Pioneer Theatre to Continue 'Play-By-Play' Series with A PUBLIC EDUCATION, 3/14-15

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Pioneer Theatre to Continue 'Play-By-Play' Series with A PUBLIC EDUCATION, 3/14-15

Pioneer Theatre Company presents the second installment in its new play reading series, called Play-By-Play: A Public Education by Jeff Talbott on March 14 and 15, 2014. Guest artist Shana Gold directs the production.

Luke Paxton is a high-school math teacher and the new guy in the faculty room. He's ready to teach, but completely unprepared for the other teachers, not to mention the nasty things somebody's been posting on the web. Welcome to high school, where an education comes in ways you never see coming.

Playwright JEFF TALBOTT has appeared at PTC as an actor in The Odd Couple (Felix) and Doubt (Father Flynn). As a writer, he was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award in 2011 for his play The Submission, which was produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater; it went on to receive the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play in 2012. His play All the Stars in the Midnight Sky has had developmental readings at TACT/The Actor's Company Theatre and MCC Theater. He is also the co-author of Critical Moment (with Stephen Kunken), which was a semi-finalist for the New Play Festival at Denver Center Theatre, and a section of which was a finalist for the Heideman Award for best 10-minute play at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. His one-acts For Nate and Molly and Tender were both given world premiere productions by the Yale Cabaret. Jeff graduated with honors from the Yale School of Drama. Besides his work as an actor at PTC, he has appeared in regional theatres across the country, on Broadway (Sly Fox, Fortune's Fool), film (Julie & Julia) and television (upcoming on Orange is the New Black among many others).

Guest director SHANA GOLD's recent directing credits include world premieres such as Food and Fadwa by Lameece Issaq (New York Theatre Workshop), Lynn Rosen's Goldor and Mythka (New Georges, New York Theatre Review's Top 10), In the Crossing by Leila Buck (Culture Project), Hakawatiyeh/the storyteller by Nathalie Handal (Kennedy Center), John Walch's The Nature of Mutation (Southwestern Rep/NMSU), and Circumference of a Squirrel (Austin Theatre Center/Taper Too, winner of the Austin Critics Table Award for Best Play), and Stanton Wood's At the Pole (Urban Stages). Regional premieres she's directed include Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles, Neil Labute's Reasons to Be Pretty, and Underneath the Lintel by Glen Berger (Theatre Squared/Syracuse Stage). She received her MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College and is a member of the LCT Directors Lab, Soho Rep's Writer/Director Lab, and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. This is her PTC debut.

TOMMY SCHRIDER plays the role of Luke Paxton, the high school teacher whose world turns upside down. Schrider appeared on Broadway in War Horse. His off-Broadway/New York credits include Macbeth at Theatre for a New Audience, Septimus & Clarissa with Baruch Performing Arts Center/Ripe Time, Close Ties and Please Continue with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Acts of Mercy and St. Crispin's Day at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and Race with Classic Stage Company. Regional credits include productions at Yale Rep, South Coast Rep, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, Westport Country Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse, Willamstown, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville and many others. Television credits include a recurring role on The Americans, Person of Interest, Medium, Numb3rs, Law & Order, Whoopi and As the World Turns. This is his PTC debut.

TOBIN ATKINSON plays the role of teacher Doug McGowan. Atkinson co-founded and ran Plan-B Theatre for eight years with Cheryl Cluff, and co-founded and currently runs Meat & Potato Theatre with Marynell Hinton. Regional credits include roles at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Plan-B Theatre, SLAC, the Asolo (FL), the Studio (DC), and the Shakespeare Theatre (DC). He returns to PTC after appearing in Much Ado About Nothing and Twelve Angry Men.

CHERYL GAYSUNAS plays the role of principal Barbara Mills. On Broadway, she appeared in La Bête, The Molière Comedies, and as Mabel in An Ideal Husband, directed by Sir Peter Hall; regionally in Time of My Life at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Spinning into Butter at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Finding the Sun at the Signature Theatre, written and directed by Edward Albee. Television credits include Law & Order, The Chapelle Show, and many commercials. She has appeared at PTC in Laughing Stock, Is He Dead? Noises Off, The Heiress, Communicating Doors and The Ladies Man.

ALEXANDRA HARBOLD plays the role of teacher Pam Finley. As Artistic and Literary Associate at Salt Lake Acting Company, Harbold directed the world premieres of (a man enters) and The Persian Quarter and several New Play Sounding Series readings. Other local directing credits: Betrayal, Three Days of Rain, Rabbit Hole and Romeo and Juliet (Pinnacle Acting Company), and SLAM (Plan-B). is the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Flying Bobcat with Robert Scott Smith. Previously at PTC, she served as Dramaturg on Of Mice and Men, as Assistant Director on Emma, and acted in Hamlet.

ASHLEY WICKETT plays the role of teacher Abby Donaldson. Regionally Wickett has appeared in Once in a Lifetime, A Christmas Carol, and Scapin with Bill Irwin at A.C.T., Romeo and Juliet with both the California Shakespeare Theatre and the Livermore Shakespeare Festival, The Misanthrope with Hunger and Thirst Theatre Collective, As You Like It, A Month in the Country, Almost, Maine and Britannicus, as well as new plays with The New Harmony Project. She recently played the role of Hero in PTC's Much Ado About Nothing.

MIKE BROWN plays the role of student Tommy. Brown, a junior in the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah, has appeared as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Studio 115), and in Geography Club, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Studio 115), A Flea in Her Ear (Babcock), Stop Kiss, Room Service, and Leo in the upcoming production of In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) in the Babcock Theatre. This is his PTC debut.

Current PTC season ticket holders may purchase tickets to the readings for $5.00 per ticket. Non-season ticket holders may purchase tickets to individual readings for $10.00. All tickets are general admission. Individual tickets may be purchased through the PTC Box Office by calling 801-581-6961 or online at https://tickets.pioneertheatre.org.

The readings are set for Friday and Saturday, 8:00 p.m. and a Saturday matinee, 2:00 p.m. at The Babcock Theatre, 300 South 1400 East, lower level, Salt Lake City.

For more about the series, visit www.pioneertheatre.org/play-play.

WHO'S WHO:

Tobin Atkinson*.............................................. Doug McGowan

Mike Brown.................................................... Tommy

Cheryl Gaysunas*........................................... Barbara Mills

Alexandra Harbold*........................................ Pam Finley

Tommy Schrider*............................................ Luke Paxton

Ashley Wickett*...............................................Abby Donaldson

Jeff Talbott..................................................... Playwright

Shana Gold..................................................... Director

John L. Geertsen*........................................... Stage Manager

* Denotes member of Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

Pioneer Theatre Company operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and Actors' Equity Association, the Union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah's only fully professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features.

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