Danny Burstein, Rebecca Naomi Jones and More to Star in Rajiv Joseph's DESCRIBE THE NIGHT at the Atlantic

By: Sep. 11, 2017
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Atlantic Theater Company has announced casting for The New York premiere of Pulitzer Prize finalist and Lortel and Obie Award winner Rajiv Joseph's (Guards at the Taj) play Describe the Night, directed by Giovanna Sardelli (Animals Out of Paper).

Describe the Night will feature Tina Benko (The Crucible), Nadia Bowers (The Farnsworth Invention), six-time Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein (Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret), Rebecca Naomi Jones (Significant Other, Marie and Rosetta), Max Gordon Moore (Indecent) and Stephen Stocking (Off-Broadway debut).

In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel (Burstein) wanders the countryside with the Red Cavalry. Seventy years later, a mysterious KGB agent spies on a woman in Dresden and falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashes in the Russian city of Smolensk.

Set in Russia over the course of 90 years, this thrilling and epic new play traces the stories of seven men and women connected by history, myth and conspiracy theories.

Describe the Night will begin previews Friday, November 10, officially open Tuesday, December 5 and play a limited engagement through Sunday, December 24, 2017, Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company's Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street).

Rajiv Joseph returns to Atlantic following the critically acclaimed production of his Lortel and Obie Award-winning play Guards at the Taj. His playsinclude Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Pulitzer Prize finalist), The North Pool, Gruesome Playground Injuries and Animals Out of Paper. He has been awarded artistic grants from the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Director Giovanna Sardelli has staged Rajiv Joseph's Off-Broadway world premieres of Huck & Holden, Animals Out of Paper, All This Intimacy andThe Leopard and The Fox, as well as the world premiere of Archduke at The Mark Taper Forum and the West Coast premiere of Guards at the Taj at The Geffen Playhouse, which received the 2017 Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play.

Tina Benko recently starred in Julius Caesar at The Public Theatre's Shakespeare in the Park and has appeared on Broadway in The Crucible and The Cherry Orchard. Nadia Bowers has appeared on Broadway in The Farnsworth Invention, Doubt and Metamorphoses. Six-time Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein has starred on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof, Follies, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, South Pacific andThe Drowsy Chaperone. Rebecca Naomi Jones last starred at Atlantic in the acclaimed play Marie and Rosetta and has appeared on Broadway in Significant Other, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, American Idiot and Passing Strange. Max Gordon Moore has appeared on Broadway in Indecent and Relatively Speaking and Off-Broadway in Man from Nebraska. Stephen Stocking makes his Off-Broadway debut and recently appeared in the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Archduke at The Mark Taper Forum.

Describe the Night will feature scenic design by Tim Mackabee, costume design by Amy Clark, lighting design by Lap Chi Chu, sound design and original compositions by Daniel Kluger and casting by Telsey+Company; Adam Caldwell, CSA; Will Cantler, CSA; Karyn Casl, CSA.

The World Premiere of Describe the Night was commissioned and produced by the Alley Theatre, Houston, TX (Gregory Boyd, Artistic Director; Dean R. Gladden, Managing Director).


Rajiv Joseph's (Playwright) play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and was also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. His play Guards at the Taj was a 2016 Obie Winner for Best New American Play and a 2016 Lucille Lortel Winner for Best Play. His play Archdukereceived its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Other plays include Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Monster at the Door, Animals Out of Paper, The Lake Effect, The North Pool, and Mr. Wolf. Rajiv has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. He is a board member of the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, where he develops all his plays. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Giovanna Sardelli (Director). With Rajiv Joseph: Los Angeles: Archduke (World Premiere at the Taper, CTG), Guards at the Taj (Geffen Playhouse, 2017 Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play). Off-Broadway World Premieres: Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane); Animals Out of Paper and All This Intimacy (Second Stage); The Leopard and The Fox (AlterEgo). Regional: Mr. Wolf (Cleveland Play House); The Lake Effect (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley); The North Pool (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley World Premiere, Barrington Stage Company). Other Select Off-Broadway World Premieres: Little Children Dream of God (Roundabout); Wildflower (Second Stage); Finks (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Apple Cove (Women's Project). Other Select Regional: All The Way, The Whipping Man (Cleveland Play House); The Mountaintop, Absalom (Actor's Theatre of Louisville); Clybourne Park, Lord of the Flies, Muckrakers(Barrington Stage Company); Crimes of the Heart, Velocity of Autumn, Somewhere (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley). Though based in New York, Sardelli is the Director of New Works for TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Education: MFA Graduate Acting Program, NYU and graduate of their Director's Lab. Upcoming: Constellations (Geffen Playhouse), Describe the Night by Rajiv Joseph (Alley Theatre), Skeleton Crew (Marin Theatre/TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), Finks (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley).

