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Richard Nelson's ILLYRIA World Premiere Finds Full Cast at The Public Theater


The Public Theater announced complete casting today for Illyria, written and directed by Richard Nelson, part of The Public's Astor Anniversary Season at their landmark downtown home on Lafayette Street, celebrating 50 years of new work at 425 Lafayette Street and the 50th Anniversary of HAIR.

Illyria will begin performances on Sunday, October 22 and run through Sunday, November 26 with an official press opening on Monday, October 30. In addition to the First Performance "Free For All" on October 22, The Public will offer an additional number of free tickets for every performance, furthering the mission of making great theater accessible to all.

The complete cast of Illyria features Rosie Benton (Colleen Dewhurst), Will Brill (Bernie Gersten), Kristen Connolly (Peggy Papp), Blake DeLong (David Amram), Emma Duncan(Gladys Vaughan), Naian González Norvind (Mary Bennett), Fran Kranz (Merle Debuskey), John Magaro (Joseph Papp), John Sanders (Stuart Vaughan), and Max Woertendyke (John Robertson).


Free tickets for all performances except for opening night will be distributed in the Ford Foundation Lobby of The Public beginning 90 minutes prior to each scheduled performance, and will continue, while supplies last, up to the posted curtain time. A few tickets will also be available via digital lottery on the TodayTix app.

Continuing The Public's mission to make great theater accessible to all, The Public's First Performance "Free for All" continues this fall; free tickets to the first preview on Sunday, October 22 will be available beginning October 15, via TodayTix mobile lottery.

This season, Richard Nelson, the writer-director of the acclaimed Apple Family Plays and The Gabriels, returns to The Public following a successful world tour to reveal a forgotten chapter in The Public Theater's celebrated history. It is 1958, and New York City is in the midst of a major building boom; a four-lane highway is planned for the heart of Washington Square; Carnegie Hall is designated for demolition; entire neighborhoods on the West Side are leveled to make room for a new "palace of art." And a young Joe Papp and his colleagues face betrayals, self-inflicted wounds and anger from the city's powerful elite as they continue their free Shakespeare productions in Central Park. From the creator of the most celebrated family plays of the last decade, comes a drama about a different kind of family - one held together by the simple and incredibly complicated belief that the theater, and the city, belongs to all of us.

ILLYRIA will feature scenic design by Susan Hilferty and Jason Ardizzone-West; costume design by Susan Hilferty; lighting design by Jennifer Tipton; and sound design by Scott Lehrer.


Richard Nelson (Playwright and Director) returns to The Public with Illyria after the acclaimed 2017 run of The Gabriels (Hungry, What Did You Expect? and Women of a Certain Age), and the 2013 run of The Apple Family Plays: Scenes from Life in the Country (That Hopey Changey Thing, Sweet and Sad, Sorry, Regular Singing), all of which toured internationally. His additional credits for The Public include Conversations in Tusculum. His other plays include Oblivion, Nikolai and the Others, Goodnight Children Everywhere (Olivier Award Best Play), Two Shakespearean Actors, Some American Abroad, Madame Melville, New England, Frank's Home, Rodney's Wife, Franny's Way, The General from America, The Vienna Notes, and others. His musicals include James Joyce's The Dead, for which he won a Tony Award; and My Life with Albertine. His films include Hyde Park on Hudson, Ethan Frome, and Sensibility and Sense. He is a recipient of the PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is an honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which has produced ten of his plays.

Rosie Benton (Colleen Dewhurst) has appeared on Broadway in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Stick Fly, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Roundabout), Accent on Youth (MTC). Her Off-Broadway credits include Saturn Returns (Lincoln Center); Row After Row (Women's Project); Temporal Powers, Wife to James Whelan (Mint Theatre). Her film and television credits include Simple Little Lives, Return, Angels in Stardust, Flood, "Chicago Med," "Person of Interest," "The Good Wife," "Vegas," and "Elementary." MFA from NYU Graduate Acting.

Will Brill (Bernie Gersten) last performed in New York on Broadway in You Can't Take It With You directed by Scott Ellis. Prior to that he performed at Lincoln Center in James Lapine's adaptation of Moss Hart's Act One, and before that he appeared in Nina Raine's Tribes and Thornton Wilder's Our Town both at The Barrow Street Theatre, directed by David Cromer. His screen credits include The Eyes of My Mother, Not Fade Away, Beside Still Waters, King Kelly, "The OA" on Netflix, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" on Amazon, and soon he will be seen opposite Chance The Rapper in Slice, a film by Austin Vesely.

Kristen Connolly (Peggy Papp) has appeared at The Public in Measure for Measure and All's Well that Ends Well at Shakespeare in the Park, as well as King Lear downtown. She recently filmed CBS' season three of "Zoo," and appeared in the HBO film Wizard of Lies. Her additional movie credits include Houdini, A Good Marriage, The Bay, Cabin in the Woods, Revolutionary Road, The Happening, and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Her additional television credits include "House of Cards," Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "New Amsterdam," "Mercy," "Nurse Jackie," and "Life on Mars." She has appeared at The Old Globe in Othello and Love's Labour's Lost.

