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Celeste Oliva and Alexander Platt to Reunite in STAGE KISS at the Lyric Stage; Cast Set!

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Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl, winner of the 2016 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award and a MacArthur "genius" grant, will be directed by Courtney O'Connor at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, opening February 26 and running through March 26, 2017. Previews begin February 24.

STAGE KISS reunites actors Celeste Oliva* and Alexander Platt* (as She and He) after their success together in CHINGLISH. They will be joined by Michael Hisamoto, Gillian Mackay-Smith, Craig Mathers*, Will McGarrahan* and Theresa Nguyen*.

Life imitates Art. Art imitates Life - and Love. In Stage Kiss, two squabbling long-lost loves are cast as long-lost lovers, and quickly lose touch with reality in this comic, romantic, and revealing play-within-a-play. Playwright Sarah Ruhl and Director Courtney O'Connor (Red Hot Patriot, Buyer & Cellar) take us on-stage, back-stage, and right out the stage door in this charming tale about what happens when lovers share a stage kiss and when actors share a real one.

On the creative team are: Scenic Design, Matt Whiton; Costume Design, Amanda Mujica; Lighting Design, Chris Hudacs; and Sound Design, Arshan Gailus**

Performances run February 24 - March 26, 2017, playing Wednesdays, Thursdays - 7:30pm; Wednesday matinees - 2pm, March 1 & 22; Fridays - 8pm; Saturdays - 3pm & 8pm; and Sundays - 3pm. Post-show Q&A with the artists: February 26, March 12, after the 3pm performance. All shows at The Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116. Tickets start at $25. Seniors - $10 off regular price. Student rush - $10. Group rates available. Contact the Box Office at 617-585-5678 or visit lyricstage.com.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Sarah Ruhl's (Playwright) plays include Stage Kiss, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee for best new play), The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004), Passion Play, (Pen American Award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center), Dead Man's Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award), Melancholy Play (a musical with Todd Almond), Eurydice, Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP nomination), Late: a cowboy song, Three Sisters, Dear Elizabeth, and most recently, The Oldest Boy and For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, off-Broadway at Playwrights' Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, with premieres often at Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. Her plays have also been produced internationally and have been translated into over twelve languages.

Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. An alum of 13P and of New Dramatists, she won the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award in 2016, and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. She was the recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright, the Whiting Writers award, the Feminist Press' Forty under Forty award, and a Lilly Award. She proudly served on the executive council of the Dramatist's Guild for three years, and she is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama. Her book of essays on the theater and motherhood, 100 Essays I don't have time to write, was a NY Times Notable Book of the Year. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Courtney O'Connor (Director) previously directed Buyer & Cellar, Red Hot Patriot, Rich Girl, Stones in His Pockets, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Associate Director, Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Production, IRNE Awards for Directing, Best Production), Red Herring, and The Miracle Worker for the Lyric Stage. She has also directed productions for Emerson Stage, UMass Boston, Suffolk University, Brandeis University, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (intern company), Shakespeare Now!, AIM Stage, and Coyote Theatre. Courtney is a senior affiliated performing arts faculty member at Emerson College. Through her work with the Coyote Theatre Project, she has overseen the creation of more than 200 new 10-minute plays written by at-risk youth from Boston. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Cabrini College and a master's degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College. Courtney is also the general manager of Abella Publishing Services.

Michael Hisamoto (Kevin/Butler/Doctor/Pimp) returns to the Lyric Stage after appearing in Fast Company last season. Most recently, he assisted director Moritz von Stuelpnagel on Tiger Style! (Huntington Theatre), and was last seen onstage as playwright David Henry Hwang in Yellow Face (The Office of War Information). Last summer, Michael was in residency at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he had the opportunity to workshop his new play, someone who isn't me. This April, he will be seen as Wilbur in Charlotte's Web (Wheelock Family Theatre) . Michael is currently working on a new audio drama series titled The Ordinary Epic. Endless love to B, his friends, and his family for their support. michaelhisamoto.com

