Alessi, Ebert, et al. Lead Roundabout's BRIEF ENCOUNTER; Opens at Studio 54 Sept. 28, 2010

By: Jul. 26, 2010
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Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) in association with
David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld has announced the full Broadway company for Kneehigh Theatre's production of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, adapted and directed by Emma Rice.

The cast will include Joseph Alessi (Albert/Fred), Dorothy Atkinson (Beryl), Damon Daunno (Bill/Bobbie), Gabriel Ebert (Stanley), Edward Jay (Musician), Annette McLaughlin (Myrtle), Adam Pleeth (Musician), Tristan Sturrock (Alec), Hannah Yelland (Laura).

Brief Encounter will begin previews on Friday, September 10th, 2010 and open officially Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at Studio 54 on Broadway (254 West 54th Street).
This will be a limited engagement through December 5, 2010.

Brief Encounter is an imaginative new work that combines elements of Noël Coward's beloved screenplay, and the one act play on which it was based, with song, dance and Technicolor displays of emotion.

This breakout hit from London's Kneehigh Theatre played a sold out run at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY and has also played critically acclaimed engagements at ACT and the Guthrie Theater.

The design team includes Neil Murray (Sets & Costumes), Malcolm Rippeth (Lights), Simon Baker (Sound) and Gemma Carrington & Jon Driscoll (Projection).

Roundabout's history with Noël Coward includes the production of Present Laughter (2010) with Victor Garber and Design for Living (2001) with Alan Cumming, Jennifer Ehle and Dominic West.

Beginning Monday, July 19th, tickets will be available exclusively to American Express® Cardmembers at, by phone at (212) 719-1300, or at the Studio 54 Box Office (254 West 54th Street).

Public on-sale begins Friday, July 30th by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212)719-1300, online at or at the Studio 54 Box Office (254 West 54th Street). To become a Roundabout subscriber visit or call Roundabout Ticket Services (212)719-1300. Ticket prices range from $37.00-127.00.

Brief Encounter will play Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00PM with a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2:00PM.


Joseph Alessi (Albert/Fred). Joe has worked extensively in theatre since leaving LAMDA in 1990. Recent credits include: Assassins (Union Theatre, London), Kneehigh's Brief Encounter (UK/USA tour), Tartuffe (Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Rose Theatre, Kingston), Privates On Parade (West Yorkshire Playhouse & Birmingham Rep), Dick Whittington & His Cat (Salisbury Playhouse), The Tempest, Anthony & Cleopatra & Julius Caesar (RSC & Novello Theatre, London), The Drowsy Chaperone (Novello Theatre, London), The Postman Always Rings Twice featuring Val Kilmer (Playhouse Theatre, London), The Play What I Wrote (UK tour), The Io Passion (Almeida Theatre, London and The Aldeburgh Festival), Light (Complicite, tour and Almeida Theatre, London), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Regents Park, London), The Colour of Justice (Tricycle Theatre, London), Animal Crackers (Royal Exchange and UK tour), Laughter On The 23rd Floor featuring Gene Wilder (Queens Theatre, London). Joe was nominated for an Olivier Award for his portrayal of Chico Marx in Animal Crackers.

Dorothy AtkinsON (Beryl). Theatre credits include: Brief Encounter (Haymarket London/Kneehigh and St Annes Warehouse New York). A Matter of Life and Death (The National Theatre London/Kneehigh), Epitaph For George Dillon (Comedy Theatre London), Two Weeks with the Queen (National Theatre London), Beauty and The Beast , The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe (Royal Shakespeare Company), Just Between Ourselves (Theatre Royal Northampton), Eden End, Inconceivable, The Proposal, (West Yorkshire Playhouse)Wild Honey, Fool To Yourself, A Dolls House, The Boy Who Fell Into A Book, Cheap And Cheerful ( with Alan Ayckbourn at The Stephen Joseph Theatre), Great Big Radio Show (Buxton Opera House), Up And Under (Hull truck), Rosie Blitz, The Four Friends ( Polka Theatre) Abigails Party(International Tour) The Wizard of Oz (Italian Tour), and National tours of On the Town, The Boyfriend, Babes In Arms, Godspell. News Revue (Canal Café Theatre). Television credits: Phoneshop, Midsomer Murders, Victoria Woods Midlife Christmas, Casualty1909, Sunshine, May Contain Nuts, Peep Show, Skins, Housewife 49, Innocence Project, Bodies, No Angels, Life Begins, Murder City, Every Time I Look At You, Murder In Mind, Holby City, Heartbeat, Eastenders, Peak Practice, Londons Burning. Film Credits: Chatroom, Jessie Bond In Topsy Turvy, All Or Nothing, Look At Me I'm Beautiful, The Night Is Young, The Final Curtain, Keep The Aspidistra Flying, Roads. Radio Credits: Modern Art to Suburbia, Teen Lurve, Hymns Uproarious. Sound Track: Topsy Turvy as Jessie Bond.

