San Jose Rep to Present Bay Area Premiere of THE BIG MEAL, 5/8-6/1

San Jose Rep to Present Bay Area Premiere of THE BIG MEAL, 5/8-6/1

San Jose Repertory Theatre presents the Bay Area premiere of the critically-acclaimed The Big Meal, by Dan LeFranc, the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award Winner. This razor sharp portrait of a modern American family runs May 8 through June 1, and is directed by Kirsten Brandt, San Jose Rep's Associate Artistic Director.

Eight regional actors ambitiously portray 26 characters and five generations in 80 minutes in this robust ensemble piece. The outstanding cast includes Carrie Paff (Top 10 Bay Area Actors We Love, San Jose Mercury News), Mark Anderson Phillips (Top 10 Bay Area Actors We Love, San Jose Mercury News), Richard Farrell (Scrooge in San Jose Rep's A Christmas Carol), Catherine MacNeal (San Jose Rep debut), Jessica Lynn Carroll (San Jose Rep's A Christmas Carol), Aaron Wilton (San Jose Rep's Foreigner) and two child actors, Nicholas Garcia and Sophia Cuthbert.

Set in a quintessential American restaurant, entire lives wiz by for a modern family whose age and stage is short order fare. From birth to that inevitable last course - and every corn dog, calamari and Cadillac Margarita in between - a potluck of characters' lives fly by as five generations experience joy, heartache, love and loss. Expect humor and heartache as this off-Broadway hit serves up a veritable theatrical feast.

The Big Meal's unique format brilliantly reflects a true family dinner table with overlapping dialogue and tangential conversations. There are quick time shifts during the play when the essence of the characters gets passed to another actor of the next age.

"Dan LeFranc's play is a deeply moving and all-encompassing look at our contemporary lives, and probably more than any play this season, speaks to the universalities of modern life - love, marriage, raising children, aging, loss and all the small and large events in between," says Rick Lombardo, San Jose Rep's Producing Artistic Director. "But what LeFranc has done very cleverly, is to span five generations into one evening around the communal ritual of eating a meal. It's definitely a smart actor's play and we've got a talented cast to pull it off."

Tickets range from $29 to $74 (prices subject to change). All tickets for individuals 30 years old or younger are 50% off the regular ticket price. Full-time students also receive 50% off each regular price ticket.

Tickets can be purchased at www.SJRep.com, by calling 408-367-7255, or at the Box Office located at 101 Paseo de San Antonio in downtown San Jose.

Jessica Lynn Carroll (WOMAN #3) returns to San Jose Rep, where she previously performed in the shortened version of A Christmas Carol 2.0 with the Art SPARK program. Regionally, she has appeared in I and You and Bellwether at Marin Theatre Company, Jesus in India at Magic Theatre, Boeing-Boeing at Center REPertory Company, Auctioning the Ainsleys at TheatreWorks, and Urinetown (SFBATCC Award nominee) and Ragtime at Foothill Music Theatre. Devoted to developing new works, Miss Carroll has participated in play readings through PlayGround, Playwright's Foundation, TheatreWorks New Works Festival, Crowded Fire Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, and Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project. Miss Carroll earned her BFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and is a member of Actor's Equity.

Richard Farrell last appeared as Scrooge in San Jose Rep's 2010 production of A Christmas Carol. In the Bay Area, he's performed with San Francisco Opera, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, Center REPertory Company, Marin Theatre Company, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. He has performed on stages throughout the country including American Conservatory Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Alliance Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Geva Theatre Center, Arizona Theatre Company, A Contemporary Theatre, Intiman Theatre, and off-Broadway with The Pearl Theatre Company. Mr. Farrell was a company member with The Alabama Shakespeare Festival for five seasons as an associate artist and with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for twelve seasons.

