Painting Churches Performances Begin at Keen Company

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Performances of Tina Howe's Painting Churches begin today, with Opening Night set for March 6th. (Design team will be announced shortly).

Kate Turnbull recently made her Humana Festival debut with the acclaimed premiere of Maple and Vine. Other regional credits include The Matchmaker (Censterstage); Doubt (Portland Stage Company); and Measure for Measure, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Restoration Comedy,Titus Andronicus and A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Old Globe). Off-Broadway she has been seen in Passion Play with Epic Theatre Ensemble. Television: "Guiding Light." MFA from The Old Globe/University of San Diego.

Painting Churches premiered Off-Broadway on February 8, 1983 at the McGinn-Cazale Theatre, produced by Second Stage. It transferred to the Lamb's Theatre where it ran for 206 performances. The play was filmed for PBS "American Playhouse" starring Sada Thompson, Donald Moffat, and RoxAnne Hart.

In Painting Churches, we meet the Church family: Fanny (Chalfant) and Gardner (Easton). They are packing, about to move to a beach home on Cape Cod. Gardner is a poet and Fanny is from a "fine old family." Their daughter Margaret (Turnbull), an artist who lives in New York, has arrived to help them pack and paint their portrait.

This will be the first New York revival of Painting Churches, the smash hit comedy from the author of Coastal Disturbances and Pride's Crossing. In his review in the New York Times, Frank Rich wrote, "In Painting Churches, her beautifully written play, Tina Howe has dramatized an illuminating connection between life and art. And like the best paintings, Painting Churches rewards repeated viewings."

Keen Company continues their tradition of presenting plays that illuminate the challenge to live generously, and these two stories about children and parents will bring these themes to thrilling life. Keen believes that theater is at its most powerful when texts and productions are generous in spirit and provoke identification. Inspired by the works of early 20th Century American Playwrights, Keen Company demonstrates that an earnest intent can still be sophisticated. We are unafraid of emotional candor, vulnerability, and optimism. Keen Company seeks to create a culture of artists, technicians, administrators and audiences who share a desire to invigorate the theater with productions that connect us through humor, heart and hope. "Keen Company's first tremendous leap of faith was producing Tina Howe's 42-character play Museum in our second season in 2002. I am honored to be able to bring Tina's unique and hilarious voice back to our stage. Painting Churches is such a touching portrait of our effort to understand our parents, and Keen Company is thrilled to be presenting its first New York revival. We'll endeavor to whip up enough chaos to delight Tina and her many fans," said Forsman.

Kathleen Chalfant was nominated for the Tony Award as Best Actress in a Featured Role for her role in Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. Chalfant earned great acclaim for her performance as Vivian Bearing in Margaret Edson's play Wit, receiving Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Obie and Lucille Lortel awards. For her performance in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, Chalfant won a second Obie Award. Most recently, Chalfant starred in the independent feature film, Isn't It Delicious?

Tony Award winner Richard Easton's Broadway credits include Elling, The Coast of Utopia, The Rivals, Henry IV, The Invention of Love (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League Awards), Noises Off, Exit the King, The Misanthrope, The Cherry Orchard, Hamlet, Cock-a-Doodle-Dandy, Back to Methuselah, The Country Wife, School for Scandal. Off-Broadway, he has been seen in Entertaining Mr. Sloane; Bach at Leipzig; Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme; Waste; Hotel Universe; Give Me Your Answer, Do!; Salad Days. His London credits include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (with Uta Hagen), Death of Bessie Smith, Fagin in Oliver, Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Co. and four years at RSC. Film credits: Revolutionary Road, Henry V, Dead Again, and Finding Forester. TV: Six years of BBC's "The Brothers;" PBS's Emmy-winning "Benjamin Franklin" (title role); and most recently, the HBO mini-series "MildrEd Pierce."

This limited Off-Broadway engagement at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues) will begin February 14th and continue through April 22nd only, with opening night set for March 6th. Performances will be Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday through Friday at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm; and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are $59.75. To purchase tickets, visit Telecharge.com or call 212/239-6200.

For more information visit www.keencompany.org.

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