor of Technical Direction at Michigan State University and has
a BFA in Sound Design and a MFA in Technical Direction from The University of Connecticut. He served in the 102d Army Band as the sound engineer and as a musician. He was also the Audio Master and resident Sound Designer at Eastern Connecticut State University where he designed Our Lady of 121st Street, Ondine, Oklahoma, and others. At UConn he designed the sound for "Stop Kiss," "Prudence," "Macbeth," "Restoration Comedy," "Loves Labours Lost," and "Galileo." He also served as the Technical Director for The Connecticut Repertory Theater's productions of "Spring Awakening," "Icarus," "The Exonerated," "Tommy," and "A Flea in her Ear." For two years he was the Executive Technical Director at the Tri-Arts Sharon Playhouse where he was the TD for "The Wedding Singer," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Oklahoma," "42nd Street," and "Rent."
Props designer, Charlie Sutherland has designed props for "The Mountaintop," "Brill,""Circle Mirror Transformation," "Ain't Misbehavin,'" "The Piano Lesson," "Fences," "She Loves Me!," and the award winning, "It Came from Mars" at Performance Network Theatre. He follows Jim Posante's advice, that if there's a window on a set, there ought to be a story out there!
Costume designer, Amber Cook is delighted to return to PNT after designing costumes for "Dead Man's Shoes". She is the resident costume designer and shop supervisor at Albion College. Recent regional design credits include Manhattan Repertory Theatre (NYC), Williamston Theatre, Tipping Point Theatre, Farmers Alley Theatre, Flint Youth Theatre, The Ohio Light Opera (Wooster, OH), Black Hills Playhouse (Custer, SD). Ms. Cook also has theatre and dance design credits with Michigan State University, the University of Michigan-Flint, and Lansing Community College, in addition to working as a design assistant/technician around the country. Amber received her MFA in Production Design from the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University.
"County Line" by David Wells runs at Performance Network from January 16 - February 16, 2014. Regular tickets are $22 - $41 with discounts for students, seniors, children under the age of 16, and military and can be purchased online at performancenetwork.org or by calling the box office at 734-663-0681.
Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor's resident professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children's Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside New Play Festival and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge, and inspire audiences and artists.