Nicolas Garcia (BOY) has previously appeared in many musicals in the Bay Area including San Jose's Children Musical Theater marquee production of Les Miserables (as Gavroche), Peninsula Youth Theatre's The Sound of Music (as Kurt Von Trapp), Broadway by the Bay's Oliver!, and CMTSJ's junior talent productions of Heidi (as Peter) and Rapunzel (as Prince Brian). Nicolas is particularly thrilled about his first professional stage appearance branching out from his singing musical career.

Catherine MacNeal (WOMAN #1) is making her San Jose Rep debut. Locally, she has performed in Doubt and Wit at B Street Theatre. Her New York credits include The American Century and The Realists at West Bank Café. In Los Angeles, Ms. MacNeal has been seen in The Magic Prison (Theatre West), There's No Place Like House (Matrix Theatre Company), and Off the Map (Mark Taper New Works Festival). Her regional credits include The O'Connor Girls, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Romeo and Juliet at People's Light and Theatre Company, and Holy Ghosts at Walnut Street Theatre. She has also appeared in The American Century at the Dublin Theatre Festival. Her film and television credits include "Clear and Present Danger," "The Muse," "Blue Jasmine," "Star Trek: Voyager," "ER," "Days of Our Lives," "100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd," "Cheers," "Night Court," "Judging Amy," and "CSI." Ms. MacNeal is a founding member of Cambodia Tomorrow, and farms lavender in the Pacific Northwest.

Carrie Paff (WOMAN #2) was last seen on San Jose Rep's stage in Bill W. & Dr. Bob, Double Indemnity (a co-production with A Contemporary Theatre), Legacy of Light, A Picasso, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (a co-production with Arizona Theatre Company) and The Haunting of Winchester. Other credits include Every Five Minutes and The Other Place at Magic Theatre; Ideation at San Francisco Playhouse; This Is How It Goes and A Delicate Balance at Aurora Theatre Company; A Streetcar Named Desire and Tiny Alice at Marin Theatre Company; After the War at American Conservatory Theater; How the Other Half Loves at Center REPertory Company; and Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Ms. Paff was recently named one of the "Top Ten Actors in the Bay Area" by the San Jose Mercury News.

Mark Anderson Phillips (MAN #2) was last seen at San Jose Rep in The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus. Other San Jose Rep appearances include Double Indemnity, a co-production with A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, The Weir, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Long Day's Journey into Night and Major Barbara. Recently Mr. Phillips was seen in Hir at Magic Theatre, and Ideation at SF Playhouse, which will be remounted this fall. Other recent credits include Good People and Waiting for Godot, both at Marin Theatre Company, and Clybourne Park at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. His other work includes roles with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, Aurora Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Theatre, Center REPertory Company and Word for Word. Mr. Phillips has appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Joan Rivers - A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress) and the New York International Fringe Festival (Abraham Lincoln's Big, Gay Dance Party), which won Best of Fringe. He is the recipient of three Bay Area Critics Circle Awards for best performance in a leading role and was named one of the "Top Ten Actors in the Bay Area" by the San Jose Mercury News. Directing credits include The 39 Steps and Sleuth, both at Center REPertory Company.

Aaron Wilton last appeared at San Jose Rep as Ellard in The Foreigner. Locally, he has performed with Aurora Theatre Company, San Jose Stage Company, Pacific Repertory Theatre, Theatre Rhinoceros, Sacramento Theatre Company, Capital Stage Company, B Street Theatre, Willows Theatre Company and PlayGround, where he is an acting company member. Regionally he has performed with George Street Playhouse, Hudson Stage Company, Shakespeare in the Wild, Ars Nova, The Beckmann Theater, Curan Repertory Company and Greenwich Street Theatre, where his co-created show Happy Mundanes performed at the New York City Fringe Festival. He has numerous film, TV and video game credits and has done commercials with Blue Shield, Chase, Taco Bell, Adobe and US Cellular. He has won a Shellie and been nominated for a Perry and two BroadwayWorld San Francisco awards.

