Hallie Foote, Khaled Nabawy to Join Ron Rifkin, Richard Thomas in Arena Stage's CAMP DAVID
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces the full company for the world-premiere historical drama Camp David, penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright and directed by Artistic Director Molly Smith. Based on true events surrounding the 1978 Camp David Accords, the play follows the 13-day meeting between President Jimmy Carter, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat as they attempted to create the impossible: peace in the Middle East. The production features Tony Award nominee Hallie Foote (Broadway's Dividing the Estate) as Rosalynn Carter, Egyptian actor and activist Khaled Nabawy (Kingdom of Heaven, Fair Game) as Anwar Sadat, Tony Award winner Ron Rifkin (Alias, Broadway's Cabaret) as Menachem Begin and Emmy Award winner Richard Thomas (The Waltons) as President Jimmy Carter. Camp David runs March 21-May 4, 2014 in the Kreeger Theater.
"To say this is one of the most important stories to put on our stage is a complete understatement," shares Smith. "It's important to be reminded of a moment-now 35 years ago-when people from very different cultures and perspectives risked their lives and careers and put themselves on the line personally, intellectually and spiritually by sitting down to forge an agreement. Through Lawrence's brilliant script, this incredible cast and with the incomparable access and research provided through Gerald Rafshoon, audiences will viscerally experience the complex and deeply human process of these pivotal negotiations."
Camp David is the second project produced as part of Arena Stage's American President's Project, an initiative investigating the lives and legacies of our nation's Presidents and their families. Arena Stage is committed to illuminating the broad canvas of the American experience by delving into the history of Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life, including the first families who have resided here in our nation's capital and have shaped our country's narrative.
"Washington is the perfect place for Camp David to begin its life, and especially now, when the lessons of that historic moment are so resonant," says Wright. "Molly has been an ideal partner on this play. To begin with, she had the courage to commission what was a very ambitious project, and she brought her energy, judgment and insight into the process from the very beginning. It's been a very happy experience for me to be working with the team at Arena."
Camp David is produced in association with Emmy Award-winning TV and movie producer Gerald Rafshoon, who served as White House communications director during the momentous summit at Camp David and also brought the idea of this project to Smith. Of the upcoming premiere Rafshoon adds, "I have wanted to do a film or play about the Camp David peace talks ever since I was a minor participant during those 13 historic days. The subject and the issues are more relevant today than anytime. Lawrence and Molly are the perfect writer and director to capture not only the history but the suspense and emotional experience of the Carters, Begin and Sadat. Knowing the four characters as I do, I think we have the perfect cast."
Lawrence Wright (Playwright) makes his Arena Stage debut with Camp David. He is a longtime writer for The New Yorker and author of eight books, including his recentGoing Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. His book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 won the Pulitzer Prize and was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best nonfiction books ever written. He was the co-writer of the screenplay for 1998 movie The Siege, with Denzel Washington and Annette Bening, and also wrote Noriega: God's Favorite, with Bob Hoskins, for television. He has written and performed two one-man shows: My Trip to al-Qaeda, which he performed off-Broadway and at the Kennedy Center in 2007, was made into a movie for HBO; and The Human Scale, which Lawrence performed in New York and Tel Aviv. His most recent play, Fallaci, was staged by Berkeley Repertory Theater in the spring of 2013. Wright lives in Austin, Texas, where he plays the keyboards in a blues band, WhoDo.
Molly Smith (Director) has served as Artistic Director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. since 1998. Her directing credits include Oklahoma!, A Moon for the Misbegotten,My Fair Lady, The Great White Hope, The Music Man, Orpheus Descending, Legacy of Light, The Women of Brewster Place, Cabaret, An American Daughter, South Pacific, Agamemnon and His Daughters, Coyote Builds North America, All My Sons and How I Learned to Drive at Arena Stage. Her directorial work has also been seen at the Shaw Festival in Canada, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, Centaur Theatre in Montreal and Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, which she founded and ran from 1979-1998. Molly has been a leader in new play development for over 30 years. She is a great believer in first, second and third productions of new work and has championed projects like How I Learned to Drive; Passion Play, a cycle and Next to Normal. She has worked alongside playwrights Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Wendy Wasserstein, Lawrence Wright, Karen Zacarías, John Murrell, Eric Coble, Charles Randolph-Wright and many others. She led the re-invention of Arena Stage, focusing on the architecture and creation of the Mead Center for American Theater and by positioning Arena Stage as a national center for American artists. During her time with the company, Arena Stage has workshopped more than 100 productions, produced 22 world premieres, staged numerous second and third productions and been an important part of nurturing six projects that went on to have a life on Broadway. This season, Molly directed Mother Courage and Her Children at Arena Stage and will direct The Velocity of Autumn on Broadway following its acclaimed run at Arena Stage in fall 2013.
Gerald Rafshoon (Producer) went from the White House into producing motion pictures and television films. He has won two Emmy Awards (Outstanding Miniseries forJoseph and Best News Documentary for Decisions That Shook the World). Gerald also produced a 40-hour international television series of biblical epics including the Emmy nominated Moses (starring Ben Kingsley). Other films he has produced include The Nightmare Years (starring Sam Waterston) and Running Mates (with Laura Linney, Tom Selleck and Faye Dunaway). He hopes to bring Camp David to the movie screen in the future.
