Previews Begin Tonight For Jessica Dickey's THE CONVENT

Previews begin tonight for the world premiere production of The Convent, a new play by critically acclaimed playwright Jessica Dickey (The Amish Project, Charles Ives Take Me Home), directed by Daniel Talbott.

Presented by Weathervane Productions (Wendy Vanden Heuvel, Producer), Rising Phoenix Repertory (Daniel Talbott, Artistic Director; Addie Johnson Talbott, Artistic Associate), in association with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, the production opens January 24, 2019 and will run through February 17, 2019 at the Mezzanine Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres (502 West 53rd Street). Tickets are on sale at weathervanetheater.org.

The all-female cast features Amy Berryman (Lunchtime, I Will Be Gone), Annabel Capper (Pygmalion, Passion Play), Margaret Odette (Sensucht, She Kills Monsters), Brittany Anikka Liu (Period Sisters, Rapture Blister Burn), Lisa Ramirez (Good Grief, Angels in America), Samantha Soule (The Philanthropist, Dinner at Eight), and Wendy Vanden Heuvel (I Am A Seagull, Burn Country).

In Dickey's new play, a group of women go on a retreat to live like nuns in the Middle Ages and are baptized with 80s pop, female mysticism, hallucinogens and sex. The Convent is a toothy dark comedy about desire, devotion and the mystery of intrinsic divinity.

Jessica Dickey has been hailed as "a playwright to watch" by The New York Times. Her one-woman show, The Amish Project, went from the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival to a critically heralded production at Rattlestick in 2009, and has since been produced all across the US and all over the world. She was also acclaimed for Charles Ives Take Me Home, produced in 2013 by Rattlestick.

The production features scenic design by Raul Abrego, costume design by Tristan Raines, lighting design by Joel Moritz, sound design by Erin Bednarz, projection design by Katherine Freer, and fight direction by Unkle Dave's Fight-House.

Kendra Bator serves as executive producer. General manager is Snug Harbor Productions, Inc. (Steven Chaikelson).

Amy Berryman (Bertie) is an actor and writer originally from Seattle. She was previously seen as Louise in Lunchtime at The Brick in NYC, written/directed by Greg Kotis, and at the Humana Festival as Pen in Erin Courtney's I Will Be Gone. The short film she wrote, co-produced, and starred in, You Are Everywhere, won Best Drama in the LA Short Film Festival 2018 and she can be seen in the award-winning web series #nofilter. Amy was a Finalist for the 2018 Playwrights Realm Fellowship, and her plays have been developed at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Alaska; AMIOS Theatre Co, Nomad Theatricals, and Barrington Collective in NYC; Prop THTR in Chicago; and Portland Stage in Maine. Her play The New Galileos was recently recorded for the podcast The Parsnip Ship. amy-berryman.com

Annabel Capper (Dimlin). Trained: London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), 3 Year Classical Acting. London born, New York based. Favorite roles include: Off-Broadway: Mrs. Pearce, Pygmalion (Bedlam), Gertrude, Hamlet (Kraine Theater), Mary, Passion Play (Lincoln Center). Regional: Mrs. Bonner, Mrs. Packard (Bridge Rep, Boston), Lady Macbeth, Macbeth(Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) London: Esther, The Price (Apollo Theatre, West End), Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (Lost Theatre), Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing (Hazlitt Theatre), Miss Prism, The Importance of Being Earnest (Hazlitt Theatre). TV: "EastEnders" (BBC), "Sensitive Skin" (BBC), "Operation Mincemeat" (BBC). Radio: Cymbeline, Troilus and Cressida (BBC).

Margaret Odette (Jill). New York: Sensucht (JACK), She Kills Monsters (The Flea/Vampire Cowboys), Figaro (The Pearl), The Electric Lighthouse (The Flea), Asian American MixFest (Atlantic). Regional: Paradise Blue (Long Wharf), The House That Will Not Stand (NYS&F), Jump (Chautauqua), Skeleton Crew (Chester). Film: Sleeping with Other People. TV: Instinct, Elementary (directed by Lucy Liu). Margaret is a co-founder and producer for HomeBase Theatre Collective, and a proud volunteer at The 52nd Street Project. BA Brown University (Weston Acting Award recipient); MFA NYU Tisch Grad Acting. www.margaretodette.com

Brittany Anikka Liu (Tina). New York: Period Sisters (HERE Arts Center),Rapture, Blister, Burn and Buffalo Heights (TIC Theatre). Regional: The Diary of Anne Frank (People's Light & Theatre), Tranquil (Luna Stage Co.), Romeo & Juliet, All's Well That Ends Well, Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar (Virginia Shakespeare Festival). BA & BBA from The College of William & Mary.