Tina Benko (Yevgenia) played Calpurnia in Julius Caesar this summer for The Public Theatre's Shakespeare in the Park. Recent Broadway credits include Ivo Van Hove's production of The Crucible and The Cherry Orchard at Roundabout. Off-Broadway includes Scenes from a Marriage at New York Theatre Workshop, Informed Consent at Primary Stages, A Midsummer Night's Dream at TFANA, Who Left This Fork Here? at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jackie at The Women's Project and The New York, Los Angeles and International productions of Toni Morrison's play Desdemona. TV and Film credits include "Mapplethorpe," "Hot Air," The Greatest Showman, "Fair Market Value," "Blindspot," "NCIS: New Orleans," "Vinyl" and "Flesh and Bone."

Nadia Bowers (Mariya, MrS. Petrovna). Broadway: The Farnsworth Invention, Doubt, Metamorphoses. Other NYC credits: Recently, Church and State at New World Stages, The Way West by Mona Mansour at Labyrinth. Other NYC theater: Collapse (The Women's Project), Julius Caesar (Public Theater; NYSF), Wildflower (Second Stage), Dog and Wolf (Watson Arts@59E59), Eyes of the Heart (NAATCO), The Netflix Plays (Ars Nova), Romania. Kiss Me! (The Play Company). Regional: The Farnsworth Invention, Sideways (LaJolla Playhouse), Blood Wedding, Boston Marriage (Guthrie Theater), Circle Mirror Transformation (Huntington Theater), Chapter Two (Bucks County Playhouse), Tartuffe (Westport Country Playhouse) and many others. TV: "Quantico," "Orange is the New Black," "The Strain," "NCIS," every incarnation of "Law and Order." Film: (upcoming) Unintended. B.A: Dartmouth College - Sociology/French. M.F.A: Tisch School of the Arts, NYU's Graduate Acting Program. www.nadiabowers.com

Danny Burstein (Isaac) is a six-time Tony Award and two-time Grammy Award nominee whose sixteen Broadway credits include: Fiddler on the Roof; Cabaret; The Snow Geese; Golden Boy; Follies; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; South Pacific; The Drowsy Chaperone; Saint Joan; The Seagull; Three Men on a Horse; A Little Hotel on the Side; Titanic and Company. Off-Broadway credits include: Bottom in Midsummer...; Talley's Folly; Mrs. Farnsworth; Psych; All in the Timing; Merrily We Roll Along; Weird Romance and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. Film/TV includes: Indignation (directed by James Schamus); The Family Fang (directed by Jason Bateman); Blackhat (directed by Michael Mann); Transamerica; Deception; Affluenza; Nor'easter; The Sounding; "Boardwalk Empire" (directed by Martin Scorsese); "Louie"; "Absolutely Fabulous"; "Law & Order"; "The Good Wife",etc. In 2014 he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Frosch in the Jeremy Sams/Douglas Carter Beane production of Die Fledermaus.

