KC Rep's 50th Anniversary Season to Open with David Cromer's OUR TOWN, 9/5
Kansas City Repertory Theatre will open its 50th anniversary celebration with the Kansas City premiere of David Cromer's Our Town, an enduring American story which examines the everyday lives of an average town's citizens in the early twentieth century. Our Town, one of the greatest American plays written by Thornton Wilder, the three-time Pulitzer prize-winning playwright and novelist will be directed by David Cromer, MacArthur Foundation 'genius' grant recipient and director of KC Rep's 2009 production of The Glass Menagerie which received national and local critical acclaim. This co-production with UMKC Theatre will feature redesigned seating at Spencer Theatre in the James C. Olson performing Arts Center on the UMKC campus. The show will run September 5 through 28th.
The 2009 Off-Broadway revival of Our Town , which tells the story of teenagers George and Emily who fall in love, marry and live out their lives in 1901 Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, ran for more than 600 performances, making it the longest-running production of the play in its history. In his glowing review of the production, The Wall Street Journal's theatre critic Terry Teachout wrote: "You'll never see a better Our Town - or anything else- as long as you live....I don't use the word 'genius' casually, but David Cromer may fit the bill."
"I am honored to welcome MacArthur "Genius" Fellow David Cromer back to KC Rep with this truly landmark production of one of the greatest and most influential American plays," stated Eric Rosen, Artistic Director of Kansas City Repertory Theatre. "David is known to our audience for his brilliant production of The Glass Menagerie in my first season. Now, to launch my seventh, and the company's 50th season, David brings the most celebrated production of Our Town to our town for its final US engagement. After playing for years off-Broadway, and in new productions in Los Angeles and Boston, David is re-creating his intimate, inspiring, and revolutionary production with 17 of Kansas City's finest actors alongside four veterans of the production." Rosen continued, "Great theater changes the world, and Thornton Wilder changed the way every subsequent playwright and audience member thought about what the theater can mean. David's vision makes Our Town as fresh and original as the day it premiered, and has changed the way we understand this play -- not as a beloved chestnut but as a profound, life-changing examination of the beauty of living."
The cast includes Jeff Still as Stage Manager (KC Rep debut, August: Osage County on Broadway), Derrick Trumbly as George Gibbs (KC Rep debut, Our Town at Huntington Theatre, David Cromer, Director), Lindsey Paige Morton as Emily Webb (KC Rep debut, Lost in Yonkers at Northlight Theatre), Craig Benton as Doc Gibbs (KC Rep's August: Osage County), Stephanie Roberts as Mrs. Gibbs (KC Rep's A Christmas Carol), Charles Fugate as Editor Webb (KC Rep's A Christmas Carol, Cabaret), Kati Brazda as Mrs. Webb (KC Rep debut, A Moon for the Misbegotten on Broadway), Mariem Diaz as Rebecca Gibbs, Andrew Stout as Wally Webb (KC Rep's A Christmas Carol, Carousel), Patrick Dulaney as Simon Stimson (KC Rep's A Christmas Story, Into the Woods), Peggy Friesen as Mrs. Soames (KC Rep's A Christmas Carol, The Syringa Tree), Todd Lanker as Howie Newsome (KC Rep's Laramie Project Epilogue, The Glass Menagerie), Seth Macchi as Joe Crowell, Jr. (KC Rep debut, The Mistakes Madeline Made at The Living Room), Brian Huther as Si Crowell (KC Rep debut, The Mistakes Madeline Made at The Living Room), Logan Black as Professor Willard (KC Rep's A Christmas Carol),Jerry Genochio as Constable Warren (KC Rep's Producing Director, KC Rep acting debut), Gary Neal Johnson as Joe Stoddard (KC Rep's A Christmas Carol, Death of a Salesman), Jamie Dufault as Sam Craig (KC Rep's Romeo and Juliet), Dick Brown as Farmer McCarty (KC Rep's Imaginary Invalid, Our Town-1969), and Nicole Greenberg as Irma. Alisha Espinoza, Michael Thayer and Emily Phillips are Citizens.
David Cromer (Director) NY Credits Include: Women or Nothing at The Atlantic Theater Company, Really Really at MCC, The House of Blue Leaves on Broadway, When the Rain Stops Falling (2010 Lortel Award for Outstanding Direction) and Nikolai and the Others at Lincoln Center Theater. A Streetcar Named Desire at Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Writers Theatre in Chicago, as well as Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway and Orson's Shadow at Barrow Street Theater. His production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town ran for 19 months Off Broadway and received the 2009 Lortel Awards for Direction and Outstanding Revival, as well as a 2009 Obie Award for Direction. David's production of Our Town has also been produced at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica and The Huntington Theater Company in Boston. Our Town will be produced by the Almeida Theater in London later this year. His New York production of Adding Machine at the Minetta Lane garnered him 2008 Obie and Lortel Awards for Direction. Originally from Chicago, his credits there include Picnic and The Price (Writers Theatre), Cherrywood, Mojo, and The Hot l Baltimore (Mary-Arrchie), Our Town, (The Hypocrites), The Cider House Rules (co-directed with Marc Grapey at Famous Door), Angels in America (The Journeymen), The Dazzle, Orson's Shadow and Golden Boy (Steppenwolf), among others. David is a 2010 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship.
Thornton Wilder (playwright, 1897-1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience. He received Pulitzer Prizes for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Ray (1928) and his plays Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). His play The Matchmaker was adapted into the record-breaking musical Hello, Dolly! He also wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. Three volumes of his letters have been published since his death, including The Selected Letters of Thornton Wilder. Mr. Wilder's many honors include the National Book Award, the Gold Medal for Fiction, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Committee's Medal for Literature. In 2012, HarperCollins has published Mr. Wilder's first biography, Thornton Wilder: A Life, and The Library of America published the last of a three-volume collection devoted to his fiction and drama.
Scenic design by Stephen Dobay (Our Town at the Broad Street Theatre, A Loss of Roses at Arkansas Rep); costume design by Allison Siple (Our Town Off Broadway and The Pirates of Penzance at Hypocrites Theatre Company); lighting design by Heather Gilbert (Our Town Off Broadway and A Streetcar Named Desire at Williamstown Theatre Festival); Original music and music direction by Jonathan Mastro (Our Town Off Broadway and Paris Commune at ArtsEmerson); and assistant direction by Michael Padden (Our Town at the Broad Street Theatre and The House of Blue Leaves on Broadway).