Gillian Mackay-Smith (Millicent/Laurie) returns to the Lyric Stage after appearing in Mr. Burns, a post-electric play last season. Local credits include A Man of No Importance, The Real Thing, Translation, Top Girls (Bad Habit Productions), Greenland (Apollinaire Theatre Co.), The Housekeeper, Outlaw Jean, Distant Neighbors, The Embryos (Fresh Ink Theatre Co.). She can also be seen in Episode 7 of the web series Conversations from the Afterlife. Gillian earned her B.A. in Theater Performance from Northeastern University and studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. www.gmacks.com

Craig Mathers* (Husband/Harrison) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Boston appearances include Academy Fight Song with (CentaStage), Henry VI, The Taming of the Shrew, Henry VIII, Troilus and Cressida (Actors Shakespeare Project), Our Town(Huntington Theatre), The Fakus (Centastage),The Banality of Love, Dog Paddle (Israeli Stage), The Three Sisters (Brandeis Theater), Not Enough Air (Nora Theater), Picnic (Stoneham Theatre), and The Light in the Piazza (SpeakEasy Stage). New York credits include I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe ( NY Fringe Festival), Tea and Sympathy (Keen Company), Pera Palas(Second Stage), Poor Folks Pleasure (The Flea), Salt (The Actors Studio), and The Love of the Nightingale (Soho Rep). Regional appearances include The Grapes of Wrath (Syracuse Stage), Edward II, Hamlet (Yale Rep), Travels with my Aunt, Macbeth (Baltimore Center Stage), All My Sons (Indiana Rep), The Adding Machine (SacRed Fools Theater ), and Mass Appeal (Worcester Foothills). TV and film work includes Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Spin City, As the World Turns, CBS pilot House Rules, and NBC pilot Odyssey, as well as the feature films The Last Harbor and The Company Men. Craig is currently an associate professor of Performing Arts at Emerson College and is a designated Linklater teacher.

Will McGarrahan* (Adrian Schwalbach, the director) returns to the Lyric Stage where he performed in Company, Peter and the Starcatcher, Light Up the Sky, Into the Woods, Death of a Salesman, Becky's New Car, The Chosen, The Temperamentals, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grey Gardens, November, Souvenir, and Dirty Blonde. Other local credits include Casa Valentina, Big Fish, Far from Heaven, Next Fall, The Drowsy Chaperone, Reckless, Some Men, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Five By Tenn, Company, The Last Sunday in June, Elegies: A Song Cycle, Ruthless!, A Class Act, A New Brain (SpeakEasy Stage), Mame (Stoneham Theater), A Raisin in the Sun (Huntington Theatre), The Wind in the Willows and Happy Days (Gloucester Stage); Nine Circles (Publick Theatre and Gloucester Stage), The Moon For The Misbegotten, Buried Child (Nora Theater), and The Wrestling Patient (SpeakEasy Stage/Boston Playwrights/40 Magnolias). Will worked as an actor, singer, and pianist for many years in Seattle before moving to Boston's South End.

Theresa Nguyen* (Angela/Millie/Maid) returns to the Lyric Stage Company having appeared in Fast Company and Water by the Spoonful. New England credits include Orlando (Bad Habit Productions), Sila (Underground Railway Theater), The River and The Sea (New Repertory Theatre's Next Voices), Mammal Heat (The Huntington Theatre's New Playwrights Summer Workshop), The Winter's Tale, Small Steps, The Actor's Nightmare, and Robin Hood (Emerson Stage). Theresa received a B.F.A in Acting from Emerson College.

Celeste Oliva* (She) returns to the Lyric Stage where she was last seen in Rich Girl, Becky's New Car, and Chinglish (2013 IRNE award, and Best of Boston, Best Actress 2013). Recent credits include the off Broadway production of Shear Madness, of Abigail 1702 (Merrimack Repertory Theater, world premiere), where she was also in last year's It's a Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play, Arcadia, Grounded (Nora Theatre), Reconsidering Hanna(h) (Boston Playwright's Theater), and Boston'sShear Madness, America's longest continuous running play. On screen Celeste has recently been seen in Bleed for This. She has two upcoming films November Criminals and Thoroughbred, a web series Crook, and is part of the East of HollywoodTeam, a group dedicated to putting more Asians on film in leading roles and doing away with the Asian stereotypes perpetuated by the media. Celeste is also a voice-over artist, writer, and producer.