Lisa Ramirez (Wilma) was most recently seen as MJ's Mom in Good Grief at the Vineyard Theatre, the Angel in Angels in America at Berkeley Rep and Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Ubuntu Theater Project. She has performed extensively at theaters on both the East and West Coast such as the Cherry Lane Theatre, Atlantic Theatre Company, Working Theater, The Foundry, Ubuntu Theater Project, Magic Theatre, and Berkeley Rep, amongst others. Writing credits: Exit Cuckoo (nanny in motherland) was first presented Off-Broadway by the Working Theater (Colman Domingo, director) and subsequently toured in various theaters throughout the U.S. and Ireland; Art of Memory, a dance theatre piece, commissioned by Company SoGoNo and presented at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater and the 3-Legged Dog in New York (Tanya Calamoneri, director); Invisible Women-Rise, Foundry Theatre & Domestic Workers United; To the Bone, originally a Working Theater commission, was a finalist for the 2012 NPN Smith Prize, the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and the Ellen Stewart Award; All Fall Down was conceived/written in at INTAR during the Maria Irene Fornés Hispanic Playwrights in Residency Lab; Contributing playwright for In Mother Words, presented at The Geffen Playhouse and various regional theatres (Lisa Peterson, director); In 2012-13 Lisa was part of the Mentor Project at the Cherry Lane Theatre where she wrote Pas de Deux (lost my shoe), (Bryan Davidson Blue, director). In September 2014, the Cherry Lane Theatre presented the world premiere of To The Bone (Lisa Peterson, director). Proud recipient of the 2015 NYCT Helen Merrill Emerging Playwriting Award and the Kilroy List of best plays 2015. Currently working on the screenplay of To The Bone and a stage adaptation of Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths, commissioned by the Ubuntu Theater Project.

Samantha Soule (Patti). Broadway: The Philanthropist, Dinner At Eight, Coram Boy. Off-Broadway: Transfers (MCC), And I And Silence (Signature Theatre); A Fable, A Summer Day, Killers and Other Family, The Hilltown Plays (Rattlestick, Obie Award); Barbecue, Much Ado About Nothing, Detroit '67 (Public), A Little Journey (Mint, Drama Desk nomination); Gabriel, The Voysey Inheritance (Atlantic Theater Company); Monstrosity (I3P);Valhalla (New York Theatre Workshop); The Dining Room (Keen, Drama Desk Award). Selected regional theatre: Transfers (Powerhouse), Thieves (Rising Phoenix Rep), Candida, Edith (Berkshire Theatre Festival) A Body of Water(Old Globe), The Evildoers (Yale Rep), Twelfth Night, An Enemy of The People, The Tempest (Shakespeare Theater), Lady Windermere's Fan (Williamstown) Film/TV: "Godless," "NCIS-NOLA," "Blacklist," "Nurse Jackie," "Blue Bloods," "Do No Harm," "Law & Order: SVU," "Smash," You Say Hello, How We Got Away With It, Cigarette Soup, The Penny Dreadful Picture Show, No Retreat, Revolutionary Road. BFA: The Juilliard School. Artistic Associate of Rising Phoenix Rep