Blake DeLong (David Amram) recently appeared Off-Broadway in Othello (NYTW); Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Ars Nova/Off-Broadway, Lortel Nomination); TheBachelors (Rattlestick); In Quietness (Walkerspace); The Essential Straight & Narrow (The New Ohio). Regional highlights include Bay Street Theater, Portland Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, many others. His film and television credits include Complete Unknown; Auld Lang Syne; Thank You a Lot; We Need To Talk About Kevin; "The Blacklist"; "The Good Fight"; "Vinyl"; "The Following"; "Unforgettable"; and "The Mysteries of Laura."

Emma Duncan (Gladys Vaughan) has appeared in The Public's Shakespeare in the Park production of Cymbeline in 2015. Her regional credits include The Bridges of Madison County, Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden and The Late Night Cabaret at Williamstown Theater Festival and The May Queen and The Tempest at Chautauqua Theater Festival. Her television credits include "Chicago Justice." She is the recipient of the 2014 Princess Grace Award and a 2016 Richie Jackson Fellow. She received her MFA from NYU's grad acting program.

NAIAN GONZÁLEZ NORVIND (Mary Bennett) has appeared Off Broadway in How To Transcend a Happy Marriage (LCT/Newhouse), and Her Requiem (LCT3). Her film and television credits include South Mountain; Rebel In the Rye; Las siete muertes; Everybody's Got Somebody...Not Me (winner, Best Actress Guanajuato Film Festival); Sangre Alba; Lluvia de Luna; "Gotham" as a recurring guest star; "The Devil You Know" for HBO directed by Gus Van Sant and created by Jenji Kohan; "Blue Bloods"; "Cronica de Castas"; "Pacientes" (ONCE TV). She received training at Sorbonne University, with a major in literature and minor in film, and studied at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art.

Fran Kranz (Merle Debuskey)'s theater credits include Broadway revivals of Death of a Salesman and You Can't Take It With You, as well as Bachelorette at the Second Stage Theatre. He has starred in such films as The Dark Tower, Rebirth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Cabin in the Woods, The TV Set, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the upcoming A Midsummer Night's Dream, which he also produced. His television credits include the series Dollhouse and Welcome to the Captain.

John Magaro (Joseph Papp) has appeared on Broadway in The Front Page. Other theatre credits include Good Television (Atlantic Theater Company), Tigers Be Still (Roundabout Theatre Company), and Lillian Yuralia (La MaMa). Upcoming feature films include Overlord, Marshall. His select previous films include War Machine, The Big Short, Carol, Not Fade Away, The Finest Hours, Unbroken, Liberal Arts, Down the Shore, Deep Powder, and The Brave One. On television he has appeared in "Jack Ryan," Woody Allen's "Crisis in Six Scenes," "Orange Is the New Black," "The Good Wife'" "Law & Order," and "Law & Order: SVU."

John Sanders (Stuart Vaughan) most recently originated the role of Ned Ryerson in Broadway's Groundhog Day. Other Broadway credits include Matilda (Mr. Wormwood), Peter and the Starcatcher. He has appeared in the national tours of Peter and the Starcatcher (Black Stache) and Mamma Mia!. Off-Broadway credits include Cloud Nine (Atlantic). Eleven years in Chicago theatre include work at The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Writers' Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left. His film and television credits include No God Not Master, Alleged, "Iron Fist," "Billions," "Elementary," "The Following," and the video games "Minecraft" and "Batman."

MAX WOERTENDYKE (John Robertson) has previously appeared at The Public in Romeo and Juliet. He has been seen on Broadway in Ivo Van Hove's A View From the Bridge.Regionally he has performed in Frankenstein (DCPA); and other credits include Dancing at Lughnasa, This is Our Youth, Rabbit Hole, and Metamorphoses. His film and television credits include Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, The Airport Run, and "Longmire" (Netflix). Woertendyke is a 2015 graduate of the Juilliard School of Drama and the recipient of their Career Advancement Fellowship Award for 2015-17.

The world-renowned Public Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare, the classics, musicals, contemporary, and experimental pieces in equal measure. This fall begins The Public's Astor Anniversary Season celebrating 50 years of new work at 425 Lafayette Street and the 50th Anniversary of HAIR which opened the landmark theater in October 1967. The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and by leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, today the Company engages audiences in a variety of venues-including its landmark downtown home at Astor Place, which houses five theaters and Joe's Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to Free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile Unit, which tours productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City's five boroughs. The Public's wide range of programming includes Free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company's dedication to making theater accessible to all; Public Works, an expanding initiative that is designed to cultivate new connections and new models of engagement with artists, audiences and the community each year; the Under the Radar Festival, a yearly festival celebrating diverse and cutting-edge performance from the U.S. and abroad; and audience and artist development initiatives that range from the Emerging Writers Group to the Public Forum series. The Public's work is also seen on tour throughout the U.S. and internationally and in collaborations and co-productions with regional and international theaters. The Public is located on property owned by the City of New York and receives annual support from The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The Public is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning acclaimed American musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda and in Fall 2017, John Leguizamo's Latin History for Morons. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 169 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Critics Awards, and six Pulitzer Prizes.

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