Additional Casting Announced For Ruhl's 'Passion Play'

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YALE REPERTORY THEATRE (James Bundy, Artistic Director; Victoria Nolan, Managing Director) presents PASSION PLAY by Pulitzer Prize nominee and MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient Sarah Ruhl, directed by OBIE Award-winner Mark Wing-Davey at the University Theatre (222 York Street, New Haven), September 19-October 11 only.  Opening Night is Thursday, September 25.

The creative team for PASSION PLAY includes scenic designer Allen Moyer, associate scenic designer Warren Karp, costume designer Ilona Somogyi, lighting designer Stephen Strawbridge, sound designer Charles Coes, projections designer Ruppert Bohle, dramaturg Colin Mannex, dialect coach Gillian Lane-Plescia, and stage manager James Mountcastle.

The cast of PASSION PLAY is Brendan Averett (Carpenter 1), Kathleen Chalfant (Queen Elizabeth/ Hitler/ Reagan), Austin Durant (Carpenter 2), Laura Esposito (Ensemble), DieteRich Gray (Machinist/German Officer/Young Director), Brian Hastert (Ensemble), Slate Holmgren (Ensemble), Polly Noonan (Village Idiot/Violet), Barret O'Brien (Ensemble), Susan Pourfar (Mary 1), Keith Reddin (Director), Luke Robertson (Ensemble), Thomas Jay Ryan (Visiting Friar/Visiting Englishman/VA), Felix Solis (Pontius the fish-gutter), Joaquín Torres (John the Fisherman), and Nicole Wiesner (Mary 2).

Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl, author of The Clean House and Eurydice, returns to Yale Rep with PASSION PLAY: an epic trilogy of plays performed in one evening.

Local communities and amateur actors have come together for centuries to perform Passion plays, theatrical celebrations of the life and death of Christ.  Inspired by this tradition, Sarah Ruhl's PASSION PLAY transports audiences first to 16th-century England, where the Protestant Queen Elizabeth threatens to shut down a small town's production; then to 20th-century Germany, where Adolf Hitler seizes an opportunity to use the famous Oberammergau Passion Play to promote the Nazi agenda; and finally to Spearfish, South Dakota in 1984, as a local production becomes a campaign stop for a famous actor-turned-President running for re-election.

Poetic, poignant, and uniquely theatrical, PASSION PLAY reveals the power of performance to transform ordinary sinners into saints and world leaders into theatrical icons.

PASSION PLAY contains strong language and nudity.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE AND TICKET INFORMATION:

PASSION PLAY plays September 19 through October 11 only at the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven, Connecticut.  Opening Night is Thursday, September 25.  Please note: All evening performances of PASSION PLAY begin at 7:30PM.

The complete performance schedule follows, with Yale Rep's various audience enhancement opportunities noted as applicable:

Friday, September 19             7:30PM

Saturday, September 20         7:30PM            Grad Night Reception begins at 6:30PM

Monday, September 22          7:30PM

Tuesday, September 23          7:30PM

Wednesday, September 24     7:30PM

Thursday, September 25         7:30PM            Opening Night

Friday, September 26             7:30PM

Saturday, September 27         2:00PM            Talk Back

Saturday, September 27         7:30PM

Tuesday, September 30          7:30PM

Wednesday, October 1           2:00PM            Senior Reception begins at 1:00PM

Wednesday, October 1           7:30PM

Thursday, October 2               7:30PM            Talk Back

Friday, October 3                    7:30PM

Saturday, October 4                2:00PM            Talk Back / Open Captioned Performance

Saturday, October 4                7:30PM

Tuesday, October 7                 7:30PM

Wednesday, October 8           7:30PM

Thursday, October 9               7:30PM

Friday, October 10                  7:30PM

Saturday, October 11              2:00PM            Audio Described Performance

Saturday, October 11              7:30PM

 A variety of ticket packages for Yale Rep's 2008-09 season are now available online at www.yalerep.org, by phone (203) 432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office at 1120 Chapel Street (at York Street). Tickets for individual productions go on sale on September 2 and range from $35-$65.  Student, senior, and group rates are also available.

 ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST:

 Sarah Ruhl (Playwright) Sarah Ruhl's plays include The Clean House which had its world premiere at Yale Rep in 2004 (Susan Smith Blackburn Award, Pulitzer Prize finalist, PEN/Pels Foundation Award), Melancholy Play, Eurydice (also at Yale Rep, 2006), Late: a cowboy song, Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP Image Award nomination); Passion Play (Fourth Forum Freedom Award from The Kennedy Center); and Dead Man's Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award).  Her plays have been performed at Lincoln Center Theater, Second Stage Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Goodman Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Wilma Theater, Cornerstone Theater Company, Madison Repertory Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, and Piven Theatre Workshop, among other theaters across the country. Her plays have been translated into German, Polish, Korean, Russian, and Spanish, and have been produced internationally in London, Canada, Germany, Latvia, and Poland.  Sarah is originally from Chicago and received her MFA from Brown University. She is the recipient of a Helen Merrill Award, Whiting Writers' Award, PEN/Pels Foundation Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.  She is a proud member of New Dramatists and 13P.

Mark Wing-Davey (Director) first came to prominence in the United States with his highly acclaimed 1992 production of Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest (New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club; OBIE Award, Outstanding Direction).  He made his Yale Rep debut with the 2005 production of Safe in Hell by Amy Freed, and recently directed Passion Play at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the world premiere of UNCONDITIONAL at Off-Broadway's LAByrinth Theater Company.  Additional US and international credits include productions of new and classic plays at American Conservatory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Mark Taper Forum, McCarter Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, The Public Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Playmaker's Rep, Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Rep; London's Royal Court Theatre, Royal National Theatre, the Actors Center (where he served as Artistic Director from 1998-2002), and in the West End, the Edinburgh Festival and in Australia.  Committing much of his career to developing new plays, he has directed new work by Naomi Iizuka, José Rivera, Anna Deveare Smith, Tony Kushner, and Craig Lucas, among others. Mr. Wing-Davey is the new chair of the graduate acting program at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Allen Moyer (Scenic Designer)  Recent Broadway credits include Grey Gardens (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations, Henry Hewes Award), Thurgood, The Little Dog Laughed, The Constant Wife, Twelve Angry Men, In My Life, Reckless, The Man Who Had All the Luck, and A Thousand Clowns.  Other New York credits include Mr. Marmalade, Landscape of the Body, A Few Stout Individuals, Lobby Hero, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, The Dazzle, This Is Our Youth, Well, As Bees in Honey Drown, and Romeo and Juliet: On Motifs of Shakespeare.  His work in opera includes The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Orfeo ed Euridice at the Metropolitan Opera, as well as productions at San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Scottish Opera; and he designed Mark Morris's Sylvia for the San Francisco Ballet.   Mr. Moyer received the 2006 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence in Set Design.

Ilona SomogyI (Costume Designer)  Recent New York area productions include A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hartford Stage); Crooked (Women's Project); Jerry Springer: The Opera (Carnegie Hall); Almost An Evening,  Scarcity (Atlantic Theater Company); The Piano Teacher (Vineyard Theatre); Fever Chart, Controversy at Vallalodid, Fucking A (The Public Theater); Emma (New York Musical Theatre Festival); The American Pilot (Manhattan Theatre Club); Hot' n' Throbbin' (Signature Theatre Company); Savannah Bay (MCC); as well as God of Hell, Wit, Swimming with Watermelons, Unwrap Your Candy, Tabletop, Hard Times.  She also designed Princess Wishes for Disney on Ice, currently on tour.   Her many regional credits include As You Like It (Yale Rep, 1994); The Autumn Garden, Sweet Bird of Youth, Top Girls,  On the Razzle (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Scramble, Vigil, and Sedition (Westport Country Playhouse).  She was also associate costume designer for Spamalot, The Crucible, and Art on Broadway, and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  Ilona is a graduate of Yale School of Drama, and is currently a member of its faculty.

 Stephen Strawbridge (Lighting Designer) Recent work includes the Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty musical The Glorious Ones directed by Graciela Daniele (Lincoln Center Theater); Craig Lucas's Prayer for My Enemy directed by Bartlett Sher (Long Wharf, Intiman Theatre, upcoming at Playwrights Horizons); Persistence of Memory for Pilobolus Dance Theatre; A Dream Play for Stockholms Stadsteater (on the 100th anniversary of the first production of that play); the Anthony Davis/Yusef Komunyakaa opera Wakonda's Dream (Opera Omaha); Beethoven en Camera for the Schauspielhaus in Vienna, Austria; Bernarda Alba by Michael John LaChiusa (Lincoln Center Theater); and Souls of Naples featuring John Turturro (Theatre for a New Audience; the Mercadante, Naples, Italy).  Mr. Strawbridge has designed on and Off-Broadway and at most leading regional theatre and opera companies across the U.S.  He has designed major premieres in Bergen, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, The Hague, Munich, and Sao Paulo.  Nominations and awards include American Theatre Wing, Bay Area Critics Circle, Dallas Theater Critics Forum, Helen Hayes, and Lucille Lortel.  He is Co-Chair of the Design Department at Yale School of Drama and Resident Lighting Designer at Yale Repertory Theatre, where he most recently designed the lighting for last season's The Evildoers.

 CHARLES COES (Sound Designer) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where his credits include Grace, or the Art of Climbing and A Month in the Country.  His Yale Cabaret credits include Little Shop of Horrors, Bone Songs, Hillbilly Antigone, Perk/Pussy/Pathos, and WASP.

 BRENDAN AVERETT (Carpenter 1) is making his Yale Rep debut.  Recent credits in Chicago include The Ballad of Emmet Till, Passion Play (both at Goodman Theatre), Blithe Spirit (The Gift Theatre Company), and Twelfth Night (Noble Fool Theatricals).  Other credits include Lennie in Of Mice and Men (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Saint Louis Repertory; Cincinnati Entertainment Award nomination); A Midsummer Night's Dream, Measure for Measure, The Brothers Karamazov, Guys and Dolls, The Donnellys: Sticks and Stones, The Swanne, Pt. III and Count of Monte Cristo (Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada); and various work at A Noise Within and Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum in Los Angeles.  Brendan is currently working in post- production for his first short film, Thursday.

Kathleen Chalfant (Queen Elizabeth/ Hitler/ Reagan) appeared in Yale Rep's 2006 production of All's Well That Ends Well.  Her New York stage credits include Angels in America (Tony, Drama Desk Award nominations), Racing Demon, Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, Wit (also at Long Wharf Theatre, in Los Angeles and London; Drama Desk, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics, Connecticut Critics Circle Awards), A Hard Heart, Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, Great Expectations, Bloomer Girl, Guantanamo,  The Last Letter, Talking Heads, Savannah Bay, Far Away, Nine Armenians (Drama Desk nomination), Twelve Dreams, Henry V (Callaway Award), True History and Real Adventures, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Endgame, The Party, and Three Poets. Film and television: Duplicity, The Last New Yorker, Murder and Murder, Bob Roberts, Five Corners, Jumpin' at the Boneyard, A Price Above Rubies, Perfect Stranger, Kinsey, Book of Daniel, The People Speak, The Guardian, The Laramie Project, Lackawanna Blues, Benjamin Franklin, A Death in the Family, Law & Order, and Storm of the Century.  Ms. Chalfant is a Beinecke Fellow at Yale School of Drama this fall.

AUSTIN DURANT (Carpenter 2) most recently appeared in The Who's Tommy, Kids These Days, and Recess at Yale Summer Cabaret.  A second-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, his credits there include I Am a Superhero, Romeo and Juliet, and Peer Gynt. Regional credits include The Illusion, The Pilgrim Papers, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Mum Puppettheatre and Philadelphia Theatre Workshop.  He received his BA in theatre from Temple University.

LAURA ESPOSITO (Ensemble) made her Yale Rep debut in the 2007 production of Lulu and most recently appeared in the Carlotta Festival of New Plays production of I Am a Superhero at Yale School of Drama, where she is a third-year MFA candidate.  Her other productions at the School of Drama include Peer Gynt, If Found Please Return to Charles Darwin, A Month in the Country, Camino Real, The America Plays; at Yale Cabaret she appeared in An Evening of Cabaret and The Do-Over, and directed Perk/Pussy/Pathos.  Film credits include Better Luck Tomorrow.  She received her BFA in Drama from New York University.

DIETERich Gray (Machinist/German Officer/Young Director) hales from Chicago and is making his Yale Rep debut.  His Chicago credits include King Lear with Stacy Keach directed by Robert Falls (Goodman Theatre); Mother Courage directed by Eric Simonson, The Royal Family directed by Frank Galati, I Just Stopped By To See The Man (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew directed by David Bell (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Buddy Holly Story (Drury Lane Theater); Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice directed by Joyce Piven, Great Expectations, Our Country's Good, Lady Chaplin and Her Tramp, and The Mad Dancers (Piven Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Member); Mr. Marmalade, Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), and Osama the Hero (Dog + Pony Theatre Co., Ensemble Member). His film credits include Dog Jack, The Meaning of Hemmingway, Toolshed and the recent Maverick release, 8 of Diamonds opposite Eric Roberts.

