HEART OF THE CITY With Foss, Kerns, Kurtz Begins 6/11 At Theater At 30th Street

June 10
1:36 PM 2009

Fern Kershon and Orange Thought Productions will present Heart of the City, a new play by Eric Lane, directed by Martha Banta, featuring Eliza Foss, Scott Kerns, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Martin LaPlatney, Melissa Miller and Mark Setlock. Performances will begin Thursday June 11th at the Theatre at 30th Street, for a limited engagement. For more information, visit www.heartofthecitytheplay.com.

Previously announced Melissa Leo had to withdraw for David O. Russell's The Fighter where she will play Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg's mother.

Heart of the City is the quintessential New York tale -- from a woman on the ultimate date-from-hell; to a mismatched romance on the Brooklyn IRT; to a young artist trying to juggle inspiration and a survival job; to a couple hoping to conceive a child; plus a lesson on the proper way to make a Matzo ball. This new play artfully combines humor, joy, sorrow, love and romance as it takes you on a dazzling ride of the heart.

In a statement today, Melissa Leo said "I truly regret not being able to go on with this project, which has meant so much to me. Being part of its development will always be a special memory, but how do you say no to working with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale? Seriously, I am terribly disappointed to not be able to take Heart of the City to the next level and wish it much success."

Eliza Foss' NY stage credits include Ten Unknowns (Lincoln Center), Pentecost and Natural Selection (Barrow Group), Beau Jest (Lamb's Theater) and Coriolanus (Public Theater). Regional: The Mercy Seat (Stamford Theatre Works), Dinner with Friends (Hartford Theatreworks), The Road to Mecca (Portland Stage), The Diary of Anne Frank (Cleveland Play House) and The Company of Women (TheatreVirginia). Her TV appearances include "Law & Order," "Law & Order SVU" and on film, she has been seen in Split Ends, Chutney Popcorn.

Scott Kerns was most recently seen at Everyman Theater as the would-be detective Jamie McLean in George F. Walker's Filthy Rich. Earlier in the season, Scott played the young king Malcolm in Aaron Posner and Teller's much acclaimed Macbeth at the Two River Theatre Company and the Folger Theatre. Though a newly minted New York resident, Scott began his career on stages in Washington DC. He won early notice as the drug addled SKINHEAD boy in Naomi Izuka's Polaroid Stories on the Studio Theatre Secondstage and was named one of the District's ten young artist to watch by the Washington Post's lead critic Peter Marks.

Marcia Jean Kurtz's film and TV appearances include Recount (HBO), Inside Man, Big Fan, Arranged, In Her Shoes, Requiem for a Dream, "Law and Order" (guest star), and several films by Sidney Lumet including Dog Day Afternoon. She received an OBIE for Donald Margulies' The Loman Family Picnic (MTC) and an OBIE and Drama Desk Nomination for Martin Sherman's When She Danced (Playwrights Horizons). Directorial credits include Emily at The Edge of Chaos (EST), her own play Between Two Worlds (HB), Time on Fire (2ND STAGE), Uncle Philip's Coat starring Larry Block (HB, AJT, Theatre J) and Namedropping (Fortune Society, Mint Theatre). She was a company member of Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre, Jerome Robbins' ATL, and Peter Brook's C.I.R.T. She is a member of EST, Lincoln Center Director's Lab, The Dramatist Guild and SSDC.

Melissa Miller landed her first job as understudy to Bryce Dallas Howard in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Tartuffe. She spent a year working with the Flea Theatre's resident company, The Bats, under Jim Simpson. Melissa has worked steadily in New York and regionally. She has done many premieres, including: Rob Urbinati's West Moon Street, directed by Davis McCallum (Prospect Theatre Co), Charles Mee's Mail Order Bride, at the Beckett Theatre, Kate E. Ryan's Mark Smith, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll (13P) and Ariel Dorfman's Widows, directed by Hal Brooks (59E59). She has done regional premieres of Guillermo Reyes' Madison and Paul Rudnick's Regrets Only at Premiere Stages. She has also worked at the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Williamstown and is a member of NJ Rep. Melissa has done many workshops and readings with such companies as: New Georges, New Group, Classic Stage, TFANA, Rattlestick, Keen Company and Red Bull. Melissa has appeared on the television series "Ed" and "All My Children" as well as in the feature film The Color of Truth.

