VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE Opens Tonight at Asolo Rep
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, the hysterically twisted, Chekhov-inspired 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play, continues Asolo Rep's 2013-14 season. Directed by Peter Amster, previews for this laugh-out-loud comedy will be held January 22-23, opening night will be tonight, January 24 at 8pm, and the show will run through April 13.
Named after Chekhov characters by their theater-loving, professor parents, middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia still live in their parents' upscale farmhouse in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. When their world-traveling movie-star sister, Masha, makes a surprise visit with her sexy, 20-something boy toy, Spike, chaos rapidly ensues.The weekend reunion is compounded by sibling rivalry, envy and jealousy. While the family's prophetic cleaning lady, Cassandra, warns of the foreboding events to come, this tornado of mayhem and fun simply cannot be stopped.
Durang's hit Broadway comedy takes audience members on a roller coaster ride. The play seamlessly shifts from comedy to dramedy to absurdism and back around again. It is this whirlwind pace and Durang's exploration of topics of jealousy, aging and regret, that make VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE such an unforgettable theatrical experience.
The play is packed with subtle and not-so-subtle Chekhovian references, but audience members by no means need to be avid Chekhov enthusiasts to enjoy this fun-filled play. Most references are explained by the characters themselves or the moment is funny on its own.
"Chris Durang's new play is quite simply one of the happiest theatre experiences I've ever had. I hope our audiences get to experience that unbridled joy, and at the same time respond to how Durang has captured what it feels like to be living in a world of rapid and sometimes bewildering change," said Michael Donald Edwards, Producing Artistic Director of Asolo Rep.
Durang, who is well known for his absurdly comical plays, is one of the funniest dramatists writing today. His other works include Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, and Miss Witherspoon. In addition to his Tony Award for best play for VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, he has received numerous Obie Awards as well as a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical for A History of the American Film.
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE continues the second season of Asolo Rep's five-year American Character Project and its focus on the truly extraordinary American Family. At its core, VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE is a charmingly funny story of three siblings who have never grown up. Durang's portrayal of these wildly inappropriate yet lovable siblings proves that when it comes to family, there is no such thing as normal.
"Vanya, Sonia, and Masha are each pathetic in their own way, but they are also, by turns, funny, courageous and endearing. It is only when they recognize their deeper kinship that they become ready to move on, to face the future...together. And that is what makes the American family worth examining and celebrating," said Director Peter Amster.
CAST (In order of appearance):
Andrew Sellon* Vanya
Peggy Roeder* Sonia
Tyla Abercrumbie* Cassandra
Anne-Marie Cusson* Masha
Jefferson McDonald Spike
Tori Grace Hines Nina
*Members of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
SPECIAL PUBLIC PROGRAMMING:
Discussion Series: Connecting Great Artists to Great Audiences
Tuesday Talkbacks: Share an intimate discussion on the themes of the play following Tuesday night performances.
February 18*, March 4, and March 18 following the 7:30pm performance
*This talkback will also feature special guest Jay Handelman of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Meet the Actors: After select Sunday matinee performances, join the cast for a special moderated talkback.
- January 26 following the 2pm performance
Pre-Show Conversations: A half hour before select performances, speak with Asolo Rep artists and staff to gain insight into the play's development and explore its themes.
- Thursday, March 6 at 7:30pm prior to the 8pm performance
Peter Amster (Director) returns to Asolo Rep where he directed You Can't Take It With You, Fallen Angels, Deathtrap, The Perfume Shop, This Wonderful Life, and choreographed last year's 1776. In Chicago, he was nominated for Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing Once on This Island, The World Goes Round, The Rothschilds (Apple Tree Theatre), and Pride and Prejudice (Northlight Theatre). Other Chicago area theatres include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, Live Bait Theatre, Pegasus, and Route 66 Theatre Company. Regional theatres include the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Syracuse Stage, Geva Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Peninsula Players, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, and the Laguna Playhouse. Peter has directed and choreographed operas for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Skylight Opera in Milwaukee, and Light Opera Works in Evanston, Illinois.
Anne-Marie Cusson* (Masha) NYC: Broadway's Magic/Bird (u/s); off-Broadway's Echoes of the War opposite Richard Easton and Schnitzler's Far and Wide at the Mint Theater Company. Ms. Cusson toured the country as Truvy in Steel Magnolias and has appeared regionally in All My Sons, Arms and the Man, The Diary of Anne Frank, Our Town, The Clean House, A Moon for the Misbegotten, and Defying Gravity.
Jefferson McDonald (Spike) is completing his Master of Fine Arts degree at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training credits include Peter, Stop Kiss; Lexy, Candida; Sebastian, Twelfth Night; and ensemble in Frank Galati's My Fair Lady. Jefferson is a graduate of Ithaca College, the National Theatre Institute via MXAT, and member of the Tom Todoroff Acting Studio.
Peggy Roeder* (Sonia) has appeared at Asolo Rep in You Can't Take It With You, The Game's Afoot, My Fair Lady. Credits include The Dresser (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Romeo and Juliet (Goodman Theatre), The Clean House (Milwaukee Rep), Kabuki Macbeth (Chicago Shakespeare), The Cider House Rules (Mark Taper Forum), Big Meal (ATC),The How and The Why (Etopia Productions), Cabaret (Peninsula Players), Float (About Face), Barefoot in the Park (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Busy World Is Hushed; (Next Theatre). Her work has garnered four Jeff Awards, three Artisan Awards, two After Dark Awards. Film and Television credits include Groundhog Day, Road to Perdition, In Memoriam, Were the World Mine, Stranger than Fiction, Star Trek: DS9, ER, Law & Order.
ANDREW SELLON* (Vanya) favorite New York and regional roles include: Nikola Tesla in The Dangers of Electric Lighting (NY Premiere), Gidger in The Violet Hour (first NY revival), Clown in The 39 Steps (Peter Amster director, Maltz Jupiter Theatre), Charlie in The Foreigner, all 35 roles in I Am My Own Wife, the Fool in King Lear, Bazzard in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Vladimir in Waiting for Godot. Film includes: Can a Song Save Your Life?, The Smurfs Movie, Mamarosh, The Hunting of the Snark (animated), Free Man, and two indie sitcom pilots, Terminal B and Stool Pigeons. www.andrewsellon.com
Tickets for VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE and the entire 2013-14 Asolo Repertory Theatre season are on sale now. Tickets for VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE start at $21. To purchase tickets, call 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, visit www.asolorep.org, or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office, located in the lobby of the theatre. Asolo Repertory Theatre is located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts. Box office hours are Monday 10am - 4pm, Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 8pm, and Sunday 10am - 2pm. The box office closes at 5pm when there are no evening performances and phone lines close one hour prior to the start of any performance. Season subscription packages are also available online and by visiting or calling the box office.