Jane Alexander Stars in FIREFLIES Premiere, Beginning Tonight at Long Wharf Theatre

Jane Alexander Stars in FIREFLIES Premiere, Beginning Tonight at Long Wharf Theatre

Jane Alexander, Denis Arndt, Judith Ivey, and Christopher Michael McFarland star in the world premiere of Fireflies by Tony Award nominee Matthew Barber, directed by Long Wharf Theatre Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.

The production takes place from tonight, October 11, through November 5, 2017 at Long Wharf Theatre's Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre. Tickets start at $29.

"I am overjoyed to be working with Jane Alexander, Judith Ivey and Denis Arndt in Fireflies. This is a cast made in heaven - three of the most distinguished and gifted actors working on the stage today together on this beautiful new play. It is thrilling for all of us at Long Wharf to be hosting these three extraordinary artists," Edelstein said.

Eleanor Bannister, a retired schoolteacher, lives a sleepy life in tiny Groverdell, Texas. She's taught almost everyone in town. She is, in a word, orderly. Until one night, when walking alone through the brambles barefoot and in her nightgown, she encounters Abel Brown, a mysterious drifteR. Brown has been wandering around town, looking for houses to fix and, rumor has it, widows to talk to. Brown is nothing but a drifter, but despite their obvious differences, Eleanor and Abel find themselves drawn to each other. This beautiful new romance shows that connection can be found in the unlikeliest of places and in the unlikeliest of ways.

Playwright Matthew Barber received a Tony Award nomination for his adaptation of the novel Enchanted April, which made its Broadway debut in 2003. We also received the John Gassner Award for Outstanding New American Play and a Drama League nomination for Best Play. The play has been performed over 500 times internationally, making it one of the most produced plays of the past decade. Fireflies, Barber's latest, is just one of many film and stage projects he has in development. "We are thrilled to present the world premiere of Matthew Barber's newest play. Matthew is a writer of uncommon delicacy, compassion, and humor," Edelstein said.

Jane Alexander, playing Eleanor Bannister, returns to Long Wharf Theatre for the first time since her appearance in Mourning Becomes Electra during the 2004-05 season. Her distinguished stage career has taken her from Broadway to London's West End, and in regional theatres from Atlanta to Los Angeles. She has performed in more than 100 plays, among them her Tony winning role in The Great White Hope and Tony nominated roles in The Sisters Rosenswieg, Find Your Way Home, and 6 RMS RIV VU. Jane has been honored with numerous awards including the Obie, Drama League, Drama Desk and Theatre World awards to mention a few, and she was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1994. A four-time Oscar nominee for the films Testament, Kramer vs. Kramer, All The President's Men, and The Great White Hope, Jane Alexander has appeared in over 70 screen and television roles, including Brubaker, The Cider House Rules, Sunshine State, Feast of Love, Terminator Salvation and Mr. Morgan's Last Love with Michael Caine. In 1994 President Clinton appointed Ms. Alexander Chairman of the National Endowment for the Art. She held the position for four years successfully battling to save the agency from elimination. Her book "Command Performance: An Actress in the Theatre of Politics" documents her tenure. Jane has been active as a wildlife conservationist for many years and currently sits on the national board of the Audubon Society, the Global Advisory Group of BirdLife International, and co-chairs the Conservation Council of Panthera with fellow thespian Glenn Close. In 2012 she was awarded the inaugural Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award by the Indianapolis Prize. Her new book is "Wild Things, Wild Places: Adventurous Tales of Wildlife and Conservation on Planet Earth."

Denis Arndt, playing Abel Brown, made his Broadway debut last year in Heisenberg, a role for which he received a Tony Award nomination. He spent eleven seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, recently appearing as Prospero in The Tempest, playing the title role in King Lear twice, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and A Moon For the Misbegotten, among many others. He has also appeared in New York City at The Public Theater, and at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Alley Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, The Studio Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Intiman Theatre, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Remains Theatre and others. Arndt has appeared in almost 80 films and television series including Basic Instinct, "Grey's Anatomy," "Ally McBeal," "L.A. Law," and "Picket Fences."

Tony Award winner Judith Ivey, playing Grace Bodell, has been a regular and beloved presence on Long Wharf Theatre's stages, performing in The Glass Menagerie, Shirley Valentine, and Curse of the Starving Class. She has won Tony Awards for her work in Hurly Burly and Steaming, and received nominations for her roles in The Heiress and Park Your Car in Harvard Yard. Ivey has appeared on Broadway 11 times, most recently as Margaret Thatcher in The Audience. She was also nominated for Drama Desk Awards for her performance in Precious Sons and The Lady With All The Answers. She won an Obie Award for her work in Moonshot. She has appeared in almost 70 films and television shows, including "Bloodline," "White Collar," "Designing Women," and "Brighton Beach Memoirs." She received an Emmy nomination for her work in What The Deaf Man Heard.

Christopher Michael McFarland, playing the role of Eugene, appeared at Yale Repertory Theatre in Cymbeline, Richard II, Rough Crossing, and The Unmentionables. His New York credits include As You Like It (New Victory Theatre), Of Mice and Men (The Acting Company), and King John (New York Shakespeare Exchange), among others. Regionally he has appeared at the Arizona Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Signature Theatre, The Guthrie, The Kennedy Center, and Philadelphia Theatre Company, among others.

The creative team includes Alexander Dodge (set design), Jess Goldstein (costume design), Philip Rosenberg (lighting design), John Gromada (sound design), and Kathy Snyder (stage manager.)

For more information about Long Wharf Theatre, visit longwharf.org.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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