Martin LaPlatney's Broadway credits include Amadeus, The Crucifer of Blood, Hedda Gabler, and Major Barbara Off-Broadway, he has been seen in Tartuffe, Private Battles, The Passion of Dracula, The Waverly Gallery, Young Playwrights Festival and others. Leading roles ranging from Jack Tanner in Man and Superman to Macbeth at:The Repertory Theatre of St.Louis, Hartford Stage Company, Indiana Repertory Theater, The Ahmanson Theatre, Olney Theater Center, GeVa Theater, Intiman Theater, Delaware Theatre co., Center Stage, Indiana Repertory Theater, The Empty Space, Papermill Playhouse, Pennsylvania Center Stage and others. "Law and Order," "Cosby Mysteries," "Alien Nation," "Guiding Light," "All My Children," "A Taste of Earth" (Sundance Festival).

Mark Setlock's credits include Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, Repertory Theatre of St Louis. Broadway: RENT. Off-Broadway: Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk nomination for Fully Committed, which he helped create with playwright Becky Mode, and has performed in LA, Boston, Portland (Oregon), Bay Street Theatre, and London's West End. Also: The Last Sunday In June, The Umbrella Plays, Roulette, Tea and Sympathy, The Safety Net, and Never Tell. Co-wrote and performed in Pageant Play with Matthew Wilkas, which had its premiere July 2008 at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Television: Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order, All My Children. Film: New Suit, Life In Flight.

Eric Lane's plays include Heart of the City, Ride, Times of War, Cater-Waiter and Dancing on Checkers' Grave, which starred Jennifer Aniston. Eric wrote and produced the award-winning short films First Breath and Cater-Waiter, which he also directed. With Nina Shengold, he has edited 11 play anthologies for Penguin and Vintage Books, earning a Lambda Literary Award nomination. Eric is an honors graduate oF Brown University. Honors include a Writer's Guild Award, the Berrilla Kerr Playwriting Award and the La MaMa Playwright Award. Fellowships at Yaddo, VCCA, Millay and ST. James Cavalier in Malta

Martha Banta has directed Eric Lane's plays Lights Along The Highway (One Dream Theater), Cater Waiter (HERE), and Times Of War (Adirondack Theater Festival) as well as several new plays in New York and regionally, including at Rattlestick Theater, New Georges, EST, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, St. Louis Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Berkshire Theater Festival, and countless productions at Adirondack Theater Festival where is a founder and former Artistic Director for 13 seasons, by writers such as Melissa James Gibson, Leslie Ayvazian, Bill Bowers, Steve Murray, Mark Setlock, and Matt Wilkas. She is also the resident director of Mamma Mia on Broadway and the tour.

Fern Kershon is the principal of Call Back, the fully dedicated media sales, promotion and public relations company focused on advertising, marketing and theater projects. As an advertising executive she held positions as Fashion Advertising Director for Modern Bride and Your Prom magazines and the Publisher of Beauty Magazine. She worked as Associate Producer on the Lucille Lortel Award-winning Off-Broadway production of Shakespeare's R&J. She is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute and a member of TRU-Theater Resources Unlimited. Fern is currently working with Films Unlimited on a new film. The collective producing team is responsible for the Oscar winning movies -- Crash and Million Dollar Baby.

Orange Thoughts Productions is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to developing original works for stage and screen. With a core group of actors, writers and directors in NYC, the company has created award-winning plays and films which have gone on to be performed, published and screened around the world. The company has premiered plays at Symphony Space, HERE, St. Mark's Church, La MaMa, and others. Screenings include the DGA, the British Film Institute, NY's Public Theatre, and festivals worldwide. Orange Thoughts has originated works with such notable artists as Jennifer Aniston (in her stage debut), 2009 Oscar nominee Melissa Leo, Neal Huff (The Wire), Lynn Cohen (Munich), Victor Williams (King of Queens), Marcia Jean Kurtz, Lisa Kron, John Kelly and stage director Martha Banta.

Performances will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday evenings at 8 PM, with matinees Saturday at 2 PM (except 6/13) and Sunday at 3 PM. The Theatre at 30th Street is located at 259 West 30th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues; to purchase tickets, which will be $18, visit Smarttix.com or call 212/868-4444. For more information, visit www.heartofthecitytheplay.com.


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