Sophia Grace Cuthbert (GIRL) makes her San Jose Rep stage debut with The Big Meal. She has performed in The Star Child at San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School and has had numerous ballet recitals. She likes to sing and dance. She would like to dedicate this performance to her teacher Mrs. Young who helped her find her courage in performing.

Dan LeFranc (PLAYWRIGHT) received the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for his play Sixty Miles to Silver Lake. His most recent play, The Big Meal, received its world premiere at American Theater Company in Chicago, and its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons. His other plays include Troublemaker or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright, Origin Story, Bruise Easy, Night Surf, In The Labyrinth, The Fishbone Fables, Backyard, Kill The Keepers, and Catgut. Mr. LeFranc's work has been seen or developed across the country at The Public Theater, The Vineyard Theatre, MCC Theater, The Kennedy Center, Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Repertory Theatre, and Portland Center Stage, among others. Awards include a Helen Merrill Award, the Whitfield Cook Award, the John C. Russell Fellowship, a Djerassi Resident Artists Program Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony/Alpert Foundation Residency; and commissions from Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, and American Theater Company in Chicago. He is a proud member of New Dramatists, the MCC Playwrights' Coalition, and a former member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab.

Kirsten Brandt (DIRECTOR/ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR) directed San Jose Rep's productions of Next Fall, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (which she also adapted), Legacy of Light, Groundswell, Splitting Infinity, This Wonderful Life and Rabbit Hole. She co-wrote The Snow Queen, which had its world premiere at San Jose Rep last December. Regionally, she has directed for The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, TheatreWorks, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, San Diego Repertory Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Sierra Repertory Theatre and Diversionary Theatre. She was the Executive Artistic Director of Sledgehammer Theatre from 1999-2005 where she directed over a dozen productions include Macbeth and the world premiere of A Knife in the Heart. She is the author of The Thinning Veil; The Waves; The Frankenstein Project; NU and Berzerkergäng. Her adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House premiered at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in 2013. She is the recipient of numerous KPBS Awards, a Backstage West Garland Award and two San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Awards. Ms. Brandt is a faculty member in the Theatre Arts and Digital Arts New Media (DANM) departments at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is an alumna of University of California, San Diego.

Rick Lombardo (DIRECTOR/SOUND DESIGN/PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR) is in his sixth season at San Jose Rep where his productions have included the world premiere of The Snow Queen, The Death of the Novel, Disconnect, God of Carnage, A Christmas Carol, Spring Awakening, Love in American Times, The Dresser, Black Pearl Sings!, The Weir and As You Like It. He was previously the artistic director for 13 seasons at New Repertory Theatre in Boston and, in 2009, was awarded the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence from the Boston Theater Critics Association for his work. His more than thirty productions there included award-winning productions of The Clean House, Sweeney Todd, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ragtime, and Waiting for Godot. His production of Bill W. and Dr. Bob enjoyed an extensive run off-Broadway. His work has also been seen at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, New York City's Town Hall, Opera Boston, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, The Actors Shakespeare Project, Porthouse Theater, and The Berkshire Theatre Festival, among others. He was co-director of the theatre program at Fordham University's College at Lincoln Center, and founding artistic director of the off-Broadway Stillwater Theatre Company in New York. He is an Executive Board member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley. He lives in San Jose with his wife, actress Rachel Harker, and daughter.

The Big Meal's production staff also features Nina Ball (Scenic Design), Shannon Sigman (Costume Design), Jeff Mockus (Sound Design), Kurt Landisman (Lighting Design), and Deirdre Rose Holland (Stage Manager).

San Jose Rep is the flagship theatre of San Jose and the only fully professional, non-profit theatre company in the South Bay, presenting seven main-stage productions each year. Now in its 34th year as a major contributor to the South Bay's cultural community, San Jose Rep's mission is to engage, entertain, and inspire people. San Jose Rep produces innovative theatrical performances that offer fresh perspectives into the human condition, educational programs that promote lifelong learning, and outreach initiatives that benefit our diverse community. For more information, visit www.SJRep.com.

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