Virginia Repertory Theatre Opens NIGHT BLOOMS, 9/28

Virginia Repertory Theatre Opens NIGHT BLOOMS, 9/28

Virginia Repertory Theatre announces the opening of Night Blooms by Margaret Baldwin at the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre on Friday, September 28 with Previews on September 26 and 27.

First produced by Horizon Theatre Company in Atlanta, Night Blooms was named one of 2010’s top plays by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ArtsATL. Winner of the Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award in 2011, Margaret Baldwin is a graduate of St. Catherine’s School and the University of Virginia. Virginia Rep is thrilled to stage this production of her stunning new play in her hometown.

Under the direction of Bruce Miller, Night Blooms tells the story of two families (one white and one black) in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 on the eve of the historic marches from Selma to Montgomery. As history is being made and tension mounts in the streets, the matriarch of the white family focuses on her night blooming cereus and the party she is planning to celebrate the single bloom of the summer. She requires her African American maid to come in on her day off to prepare for the party, unaware that the maid’s son and her own son are among the marchers. Inspired by the playwright’s own family history, the play examines the civil rights movement from the perspective of the two families.

Margaret Baldwin spent many holidays and summers in Selma and heard often-conflicting views about the same story. “Night Blooms is my attempt to make sense of my family story within the big story of history. It’s a play about how families face and live through change, and how change forces us (like it or not) to see the world with different eyes.”

Many of the characters are based on her own family members and friends. Margaret currently lives in Atlanta and teaches at Kennesaw State University and her plays have been produced throughout the country and abroad. She will participate in a talk-back after the Sunday matinee on October 7.

Bruce Miller is the Artistic Director of Virginia Repertory Theatre. He co-founded Theatre IV with Phil Whiteway in 1975, and became Artistic Director of Barksdale Theatre in 2001. Recent directing credits include My Fair Lady at the November Theatre; Legacy of Light, and Boleros for the Disenchanted at Willow Lawn; and On Golden Pond and the Smoke on the Mountain trilogy at Hanover Tavern. Bruce was named Best Director of the Year (Phoebe Awards, RTCC Awards) for The Little Dog Laughed, Annie Get Your Gun, The Crucible, The Little Foxes, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Crimes of the Heart, and Do Lord Remember Me. Matthew Costello (Clayton Stafford) recently appeared in Virginia Repertory Theatre’s production of My Fair Lady as Coronel Pickering at the November Theatre. Other credits include Is He Dead, The Lark, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Light Up The Sky, Songs from Bedlam, Proof, The Crucible and The Little Foxes. A 1976 graduate with a BFA in Dramatic Arts and Speech from VCU, his voice has been heard on many area, regional and national commercials.

Erin Thomas-Foley (Ruth Stafford Hill) is the Director of Education for SPARC (School of Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) and was recognized by Belle Magazine as one of Richmond’s top six Women in the Arts in 2012. Credits include: Virginia Repertory Theatre - Proof (Catherine), To Kill a Mockingbird (Jean Louise), Cyrano de Bergerac (Roxanne), The Lark (Joan of Arc) and The True Story of Pocahontas (Pocahontas).

Harriett Traylor (Lucille Stafford) is no stranger to the Virginia Rep stage as she has performed locally at all its venues. Credits include Regina Giddens in The Little Foxes, the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, Lee Green in The Tale of The Allergist’s Wife, and as one of Sarah’s girls in Theatre IV’s original production of Quilters.

Virginia Rep welcomes Logan Bennett (Clayton Stafford) and Tarnee’ Kendall Hudson (Geneva Willis) to the November Theatre for the first time. Logan most recently appeared as the title role in Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Grove in Chesapeake, Virginia, and as Judas in Henley Street's The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Tarnee’ is a 2011 RTCC nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Musical) for her work in This Beautiful City at Richmond Triangle Players. Other credits include Lady Guinevere, Juliet, and Caroline in To Whom It May Concern.

Elise Briggs ( Raynelle Willis) is currently a fifth grader at John B. Cary and has previously appeared in Virginia Rep’s The Wizard of Oz as a Munchkin and Chesterfield Children’s Theater’s The Sound of Music as Gretel.

Adriel Wilder (Lucy Stafford Hill), a seventh grader at St. Michael’s Episcopal School, is making her debut with Virginia Rep.

In commemoration of our production of Night Blooms by Margaret Baldwin and the 50th anniversary of several significant events in our nation’s civil rights movement, Virginia Repertory Theatre is collaborating with the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia and Richmond Magazine to conduct and record oral histories of first-hand experiences and memories connected to civil rights activities in the mid-1960s. The project will launch this month, September 2012, and continue for the next several months. Virginia Rep will hold the first public videotaping sessions on Friday, September 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday, September 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m at Willow Lawn. The public is invited to participate by calling (804) 282-2620 to sign up for a slot or to email your memories to vareptheatre@gmail.com.

Talk Back – Sunday, October 7, following the 2:00 p.m. matinee.

Ticket Information: Box Office, call 804-282-2620 or visit www.va-rep.org. Full Price Tickets: $38 Standard, $46 Premium, Supersaver $20-$25. Discounted Group Rates and Rush tickets available. Utix for college and high school students $10. Available by phone or in person. Student ID required.

Evening performances at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday 7:00 p.m. pm on select Wednesdays Matinee performances at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday and select Wednesdays and Saturdays.

CREATIVE TEAM: Direction & Design Direction Bruce Miller; Scenic Design Brian C. Barker; Lighting Design Lynn M. Hartman; Costume Design Sarah Grady; Sound Design Derek Dumais; Stage Manager Rick Brandt; Assistant Stage Manager Luke Robinson; Light Board Operator Linwood Guyton; Sound Operator Samantha Stephens.

CAST: Lucille Stafford, Harriett Traylor, Lucy Stafford Hill, Adriel Wilder, Ruth Stafford Hill, Erin Thomas-Foley, Clayton Busby Stafford, Jr., Matthew Costello*, Geneva Willis, Tarnee’ Kendell Hudson, Raynelle Willis, Elise Briggs, Clayton Busbee Stafford, III and Logan Bennett.

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the U.S.A.

Virginia Repertory Theatre, located in Richmond, VA, combines the talents and strengths of two nonprofit companies that shared facilities, resources, and management teams for over a decade. Now the heritages of Barksdale Theatre (founded in 1953) and Theatre IV (founded in 1975) live on in their new form, as Central Virginia’s leading professional theatre company. Virginia Rep presents national caliber productions of the great dramas, comedies, and musicals as well as classics, contemporary works, and world premieres, always seeking to demonstrate the unique power of theatre to engage, enthrall, educate, and inspire. Productions are staged at four distinct venues: the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre and Theatre Gym at the downtown Virginia Rep Center, Virginia Rep’s Children’s Theatre of Virginia located at Willow Lawn, and Virginia Rep’s Barksdale Season at Hanover Tavern.

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