Christopher Ashley to Direct World Premiere of THE SQUIRRELS Starring Brad Oscar and More
La Jolla Playhouse announces the cast and creative team for its world-premiere production of The Squirrels, by Tony Award nomineeRobert Askins (Hand to God), directed by 2017 Tony Award winner and La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley, running June 5 - July 8.
The cast features Terence Archie (Broadway's Rocky) as "Scurius," Candy Buckley (Playhouse's Kill Local) as "Mammalia," Lakisha May (Off-Broadway's Everybody) as "Chordata," Tony Award nominee Brad Oscar (Broadway's The Producers, Something Rotten) as "Scientist/Sciuridae," Marcus Terrell Smith (Book of Mormon national tour) as "Carolinensus" and local actor Summer Spiro (Playhouse's DNA New Work Series) as "Rodentia," along with UC San Diego M.F.A. students Sidney Hill, Max Singer and Danielle Wineman as Squirrel Ensemble members.
The creative team includes Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt (Come From Away), Scenic Designer; Tony Award winner and UC San Diego M.F.A. alumna Paloma Young (Peter and the Starcatcher), Costume Designer; Tony Award nominee Tyler Micoleau (Playhouse's Miss You Like Hell; Broadway's The Band's Visit), Lighting Designer; Tony Award nominee Cricket S. Myers (Playhouse's Guards at the Taj), Sound Designer; John Narun (Playhouse'sBlueprints to Freedom), Projection Designer; Gabriel Greene, Dramaturg; and Joshua Pilote, Stage Manager.
Winter is on the way and the squirrels are restless. Mistrust is growing between the Rich Gray Squirrels and the outcast Fox Squirrels. When a wily outsider gets in the mix, he ignites an epic animal kingdom soap opera teeming with rebel armies, conspiracy, love and family loyalties. No squirrel will go unharmed in this deliciously-demented new comedy from Tony Award nominee Robert Askins.
"This savagely funny new play is at once contemporary and Shakespearean," noted Ashley. "Featuring a stellar, multi-talented cast and creative team, not to mention a 24-foot tree, The Squirrels touches on today's socio-political issues through the singular lens of Rob Askins' untethered imagination."
Cypress, Texas-born Robert Askins (Playwright) is the author of the Tony-nominated and Obie Award-winning Broadway hit, Hand to God, which enjoyed a run on London's West End and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. His comedy Fish Display was part of the 2012 Ojai Playwrights Conference, and his play Permission, also developed at OPC, had its world premiere off-Broadway at MCC Theater in spring 2015. Askins is currently working on a new a musical and plays with La Jolla Playhouse, The Alley Theatre, and Joey Parnes Productions. In addition, he's a writer on the AMC series The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan. He is the recipient of two EST/Sloan grants, the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, and an Arch and Bruce Davis Award for Playwriting. Askins is a graduate of Baylor University.
Christopher Ashley (Director) has served as La Jolla Playhouse's Artistic Director since October, 2007. During his tenure, he has helmed the Playhouse's productions of Hollywood, The Darrell Hammond Project, Chasing the Song, His Girl Friday, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Dram of Drummhicit, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Restoration and the musicals Escape to Margaritaville, Xanadu, Memphis, which won four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, andCome From Away, for which he won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. He also spearheaded the Playhouse's Without Walls (WOW) series, the DNA New Work Series and the Resident Theatre program. Prior to joining the Playhouse, he directed the Broadway productions of Xanadu(Drama Desk nomination), All Shook Up and The Rocky Horror Show (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), as well as the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration productions of Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along. Other New York credits include: Blown Sideways Through Life, Jeffrey (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla, Regrets Only, Wonder of the World, Communicating Doors, Bunny Bunny, The Night Hank Williams Died and Fires in the Mirror (Lucille Lortel Award), among others. Mr. Ashley also directed the feature filmsJeffrey and Lucky Stiff, as well as the American Playhouse production of Blown Sideways Through Life for PBS. Mr. Ashley is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award, the Drama League Director Fellowship and an NEA/TCG Director Fellowship.
La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what's new and next in the American theatre, from Tony Award-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our theatre walls. Currently led by 2017 Tony Award-winning Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Debby Buchholz, the Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. Playhouse artists and audiences have taken part in the development of new plays and musicals, including mounting 95 world premieres, commissioning 50 new works, and sending 32 productions to Broadway, among them the currently-running hit musicals Come From Away, Escape to Margaritaville and SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical - garnering a total of 38 Tony Awards, including the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. For more information, visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos