Kathryn Erbe and John Pankow to Star in TACT's NATURAL AFFECTION, 9/17-10/26

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Kathryn Erbe and John Pankow to Star in TACT's NATURAL AFFECTION, 9/17-10/26

TACT/The Actors Company Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for Natural Affection by William Inge, the first production of the company's 21st Season. Directed by TACT Co-Artistic Director Jenn Thompson, performances begin at Theatre Row's Beckett Theatre (410 West 42nd Street - between 9th & 10th Avenues) on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Opening night is set for Thursday, September 26 at 7:30pm. Performances will continue through October 26, 2013.

In Natural Affection, a troubled young man, who, abandoned early in life by his single mother (Erbe), returns from reform school to find her now living with a lover. As the tension between them mounts, their fight for forgiveness and connection gives way to desperation, setting this insecure family on a collision course of reckless, heartbreaking and almost inevitable violence.

"We are thrilled to celebrate Mr. Inge's centennial by presenting this intense and startlingly contemporary drama in its first NYC revival," said Ms. Thompson. "We are just as thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Katie, John and the rest of the cast in bringing this very powerful and important play back to New York audiences."

The cast will include TACT Company Members Alec Beard (Lost in Yonkers, Semi-Monde), Eve Bianco (Bedroom Farce, Dandy Dick), Victoria Mack (Happy Birthday, Venus in Fur) and Guest Artists Tobi Aremu (Off Broadway debut), Chris Bert (TACT debut), Kathryn Erbe (The Grapes of Wrath, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"), and John Pankow (The Iceman Cometh, "Episodes" - SHOWTIME).

The creative team is comprised of John McDermott (sets), David Toser (costumes), Mary Louise Geiger (lights), Toby Algya (sound), and Lauren Madden (properties).

Natural Affection, a powerful drama on the theme of fragmented families and random violence, had its Broadway debut at the Booth Theatre on January 31, 1963. Its opening coincided with the New York newspaper strike and it ran for a total of 36 performances to March 2, 1963. As with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, the inspiration for Natural Affection came from a newspaper account of a seemingly meaningless and unmotivated crime. Directed by Tony Richardson, the cast included Kim Stanley, Harry Guardino and Tom Bosley. The play has not been seen in New York since its 1963 debut.

Natural Affection will play the following performance schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 & 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 - $58.00 and are available by visiting www.telecharge.com or calling (212) 239-6200. Tickets are also available at the Theatre Row box office (410 West 42nd Street (between 9th & 10th Avenues) between 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. daily.

To learn about the benefits of TACT membership, visit www.tactnyc.org or call (212) 645-8228.

TACT/The Actors Company Theatre (Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris, & Jenn Thompson, Co-Artistic Directors) is dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit, with a focus on creating theatre from its essence: the text and the actor's ability to bring it to life.

TACT's celebrated company of actors was drawn together in 1992 by a love of the literature of the theatre. Since that time, they have grown to become a true ensemble: a group that has developed a common vocabulary and a technique based on their specific artistic vision and collective body of work. TACT company members, whose cumulative experience includes scores of significant roles on and off Broadway, in the country's finest regional theatres and in many films and television shows, have received Emmy, Obie, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards, in addition to Tony nominations.

Heralded by the Wall Street Journal as "The 2012 Company of the Year", TACT has enjoyed a run of successful productions since it first made its move from its "in-concert" style performances to fully-staged productions in the 2006/07 season. Since that time TACT has become a celebrated presence Off-Broadway with their presentations of such diverse and critically-acclaimed works as Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, (included in the The New York Times "Top 10 Theatre Picks for 2008.") David Storey's Home; The Sea by Edward Bond; Sir Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce; Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy; Sidney Howard's The Late Christopher Bean; John Cecil Holm and George Abbott's Three Men on a Horse; T.S Eliot's The Cocktail Party (included in the Wall Street Journal's Best of 2010 list); and the 2012 Drama Desk-nominated production of Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. Last season marked the company's 20th Anniversary - where the productions of Anita Loos' Happy Birthday and Brian Friel's Lovers became instant hits and enjoyed extended runs.