Wendy Vanden Heuvel (Mother Abbess) works as an actress, teacher, and producer in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. She has taught at New York University's Experimental Theater Wing, Fordham University, A.C.T., The Barrow Group, and at Our Little Roses Orphanage in Honduras. In 1991 she was a member of Jerzy Grotowski's Objective Drama Project at Irvine University. She has worked as an actor in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and regionally. Acting credits include: Resurrection Blues by Arthur Miller (Guthrie Theater), Beckett Shorts directed by Joseph Chaikin, Mud (Magic Theater), A Movie Star has to Star in Black and White (Signature Theater), and Sex in a Coma, directed by Lee Breuer. She has worked with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and Rising Phoenix Repertory both as an actress and a producer, and is a member of The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project created by Melissa Kievman and Brian Mertes. Film credits include The Chekhov Film Project's I Am A Seagull, Burn Country with James Franco and Melissa Leo, and Under the Silver Lake with Andrew Garfield. In 2012, she was awarded the TBG Outstanding Contribution to Theater Award and is a member of The 52nd Street Project. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Brad Coley and their daughter Lila Blue.

Jessica Dickey (Playwright) is an award-winning American playwright and actor most recently known for her play The Rembrandt (winner of the prestigious Stavis Award), which had a sold-out run at Steppenwolf Theatre Company starring the beloved John Mahoney. Jessie is currently commissioned by Manhattan Theater Club and the Sloan Foundation to write a play about the Pap smear. She is also currently writing a play about the sex lives of senior citizens, commissioned by ShadowCatcher; and she is developing a television show for Tom McCarthy's company and Paramount TV. The daughter of a gym teacher and a social worker, Jessie's writing often draws from her rural Pennsylvania roots, including her debut (and most produced) play The Amish Project, which opened Off-Broadway at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater to great acclaim from audiences and critics alike (Helen Hayes Award, Barrymore Award, CAPPIE Award for Best Play, amongst others). The Amish Project continues to be produced around the country and the world, including a recent run at the prestigious Guthrie Theater, and was listed by nytheatre.com as a play that should have been nominated for a Pulitzer. Jessie's next play, Charles Ives Take Me Home, premiered at Rattlestick, for which the playwright was hailed as "a talent to watch" by Charles Isherwood, The New York Times. Charles Ives Take Me Home went on to be produced at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, Strawdog in Chicago, and Curious Theatre Company in Denver (among others). Jessica's play about Civil War re-enactors, Row After Row, had its official world premiere with the Women's Project in January 2014 at New York City Center, followed by several regional productions, including an Ovation Award nomination for Best Play after its Los Angeles run at Echo Theatre Company. Jessie is very proud to be a member of New Dramatists.

Daniel Talbott (Director) is a writer, director, actor, and a Lucille Lortel and Obie Award-winning producer. He is on the lit team of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and is the artistic director of Rising Phoenix Rep. His plays include Nick and Zoe (Arctic Group/IRT), Slipping (Rattlestick, The Side Project),Yosemite (Rattlestick), Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait (Rattlestick/piece by piece, Encore), What Happened When (Rattlestick, Rising Phoenix Rep/HERE), Someone Brought Me (Quince Productions), Mike and Seth (Quince, Encore, The Side Project), Extraordinary Things (RPR), andGray (Your Name Here). Recent directing work includes Ugly Little Sister(NYU), First Born (The Actors Studio), Thieves (Weathervane/RPR/ Rattlestick), F**king Immaculate (RPR), A Fable (Rattlestick), Gin Baby (IRT), Scarcity (Rattlestick/Hill Town Plays), Lake Water (Neighborhood Productions), Eightythree Down (Hard Sparks), Much Ado About Nothing(Boomerang), and Squealer (Lesser America). He is currently co-writing a new play with Lucy Thurber titled The Land of Ghosts and was recently commissioned by Echo Theater Company for their 2020 season. He is creating, co-writing and directing a new play called the Confession Project. His hour-long television drama Rome, Georgia has been purchased by Wiip Development, his short film What We See is in production with 4est Films, and he's in development with Jim Parsons' That's Wonderful Productions for a feature, Yosemite. He was a writer for Weinstein Company and Spike TV on The Mist, based on the Stephen King novella, for OZZ with Blue Ribbon Content/Warner Bros., and his hour-long drama Summer was optioned and in development with Sonar and Killer Films. He received a 2011 Theater Hall of Fame Fellowship and was also named one of the 15 People of the Year by nytheatre.com. He is a graduate of Juilliard, a proud member of Echo Theater Company, and a member of The Actors Studio.