Damon Daunno (Bill/Bobbie). A New York based singer/songwriter currently starring as ‘Romeo' in The Last Goodbye (a musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set to the music of Jeff Buckley) at the Williamstown Theater Festival. Venues played include Highline Ballroom and Joe's Pub. B.F.A NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Gabriel Ebert (Stanley) is a graduate of The Julliard School. Previous theatre credits include Red (John Goldman Theatre) "Gee, Officer Krupke" (Carnegie Hall); The Sacrifices (SPF/Dir. Sam Gold). He has also been seen in Isaac and Ishmael; Much Ado About Nothing; Comrade; Ah, Wilderness! Suburbia!; Favor; Every Good Boy Deserves Theater; and From West Side Story (all at Chautauqua).

Edward Jay (Musician) performed in Kneehigh Theatre's Tristan & Yseult (2005 Spoleto Festival USA, 2006 Sydney Festival) and Brief Encounter (London West End 2008). Jay was born into a family of musicians and started playing accordion for weddings with his family ceilidh band from the age of eight. He toured the country performing under the Yehudi Menuhin's 'Live Music Now' charitable organization for young musicians. Eddy currently earns a living as a session musician (on several instruments) and also continues to perform in various ensembles in the UK playing jazz, tango and folk music. He has also written and produced music for theatre, TV and film. As a point of interest, Eddy holds a patent for a new and revolutionary design of accordion which he is currently developing with the Beltrami accordion factory in Stradella, Italy.

Annette McLaughlin (Myrtle). Theater credits include Brief Encounter (UK Tour, St Ann's Warehouse Brooklyn, NY, A.C.T San Francisco, and The Guthrie Theater Minneapolis) ‘Velma Kelly' in Chicago (five times in the West End and 10th anniversary), ‘Erma' in Trevor Nunn's production of Anything Goes (National Theatre and West End); ‘Jaquenetta' in Trevor Nunn's Love's Labours Lost (National Theatre) ‘Mema' in Peter Hall's production of Lenny, Singin' in the Rain (National Theatre); The Women (The Old Vic), ‘Betty' in Damn Yankees (with Jerry Lewis), ‘Babette' in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, ‘Tess' in Crazy for You, and A Handful of Keys (All West End ), ‘Lady Capulet' in Romeo and Juliet, ‘Titania' and ‘Helena' in A Midsummer Night's Dream, ‘Lady Percy' in Henry IV, Part 1, and ‘Tracey Lord' in High Society (All at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London); The Vagina Monologues (UK Tour), ‘Catherine' in Tomorrow Morning (New End Theatre); ‘Belinda' in Noises Off (Birmingham Rep), ‘Queen Anne' in 5/11, and ‘Hedy La Rue' in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (TMA award nomination for best actress in a musical) (Chichester Festival Theatre); ‘Lola' in Imagine This (Theatre Royal Plymouth); ‘Bakers wife' in Into the Woods (Derby Playhouse); ‘Amanda' in Alan Ayckbourn's Dreams from a Summerhouse (Newbury Watermill Theatre); ‘Louisette' in the Feydeau Farce Horse and Carriage and ‘Andy' in Stepping Out (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Godspell (Haymarket Theatre Basingstoke); and the opening of the Welsh Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Television and film credits include Heartbeat, The Frank Skinner Show, Legionnaire, Lunar IV, and "Law & Order London." Cast Albums include Anything Goes and Tomorrow Morning.
Radio work includes Friday Night is Music Night, and More of Loesser (both with the BBC)
Annette has just played Mrs. Wormwood in the RSC workshop of Matilda directed by Matthew Wachus, and is about to appear in Sondheim at 80, a concert celebrating the composers work at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms. Annette is also one half of a female comedy duo called fair do's.

