WONDER OF THE WORLD to Open Douglas Morrisson Theatre's 2014-15 Season, 8/28-9/21
The Douglas Morrisson Theatre opens its 35th Season with the comedy "Wonder of the World" by David Lindsay-Abaire. Directed by Dale Albright, "Wonder of the World" is a wild and wacky tale of one woman's quest for happiness and self-fulfillment.
DMT's season-opener features an ensemble of local performers: Eden Neuendorf as Cass; Diahanna Davidson as Lois; Drew Reitz as Kip; Jeffrey Hoffman as Captain Mike; Kendall Tieck as Glen; Michaela Greeley as Karla; and Tina Rutsch as Barbara, Janie and many others.
"Wonder of the World" has a distinctly postmodern sensibility. The characters who inhabit the play's universe work long and hard for connections in increasingly alienating and absurd environs. One of America's most successful contemporary playwrights, David Lindsay-Abaire writes with a very distinctive voice; he is a master of comic repartee and intelligently crafted wordplay.
Following the success of David Lindsay-Abaire's sleeper hit, "Fuddy Meers," "Wonder of the World" premiered at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington D.C., and soon moved on, with "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker in the lead, to a successful run at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City in November of 2001. Lindsay-Abaire is often compared to his contemporary Christopher Durang, with whom he studied playwriting at Juilliard, but he has his own particular brand of zany perversity and is a superb comic craftsman.
"Wonder of the World" is a serio-comic mixture of the funny and farcical and the dark and disturbing, achingly sad and real and outrageously silly and absurd, at one and the same time. The story follows Cass as she embarks on a wild adventure of self-discovery, leaving her home and husband Kip after finding out he is not the man she thought she married. At Niagara Falls, Cass encounters other equally eccentric and compelling characters, each with a dark secret, each on his or her own personal quest: Lois, a suicidal alcoholic appointed by Cass to be her sidekick; a pair of elderly madcap detectives; white knight Captain Mike of the Maid of the Mist sightseeing tour boat; a clown therapist; and, last but not least, Cass' sad-sack, sweater-clad husband, Kip. By the time the curtain comes down, the coincidences are piled one atop the other, life is revealed to be a series of happy and unhappy accidents and the randomness of the universe is the only certainty.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT - David Lindsay-Abaire is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, screenwriter, lyricist and librettist. His most recent play "Good People" premiered on Broadway, and was awarded the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and The Horton Foote Prize, among others, and received two Tony nominations. Theatre Communications Group named Mr. Lindsay-Abaire as the most produced playwright in America for the 2012-13 season, and "Good People" as the most produced play. His previous play, "Rabbit Hole," received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, five Tony nominations, and the Spirit of America Award. He also wrote the book and lyrics for "Shrek the Musical," which was nominated for eight Tonys, four Oliviers, a Grammy, and earned the playwright the Ed Kleban Award as America's most promising musical theatre lyricist. His other plays include "Fuddy Meers," "Kimberly Akimbo," "Wonder of the World," "High Fidelity" (book of musical) and "A Devil Inside. " Screen credits include a film adaptation of "Rabbit Hole," as well as the screenplay for "Rise of the Guardians" (DreamWorks) and "Oz: The Great and Powerful "(Disney). Mr. Lindsay-Abaire is a proud New Dramatists alum, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Juilliard School, as well as a member of the WGA and the Dramatists Guild Council.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR - Dale Albright was most recently seen in "Take Me Out" at Dragon Productions in Redwood City. This past year he directed the Bay Area premiere of "The Pain and the Itch" at Custom Made Theatre and "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom/Sleeping Beauty (or Coma)" for Virago Theatre Company. Dale has previously directed shows for Dragon Productions, theatre Q, Bus Barn, Ianiro Productions and the SF Fringe Festival. As an actor, Dale also appeared in "American Dream" at New Conservatory Theatre, where he had also received a BACC nomination for his work in "Tennessee in the Summer," Berkeley Rep (u/s Vanya in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"), Pear Avenue, Dragon Productions, Douglas Morrisson, City Lights, theatre Q and Town Hall and more.
The Douglas Morrisson Theatre is owned and operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. The DMT is located at 22311 N. Third St. in Hayward, next to the Senior Center and the Japanese Gardens. The Box Office is open Tuesday through Friday, 12:30 to 5:30 and can be reached at (510) 881-6777. Information is also available at www.dmtonline.org.
Pictured: Diahanna Davidson as Lois and Eden Neuendorf as Cass. Photo by Terry Sullivan.