Nancy Dussault, Conchata Ferrell and JoBeth Williams Among Rotating Cast for Rubicon Theatre's LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE, Now thru 5/18
Rubicon Theatre continues the company's 16th Not Your Typical Season with a special run of Love, Loss, and What I Wore -- a witty and wise celebration of womanhood adapted by Nora and Delia Ephron, creators of such hits as "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail," "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and "Silkwood." The play features a diverse rotating cast of respected actors, including Tony, Obie, Golden Globe, L.A. Drama Critics Circle and Ovation Award-winners; favorite local artists; an NPR commentator, bestselling author and comic; and a State Senator. Opening tonight, April 16th at 7:00 p.m., Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Love, Loss) runs Wednesdays through Sundays until May 18th. For tickets, call (805) 667-2900 or go to www.rubicontheatre.org.
This funny, tender and compelling piece uses clothing as a metaphor for all the big moments in our lives. Through a series of intimate and genuine vignettes read by the talented cast, Love, Loss explores many aspects of the female experience and proves that great storytelling is always in fashion.
Winner of the 2010 Drama Desk Award and Broadway.com Audience Award, Love, Loss has become a phenomenon. With productions occurring in various countries around the world and a successful national tour, Love, Loss has been called "funny" and "compelling" by The New York Times. Variety describes the show as "Funny, powerful, sweet and saucy," adding that the show "goes directly to the heart, soul and vanity of every woman, young and old."
Based on the 1995 bestselling book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman, Love, Loss was adapted for the stage by Nora and Delia Ephron. Through intricate stories divided into several monologues, this remarkable play uses clothing to describe the personal and sometimes profound experiences of women in American society. Accompanied by hand-drawn sketches of different clothing styles, the monologues are read by a rotating cast of five principal women led by the character of Gingy, whose stories serve as narration while intertwining among the stories of all the other women throughout the play.
Jenny Sullivan, the show's director and Rubicon's Artistic Associate, says the experience of Love, Loss "is like a heart-to-heart with close girlfriends over coffee... The conversations flow from a bittersweet story of a stepmother wearing the same style bathrobe as her husband's late wife (to the dismay of the children), to a couple's musings over what they wore on their wedding day, to a hilarious rant about purses as black holes. With odes to prom dresses, bra shopping, wearing black, Madonna-wannabe-attire, cowboy boots and outfits that make mothers cringe, Love, Loss is unabashedly female - in a great way."
Sullivan, an Artistic Associate at Rubicon, had many personal chats with the Ephron sisters with whom she grew up. (In fact, Sullivan is mentioned in Delia Ephron's most recent book of autobiographical essays, "Sister Mother Husband Dog") Sullivan also directed the West Coast premiere of Love, Loss at the Geffen Theatre in L.A.
"Some people call the show 'a chick flick for the stage' and it's a fair assessment," Sullivan continues. "It has all of the qualities of a great chick flick: relatable characters, quotable comedy and just the right amount of sentiment."
A great choice for everything from a girl's night out to a special mother-daughter event, Love, Loss is recommended for those 13 and older.
ABOUT THE CAST
Nancy Dussault opens the run reprising the role of Gingy which she played in the New York production of Love, Loss to great acclaim. An Emmy Award-winner, Dussault is often recognized for her co-starring roles in "Too Close for Comfort" and "The New Dick Van Dyke Show," more than 200 guest-starring roles on television, film roles like the cult-classic "The In-Laws," and her stint as the first co-host of "Good Morning, America." However, Dussault is also a two-time-Tony nominee and made her Broadway debut to sensational reviews in Jule Styne's Do Re Me. Dussault went on to star in The Sound of Music, Bajour, Side by Side by Sondheim, and Into the Woods on Broadway. At NY City Center Dussault starred in Carousel and Finian's Rainbow and then Street Scene, The Cradle Will Rock and The Mikado with the NYC Opera.
Conchata Ferrell joins Dussault as a returning Love, Loss veteran. Ferrell is adored by TV audiences as the housekeeper Berta in "Two and a Half Men" for which she has received two Emmy nominations. Prior to "Men," Ferrell's turn as April in the Off-Broadway production of Lanford Wilson's Hot L Baltimore led to her starring in the Norman Lear series of the same name. Equally at home in comedy and drama, Ferrell was also Emmy nominated for her supporting role on "L.A. Law." Film credits include Sidney Lumet's "Network," Donald Petrie's "Mystic Pizza," Steven Soderbergh's "Erin Brockovich," and Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie." For her Off-Broadway appearance as Gertrude Blum in Edward J. Moore's The Sea Horse, Ferrell won Drama Desk, Theatre World and Obie Awards.