William Inge (Playwright) was born May 13, 1913 in Independence, Kansas. He received a B.A. in Drama and Speech from the University of Kansas at Lawrenceville and, though he longed to make his way to Broadway, he, instead, got his Masters from Peabody College for Teachers. He taught drama at the high school and the college level for a time, but by 1943 was working for the St. Louis Star-Times as a music and theatre critic. In that capacity he met Tennessee Williams, who became his friend and mentor. After attending a performance of The Glass Menagerie with Williams, Inge was inspired to begin writing plays. Within three months, he completed Farther Off from Heaven. His major early works (Come Back, Little Sheba; Bus Stop; Dark at the Top of the Stairs) were met with immense critical success, with Picnic winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1953. He received an Academy Award for his screenplay for Splendor in the Grass in 1961. His later plays fared less well. Natural Affection had the misfortune of being produced during the 1963 newspaper strike and failed to find an audience. At the age of 60, following personal struggles with alcoholism and depression stemming, in part, from his self-loathing over his homosexuality, Inge took his own life. Today, Inge is known as the greatest playwright of the American Midwest.

Jenn Thompson (Director) currently serves as a Co-Artistic Director of NYC's TACT/The Actors Company Theatre where she has directed the Off-Broadway productions of: Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers (2012 Drama Desk Nomination for Best Revival of a Play), Vaclav Havel'sThe Memorandum, Sidney Howard'sThe Late Christopher Bean, Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce, Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (New York Times' Top Ten for Theatre Pick, 2008), as well as Ladies in Retirement, My Three Angels, Rain and Kind Lady in TACT's Salon Series. Other NYC directing credits include the NY premiere of Holly Webber's play Pratfalls (The Abingdon), the world-premiere musical Seeing Stars, (NYMF), Badge by Matthew Schneck (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), The Brilliance of Bernstein (American Musicals Project) and Big Doolie (FringeNYC). She has developed new work at Hartford Stage, Primary Stages, The York, Abingdon Theatre Company, The Bridge Theatre and Rattlestick, among others. Regional credits include Abundance (Hartford Stage Company - Connecticut Critics Circle Nomination for Outstanding Direction), The Philadelphia Story (Pioneer Theatre Company), The Syringa Tree (Portland Stage Company), Noises Off, Boeing Boeing and Barefoot in the Park (Dorset Theatre Festival - where she is a Resident Director), as well as 19 seasons with Connecticut's River Rep where she served as Producing Director, working on over 50 productions including Damn Yankees, The Heiress, Dinner with Friends and The Foreigner. Jenn is a member of SDC and was a 2012 finalist for their Joe A. Callaway Award, for excellence in New York City directing.

Tobi Aremu is thrilled to make his Off-Broadway theater debut in Natural Affection. An Atlanta, Georgia native, Aremu studied at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts as well as The Atlantic Theater Conservatory. A high school basketball player, Aremu's interest turned to acting, writing and directing. His first short film Pass The Salt was accepted to the Atlanta International Film Festival. Other NYC theater credits include: Giant Killer Slugs (Pipeline Theater), 48NYC.2 Theater Festival. Aremu is currently in post-production on the comedy James Johnston Gets Dumped, a film he wrote, directed and stars. He thanks his family for their continued support and love every step of the way.

Alec Beard TACT: Semi Monde, Roly Poly, Lost in Yonkers. Off-Broadway: A Feminine Ending (Playwrights' Horizons); Sand (Women's Project); As You Like It (The Public/NYSF). Regional: Yale Repertory; Williamstown Theatre Festival. Boeing, Boeing. Television: "How to Make it in America," "Medium." Training: Yale School of Drama.

