'OH DAD, POOR DAD' Comes to TACT in Arlington, Now thru 4/12

'OH DAD, POOR DAD' Comes to TACT in Arlington, Now thru 4/12

The American Century Theater is excited to present the Arthur Kopit farce, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad, tonight, March 21 - April 12 at Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two, in Arlington.

Facetiously described by the playwright as "A Pseudoclassical Tragifarce in a Bastard French Tradition," this antic, absurdist black comedy about the most dysfunctional family imaginable was an Off-Broadway sensation, a movie, and one of the greatest charade titles ever. It also launched the career of one of America's most daring and versatile playwrights and is just as lively and funny, if not as shocking, as it was fifty years ago. The play won the Vernon Rice Award (now known as the Drama Desk Award) in 1962. Playwright Arthur Lee Kopit began writing the show in college, and its shocking success was the beginning of a daring and epic career. He became a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for his plays Indians and Wings and a three-time Tony Award nominee forIndians (Best Play, 1970); Wings, (Best Play, 1979); and Best Book of a Musical, for Nine, 1982.

A farce in three scenes, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad tells the bizarre tale of wealthy, overbearing mother Madame Rosepettle, who travels to a luxury resort in the Caribbean, bringing along her stuttering son, a man-eating tropical plant, a piranha, and her deceased husband, preserved and in his casket.

Artistic Director Jack Marshall has been holding on to this play since the theater company was launched in 1994, waiting for just the right moment to let it loose on Northern Virginia audiences. "TACT has noticed that its audiences are finding the black and absurdist comedies of the late 50s and early 60s funny again. Some of the best comedies need to wait for things to get crazy again like they were when these comedies were written. America was stressed out in 1962, and it is stressed out now. I know I am. It's time for Madame Rosepettle. We need her."

To bring a fresh and daring view to this very special and challenging show, Marshall sought out Tyler Herman, who served as the assistant director for TheVoodoo Macbeth. An associate artist and director for Faction of Fools Theatre Company, he also assisted at Adventure Theatre on the HHA nominatedGoodnight Moon. "Tyler just got the play, understood its complex layers, and, most of all, wasn't frightened," says Marshall. "Lots of directors are scared of this show."

His cast includes Robin Reck as Madame Rosepettle, Tony Strowd as Jonathan, Emery Erin Hamami as Rosalie, Manolo Santalla as Commodore Roseabove, and Anna Lynch as Rosalinda (the Fish). Jorge A. Silva, Brian David Clarke, Andrew Quilpa, and Chema Pineda-Fernández are the Bellboys.

Oh Dad... features live music. Steve Przybylski is the Music Director and Composer and Przybylski and Vaughn Irving perform onstage as Musical Venus Flytraps.

The show is produced by Ed Moser. Sarah Kamins is the Stage Manager. Sound Designer is Thomas Sowers and Lighting Design is by Jason Aufdem-Brinke. The Master Carpenter is Michael Salmi and the Master Electrician is Jorge A. Silva. Costume Design is by Jacy Barber. The Scenic Designer/Artist is Katie Wertz and Props Designer is Kevin Laughon. Lindsey E. Moore is the Assistant Stage Manager.

Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad opens Friday, March 21 and runs through Saturday, April 12, 2014, with a Pay-What-You-Can preview on Thursday, March 20 at 8:00 pm and a Pay-What-You-Can performance on Wednesday, March 26 at 8:00 pm. There is a post-show talk-back on Thursday, March 27.

Regular show times are Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8 pm with Saturday/Sunday matinees at 2:30 pm (no matinee Saturday, March 22). Tickets can be ordered online at americancentury.org or by calling 703-998-4555.

Directions: The American Century Theater performs at Theatre Two in the Gunston Arts Center, located at 2700 South Lang Street, Arlington VA 22206. Gunston is roughly ten minutes from downtown Washington DC and minutes from Arlington's Shirlington Village. Free, ample, well-lit parking is available. For directions, visit americancentury.org/directions.

About TACT: The American Century Theater is a 501(c)(3) professional nonprofit theater company dedicated to producing significant 20th-century American plays and musicals at risk of being forgotten. TACT is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Commission for the Arts and Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development; the Virginia Commission for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; and many generous donors.

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