Cast Announced for WAM Theatre's HOLY LAUGHTER

Cast Announced for WAM Theatre's HOLY LAUGHTER

WAM Theatre has announced the casting for their fall production of Holy Laughter by Catherine Trieschmann. The production will be directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian and opens on November 1, on the St. Germain Stage at Barrington Stage Company's Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield.

In Holy Laughter, an Episcopal priest finds that the reality of leading a church is radically and hilariously different than what she learned in seminary. As she wrestles with church finances, eccentric parishioners, changing sexual mores and her own doubting human heart, Abigail struggles to make peace with the realities of contemporary church life. Hymns, liturgical dance and a wicked tongue lift Trieschmann's antic portrait of a small, struggling congregation to comic heights.

Amie Lyttle (Around the World in 80 Days, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater) is making her WAM debut in the leading role of Abigail. Amie has ties to the NY Capital District and earned her BA in Theater from Muhlenberg College and her MFA in Acting from The Actors' Studio, as well as training at Shakespeare & Company and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

Surrounding Abigail are the members of her congregation and community, played by a team of talented actors in double roles. Berkshire favorite Dana Harrison (Shakespeare & Company's Private Lives) plays the roles of Esther, a dutiful parishioner ready for new ideas, and Myra, a hairdresser. Ron Komora (The Poet in An Iliad at Capital Rep), a mainstay of Capital District theatre for many years, will play the roles of Lloyd, a hide-bound and traditional Vestry member, and Victor, Abigail's Diocesan Bishop. Also making their WAM Theatre debuts, Kimberlee Monroe (Maid's Door at the Billy Holiday Theatre, NYC) will play Martine, a Haitian parishioner, and Vivienne, the rival pastor at a thriving evangelical church; and Benjamin Zoëy, a Canadian who recently graduated from the MFA in Musical Theatre at The Boston Conservatory, will play Noah, a 20-something parishioner with a passion for liturgical dance, and Sam, a gentleman who creates a big change in Abigail's life.

"We did a reading of Catherine's play How the World Began as part of our 2014 Fresh Takes series, and it was very well received," WAM Theatre Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven explained. "Then, earlier this year I attended the New Play Summit at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA). There I saw the first staged reading of her new play, Holy Laughter, which the DCPA had commissioned. I knew the heartfelt story, witty humor and zany characters would be a terrific follow-up to last year's gripping hit of In Darfur. I am thrilled that Catherine has granted us the rights to do the first developmental workshop production this fall."

The company is also pleased to collaborate again with Megan Sandberg-Zakian. "Megan directed our sold out Fresh Takes reading of Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England last year and is a busy director working all over the States, often on new work," van Ginhoven explained. "Her imaginative aesthetic and dedication to social justice are a perfect fit for WAM. We are delighted she will be joining us in the Berkshires this fall to direct this production."

"I'm thrilled to be working with WAM again," Sandberg-Zakian enthused. "I've admired the company ever since I met Kristen. And what could be better than working on a new play by a terrific woman playwright! This play is so funny and moving, I can't wait to dig into it with our stellar, and hilarious, cast. It has a particularly warm place in my heart because it shows us a woman at the head of an organization, grappling with questions of leadership and authority."

In keeping with WAM Theatre's double philanthropic mission, the beneficiary of this production will receive 25% of the box office proceeds. This year's beneficiary, WAM's eighth in total, will be announced at WAM's July 15 benefit event, Stars in the Orchard, taking place at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, MA.

Also at the July 15 benefit, the cast of Holy Laughter will mingle with guests and give a sneak peek at the play. This gala evening will also include local luminaries delightfully "miscast" in monologues or songs, including Berkshire favorite Ryan Winkles (currently playing the title role in Shakespeare & Company's Henry V). Plus there will be bluegrass music by master guitarist Don McGrory and the jazz stylings of the Rich Vinette Quintet, a campfire under the stars, sunset hayrides, fresh apple cider donuts and hearty hors d'oeuvres catered by Hilltop Orchards and wine made on-site at Furnace Winery.

The July 15 benefit evening will culminate with a live auction benefiting Holy Laughter and WAM's Education programs. Guests can bid to win lunch with husband and wife, Michael Gill and Jayne Atkinson (both of House of Cards) or to have a voicemail greeting recording by Chris Noth (The Good Wife) or Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer-prize winning The New York Times columnist, who served as the inspiration for WAM Theatre. Group tickets are sold out; a limited number of General Access tickets and Premiere tickets are still available and can be purchased at:

WAM Theatre's production of Holy Laughter is scheduled for October 29-November 22, on the St. Germain Stage at Barrington Stage Company's Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield, MA. The opening performance will be Sunday, November 1 at 2pm. Tickets are $15-$40 and will go on sale in July. See for more information.

Sponsors for this production include: Greylock Federal Credit Union (Producer Sponsor); Garden Gables Inn; Berkshire Magazine (Partner Sponsors); Custom Business Solutions, Interprint (Leader Sponsors); Adams Community Bank; Rogovoy Report (Patron Sponsor); RB Designs; Nina Molin MD; Jon Gotterer DMD (Supporter Sponsors).

Additional WAM 2015 Sponsors include: Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Dylandale Foundation, Feigenbaum Foundation, International Schools Theatre Association, Massachusetts Cultural Council and Petricca Industries (Education Programming). WAM Theatre is also supported in part by grants from the Lee, Lenox, Hinsdale-Peru, Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Richmond, Washington, Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies that are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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