Rising Phoenix Repertory (Producer). Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award, Caffe Cino Fellowship, and New York Innovative Theatre Award, Rising Phoenix Repertory was founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Daniel Talbott, and produces primarily new plays - both in the Indie Theatre and Off-Broadway - in traditional spaces and site-specifically around New York City and regionally. Recent productions include Thieves (with Weathervane), A Fable (with piece by piece productions and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), the Lucille Lortel Award-winning Off-Broadway run of All the Rage (with piece by piece and The Barrow Group), 3C (with piece by piece and Rattlestick), Elective Affinities(produced site-specifically with piece by piece and Soho Rep), Slipping (with piece by piece and Rattlestick), and Too Much Memory (also with piece by piece), which transferred to the New York Theatre Workshop's Fourth Street Theatre after winning the FringeNYC award for Outstanding Play in 2008. Rising Phoenix Repertory produces an ongoing series called Cino Nights, inspired by Joe Cino and his Caffe Cino - one of the original birthplaces of Off-Off-Broadway theatre - for which the company has commissioned over twenty playwrights to write new, full-length plays, which are fully produced site-specifically on a shoestring budget. Two volumes of Cino Nights plays have been published by The New York Theatre Experience, and the company publishes an ongoing theater magazine called Caffe Cino (edited by Talbott and Steve McMahon), available in bookstores and online. Rising Phoenix Rep serves as a home base for a company of theatre professionals that encourages an open exchange of work and ideas within the greater theatre community.

Weathervane Productions (Producer). Created in 2014 by Wendy Vanden Heuvel, Weathervane Productions is dedicated to nurturing and supporting playwrights and their work from development to production, and it also supports and develops devised and collaborative theater. vanden Heuvel is also the artistic director of piece by piece productions, a not for profit organization whose productions have included the Kilbanes' Weightless, co-produced with Z Space, Medea directed by Deborah Warner with Fiona Shaw on Broadway (associate producer), The Tricky Part (2004 Obie Award and two Drama Desk nominations including Best Play), All The Rage (Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Solo Show 2013) by Martin Moran, and several productions with Rising Phoenix Repertory and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Since 2010, piece by piece has been a producer on The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project (Cherry Orchard, Ivanov, Seagull), which was created by Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman, and in winter 2013 co-produced Lee Breuer's La Divina Caricatura in association with St. Ann's Warehouse, La MaMa ETC, Mabou Mines, and Dovetail Productions, as well as 100 Days, conceived by the indie rock couple The Bengsons, in association with Z Space. Weathervane is developing a new play by Lucy Thurber which will be produced in San Francisco in 2019.

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (Associate Producer). Founded in 1994 by Gary Bonasorte and David Van Asselt, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is a multi-award-winning organization which has developed and produced over 100 World Premieres in the past 23 seasons. The mission of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is to present diverse, challenging and provocative plays that might not otherwise be produced and to foster the future voices of the American theater. We produce theater to inspire empathy and provoke conversations in response to the complexities of our culture. The company has launched the careers of many writers who are now household names, including Annie Baker (The Aliens), Sheila Callaghan (Everything You Touch), Michael John Garces (Acts of Mercy), Samuel D. Hunter (The Few), Martyna Majok (Ironbound), Diana Oh (mylingerieplay), Adam Rapp (Hallway Trilogy), and Lucy Thurber (The Hill Town Plays).

The A.R.T./New York Theatres are a project of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York), which provide state-of-the-art, accessible venues at subsidized rental rates, plus free access to top-line technical equipment, so that the city's small and emerging theatre companies can continue to experiment, grow, and produce new works. Founded in 1972, A.R.T./New York is the leading service and advocacy organization for New York City's 400+ nonprofit theatres, with a mission to assist member theatres in managing their companies effectively so that they may realize their rich artistic visions and serve their diverse audiences well. We accomplish this through a comprehensive roster of real estate, financial, educational, and community-building programs, as well as research, advocacy, and field-wide initiatives that seek to improve the long-term health and sustainability of the industry. Over the years, A.R.T./New York has received numerous honors, including an Obie Award, an Innovative Theatre Award, a New York City Mayor's Award for Arts & Culture, and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. For more information, please visit www.art-newyork.org.

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