JoBeth Williams, best known for her starring roles in the films "Poltergeist" (1 & 2), "The Big Chill," "Teachers," "Switch," "Fever Pitch," "Stir Crazy," "Kramer vs. Kramer," and "The Big Year" opposite Steve Martin, makes her Love, Loss debut at Rubicon. Williams has been nominated for three Emmys for the television movies "Baby M," "Adam," and the TV series "Frasier" and has played leads in two series (John Grisham's "The Client" and "Payne"). She has had recurring roles on "Dexter," "Private Practice" and "Hart of Dixie." Theatre work in N.Y. includes Body Awareness at the Atlantic Theatre Company, Last Dance by Marsha Norman, Moonchildren, Ladyhouse Blues, A Couple of White Chicks..., John Guare's Gardenia, and The Vagina Monologues. Williams' regional credits include work at The Old Globe, the Kennedy Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, McCarter Theatre, Arena Stage, The Pasadena Playhouse and the Geffen (The Quality of Life - Garland Award and L.A. Drama Critics Circle [LADCC] nomination). Williams has been nominated for two Golden Globes and an Oscar for directing the short film "On Hope."
Rondi Reed is a Tony Award-winner (original Broadway production of August: Osage County) and takes time out from her busy schedule as Mike's Mom Peggy on CBS' "Mike and Molly" to join the Love, Loss cast at Rubicon. Features include Peter Weir's "Fearless," "Jungle 2 Jungle" and "The Astronauts Wife." Reed has been an ensemble member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre for more than 30 years (and more than 70 productions). In addition to Osage County, her N.Y. credits include Madame Morrible in Wicked and roles in The Grapes of Wrath, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice on Broadway, and Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile Off -Broadway (originating the role of Germaine).
Rising star Ashlie Atkinson (another Love, Loss newbie), won a Theatre World Award for originating the role of Helen in Neil LaBute's Fat Pig which she reprised for LA audiences at the Geffen Theatre. Other N.Y. credits include The Ritz at Roundabout Theatre Co. and Butcher of Baraboo at Second Stage. Atkinson was featured in the world tours of The Tempest and As You Like It with Bridge Project, directed by Sam Mendes. Her film credits include "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Compliance," "Inside Man" and "Eat Pray Love." TV credits include "Louie," "Bored to Death," "30 Rock," "Boardwalk Empire," "Nurse Jackie," "Elementary," "Rescue Me," and many others. Atkinson has skated and announced as a member of the Gotham Girls roller derby team under the name of Margaret Thrasher.
Actor, comic, NPR commentator and bestselling author Sandra Tsing Loh is another Love, Loss veteran. She is the author of the bestselling New York Times notable book Mother on Fire, and was named one of the 50 most influential comedians by Variety. She has performed solo shows at Second Stage Theatre Off-Broadway, the Geffen, Seattle Rep, Kennedy Center and Actor's Theatre of Louisville. Her books include "A Year in Van Nuys," "Aliens in America," "Depth Takes a Holiday" and the novel "If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home by Now." She is a regular commentator on NPR's "Morning Edition" and Ira Glass' "This American Life, and her weekly segment "The Loh Life"" is heard on KPCC. Loh holds a B.S. in physics from California Institute of Technology, and her syndicated daily minute "The Loh Down on Science" is heard weekly by 4 million people. A Pushcart Prize winner, MacDowell Fellow and three-time National Magazine Award nominee, Loh is a contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly.
Hattie Winston, best known for her recurring role on the TV series "Becker," started her career onstage with a starring role in the Broadway production of The Tap Dance Kid. Other Broadway stage credits include Two Gentlemen of Verona, I Love My Life, and The Me Nobody Knows. Roles on television began with "The Electric Company" and progressed to starring roles in "Homefront" and "Becker." Other TV credits include "Scrubs" and "Smart Guy." Film credits include "Jackie Brown," "The Rugrats Movie," and "True Crime" with Clint Eastwood.
California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson joins the cast of Love, Loss at Rubicon, having previously appeared with the company in A. R. Gurney's Love Letters. An educator, former State Assembly member, Deputy District Attorney, and small business owner, Jackson was elected to the California State Senate in 2012 to represent the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County, where she has lived for more than 35 years. Jackson co-founded two non-profit organizations, has served as policy-maker in residence at UC Santa Barbara and currently serves as adjunct professor at Antioch University.
Paula Christensen returns to Love, Loss after appearing in the West Coast premiere at the Geffen. Other theatre credits include Se Llama Cristina at Theatre @ at Boston Court; The School of Night at Mark Taper Forum; Mahler's World at Disney Concert Hall; Cyrano de Bergerac, A Christmas Carol and Manna: Or the Book of Madeline at South Coast Rep; The Orange Grove and The Third From the Left at Playwrights' Arena; and Phaedra at Antaeus Company at The Getty Villa. Recent Television credits include "Parenthood," "Partners," "Incredible Crew," "Free Agents," and "Big Time Rush."
