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Austin Pendleton to Star in Xavier Theatre Company's THE CHALICE at Stonewall Inn

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Austin Pendleton to Star in Xavier Theatre Company's THE CHALICE at Stonewall Inn

Xavier Theatre Company has announced its next production, The Chalice, a new play exploring a gay Catholic man's alienation from his family, his faith and himself. The cast includes Tony Award-nominee and Obie Award-winner Austin Pendleton as the ghost of Pope Pius XII.

There will be four performances on November 20, 21, 27 and 28, all at 7 p.m. at the Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St., New York, NY, 10014, near the Number 1 subway line at Christopher Street Station. Admission is free with a two-drink minimum, non-alcoholic drinks are available.

The play is written by up-and-coming playwright Emily Claire Schmitt. She has an MFA in playwriting from the New School for Drama. She is a finalist in the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and won a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Award.

It is directed by Tom Paolino, who as an actor has appeared in the feature films The Purge: Election Day and The Opposite of Sex. He trained with Sanford Meisner in Meisner's final class. He is Xavier's Creative Co-director.

Austin Pendleton has had a long and varied career. He was the in the original Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof and Shakespeare in the Park's Mother Courage with Meryl Streep. His films have ranged from A Beautiful Mind to Finding Nemo, and his television career has included noted programs like St. Elsewhere, Homicide: Life on the Street, and The West Wing.

The cast also includes Margaret Arnold, a deaf actress who has performed with the Deaf West Theatre; Marisela Grejada Gonzalez, an accomplished stand-up comedy performer with a BFA in acting from Brooklyn College; Joe Hoover, Xavier's Artistic Co-director, playwright and Jesuit brother, who as an actor appeared in King Lear in Shakespeare in the Park with John Lithgow and in The Pearl's Uncle Vanya; Bruce Jones, who recently toured with a production of Hair; and Kevin Martinez, who recently appeared in Waste, Fraud and Abuse: The Musical at 13th Street Rep.

The play focuses on a gay man alienated from his family and his church, who is bequeathed a mystifying gift: a chalice used by the controversial Pope Pius XII. The play navigates the hazardous terrain of sexual identity, Catholic doctrine and a family in crisis as the characters are forced to choose between love and fear. The ghost of the pope helps the man along this journey as the ghost seeks to resolve his own past, by putting to rest questions about his complicity in the Holocaust.

The Stonewall Inn is located on the site of 1969's Stonewall riots which helped trigger the modern gay rights movement.

Xavier Theatre Co. is a new theatre company dedicated to producing new plays in the Roman Catholic tradition. Its most recent production, The Good Life by Joe Hoover, received raves in the Midtown International Theatre Festival and toured prisons around New York.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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