Rebecca Naomi Jones (Urzula) was last at Atlantic in the acclaimed new play Marie and Rosetta. She has performed on Broadway in Significant Other, Hedwig and The Angry Inch, American Idiot and Passing Strange. Other New York work includes Murder Ballad at Manhattan Theatre Club (Lilly Award and Lucille Lortel nomination), Signature Theater's production of Big Love (Drama League nomination), The Fortress of Solitude (Public Theater), Love's Labour's Lost (Shakespeare in the Park), Wig Out! (Vineyard Theatre), God Bless You Mr. Rosewater (Encores), and the recent Public Works production of As You Like It. Films: Most Likely To Murder, The Big Sick, Ratter, Ordinary World, Passing Strange and the documentary Broadway Idiot. Select TV: "High Maintenance," "Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll," "Inside Amy Schumer," "Limitless," "Difficult People," "Blue Bloods." Solo concerts: Lincoln Center American Songbook, Apollo Cafe. Rebecca holds a BFA in Drama from the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Max Gordon MOORE (Vova) is pleased to be making his Atlantic Theater Company debut. Broadway: Indecent, Relatively Speaking. Off-Broadway: Man from Nebraska (Second Stage); Indecent (Vineyard); Man and Superman, It's A Wonderful Life (Irish Rep). Recent: The Master Builder (BAM); Arcadia, The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Yale Rep); Time and the Conways (Old Globe); Constellations (Seattle Rep); Tragedy: A Tragedy (Berkeley Rep); As You Like It, Merchant of Venice, Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard III (California Shakespeare); Pleasure and Pain (Magic Theatre); Bach at Leipzig (ACT Theatre); The Seagull (Cleveland Playhouse). Film/TV: Gods Behaving Badly, "Madam Secretary," "The Good Wife." MFA, Yale School of Drama, Hershel Williams Prize in Acting.

Stephen Stocking (Felix) is thrilled to be making his Atlantic Theater Company debut. Most recently: Gavrilo Princip in the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Archduke directed by Giovanna Sardelli at Center Theatre Group. New York and Regional theater: Describe the Night (Alley Theatre and NYU); Great Expectations (Portland Center Stage); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Theatre Co., DC and Macau); Every Good Girl Deserves Fun (by Heidi Armbruster); The Casebook of Rudolf H- (NYTW Studio); Dance Dance Revolution(Alex Timbers, Dir.); Romeo & Juliet, Anything Goes (Williamstown). NYU: Desire, Three Sisters, Plenty, Landscape of the Body, The Beaux' Strategem, Pale Fires. TV: "Z: The Beginning of Everything." MFA: NYU Grad Acting. stephenstocking.com

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) Formed in 1985 by David Mamet and William H. Macy, Atlantic is an award-winning Off-Broadway theater dedicated to producing great plays simply and truthfully while utilizing an artistic ensemble. At Atlantic, we believe that the story of a play and the intent of its playwright are at the core of the creative process. Each season, we aim to produce plays and musicals that are vital and thought-provoking - from premieres by emerging and established writers to classics that speak to modern audiences. Alongside being an award-winning producing organization, we've also been teaching theater since our inception. Today, the Atlantic Acting School has grown into one of the most respected training institutions in New York City - offering a diverse range of programming including an accredited conservatory program, a BFA program through NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and after school and summer programs for kids and teens. We also bring theater into the classroom through robust arts education initiatives that serve as many as 4,200 public school students each year. Since its inception, Atlantic has produced more than 150 plays including Tony Award-winning productions of Spring Awakening (Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik) and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh); Pulitzer Prize recipient Between Riverside and Crazy (Stephen Adly Guirgis); New York Drama Critics' Circle winner for Best New Play The Night Alive (Conor McPherson); and Lucille Lortel, Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics' Circle Award-winning The Band's Visit (David Yazbek, Itamar Moses); among many others. Atlantic has garnered 12 Tony Awards, 24 Obie Awards, 21 Lucille Lortel Awards, 10 Drama Desk Awards, 8 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 4 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, 3 Drama League Awards, 3 Theater World Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Atlantic Theater Company'S LINDA GROSS THEATER is located at 336 West 20th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues).

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