Adam Pleeth (Musician) started playing trumpet and piano at an early age, picking up other instruments as he went along. He studied music at Bristol University and spent a few years touring internationally with the band Babyhead. He started working with Kneehigh Theatre in January 2008, performing in the West End run of Brief Encounter until November 2008, the UK tour of Brief Encounter in 2009 and the full US tour of San Francisco, New York and Minneapolis in 2009/2010. He has worked with music for television, vocally tutored actors for film, taught piano and trumpet, composed for many ensembles, and performed with different groups at such events and venues as New York fashion week, Radio 1 Maida Vale sessions, Radio 2 with Charles Hazlewood, the Glastonbury Festival's Jazz World stage, and session work for chart-topping bands.

Tristan Sturrock (Alec). Tristan has performed with Kneehigh for over twenty years. His work with the company includes; Brief Encounter (St Anne's Warehouse New York) (Haymarket Cinema London West End), Don Jon (Bristol, Leeds Playhouse, Birmingham Rep) A Matter of Life and Death, The Riot (Royal National Theatre) Tristan and Yseult (National Theatre, UK Tour Sydney and USA) and The King of Prussia (Donmar Warehouse) Also for Kneehigh; Tregeagle, Ship of Fools, Peer Gynt, Carmen, Cyborg, The Ashmaid, Danger My Ally, Windfall. Other theatre includes; The Mysteries and The Spanish Tragedy for the Royal Shakespeare Company, As You Like It, Bring Me Sunshine (Royal Exchange Theatre) Juliet and Her Romeo, Faraway, The Beaux Stratagem, Dolls Heart (Bristol Old Vic) Edward II and Blue Remembered Hills (Sheffield Crucible) An Oak Tree (Plymouth Theatre Royal ) Salome (Riverside Studios) Jerusalem Syndrome and The Station (Soho Theatre). Frankenspine; My Lucky Break (one- man show Bristol Old Vic currently on tour). Television includes; The Queen, Garrows Law, Doc Martin, Rescue Me, Holby City, The Bill, Menace, Liverpool One, Bad Girls, The Royal, The Project, Bodily Harm, Wycliffe and The New Adventures of Robin Hood. Film Saving Grace.

Hannah Yelland (Laura). Hannah's theater credits include The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I and II (Chichester Festival Theatre; U.K. tour; Gielgud Theatre West End, Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto) in which she played the central role of Kate Nickleby to her father, David Yelland's Ralph Nickleby; Daisy in Daisy Pulls It Off (Lyric Theatre West End, London); Nora Helmer in A Doll's House (Abbey Theatre, Dublin); Vivie Warren in Mrs. Warren's Profession (directed by Sir Peter Hall); Jan in Bedroom Farce (No. 1 UK tour); Marie-Jo Simenon in Murder in Paris; Hero in Beatrice et Benedict (The Barbican Centre); Jacqueline Maingot in French without Tears (English Touring Theatre) and Marion de Saint Vaury in The Linden Tree (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond). Her television and film credits include Dalziel and Pascoe, Bodies II, Holby City, Ahead of the Class, Ultimate Force, Doctors, Heartbeat, Danielle Cable, The Project, Swallow, Dinotopia (Hallmark) Micawber, Poirot, The Bill, The Secret, and A Touch of Frost, Method and AKA. She lives in Washington DC with her husband Michael.