BRIAN HASTERT (Ensemble) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where he has appeared in Peer Gynt, Troilus vs. Cressida, Dramatis Personae, A Month in the Country, Camino Real, and Drop Dead, Matthew Moses.  At the Yale Cabaret he appeared in Threesome, Hillbilly Antigone, Max Out Loud, EYE, and The Apocryphal Project, which he co-created with Lauren Feldman.  Brian is the co-founder of the New York City-based theatre company The TEAM, winners of the 2005 and 2006 Edinburgh Fringe First Award and the 2007 Best Production at the Dublin Fringe for their original devised works.

SLATE HOLMGREN (Ensemble) made his Yale Rep debut in last season's Trouble in Mind.  A second-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, he has appeared there in the Carlotta Festival of New Plays production of Grace, or the Art of Climbing and Learning Russian.  His other credits include Bone Songs at Yale Cabaret; the title role in Macbeth at Actor's Repertory Theatre Ensemble; The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, The Little Foxes, and Angels Unaware at Brigham Young University, where he received his BFA. Television and film credits include Everwood and Dragonhunter.  Slate recently completed the British American Dramatic Academy's Midsummer in Oxford program at Balliol College.

Polly Noonan (Village Idiot/Violet) is making her Yale Rep debut.  Polly has worked on Sarah Ruhl's plays for ten years, including Dead Man's Cell Phone (world premiere, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination; Steppenwolf Theater Company), Passion Play (world premiere, Arena Stage, Helen Hayes Award nomination; Goodman Theatre), Eurydice (world premiere, Madison Repertory Theatre; Piven Theatre Workshop), Melancholy Play (world premiere, Piven; Echo Theater Company), and Orlando (world premiere, Piven; The Actors' Gang).  Her other credits include Brilliant Traces, American Voices (Piven); Methusalem, Accidental Death of an Anarchist (New Criminals); and new works at Sundance, Geva Theatre Center, New Dramatists, Soho Rep, REDCAT, and Playwrights Horizons.  She attended Vassar College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has had residencies at Ragdale, Vermont Studio Center, and Ucross.  Film credits include Novocaine, High Fidelity, Arizona Dream, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  Polly is featured on the cover of the Lemonhead's album It's a Shame About Ray and can be heard on track 11 of Lovey.

BARRET O'BRIEN (Ensemble) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where he has appeared in Grace, or the Art of Climbing; Peer Gynt; The Merchant of Venice; The Ghost Sonata; A Month in the Country; The Wendy Play; and Camino Real.  At Yale Cabaret, he wrote and directed Mr & Mrs Hollywood and performed in In the Cypher and Five Fists of Science.
At Yale Summer Cabaret, he appeared in Recess and The Bacchae.  A New Orleans native, he has worked nationally and internationally at such theatres as Ensemble Studio Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, HERE Arts, Southern Rep (New Orleans), Vortex Theatre (Austin), Spiral Stage (Boston), Man in the Moon (London), National Theatre (Budapest), The American Center (Paris), and appeared as Ludie Watts in the national tour of The Trip to Bountiful.

Susan Pourfar (Mary 1) Off-Broadway, Susan has originated roles in The Poor Itch (The Public Theater); Bad Jazz (The Play Company); The Dear Boy, Swimming in the Shallows (Second Stage Theatre); Iron, Blur (Manhattan Theatre Club); The Hiding Place, 10x20 (Atlantic Theater Company), and The Last Sunday in June (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Century Center for the Performing Arts).  Also in New York: The Turn of the Screw.  Regional theatre credits include Aphrodisiac, The Front Page (Long Wharf Theatre); Auntie Mame with Charles Busch (Bay Street Theatre); Dirty Story (Denver Center Theatre Company), Proof (Alliance Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); Frame 312 (Alliance); The Last Days of Judas Escariot (Black Dahlia Theater); and two seasons at Williamstown Theatre Festival, as well as new play development at the Sundance Institute and the O'Neill Playwrights Conference.  Film and television: King of the Corner, Griffin & Phoenix, Numb3rs, The Sopranos, and Third Watch.  Susan received her BA from Brown University.

Keith Reddin (Director) is the author of the plays Life and Limb, Rum and Coke (which had its world premiere at Yale Rep in 1985), Highest Standard of Living, Life During Wartime, Big Time, Nebraska, Brutality of Fact, Black Snow (produced at Yale Rep in 2006), The Innocents Crusade, Almost Blue, Synergy, All the Rage, Can't Let Go, and Frame 312.  He also wrote the screenplays for It's the Rage and The Alarmist, based on his plays, as well as the television movie The Hearts of Justice.  As an actor, he has performed in productions on and Off-Broadway, and at regional theatres around the country.  His film appearances include Lolita, The Doors, Reversal of Fortune, Crossing Delancey, and Big.  Mr. Reddin is a graduate of Northwestern University and Yale School of Drama.