The cast of Camp David (in alphabetical order)
Hallie Foote (Rosalynn Carter) makes her Arena Stage debut. On Broadway she earned a Tony nomination for her performance as MaryJo in Dividing the Estate. Off-Broadway she was seen in The Orphan's Home Cycle (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), The Trip to Bountiful (Lucille Lortel Award-Best Supporting Actress), The Last of the Thorntons (Drama League Award-Best Actress), Talking Pictures, Night Seasons, Laura Dennis (Drama Desk Award-Best Actress), Why They Speak of Ritaand The Widow Claire. Hallie has also performed regionally at Hartford Stage/Alley Theatre (The Trip to Bountiful), Hartford Stage/Guthrie Theatre (The Carpetbagger's Children) and Alley Theatre/Guthrie Theatre (The Death of Papa). She has been seen in films such as Paranormal Activity 3, Friends with Money, Walking to the Waterline, On Valentine's Day, Courtship and 1918. In addition to acting, Hallie was a producer on the Broadway revival of The Trip to Bountiful and was an executive producer on the Lifetime Movie of The Trip to Bountiful (which airs March 8th).
Khaled Nabawy (Anwar Sadat) makes his first appearance at Arena Stage. Egyptian actor and activist Khaled is a prominent film star with a long successful career. His career was launched by the great Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, who directed Khaled in three films. Khaled quickly grabbed the attention of film audiences and the respect of film critics through his choice of material. He was the first major Arab actor to work in Hollywood cinema since the legendary actor Omar Sharif (whose career was also launched by Youssef Chahine). Khaled has been seen in films such as The Citizen, Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven and Doug Liman's Fair Game. He has appeared in more than 20 movies, three theatrical plays and 10 TV series. Khaled has won such honors as the African Film Award (1995) for Best Lead Actor for his performance inThe Emigrant, the 100 Years Cinema Festival Award (1996) for The Youngest Actor and the Cairo International Film Festival Award (1998) for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Destiny. Khaled earned a BSc, with honors, in acting from the Academy of Arts in Cairo.
Ron Rifkin (Menachem Begin) makes his Arena Stage debut with this production. Ron was honored with the Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway revival ofCabaret. Additional Broadway credits include David Hirson's Wrong Mountain, Turgenev's A Month in the Country and Arthur Miller's Broken Glass. Ron originated the role of Isaac Geldhart in Jon Robin Baitz's Substance of Fire, for which he won the Obie, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and Drama-Logue awards for Best Actor. The following year he performed in Baitz's Three Hotels for which he received a second Lucille Lortel award and Drama Desk Award nomination. Ron recently performed off-Broadway in The Twenty-Seventh Man at the Public Theater and in the critically acclaimed production of Jon Robin Baitz's The Paris Letter. Ron's film credits include The Words, Peep World, The Sum of All Fears, Dragonfly, The Majestic, Boiler Room, Keeping the Faith, The Negotiator, L.A. Confidential, Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives andManhattan Murder Mystery, Last Summer in the Hamptons, Wolf, JFK, The Sting II, The Big Fix, The Sunshine Boys, Silent Running and the film adaptation of Substance of Fire. On television, Ron starred as Arvin Sloane on the acclaimed ABC television series Alias for five seasons. He subsequently spent five seasons as one of the stars of the hit ABC series Brothers and Sisters and is also known to television audiences for his continuing role on Law & Order: SVU. He has appeared in numerous made-for-television movies and miniseries, including Deliberate Intent, Flowers for Algernon, Norma Jean and Marilyn, The Sunset Gang, Concealed Enemies, Buying a Landslide,Evergreen, The Winds of War and Dress Gray. He is also familiar to television audiences from his roles on One Day at a Time, The Trials of Rosie O'Neill, Sex and the City,ER, Nero Wolfe and The Outer Limits, for which he received a Cable ACE nomination. He was nominated for an Emmy award for his narration of the American Masters documentary, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About.
Richard Thomas (Jimmy Carter) makes his Arena Stage debut. Richard starred in the award-winning series The Waltons, for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Actor in a dramatic series. He has continued to star in series, films, plays and over 50 movies for television. His Broadway career began at age seven with 1958's Sunrise at Campobello and his theater career continued with such shows as Fifth of July, The Seagull, The Front Page, Tiny Alice, Peer Gynt, Richard II, Richard III, Hamlet and The Stendhal Syndrome. Additional stage credits include Broadway's Democracy and A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, the national tour of the Broadway revival of 12 Angry Men and Unusual Acts of Devotion by Terrence McNally. Recent projects include the Broadway production of David Mamet's Race, the Public Theater's Timon of Athens(title role) and Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays for the Minetta Lane Theatre. He last appeared on Broadway in the Manhattan Theater Club revival of An Enemy of the People. Richard can currently be seen on the hit FX series The Americans. He also had starring roles on series such as Just Cause, It's a Miracle and Swiss Family Robinson. His television films include the Stephen King miniseries Nightmares and Dreamscapes; Stephen King's It; All Quiet on the Western Front; The Silence;The Red Badge of Courage; The Master of Ballantrae; Johnny Belinda; Berlin Tunnel 21; Living Proof: The Hank Williams Story; Hobson's Choice; Roots: The Next Generation; Go Toward the Light; In the Name of the People; The Christmas Secret; The Miracle of the Cards; Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder;Anna's Dream; Annie's Point; Wild Hearts; and most recently the Hallmark Channel's film Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. As a producer, Richard has worked on such television projects as What Love Sees and For All Time. Richard has appeared in such movies as The Wonder Boys, Battle Beyond the Stars, The Todd Killings, Last Summer, Winning, Red Sky at Morning, Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock and the forthcoming Anesthesia.
The creative team for Camp David includes Set Designer Walt Spangler, Costume Designer Paul Tazewell, Lighting Designer Pat Collins, Sound Designer David Van Tieghem, Projection Designer Jeff Sugg, Dialect Coach Anita Maynard-Losh, Stage Manager Susan R. White and Assistant Stage Manager Michael D. Ward.
Photo Credit: Jon Kandel