Alexander Platt* (He) previously appeared at the Lyric Stage in Chinglish. Other theatre credits include: Social Creatures, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Mourners Bench, Love Alone (Trinity Rep), Hedda Gabler, Far Away, Festen, Paul, Why Torture is Wrong..., Don Carlos (Gamm Theatre), Hamlet (Actors' Shakespeare Project), Insignificance, Arcadia (The Nora Theatre), Neville's Island, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stoneham Theatre), The Forgetting Curve (Bridge Rep of Boston), The Etymology of Bird (Providence Black Rep), King Stag, Possible Worlds (Elemental Theatre), Bad Money, Falling Up(Perishable Theatre), and The Pathological Passion of the Christ (La Mama Etc.). Alexander served as Artistic Director of Elemental Theatre Collective in Providence, RI from 2006-2012 and has an M.F.A. from Trinity Rep Conservatory.

Matt Whiton (Scenic Design) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously designed City of Angels, Tale of the Allergists Wife, Stones in His Pockets, One Man, Two Guvnors, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Shipwrecked, and A Year of Magical Thinking. Elsewhere in New England, Matt has designed for ART's Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, Argos Productions, UMass Lowell, Plymouth State University, and Merrimack College. Matt received his M.F.A. in 2007 from the University of Georgia.

Amanda Mujica (Costume Design) returns to Lyric Stage having previously designed Intimate Apparel and Mr Burns, a post-electric play. Recent Theater Productions include Really, An Octoroon (Company One) and Bootycandy (SpeakEasy Stage). She is a Boston-based freelance costume designer and seamstress. In addition to theater, she has designed for dance, film, and opera, most recently designing Odyssey Opera's 2015 Spring Festival productions of The Zoo, The Bear, and Powder Her Face. She will be designing Odyssey's spring 2017 production of Patience by Gilbert & Sullivan. She earned a B.S. in History from Carnegie Mellon University. amandamujicadesign.com

Chris Hudacs (Lighting Design) returns to Lyric Stage, having previously designed Intimate Apparel and Sondheim on Sondheim. Chris has designed lights for Boston Lyric Opera, Pilobolus Dance Theater, The ART/MXAT Institute, New England Conservatory, Sylvain Emard's "Le Grand Continental" (Celebrity Series of Boston), Pickleshoes Family Theater, Tiffany Mills Company (NYC), The York Theatre (NYC), Toy Box Theatre (NYC), Nancy Meehan Dance (NYC), Paula Josa-Jones (MA), Trinity College (Hartford, CT), Rites & Reason Theatre (Brown University) and many others. In addition, Chris has toured as a Production Manager/Technical Director with Pilobolus, Shen Wei Dance Arts, David Dorfman Dance, Doug Varone and Dancers, and Stephen Petronio Dance Company. www.WhodaxLD.com

Arshan Gailus (Sound Design and Original Music) returns to the Lyric Stage having designed sound and composed music for Fast Company, Chinglish, Avenue Q, The Temperamentals, Superior Donuts, The Understudy, Blithe Spirit, and Legacy of Light. He has created sound designs and original music for companies throughout the Boston area and beyond including ArtsEmerson, Huntington Theatre, Contemporary American Theater Festival, A.R.T Institute, Actors' Shakespeare Project, Brandeis University, Nora Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage, Gloucester Stage, Company One, and New Repertory Theatre. Arshan was recently awarded the 2016 IRNE Award for Best Sound Design (Small Theater) for his design of appropriate (SpeakEasy Stage). He was also a member of the Elliot Norton Award-winning design teams for The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Company One, 2012) and Twelfth Night (Actors' Shakespeare Project, 2011). Arshanteaches Sound Design at Emerson College where he serves as Resident Sound Designer, and he has designed sound and composed original music for independent video games in the Boston area and internationally. Arshan holds a B.S. in Music from MIT. arshangailus.com

