ONLY YESTERDAY Heads to New York This Fall and World Premiere of VENUS RISING Takes the Main Stage

As the sixth annual New Works Now new play festival commences, Northern Stage is thrilled to announce its third Off-Broadway production, Only Yesterday by Hollywood writer Bob Stevens, and bring another world premiere to the main stage, Venus Rising by local playwright Marisa Smith.

Only Yesterday will be Northern Stage's third Off-Broadway transfer, following Joe Sutton's Orwell in America at 59E59 Theaters in 2016 and Jack Neary's Trick or Treat, playing now through February 24 at 59E59 Theaters (tickets available at 59E59.org). Northern Stage cultivated Only Yesterday through New Works Now and then presented the world premiere to sold out houses in 2018. The play is slated to run in New York City this fall. Bob Stevens (The Wonder Years, Murphy Brown, Malcolm in the Middle) brings to life a little-known night when John Lennon and Paul McCartney were becoming the most famous young men on earth. Stranded in a hotel room in Key West, they find inspiration for the music that changed the world. The full cast from the original Northern Stage production will return for the New York premiere. Christopher Sears, who plays John Lennon, has appeared Off-Broadway at The Public, The Pearl, The Mint Theater, and the Apothecary Theatre Company. Tommy Crawford, who plays Paul McCartney, has made appearances at WP Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, and The Flea. Christopher Flockton (Film/TV: The Boondock Saints, Law & Order SVU, Guiding Light) returns as the Road Manager. Local student Olivia Swayze (Northern Stage: Our Town, A Christmas Carol, Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical) returns as Shirley Knapp and makes her Off-Broadway debut. Northern Stage Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne directs the play and says of the piece, "Bob Stevens has written a valentine to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He opens the door for all of us to get to know the young boys behind the music. The journey of the play is hilariously funny and heartbreakingly real."

Local playwright Marisa Smith, author of 2016's Mad Love, returns with the world premiere of Venus Rising, January 30 - February 17. When Julie unexpectedly leaves her husband and moves in with her mother Cora, insults, galoshes, and English muffins fly. This mother-daughter comedy about aging gracefully was nurtured in New Works Now and will be directed by Northern Stage's BOLD Associate Artistic Director Jess Chayes (Founding Co-Artistic Director of The Assembly, Broadway Associate Director: Peter and the Starcatcher, The Snow Geese, Misery). "Collaborating with this incredible cast on Marisa Smith's life-affirming and heartwarming new play has been a joy. Venus Rising is a sharp and insightful comedy that will speak to anyone who has made a momentous life change or watched a parent get older. I can't wait to share it with the Upper Valley," says Chayes.

Northern Stage welcomes returning actors Laurel Casillo (Broadway: Act One at Lincoln Center Theater, Northern Stage: Mad Love) and Kenneth Kimmins (Broadway: The Music Man, The Magic Show, Company, among others; Northern Stage: White Christmas). Two new actors come to the Upper Valley for this production: Diane J. Findlay (Broadway: Fish in The Dark, Hello Dolly, Concert of Tales Of The City) and Laurie Wells (Broadway/National Tours: Mamma Mia!, An American in Paris, Swing!).

The creative team is completed by Reid Thompson (Scenic Designer), Barbara A. Bell (Costume Designer), Jennifer Reiser (Lighting Designer), Ben Montmagny (Sound Designer), Hector Figueroa (Assistant Scenic Designer), Brian R. Sekinger (Production Stage Manager), and Kyla Mermejo-Varga (Assistant Stage Manager).

A complimentary post-show reception with the cast follows the opening night performance on Saturday, February 2. A complimentary Spot On conversation will feature Playwright Marisa Smith, Director Jess Chayes, Cameron Ford (Executive Director of Headrest), and Donna Soltura (Continuing Care Manager for the Palliative Care Service at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center) on Sunday, February 3 from 3 - 4 PM. Optional post-show conversations with the company follow the evening performances February 6, 8, 9, 12, 15, and 17.