NOËL COWARD (Playwright). Noël Peirce Coward was born in Teddington, Middlesex, England to Arthur Coward (sometime piano salesman) and Violet (soon to become the archetypal ‘stage mother'.) He made his professional stage debut as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish at the age of 12, which led to many child actor appearances in the next few years. He played the character of Slightly in Peter Pan - which later caused critic Kenneth Tynan to remark - "Forty years ago he was Slightly in Peter Pan and you might say that he has been wholly in Peter Pan ever since." Several of his own early plays reached the London stage briefly but it was the controversial The Vortex (1924) that proved to be the breakthrough. With its overt references to drugs and adultery, it made his name as both actor and playwright in the West End and on Broadway. Noël seemed to epitomize the spirit of the frenzied 1920s and a string of successful plays ensued - Hay Fever (1925), Fallen Angels (1925) and Easy Virtue (1926), as well as several intimate revues for which he wrote words and music. The momentum continued into the 1930s. Private Lives (1930) saw him appearing with a childhood friend, Gertrude ("Gertie") Lawrence and that partnership continued professionally with Tonight at 8.30 (1936). Writer, actor, director, songwriter and writer of verse, essays and autobiographies, he was called by close friends ‘The Master', a title of which he was secretly proud. As World War II broke out he had two plays waiting to be produced - This Happy Breed and Present Laughter - but they would have to wait until 1943. Meanwhile, there was Blithe Spirit (1941), a subversive comedy that ran longer than the war. ‘Noël's War' was an active one... troop concerts at home and overseas... touring in plays... producing classic films such as; In Which We Serve and Brief Encounter... and acting as an unofficial spy for the Foreign Office! The post-war years saw his star in temporary eclipse. Austerity Britain - the London critics determined - was out of tune with the brittle Coward wit. His plays enjoyed only modest success but Noël responded by ‘re-inventing' himself as a cabaret and TV star, particularly in America, which had never undervalued his multiple talents. Indeed Noel had a love affair with America ever since his first visit to New York in 1921. Over the years most of his plays had successful Broadway productions and indeed some of them premiered there including Design For Living, starring the Lunts in 1933, Sail Away (1961) The Girl Who Came To Supper (1963) and High Spirits (1964). He left the UK in the mid-1950's and settled in Jamaica and Switzerland. In the early 1960s critical opinion in Britain turned yet again. He was now demonstrably "our greatest living playwright". ‘Dad's Renaissance' - as Noël gleefully dubbed it - was under way and has never faltered since. He and his work are today more popular - and on a worldwide scale - than ever before. In 1970 came the long overdue knighthood. In 1973 he died peacefully and was buried in his beloved Jamaica.

Emma Rice (Adaptor, Director) is the artistic director of Kneehigh Theatre. She has directed for Kneehigh Pandora's Box (coproduced with Northern Stage), Wild Bride (The Shamans, Budapest), The Red Shoes (2002 Theatrical Management Association [TMA] Theatre Award for Best Director), The Wooden Frock (2004 TMA Theatre Award nomination for Best Touring Production), The Bacchae (2005 TMA Theatre Award for Best Touring Production), Tristan & Yseult, Nights at the Circus (Lyric Hammersmith production in association with Kneehigh Theatre), Cymbeline (in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company for The Complete Works festival), A Matter of Life and Death (Royal National Theatre production in association with Kneehigh Theatre), Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre), Brief Encounter (tour and West End; a David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Production in association with Kneehigh Theatre), and Don John (in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Bristol Old Vic). Rice was nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Director for Brief Encounter.

KNEEHIGH tell stories. They make world-class theatre. They are based in Cornwall, UK in breath-taking barns on the south coast. They create theatre of humanity on an epic and tiny scale and now find themselves celebrated as one of Britain's most innovative theatre companies. For 30 years they have created vigorous, popular and challenging theatre for UK and International audiences alike. Using a multi-talented team of performers, directors, designers, sculptors, administrators, engineers, musicians and writers, Kneehigh perform with the joyful anarchy that audiences have come to expect from this groundbreaking theatre company.

Roundabout Theatre Company is a not-for-profit theatre dedicated to providing a nurturing artistic home for theatre artists at all stages of their careers where the widest possible audience can experience their work at affordable prices. Roundabout fulfills its mission each season through the revival of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established playwrights and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate loyal audiences.

Roundabout Theatre Company currently produces at three permanent homes each of which is designed specifically to enhance the needs of the Roundabout's mission. Off-Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design is perfectly suited to showcasing new plays. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics. Roundabout's Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions. Together these three distinctive venues serve to enhance the work on each of its stages.

American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company. Flatotel is the official hotel of Roundabout Theatre Company. Roundabout productions are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Department of State, the New York State Department of Education, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Roundabout Theatre Company's 2010-2011 season features George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession starring Cherry Jones & Sally Hawkins, directed by Doug Hughes; Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, adapted and directed by Emma Rice; Kim Rosenstock's Tigers Be Still, directed by Sam Gold; Julia Cho's The Language Archive, directed by Mark Brokaw; Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, starring and directed by Brian Bedford; Tennessee Williams' The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore starring Olympia Dukakis, directed by Michael Wilson; Anything Goes starring Sutton Foster, directed & choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. Roundabout's sold out production of The 39 Steps made its third transfer to the New World Stages after a successful Broadway run at three Broadway theatres.