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Jayne Houdyshell and Delaney Williams Set to Lead THE SHOPLIFTERS at Arena Stage


Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater kicks off the 2014/15 season with the world premiere of Morris Panych's The Shoplifters, a biting comedy about society's haves and have-nots and how much they might actually have in common. Noted Canadian playwright and director Panych, a two-time recipient of the Governor General's Literary Award, makes his Arena Stage debut with an expertly drawn cast of oddball characters and a high-stakes battle of wills involving a career shoplifter whose life of petty crime is halted by an overzealous rookie security guard and his ambivalent mentor. The Shoplifters runs September 5-October 19, 2014 in the Kreeger Theater.

Stage and screen actor Delaney Williams (HBO's The Wire, Arena Stage's A View from the Bridge) portrays Otto and joins the previously announced Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Broadway's Romeo and Juliet, Follies) in her D.C. theater debut as Alma. The production also features Helen Hayes Award winner Jenna Sokolowski (Center Stage's Clybourne Park) as Phyllis and Adi Stein (Theater J's Body Awareness) as Dom.

"I'm delighted to have Morris Panych, one of Canada's premier playwrights and directors, at Arena Stage this season," says Artistic Director Molly Smith. "It's perfect timing for Morris' complex look at human beings-finding humor in these tricky times."

"I'm so excited to be premiering my play at Arena Stage," shares Panych. "Since getting to know Molly I have come to admire her commitment to bold, innovative theater, to big ideas and to sharing those ideas by reaching deep into the community to engage audiences in an ongoing and vibrant social dialogue. It's a great compliment to me that Molly has chosen The Shoplifters as part of her dynamic theatrical discourse."

Morris Panych (Playwright/Director) is a native of Calgary, Alberta and is arguably Canada's most celebrated playwright and director. His plays have garnered countless awards including two Governor General's Literary Awards for Drama (for The Ends of the Earth and Girl in the Goldfish Bowl), 14 Jessie Richardson Awards (Vancouver) and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Toronto). Productions of the much lauded Vigil, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, Gordon, The Trespassers and Lawrence and Holloman are being mounted throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. His plays have been produced in over two dozen languages. Morris has directed over 90 productions across Canada and the U.S.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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