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Carrie Preston Joins Shirley Knight in 'Cycling Past The Matterhorn' Previews Beginning September 18

Farm Avenue Productions and Joseph Smith are proud to announce CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN, a new play by award-winning playwright Deborah Grimberg, starring Tony Award winner and two-time Academy Award nominee Shirley Knight.  Directed by Eleanor Holdridge, CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN will play a limited, 12-week Off-Broadway engagement at The Harold Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street on Theatre Row) beginning Sunday, September 18, 2005 at 3 p.m.  The official Opening is Thursday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Set in contemporary London, CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN is a fast-paced comedy about a mother and daughter at a crossroads. Amy is a young sidewalk psychic (with mediocre abilities) who earns her modest living forecasting the troubled lives of the British public.  Amy's eccentric mother, Esther (Ms. Knight), has recently been left by her husband and has just discovered she is slowly going blind. Amy, fearing being stuck as Esther's caretaker, considers marrying her American boyfriend to escape the predicament while Esther decides to forge ahead with her life ("If Stevie Wonder can do it then so can I!"), and joins a cycling excursion in Switzerland to see the mountains while she still can.

Playwright Deborah Grimberg received Sherrill C. Corwin Metropolitan Theatre Award in 2000 for CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN.  The play had its world premiere in 2003 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival in a production directed by Ms. Grimberg.  Last year, CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN was presented regionally by The Theatre Company at the University of Detroit, Mercy.

CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN also stars Carrie Preston as Amy; Brenda Wehle as Esther's sister, Anita; Ben Fox as Amy's fiancé, Doug; and Nina Jacques as Joanne.

CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN has scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Kiki Smith, lighting design by Les Dickert and sound design and original compositions by Scott Killian.

CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN will play Tuesday- Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.; with matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets for CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN are priced at $55.00 and are now available from (212-279-4200).

For more information, please visit

Shirley Knight (Esther) made her Broadway debut in 1964 in the revival of Chekhov's Three Sisters, directed by Lee Strasberg.  Since then she has starred in more than fifty plays on and off Broadway, in regional theatre and in England.  She won the Tony Award for Kennedy's Children and was nominated for the Tony for The Young Man From Atlanta.  She was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for both The Young Man From Atlanta and Landscape of the Body.  Other New York appearances include Losing Time; A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur; Come Back, Little Sheba; Necessary Targets and Colette in Love.   For her extensive work in television and film, she has won the Best Actress Award at The Venice Film Festival, The Jury Prize at Cannes, two Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards and nine Emmy nominations.  A short list includes:  The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Group, Petulia, The Rain People, Dutchman, Endless Love, As Good As It Gets, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, "Indictment: The McMartin Trial," "Playing For Time" and Ingmar Bergman's "The Lie."  Films soon to be released include Thanks to Gravity, Open Window and Grandma's Boy.  She is also starring in the first three episodes of "Desperate Housewives" this fall.  She was married to the writer John R. Hopkins until his death and has two daughters: the writer, Sophie C. Hopkins and actress/singer, Kaitlin Hopkins.

Brenda Wehle (Anita) received OBIE and Outer Critics Circle Awards in 2003 for her portrayal of Celia in The Hand of God, one of the solo plays in the acclaimed production of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads (Off-Broadway and Los Angeles).  A member of the Guthrie Theatre acting company for 10 years, under the artistic direction of Garland Wright, she appeared in over 40 productions including The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Misanthrope, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Wild Duck, and King Lear, as well as title roles in Medea, A Woman of No Importance and Mother Courage. Other productions include: two European tours as President Demophon in Peter Sellars' production of Euripedes' The Children of Herakles, Spinning Into Butter at Lincoln Center, Cymbeline at The Old Globe, The Cider House Rules at Seattle Rep and the Mark Taper Forum, Pericles for T.F.N.A. at BAM, Waste at Theatre For A New Audience and The Cherry Orchard, Street Scene and On the Razzle at the Williamstown Theater Festival.  Film:  American Beauty, Soldier and the upcoming First Born. Television: recurring roles on "Party of Five" (Dr. Rabin), "Malcolm in the Middle" (Lavernia) and "Jack and Bobby" (Courtney McCallister), as well as appearances on "Chicago Hope," "Gideon's Crossing," "Cracker," "Family Law," "Boston Legal," "L.A. Docs," "Judging Amy" and "Crossing Jordan."

