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Merritt Wever Leads MCC Theater's THE NETHER, Opening Tonight

MCC Theater presents the New York premiere of Jennifer Haley's The Nether directed by Anne Kaufman. Ben Rosenfield, memorably of the final two seasons of "Boardwalk Empire," and rising talent Sophia Anne Caruso will take on the roles of Woodnut and Iris, respectively. As previously announced, The Nether will also star "Nurse Jackie" Emmy Award winner Merritt Wever, New York theater veteran Peter Friedman and Tony Award winner Frank Wood.

The Nether runs now through March 15, 2015 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street), with opening night set for tonight, February 24th.

The Nether, winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, is a haunting thriller that will make you question when the fantastic becomes too real. There is a new immersive realm for the senses online, a virtual playground where those who plug in are coaxed into acting out their darkest fantasies - with no consequences in the "real" world. Or so it seems...until a young female detective begins an investigation to determine if there is a point at which thought or intention may actually constitute a crime within -- and outside of -- this new frontier.

Ben Rosenfield (Woodnut) was prominently featured in the final two seasons of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." Ben also recently filmed Woody Allen's next picture opposite Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix. He currently appears in JC Chandor's A Most Violent Year, and will next be seen in the lead role opposite Taissa Farmiga in the next feature from producer Mark Duplass. At this year's Sundance, Ben appeared with Anne Hathaway in the musical feature Song One, and this spring, he will be featured in three hot indie releases: Affluenza; Louder Than Words; and Jamesy Boy. Ben portrayed Tim Buckley in Dan Algrant's film Greetings from Tim Buckley which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and was shown at Tribeca as well. He launched his career in the leading role opposite Carey Mulligan in the off-Broadway play, Through A Glass Darkly.

Sophia Anne Caruso (Iris) has appeared Off Broadway in Ruthless, the Musical. Regionally, she has been seen in Little Dancer (Kennedy Center, featured role of Charlotte), Secondhand Lions (World premiere, role of Jane), Tina Denmark, Annie the Musical (role of Annie), The Miracle Worker (dir. Patty Duke, role of Helen Keller), Jane Eyre (Young Jane). On film: Jack of the Red Hearts opposite AnnaSophia Robb. On television, she appeared in NBC's "The Sound of Music Live!" as Brigitta Von Trapp opposite Carrie Underwood; as well as NBC's "Smash" (Young Norma Jean) and "Celebrity Ghost Stories." Sophia Anne is a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.

Recently at MCC Theater: film and TV star Douglas Smith, Pico Alexander, Lilly Englert, Lortel Award winner Annie Funke, Five-time Obie winner David Greenspan, Colby Minifie, Will Pullen, Noah Robbins, and Sophie Shapiro starred in the critically acclaimed New York premiere of Punk Rock, a new play by Simon Stephens and directed by Trip Cullman. Punk Rock was extended by popular demand, closing on December 14, 2014.

Following The Nether, MCC Theater will present the world premiere of Robert Askins' Permission, set for April 29 - June 7, 2015 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. As previously announced, Alex Timbers will direct. Timbers is a two-time Tony-nominated writer and director and the recipient of Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, as well as two OBIE Awards. On Broadway, he co-directed Peter and the Starcatcher and directed and wrote the book for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, among others. Off-Broadway, he has memorably directed Here Lies Love and Love's Labours Lost-both at The Public. Permission marks the return of playwright Robert Askins to MCC Theater, where last season he debuted his critically-acclaimed Hand to God-a play which will open on Broadway in Spring 2015 with its MCC Theater cast and creative team reprising their work.

MCC Theater - founded in 1986 as Manhattan Class Company - is driven by a mission to provoke conversations that have never happened and otherwise never would. Led by Artistic Directors Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, and Executive Director Blake West, MCC fulfills its mission by producing new work that challenges artists and rewards audiences, and by nurturing the development of playwrights and students through a variety of literary and education programs that enable nearly 1,200 New York City high school students to find - and use - their own unique voice each year through the creation and performance of original theater pieces. MCC currently produces its annual season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street) and will open its own two-theater complex on West 52nd Street and 10th Avenue in 2017. Notable productions include the recent hits Hand to God and Small Engine Repair; The Village Bike; The Other Place; Really Really; The Submission, winner of the inaugural Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for new American plays; The Pride; Fifty Words; Nixon's Nixon; The Grey Zone; the Tony Award-winning Frozen; the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wit; the re-imagined production of the musical Carrie; and eight plays by Playwright-in-Residence Neil LaBute, including Fat Pig, Reasons to Be Pretty and Reasons to Be Happy.

Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson

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