Nerys Powell* (Production Stage Manager) was the Production Stage Manager for Company and Murder for Two this season. Last season Nerys was the AEA Assistant Stage Manager for My Fair Lady and Production Stage Manager for Buyer & Cellar, Fast Company, and Peter and the Starcatcher. Nerys holds a B.A. in English Literature from the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY and is a member of the Actor's Equity Association.

Bridget Anderson (Assistant Stage Manager) is a graduate of Syracuse University's stage management program, returning for her third show at the Lyric Stage. Bridget's Lyric Stage credits include wiping fake blood off the set for Fast Company and ringing a bell offstage for Buyer & Cellar. Other theatre credits include stage managing the Summer Theatre Program at Walnut Hill School for the Arts as well as deputy stage managing Macbeth with Youth Music Theatre UK in Belfast and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Spiro Veloudos (Producing Artistic Director), now in his 19th season as Producing Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage, opened the season by directing Company, and directed Sondheim by Sondheim and Peter and the Starcatcher last season. In previous seasons, he directed Sweeney Todd, City of Angels, Into the Woods (Independent Reviewers of New England(IRNE) Awards for Best Director, Best Musical, and Best Ensemble), One Man, Two Guvnors, Death of a Salesman (IRNE Award for Best Play),The Mikado, 33 Variations, On the Town, Avenue Q (Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Ensemble, five IRNE Awards including Best Musical and Best Director), The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Elliot Norton Award for Best Production and Best Director, five IRNE Awards including Best Director), Big River,Superior Donuts, Animal Crackers, Blithe Spirit, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, and Kiss Me, Kate. Spiro received the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from Salem State College. He was the recipient of the 2006 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. During his tenure, the Lyric Stage has earned numerous awards and honors including Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Production (Nicholas Nickleby, Speech & Debate, Miss Witherspoon, The Old Settler), and Outstanding Musical Production (Sunday in the Park with George); IRNE Awards for Outstanding Production (Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Settler, Glengarry Glen Ross), and Outstanding Musical Production (Grey Gardens, Urinetown: The Musical, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George). His numerous directing credits at the Lyric Stage include A Little Night Music (IRNE Award for Direction), Glengarry Glen Ross (IRNE Award), Sunday in the Park with George (Best of the Year in Boston's Globe, Herald, and Phoenix; Elliot Norton and IRNE Award for direction), Assassins (Best Production of 1998: The Boston Globe), Lost in Yonkers, Never the Sinner: The Leopold and Loeb Story (Elliot Norton Award, along withAssassins), and Speed-the-Plow (Elliot Norton for Outstanding Production). Mr. Veloudos received StageSource's Theatre Hero Award (2003) and was named Best Artistic Director by Boston Magazine in 1999. He serves as the president for the Producers' Association of New England Area Theatres, and is adjunct faculty in Performing Arts at Emerson College.

Matt Chapuran (Managing Director) was previously Managing Director of Stoneham Theatre, where he co-produced over 70 plays, musicals, concerts, and educational productions for an annual audience that grew to over 50,000. During his tenure, Matt ran the 2010 Boston Marathon with Producing Artistic Director Weylin Symes in support of Stoneham Theatre's educational mission. At The Nora Theatre Company, Matt was Managing Director during the inception of a capital campaign that ultimately led to the construction of the Central Square Theater. Matt comes to the Lyric Stage from the Huntington Theatre Company, where he managed institutional giving. A graduate of Boston College with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Matt has performed, taught, and directed improvisation for two decades, most recently as a part of Babson College's M.B.A. program, as one half of the improv team The Angriest Show in the World, and as the director of An Improvised People's History of the United States. He lives in Jamaica Plain with his wife and their three daughters.

*Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA)
** United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829


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