The Old Globe's VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE Begins Performances Tonight
The Old Globe presents Christopher Durang's Tony Award-winning farce Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which will include Candy Buckley as Masha, Marcia DeBonis as Sonia, Tyler Lansing Weaks as Spike, Allison Layman as Nina, Martin Moran as Vanya, and Haneefah Wood as Cassandra. Jessica Stone will direct, based on the Tony-nominated Broadway direction of Old Globe Associate Artist Nicholas Martin, whose loss on April 30 devastated the theatre world*. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will run today, May 17 - June 22, 2014 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Preview performances run tonight, May 17 through the 21st. Opening night is May 22 at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.
In the funniest new American play in years, award-winning playwright Christopher Durang (Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You) melds Chekhov with his own offbeat and hilarious sensibility to create what Newsday calls "one of the funniest comedies Broadway has seen in seasons." Your heart has to go out to three siblings whose artsy parents named them after characters from Chekhov. Vanya and Sonia have lived at home while sister Masha has travelled the world starring in B-movies. Now Masha is back, with her boy toy Spike in tow, and she's intent on selling the house. Farce ensues.
"If laughter is indeed the best medicine, then The Old Globe is about to cure a lot of people, because this is one very, very funny play," said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "Christopher Durang has written a sweet, quirky comedy, and the Globe has gathered a team of true knuckleheads to bring it to vivid comic life. I am looking forward to our audiences enjoying some real belly laughs even as they are touched by the real humanity in this wonderful play."
The cast of Broadway veterans making their Globe debuts includes Candy Buckley (Masha; The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters, Cabaret, "Treme"), Marcia DeBonis (Sonia; That's What She Said, "Lipstick Jungle"), Tyler Lansing Weaks (Spike; Macbeth directed by Jack O'Brien, "The Good Wife"), Martin Moran (Vanya; Lucille Lortel Award for All the Rage, The Cradle Will Rock, Spamalot), and Haneefah Wood (Cassandra; Rent, Avenue Q, Brooklyn, "Nurse Jackie"). Joining them is Globe/USD M.F.A. actress Allison Layman (Nina; Pygmalion, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead).
The creative team includes David Korins (Scenic Design), Gabriel Berry (Costume Design), David Weiner (Lighting Design), Mark Bennett (Original Music and Sound Design), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting), Bryan Hunt (Associate Director), and Annette Yé (Stage Manager). Stone, who is a frequent collaborator with Martin, will base this production on his Tony-nominated Broadway direction. Martin had been previously announced to return to San Diego to direct but had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is supported in part through gifts from Valerie and Harry Cooper, and Peter Cooper and Norman Blachford.
Christopher Durang's (Playwright) plays include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award for Best Play), The Idiots Karamazov, co-authored with Albert Innaurato, A History of the American Film (Tony Award nomination), Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy (on and Off Broadway), Baby with the Bathwater, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obies for Playwriting, Direction for Jerry Zaks and Ensemble Performance, Dramatists Guild of America's Hull-Warriner Award), Laughing Wild, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, Betty's Summer Vacation (Obies for Playwriting, Direction for Nicholas Martin and Performance for Kristine Nielsen), Miss Witherspoon (2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist) and Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them. His cabaret credits include Das Lusitania Songspiel, co-authored and performed by Sigourney Weaver and Durang (Drama Desk Award nominations for both performers) and Chris Durang & Dawne (Bistro Award for Durang and cohorts John Augustine and Sherry Anderson). He has won the Harvard Arts Medal and the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, and he was recently inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. For 18 years he and Marsha Norman have been co-chairs of The Juilliard School's Playwriting Program. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
Jessica Stone (Director) has worked as an actress on and Off Broadway, and in television and film, for the last 20 years. Her Broadway credits include Anything Goes with Sutton Foster, Butley with Nathan Lane, The Odd Couple with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, The Smell of the Kill with Claudia Shear, Design for Living with Alan Cumming and Dominic West, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with John Stamos, and Grease with Rosie O'Donnell. Her Off Broadway credits include Crimes of the Heart directed by Kathleen Turner, Krisit, The Country Club, June Moon, Tenderloin, and Babes in Arms. She has performed in regional theatres across the country including Huntington Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Geva Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, and six seasons at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her favorite productions include She Stoops to Conquer, She Loves Me, Springtime for Henry, Betty's Summer Vacation, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Cherry Orchard. Concurrently, she was an assistant/associate director on and Off Broadway to Nicholas Martin, Joe Mantello, David Warren, and Christopher Ashley. Stone's directing career began in earnest with her 2010 production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for the Williamstown Theater Festival's Main Stage, which was met with critical acclaim. Her directing credits now include Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Williamstown) and Charlotte's Web (TheatreworksUSA). Her workshops and readings include Huntington Theatre Company's Breaking Ground Festival, Hourglass Group Ltd.'s Hot Buttons: A Political Vaudeville, and collaborations with artists such as Joy Behar and Claudia Shear. Stone's upcoming productions include Kaufman and Lardner's June Moon for Williamstown (2014) and Absurd Person Singular for Two River Theater Company. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.
* "On April 30, 2014, the American theatre lost a giant, and The Old Globe lost one of its most valued friends," said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "Nicholas Martin's relationship with this institution began when he acted here in King Lear in 1957, and it continues to this day as we present Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike in a production based on his original Broadway direction. The 57-year span of his Globe career saw him act in 18 additional productions and direct six, most recently his acclaimed 2013 staging of Shaw's Pygmalion. On the opening night of that production the Globe named him an Associate Artist, an honor that he was as proud to earn as we were to bestow. He will be deeply, sorely missed. It was our great good fortune to have had him and his brilliant talent in our lives, and we will celebrate his memory in all the work we do."
Nicholas Martin (Original Direction, 7/10/1938-4/30/2014 ) was an Associate Artist of The Old Globe and previously directed the Globe productions of Pygmalion, Later Life, Full Gallop, Overtime, Macbeth, and The Mask of Moriarty. His Broadway credits include Christopher Durang's smash hit Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Present Laughter, Butley, Match, Hedda Gabler, The Rehearsal, and You Never Can Tell. His Off Broadway credits include Saturn Returns, The New Century, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Drama Desk Award nomination), and The Time of the Cuckoo (Lincoln Center Theater), Chaucer in Rome and Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (The Public Theater), Fully Committed (Vineyard Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre), Full Gallop (Manhattan Theatre Club, Westside Theatre), Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination), Sophistry (Playwrights Horizons), and Bosoms and Neglect (Signature Theatre Company). Martin's regional credits include She Stoops to Conquer (McCarter Theatre Center), The House of Blue Leaves (Mark Taper Forum), Dead End (Ahmanson Theatre), The Verizon Play (Humana Festival of New American Plays), The Circle and A Cheever Evening (Westport Country Playhouse), and My Wonderful Day (Two River Theater Company). He is the former Artistic Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival and Huntington Theatre Company.
TICKETS to Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Performances begin on May 17 and continue through June 22. Ticket prices start at $29. Performance times: Previews: Saturday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m., Sunday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m., and Wednesday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. Regular performances: Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. There is a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Wednesday, June 11 and no matinee performance on Saturday, June 14. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, military, and groups of 10 or more.
Photo by Jim Cox