Carrie Preston (Amy) Broadway: The Rivals, The Tempest. Off-Broadway: Chaucer in Rome (Lincoln Center), Boys and Girls, Freedomland (Playwrights Horizons), Antony and Cleopatra (Public Theater), Straight-Jacket (Playhouse 91), The Libertine (Theatre Row). Regional: Hamlet (McCarter); Fran's Bed (Long Wharf); Virginia Woolf (Guthrie); Taming of the Shrew  (Williamstown); Cherry Orchard, She Stoops to Conquer, No Foreigners Beyond this Point (Baltimore Center Stage); Hamlet (Alabama Shakespeare).  Film: Transamerica, Straight-Jacket, Stepford Wives, My Best Friend's Wedding, Guinevere, Mercury Rising, For Richer or Poorer, Woman Wanted, Bagger Vance. TV: "Sex and the City;" "Law and Order: Criminal Intent;" "Good Morning, Miami;" "Hope and Faith;" "Emeril;" "Spin City." Directing: Girl Talk (Barrow Group), Feet of Clay (finalist, Sam French one-act competition); the feature 29th and Gay (currently making festival rounds).

Ben Fox (Doug).  Broadway:  Our Town.  New York: Miss Julie, Three Seconds in the Key, K, Green Stockings, King John, Wasp, Pacific Overtures.  Regional: Bus Stop (Old Globe); Ruby Sunrise (Sundance Theater Lab); A Month in the Country (Huntington Theater); Camino Real, Taming of the Shrew, Vassa Zheleznova, Polaroid Stories (Williamstown). Film/Television: "Law & Order: SVU," "Our Town," Beautiful Mind.  BFA from NYU: Playwrights Horizons.  Ben is an Artistic Associate of Theater Mitu, currently in residence at New York Theater Workshop (

Nina Jacques (Joanne) appeared in the world premiere production of Cycling Past the Matterhorn in 2003.  She most recently appeared in The Map Makers Sorrow in this summer's SPF Festival.  Her other New York stage credits include Cosi fan Tutte at B.A.M. and Champagne for the Naked Angels. A British native, Nina's U.K. stage credits include Rhinoceros, Educating Rita, Shakers, Mansfield Park, Great Expectations, Charley's Aunt, And Women Must Weep, A Flea In Her Ear and Elizabeth II.  Films include The Beach, directed by Danny Boyle, and Blue Moon.

Deborah Grimberg (Playwright).  A British playwright now established in New York, Deborah received the Sherrill C. Corwin Metropolitan Theatre Award in 2000 for Cycling Past the Matterhorn.  Deborah is also the recipient of the Ensemble Studio Theatre's the 2003 James Hammerstein Emerging Playwright Award and was also offered EST's Dasha Epstein playwriting fellowship.  Deborah's other plays include Screaming Violet, Hellmouth and Wrapped in Gold (2002 New York International Fringe Festival) and The Honey Makers (2003 EST One Act Marathon).  In August 2003, Deborah directed Cycling Past The Matterhorn at the New York International Fringe Festival.  In 2004, The Honey Makers was produced by EST LA at Stage 52 Playhouse in Los Angeles, her ten-minute play Static was produced by The Invisible Theatre Company at Manhattan Theatre Source and Cycling Past The Matterhorn was produced by The Theatre Group at the University of Detroit, Mercy.  This past April, two monologues from Screaming Violet were published in the Smith and Kraus 2005 anthology of comic monologues.

ELEANOR HOLDRIDGE (Director) has directed The Promise (Shakespeare and Company); Julius Caesar (Milwaukee Shakespeare); Two Gentlemen of Verona (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); As You Like It, Twelfth Night and The Tempest (Shakespeare & Company); Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest (Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival); Henry V (Shakespeare on the Sound); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Festival Saint Louis); The Imaginary Invalid (Pearl Theater Company, NY); Lettice & Lovage (Shakespeare & Company); Art (Triad Stage) and  Betrayal (Portland Stage).  In the past she has served as Associate Artist at Shakespeare & Company, Artistic Director of the Red Heel Theatre Company, Artistic Director of the Yale Cabaret, Resident Assistant Director for the Shakespeare Theatre and Resident Director at New Dramatists.   She is a Usual Suspect at NYTW and has taught and directed students at The Yale School of Drama, NYU's graduate program, Juilliard and The Shakespeare Theatre Academy for Classical Acting.  She holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama.  Later this year Eleanor will direct The Crucible at Perseverance Theater and Mary Stuart at The Pearl Theatre. 

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