The 2018-19 Season is underwritten by Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital. Venus Rising is sponsored by Coldwell Banker Lifestyles, Stave Puzzles, and Wells Fargo Advisors. Stuart and Penny Johnson sponsor an Artist Residency for Laurel Casillo. $19 Student Tickets and $5 Access for All tickets (for EBT card holders) are available for any performance. Adult ticket prices range from $34 - $59.

Northern Stage is pleased to present its sixth annual New Works Now festival, a showcase and celebration of new plays, January 18 - 19 at the Barrette Center for the Arts. New Works Now playwrights workshop new plays with professional actors and directors for one week, culminating in a public festival of free staged readings. Northern Stage BOLD Associate Artistic Director and New Works Now producer Jess Chayes states, "New Works Now is a unique opportunity for the Northern Stage audience to be a vital part of the creation of new works for the stage. This year boasts an incredible slate of three accomplished women playwrights and three wildly different plays that will challenge and inspire."

Readings are as follows:

Friday, January 18, 7:30 PM - Choices People Make by Jessica Andrewartha

Dr. Rosalinda Tamayo and her research partner Dr. Harold Cooper have created one of history's greatest scientific breakthroughs - her name is Athena. Now Dr. Roz and Athena have a problem. Athena and her body may be cutting-edge technology, but they're subject to the same questions women have been grappling with for centuries. Choices People Make won the inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting and continues its development at Northern Stage.

Saturday, January 19, 2:00 PM - Where Are We Going? by Kate Benson

Seven people are rolling through the rural South in a passenger van. An acting company on a non-union tour, they experience the joys and frustrations of the American highway. As they travel, petty arguments and deeper philosophical discussions ensue about the America they're traveling through. Obie Award-winning playwright Kate Benson brings to Northern Stage a brand new play about the roles we play, the roads we travel, and who is in charge of getting us there.

Saturday, January 19, 7:30 PM - Citrus by Celeste Jennings

An original choreopoem that follows the emotional journeys of tribulation, struggle, and resilience among Black women from 1840 to present day. 178 years of American history are explored through movement, costume, and original poetry in an homage to Black women of the past, present, and future. Citrus was developed in the Dartmouth Theater Department and presented in Spring 2018 as Celeste Jennings' senior fellowship project. She was awarded the prestigious Sudler Prize in the Arts.

Accompanying the staged readings is the fourth annual Thirsty Theater, an off-site pop-up theater experience in White River Junction. Deaccession by Todd Cerveris will be performed at the Main Street Museum on Friday, January 18 at 5 and 5:30 PM, and Can You Hear Me Now? by local playwright Elisabeth Gordon will be performed at Thyme restaurant at 6:30 PM on Saturday, January 19.

Admission is free, but seats are reserved. Contact the Box Office to secure reservations at (802) 296-7000 or boxoffice@northernstage.org. New Works Now is sponsored by the BOLD Women's Leadership Circle, Hampton Inn/Fairfield Inn in White River Junction, Holiday Inn Express & Suites White River Junction, The Norwich Inn, the Neukom Institute, the Pussycat Foundation, and The Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm.

Northern Stage (northernstage.org) is a regional non-profit LORT-D professional theater company located in White River Junction, VT. Northern Stage actively engages its audiences with world-class productions and extensive educational and outreach programs in its new home, the Barrette Center for the Arts. Founded in 1997, the company has offered more than 150 professional productions of new works, classics, and musicals. Now in its 22nd Season, Northern Stage serves over 50,000 people. In 2014, the company launched a new play festival that has cultivated five world premiere productions and two Off-Broadway transfers. A robust educational program focuses on professional training in a nurturing and supportive environment for students of all ages. Offerings include student acting ensembles, a summer musical theater intensive, and an expansive theater-in-the-schools residency program. Northern Stage's breadth of programming supports the company's mission to "change lives, one story at a time."

 

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