LUKE ROBERTSON (Ensemble) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where his credits include Baal, Speaking Our Minds, and Camino Real.  At Yale Cabaret, his credits include The Illusion and Chicano Sketches; and at Yale Summer Cabaret, The Who's Tommy and The Bacchae.  Luke also has performed in a number of New York productions and readings, including the world premiere of a Clifford Odets's adaptation of Chekhov's The Three Sisters.   His film and television credits include Levity, Imaginary Heroes, The Favor, The Path Ahead, All My Children, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, and Third Watch, on which he had a recurring role in its final season.

Thomas Jay Ryan (Visiting Friar/Visiting Englishman/VA) previously appeared in the world premieres of Suzan-Lori Parks's Venus and David Rabe's The Black Monk at Yale Rep.  His Off-Broadway credits include Ivo Van Hove's production of The Misanthrope (New York Theatre Workshop), Pinter's Celebration and The Room (Atlantic Theater Company), Sin (The New Group), Juno and the Paycock (Roundabout Theatre Company), Venus (The Public Theater), Christmas at the Ivanovs' (Classic Stage Company), the title role in In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimmer (Keen Company), and several original works by Richard Foreman.  His regional theatres credits include Will Eno's Tragedy: A Tragedy (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Melissa James Gibson's Suitcase (La Jolla Playhouse), The Philadelphia Story (Hartford Stage), Five by Tenn (The Kennedy Center), Hedda Gabler (The Shakespeare Theatre), As You Like It (Guthrie Theater), and Hal Hartley's Soon at the Salzburg Festival in Austria.  His film appearances include Fay Grim, Strange Culture, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Book of Life, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and the title role in Henry Fool.   

FELIX SOLIS (Pontius the fish-gutter) made his Yale Rep debut last season in the world premiere of Boleros for the Disenchanted.  His New York stage credits include School of the Americas, Our Lady of 121st Street, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and In Arabia We'd All Be Kings (all at LAByrinth Theater Company, member); Salome with Al Pacino, Marisa Tomei, David Strathairn, and Dianne Wiest (The Actors Studio, member); Havana Is Waiting (Cherry Lane Theatre); and Union City New Jersey, Where Are You? opposite Rosie Perez (Ensemble Studio Theater, member).  Regional credits include Passion Play (Helen Hayes Award nomination, Best Lead Actor), Anna in the Tropics (both at Arena Stage); The Cook (Hartford Stage); Dreamlandia (Dallas Theater Center); and Cloud Tectonics (Merrimack Repertory Theatre).  His film and television credits include the upcoming The International with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, The Forgotten, Empire, End of the Spear, all three current Law & Order series, Damages with Glenn Close and Ted Danson, The West Wing, Oz, and Third Watch.

JOAQUÍN TORRES (John the Fisherman) New York credits include Scariest directed by Meredith McDonough and Ari Edelson (Bleeker Street Theatre), Widows directed by Harold Scott (59E59 Street Theaters), King Lear directed by James Lapine (The Public Theater), Beauty of the Father directed by Michael Greif (Manhattan Theatre Club), Twilight, Los Angeles: 1992 (Lincoln Center Institute), and The Winter's Tale directed by Barry Edelstein (Classic Stage Company).  Regional credits include Passion Play directed by Mark Wing-Davey, Edgar in King Lear directed by Robert Falls (both at Goodman Theatre), George in Our Town directed by Bartlett Sher (INTIMAN Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing directed by Peter DuBois (California Shakespeare Theater), and the world premiere of Yemaya's Belly (Portland Stage Company).  Film and television credits include Finding Sight, Sweet Home directed by John Fiorelli, Third Watch, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and One Life to Live.  He is a graduate of the graduate acting program at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

 NICOLE WIESNER (Mary 2) is making her Yale Rep debut.  Her stage credits include Shining City directed by Robert Falls (Goodman Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company), Passion Play directed by Mark Wing-Davey (also at the Goodman), Great Men of Science directed by Tracy Letts (Lookingglass Theatre Company), and Phedre directed by JoAnne Akalaitis (Court Theatre).  Ms. Wiesner is artistic associate of Chicago's Trap Door Theatre, where she has appeared in countless productions, including the title roles in Nana, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, and Alice in Bed.  She can be seen in Catherine Sullivan's films Ice Floes of Franz Josef Land and The Chittendens (Tate Modern), and in her theatre pieces in Chicago, New York, Lyon (L'Opera de Lyon), and Dijon.

Photo Credit Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.



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