Kathryne Dora Brown has appeared in numerous network and cable TV shows including "The Practice," "Becker," "Jack & Jill," "Chicago Hope" and "Private Practice" and has had recurring roles on "Linc's," "Promised Land" and "Judging Amy." Television movies include "The Tiger Woods Story," "To Dance with Olivia," "For Love of Olivia," "The Wedding Dress" (starring with Tyne Daly and Neil Patrick Harris), and "The Reading Room" (with James Earl Jones - Camie Award). Brown appeared in Marivaux's Changes Of Heart, making her the third generation in her family to perform on the stage of the Mark Taper Forum.
L.A.-based actor Deidrie Henry just returned home after performing in American Night at Yale Rep. Just prior, she reprised her Ovation and LADCC Award-winning role as Ruth in the Ebony Repertory Theatre production of A Raisin in the Sun at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Other performances include Parade at the Mark Taper Forum, Coming Home (NAACP, LADCC and Garland awards), and Yellowman (NAACP, LADCC, Ovation, Garland and LADCC awards), the latter two at the Fountain Theatre. Regional credits include work with Berkeley Rep, Huntington Stage, the Alliance, Hartford Stage and the Intiman; as well as four seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. TV credits include "Twisted," "Harry's Law," "Southland," "Brothers & Sisters," "Without a Trace," "Commander-in-Chief," and "Strong Medicine."
Valisia LeKae recently starred as Diana Ross in Motown the Musical garnering a Theatre World Award and Tony, Grammy, and Outer Critics Circle nominations. Other Broadway credits include The Threepenny Opera, 110 in the Shade, Ragtime and The Book of Mormon. LeKae won the 2010 Joseph Jefferson Award and was nominated for a Black Theatre Alliance Award for her portrayal of Sarah in Ragtime. Off-Broadway, LeKae was featured in the John Denver musical Almost Heaven. LeKae has been public about her battle with cancer and is proud to be the spokesperson for NOCC (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition).
Golden Globe Award-winner Amanda McBroom, whose song "The Rose" was made famous by Bette Midler, returns to Rubicon after appearing in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, A Delicate Balance, Little Miss Scrooge and her own musical Lady Macbeth Sings the Blues. She appeared opposite husband George Ball in her own creation Heartbeats at The Old Globe and The Pasadena Playhouse, and in A Little Night Music for Gold Coast Productions (LA Times' 10 Best Productions of the Year). She has also worked on and Off-Broadway, at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and on stages from San Francisco to the Netherlands.
Megan McGinnis returns to Rubicon, having originated the role of Jerusha Abbott in the World Premiere of Daddy Long Legs (Ovation Award). She has since played the role in London at the St. James Theatre and across the U.S., garnering a Chicago Jeff Nomination, Boston IRNE Award, Elliot Norton award, and Cincinnati Entertainer of the Year Award. McGinnis has starred on Broadway as Eponine in LES MISERABLES, Beth in Little Women, Belle in Beauty and the Beast; and in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Parade, and The Diary of Anne Frank. National tours include Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, and James Joyce's The Dead as Lily. Film and television credits include "Anywhere But Here," "Wings," "Blossom" and "Sister, Sister."
A native of Scotland, Marianna Palka is both an actor and director. She appeared in Martin McDonagh's The Lonesome West at the Actor's Gang, Conor McPherson's Dublin Carol and The Good Soldier at Ensemble Theatre, and one-act plays by Thornton Wilder Off-Broadway. Film credits include "Neds," "Restive," "Autumn Wanderer," Nick Towne's "Day of the Dead", and Bryce Dallas Howard's "Orchids" and "When You Find Me." Film shorts include "Spoonful," "King of Norway," Glamour Magazine's "Reel Moments" series, "Came" directed by conceptual artist Brock Enright, and the video "First Kiss" (70 million views). Palka wrote, directed and starred alongside Jason Ritter, Martin Starr, Mark Webber, Charles Durning and Tom Arnold in the film "Good Dick," (New Director's Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival). She has also directed music videos for Rain Phoenix and Moby.
Lauren Patten returns to Rubicon for her sixth production having previously appeared in Our Town (Indy Award), Doubt, Fiddler on the Roof, Bus Stop (Ovation Award nomination) and The Diary of Anne Frank. Other theatre credits include Wait Until Dark at the Geffen, The Burnt Part Boys at Third Street Theatre and A Christmas Carol at the Goodman. Patten recently served as assistant director of Wait Until Dark and The Gift at the Geffen. Film and TV credits include "End of Magic," "Arrested Development" and "Awkward." She trained at the Stella Adler Studio through NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Krysta Rodriguez was seen as high-flying diva Ana Vargas on the NBC series "Smash." She also recently originated the role of Casey in the Broadway musical "First Date" alongside Ventura native Zachary Levi. Prior to that, she originated the role of iconic character Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. She was also in the original Broadway casts of In the Heights, Spring Awakening and Good Vibrations as well as playing Bebe in the revival of A Chorus Line.
