A Red Orchid Theatre's THE OPPONENT Opens Tonight at 59E59 Theaters

A Red Orchid Theatre's THE OPPONENT Opens Tonight at 59E59 Theaters

59E59 Theaters welcomes Chicago's A Red Orchid Theatre, in association with Bisno Productions, with the NYC premiere of THE OPPONENT, written by Brett Neveu and directed by Karen Kessler. THE OPPONENT began performances on Thursday, July 31 for a limited engagement through Sunday, September 7. Press opening is tonight, August 6 at 7:30 PM.

Accomplished playwright and A Red Orchid Theatre Ensemble Member Brett Neveu takes a look at the hard scrabble world of boxing from the perspective of a small time gym owner and a young up-and-comer. They come from different worlds, they barely understand each other, but in the ring anything is possible. Questions of loyalty and life's dreams are put to the test in this explosive New York premiere that promises to pull some punches and fearlessly land the others.

THE OPPONENT scored a knock out with Chicago critics and audiences at A Red Orchid Theatre's 2012 world premiere. Chris Jones from the Chicago Tribune called it, "a great new play that dances, parries and, most important, lands some killer punches." Hedy Weiss of the Sun-Times said THE OPPONENT was "a superb blend of physical and psychological warfare."

Kamal Angelo Bolden (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Victory Gardens) and Guy Van Swearingen (The Time of Your Life at Steppenwolf) reprise their critically acclaimed roles as Donell and Tre.

A Red Orchid Theatre produces the remount of their critically acclaimed production, in association with New York's Bisno Productions (Broadway's Mothers & Sons; Grace starring Paul Rudd & A Red Orchid Theatre's Michael Shannon). This collaboration marks the launch of a new partnership with Bisno Productions, under A Red Orchid's expanded mission and new initiative A Red Orchid NYC (aredorchidnyc.org) - introducing the Ensemble's original work to a national audience.

THE OPPONENT marks the third production originally produced by A Red Orchid Theatre charting a path to New York City. Tracy Lett's Bug, and Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made, both starring A Red Orchid Theatre company member Michael Shannon, had their world premieres in Chicago, and subsequently had successful New York runs at the Barrow Street Theatre.

The design team for THE OPPONENT includes Joey Wade (set designer), Myron Elliott (costume designer), Mike Durst (lighting designer), Joe Court (sound designer), and Toni Kendrick (prop designer). The fight director is John Tovar and the boxing trainer is Al Ortiz. Kate DeVore is the dialect coach.

The performance schedule is Tuesday -- Thursday at 7:30 PM; Friday at 8:30 PM; Saturday at 2:30 PM & 8:30 PM; and Sunday at 3:30 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $25 ($17.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit www.59e59.org.

Brett Neveu's (playwright) upcoming and recent theater productions include Red Bud with Signal Ensemble (Chicago) and Detective Partner Hero Villain with SkyPilot Theatre Company (Los Angeles) and Strawdog Theatre Company (Chicago). Past work includes productions with The Royal Court Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company in London; The Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, The House Theatre, The Inconvenience, The Side Project, TimeLine Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre and American Theatre Company in Chicago. A Sundance Institute Ucross Fellow, Brett is also a recipient of the Marquee Award from Chicago Dramatists, the Ofner Prize for New Work, the Emerging Artist Award from The League of Chicago Theatres, an After Dark Award for Outstanding Musical (Old Town) and has developed plays with companies including The Atlantic Theatre Company and The New Group in New York and The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre and Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. He is a resident-alum of Chicago Dramatists, a proud ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre and an alumni member of the Center Theatre Group's Playwrights' Workshop in Los Angeles. Brett has been commissioned by The Royal Court Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Goodman Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, Writers' Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, Northlight Theatre and has several of his plays published through Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatic Publishing and Nick Hern Publishing. Brett has taught writing at DePaul University, Second City Training Center and currently teaches at Northwestern University.

Karen Kessler (director) is a proud member of the ensemble of A Red Orchid Theatre where she recently directed the US premiere of Solstice by British playwright Zinnie Harris. Prior, she directed the original production The Opponent by fellow company member Brett Neveu. Also for A Red Orchid Theatre, Karen directed the Midwest premiere of Louis Slotin Sonata by Paul Mullin; the Midwest premiere of Pumpgirl by Irish playwright Abbie Spallen; the Chicago premiere of Sarah Kane's Blasted; the US premiere of Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke and the Midwest premiere of Mr. Kolpert by David Gieselmann. Other credits: Wrens for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble; the US premiere of Roddy Doyle's War for Seanachai Theatre; A Going Concern, This Lime Tree Bower, A Mislaid Heaven, and the award winning Early and Often for Famous Door; the Midwest premiere of Sam Shepard's The God of Hell at Next Theatre; The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, Hamlet and Cyrano de Bergerac for Rivendell Theatre; the Midwest premiere of Steve Martin's The Underpants for Noble Fool Productions; Glengarry Glen Ross for the Northern Stage in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England; Macbeth for Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival; Measure for Measure for Connecticut Repertory; and the world premiere of a new adaptation of The Three Musketeers, Scapin, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Taming of the Shrew, and All's Well That Ends Well at Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Karen is an Associate Professor of Directing and Shakespeare at Ball State University in Indiana.

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

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