Chris Bert is happy to be on stage again, and is honored his professional New York debut is with the immense talent found onstage around him at TACT. Chris can be seen in the independent films The Green, The Fat Boy Chronicles, and Boy Wonder, which are all located on Netflix for you to view. Thank you Geoff, BRS, Joan, Devon, John, Dad, and Mom for the unwavering support. Follow on twitter @chrisbertah.

Eve Bianco TACT: Company Member since 1998/99. Numerous productions with the company, most recently Bedroom Farce (Susannah) & Dandy Dick. New York Theatre: EST Youngbloods Asking for Trouble, An Artist's Life And Other Cautionary Tales by Kira Obelensky (Part Of The Dawn Powell Festival - Dir Will Pomerantz); A Dybbuk by Tony Kushner (Public Theatre, NY premiere, dir. Brian Kulick); The Adventures of Herculina (dir. Christopher Durang, Clark StudioTheatre). Regional: The Importance of Being Earnest (Cleveland Playhouse); All in the Timing (Long Wharf Theatre); One in Every Marriage (Phoenix Theatre); The Immigrant (Fulton Opera House); Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare Theatre, D.C., dir. Daniel Fish); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Syracuse Stage); The Taming of the Shrew. Film: Jesus Factor; Deadline; Sylvia & Tammy; as well as work with Gregory Hines and Spike Lee. Television: "One Life to Live" and numerous voice-overs, including over 50 books with Audible.com.

Kathryn Erbe Broadway: The Grapes of Wrath, The Speed of Darkness (Tony nom.), A Month in the Country. Off- Broadway: Nikolai and the Others (Lincoln Center Theater), The My House Play (WPA), Down the Shore (Atlantic; Ensemble Member), Yosemite (Rattlestick), Checkers (Vineyard). Steppenwolf (Ensemble Member): Curse of the Starving Class, My Thing of Love, A Streetcar Named Desire. Film: Runaway Dreams, What About Bob?, Rich in Love, Breathing Lessons, The Addiction, Kiss of Death, Dream With the Fishes, Love From Ground Zero, Entropy, Stir of Echoes, 3 Backyards, Mother's House, The Love Guide, Untitled Noah Baumbach. Television: "Homicide: Life on the Street," "Oz," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order: SVU."

Victoria Mack TACT: Happy Birthday, Hay Fever, You Can't Take It With You, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, I Am a Camera. BIO: Broadway: Venus In Fur (Vanda u/s). Off-Broadway: The Silver Cord, A Little Journey (Drama Desk nomination, Best Revival), The Truth About Blayds, Mr. Pim Passes By, and Far and Wide at the Mint Theater; Flight at the Lucille Lortel (w/ Brian D'Arcy James). Other NY Theatre: Jester's Dead and Dear Penthouse at Studio Tisch. Regional: Sense and Sensibility (Marianne) at Milwaukee Rep; Private Lives (Amanda) at The Pittsburgh Public Theater; Dead Accounts (by Theresa Rebeck, world premiere) at Cincinnati Playhouse; 39 Steps (Denver Center); The Turn of the Screw (Fulton Theater); and at the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ: Othello (Desdemona), Taming of the Shrew (Kate), Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth Bennet), As You Like It (Rosalind), Pygmalion (Eliza Doolittle), and many others. Film credits include The Stare (with Wynona Ryder and James Franco), Atlantis, A Song in the Shell. TV: "The Good Wife" (recurring), "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and MTV. MFA: NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

John Pankow Broadway credits include The Iceman Cometh (Robards/Quintero), Twelve Angry Men, Amadeus, Cymbeline, and Serious Money. Off-Broadway, Mr. Pankow has appeared in plays at Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, The Signature Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, The Atlantic Theater, The Lucille Lortel, The New Group, Perry Street, The Production Company, and the WPA. Mr. Pankow has appeared in numerous films, most recently Morning Glory and Putzel. For television, Mr. Pankow can currently be seen as Merc Lapidus in Showtime's critically acclaimed series "Episodes."

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