Akira Dann makes her main-stage Rubicon debut in Love, Loss having previously performed in youth productions of Macbeth, King John, and Romeo and Juliet. Akira also appeared in A Christmas Carol and Macbeth at Buena High School.
ABOUT THE EPHRON SISTERS: Born into a creative family of screenwriters, Nora and Delia Ephron grew up in Beverly Hills. Nora began her writing career as a reporter with the New York Post and then transitioned to working in television during the 1970's. Then, in 1983, she broke onto the film scene with her Oscar-nominated script for "Silkwood," which started the rise to cinematic heights. Soon after, Nora's romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally" became an enormous box office hit earning her a second Oscar nomination. Critical success continued with "Sleepless in Seattle," which she co-wrote and directed. Her final film "Julie and Julia," was completed before her death in 2012 and brought her back to the director's chair.
Delia Ephron began her career as a writer with her article "How to Eat Like a Child," which appeared in New York Times Magazine and was later expanded to become a bestselling book of the same name. Delia found critical success through numerous articles in The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post and novels such as "Hanging Up" and "The Lion is In." Delia wrote the film "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," and collaborated with her sister Nora on the classic romantic comedies "You've Got Mail" and "Bewitched."
John Simon of Bloomberg describes the Ephron sisters as literary alchemists, experts at mixing the sentimental and the satirical and turning out something poignant."
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: Jenny Sullivan has been a part of the Southern California arts scene for four decades. Rubicon's first Artistic Associate, she has helmed the company's productions including Our Town, Steel Magnolias (Indy Award), The Mystery of Irma Vep (2012 Ovation Nomination for Direction), Wiesenthal, Tea at Five, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Indy Award) You Can't Take It With You, Hamlet (Indy Award), Tuesdays with Morrie, Defying Gravity, Happy Days, Art (Indy Award), Dancing at Lughnasa (Indy Award) and The Rainmaker. Other directing credits include work with Laguna Playhouse, Theatre 40, The Falcon, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Ensemble Theatre, Access Theatre, San Jose Rep, the Geffen, Canon and Coronet. Her production of Baby Dance by Jane Anderson opened at The Pasadena Playhouse and moved to the Lucille Lortel Off Broadway. Film credits include "Access All Areas" and "The Next Best Thing" (in which she had the good fortune to direct her father Barry). Sullivan is most proud of the World Premiere of her play J for J with Jeff Kober and the late, great John Ritter.
HISTORY OF THE PRODUCTION: Love, Loss was initially presented on August 2, 2008 as a benefit for the John Drew Theatre and Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York. The original production starred Linda Lavin, Karyn Quackenbush, Leslie Kritzer, Kathy Najimy and Sara Chase.
In 2009, Daryl Roth produced a series of Monday night readings of the play to benefit the charity organization Dress for Success. Each featured a different cast and was held at the Off-Off-Broadway DR2 Theatre. A full run followed at the Westside Theatre. The production continued to benefit Dress for Success with Daryl Roth and Alexander Fraser producing and Karen Lynn Carpenter directing.
The West Coast premiere of Love, Loss was produced at the Geffen Playhouse in L.A. in 2010. The production set a new box office record.
The production continues to be produced around the world.
Low-priced previews of Love, Loss and What I Wore begin on Wednesday, April 16 at 2:00 p.m., continuing that evening at 7 p.m., then Thursday, April 17 at 8 p.m. and Friday, April 18 at 8 p.m. The production opens Saturday, April 19 at 8 p.m. and runs through Sunday, May 18. Regular performances are Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Talkbacks are scheduled after Wednesday 7 p.m. performances with the actors and special guests on April 23, April 30 and May 7.
Ticket prices range from $25 to $49. Tickets for students are $20, and student rush tickets are available for $15. The Opening Night premiere on April 19 is $150 per person and includes pre-show champagne and truffles, tickets, admission to the post-show party at Shanghai Beer Garden with Sullivan, cast member and local VIPs, as well as a tax-deductible donation to Rubicon.
Tickets for Love, Loss and What I Wore may be purchased in person through the Rubicon Theatre Company Box Office at the corner of Main and Laurel in Ventura (Laurel entrance and downstairs). To charge by phone, call (805) 667-2900. Or visit Rubicon online at www.rubicontheatre.org. Twenty-four-hour-a-day ticketing is available online thanks to a grant from the IRVINE FOUNDATION's Arts Regional Initiative.