Asolo Rep's CLYBOURNE PARK Opens 3/15
Asolo Repertory Theatre leads off their Spring Rep 2013 Season with the "exhilarating comedy Clybourne Park, the razor-sharp Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play about race, real estate, and urban revitalization."
Written by playwright Bruce Norris, Clybourne Park tells the story of the same suburban Chicago home and its inhabitants that are at the center of Lorraine Hansberry's classic drama, A Raisin in the Sun. The first act takes place in 1959 when a white family agrees to sell their Clybourne Park home to an African-American family, much to the mortification of the neighborhood's all-white residents. Act two fast forwards to 2009 and examines the decision to re-sell the house to a white family moving into what has now become a predominantly black neighborhood, this time with plans for demolition. Bruce Norris' writing is funny, poetic, bitingly satiric and tremendously thought-provoking. The play's lightning-quick repartee will leave the audience reeling with laughter, in shock, and reconsidering what it means to call a place home.
Clybourne Park opens on Friday, March 15 with an 8 p.m. curtain. Opening night will be preceded by two preview performances on March 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. Michael Donald Edwards, Producing Artistic Director for Asolo Rep now in his seventh season, directs the show, which runs through May 2. "I'm very excited about staging Clybourne Park at Asolo Rep. Owning property is central to our concept of the American Dream, and including this play as part of our inaugural American Character season gives it a particular resonance," said Edwards. "The conversation about drawing racial lines in American neighborhoods is difficult, but we need to have it. This play represents perspectives from both sides and encourages communication on the issue, which is a positive thing. We can learn a lot from each other."
Clybourne Park premiered Off-Broadway on February 21, 2010 to critical acclaim at Playwrights Horizon in New York City, and was followed by stagings at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. and The Royal Court Theatre in London (which moved its production to the West End in 2011). It premiered on Broadway on April 19, 2012 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and ran for a limited 16-week engagement. Clybourne Park won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2011 and the Tony Award for Best Play in 2012, and it has consistently drawn rave reviews from the media. The New York Times called it "Vital, sharp-witted and ferociously smart," Entertainment Weekly said it was "A theatrical treasure... Indisputably, uproariously funny," The New York Post found it to be "Funny as hell... The Theater shakes with gales of laughter," and The Hollywood Reporter labeled it "A savagely funny and insightful time bomb."
The cast for the Asolo Rep production-each of whom plays dual roles, one in each era-includes members of its resident Acting Company as well as guest artists from Chicago. Annabel Armour, a three-time Jefferson Award winner in her first season with Asolo Rep, plays the roles of Bev, the naïve 1950's housewife, and Kathy, a lawyer who argues for a building code variance in 2009. Also from Chicago in her first season is castmate Tyla Abercrumbie, who plays the roles of Francine, a mild-mannered domestic servant, and Lena, the outspoken second act homeowner. Douglas Jones plays Russ, Bev's tortured husband, and Dan, a handyman preoccupied with digging up a dead crepe myrtle tree in the home's backyard. David Breitbarth is Karl Lindner, the leader of the local homeowners association that wants to protect the racial identity of his neighborhood (a character borrowed from Hansberry's play), and Steve, the prospective homebuyer who wants to build a McMansion at 406 Clybourne Street. Members of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training third-year class round out the cast. Jesse Dornan appears as Jim and Tom, Christopher Wynn plays Albert and Kevin, Sarah Brown is Betsy and Lindsey, and Jacob Cooper plays the role of Kenneth.