Chester Theatre Company Presents CURVE OF DEPARTURE

Chester Theatre Company (CTC) will present Curve of Departure by Rachel Bonds in the historic Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road in Chester, MA, from August 8 - 18. The production is directed by Keira Naughton making her CTC debut.

In a New Mexico motel room, three generations gather to lay to rest their past as they look forward to the opportunities and challenges of the future. Curve of Departure offers a multi-faceted, multi-generational picture of family life: loving, complicated, funny, challenging, and full of uncertainty. A father, son, and ex-wife gather to lay to rest a man they loved, but didn't always like. But, he is the reason they have each other to depend upon.

Chester Theatre Company has assembled a stellar cast to bring this particular family to life: Raye Birk (who recently appeared with Mark Rylance in Nice Fish), Ami Brabson (Skeleton Crew), Paul Pontrelli (I and You and The Aliens), and newcomer José Espinosa (a recent graduate of Yale School of Drama).

"I'm in love with Curve of Departure," said Daniel Elihu Kramer, CTC Producing Artistic Director. "So many things about the play feel right, and rare. It's about four people who love each other--utterly villain-free--but that doesn't keep them from having struggles. It looks at aging with remarkable clear-eyed humor and honesty. It puts an American family--American in so many different ways--on stage and respects and cares for every one of them. And it allows us to share the love these four people feel for each other, inviting them into a pivotal moment in each of their lives."

The artistic team for Curve of Departure includes:

Keira Naughton (Director) is a NY based actor and director. Broadway credits include The Rivals (LCT), Dance of Death and Three Sisters. Off Broadway credits include These Paper Bullets, The Jammer, Hunting and Gathering, All My Sons, and The American Clock. Regional: Church & State (Berkshire Theatre Group), These Paper Bullets (Geffen Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre), I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn't Even Smile (New Neighborhood/Berkshire Theatre Group), Company (Kennedy Center), Gods of Comedy (Old Globe/McCarter). Keira directed the world premiere of Cedars by Erik Tarloff at Berkshire Theatre Group, and she has also directed at 92nd Street Y's Lyrics & Lyricists series. Her television and film credits include "The Exorcist," (Fox) "Body of Proof," "3 lbs.," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Sex and the City," "The Independents," "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2," and "Cradle Will Rock." She is a member of New Neighborhood and a singer/songwriter in the theatrical band The Petersons. She received her M.F.A. from New York University.

Raye Birk (Rudy) makes his first appearance with CTC. He has worked in regional theatres throughout the country, including playing leading roles for nine season with The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and 15 seasons at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Productions have included The Sunshine Boys, The Crucible, Long Days Journey Into Night, Othello, A Delicate Balance, Faith Healer, Pride and Prejudice, 1776, The Great Gatsby, The Winter's Tale, Pygmalion, Macbeth, and over 500 performances as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Recently, he performed with Mark Rylance in New York and London's West End in the Guthrie-spawned production of Nice Fish. During his 20 years in Los Angeles he appeared in nearly 150 television shows, including recurring roles on "LA Law," "The Wonder Years," "Coach," "Cheers," "The Golden Girls," "Babylon 5," "X-Files," "Seinfeld," and "Star Trek." His feature films include "The Naked Gun," "Doc Hollywood," "Throw Momma from the Train," "The War of the Roses," "North Country" and "A Serious Man."

Ami Brabson (Linda) is an actor, singer and producer. She plays Vanessa on the next and final season of "POWER" (Starz Network). Other television credits include: Mary Pembleton in "HOMICIDE: Life on the Streets;" Judge Karyn Blake in "Law & Order: SVU;" Judge Tchaikovsky in "Bull;" "Damages;" "The Jury;" "Law & Order;" and various soap operas. Brabson's stage credits include her one-woman shows Phenomenal Women and A Change is Gonna Come. Other stage credits include the New York Premiere of Tough Titty by Oni Faida Lampley. Some of her favorite regional theater roles are Faye in Dominique Morisseau's Skeleton Crew at Chester Theatre, Quilly in John Henry Redwood's The OId Settler, and Rose in August Wilson's Fences. Ms. Brabson is an accomplished soprano and cabaret singer. She has performed at New York City venues as varied as Merken Concert Hall, The Metropolitan Room, and Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar. Ms. Brabson received her MFA from the NYU/Tisch Graduate School of Acting.

José Espinosa (Jackson) graduated in May from Yale School of Drama where he appeared in many plays including Twelfth Night, The Tempest, The Seagull, Pentecost, Much Ado About Nothing, Seven Spots on the Sun and Escape from Happiness, and helped devise Completely Outta Fucks, a Commedia show directed by Christopher Bayes. At Yale he originated roles in two world premiere productions from Jeremy O. Harris, KMS...The Feels and Yell, and in Genne Murphy's Kilroy-nominated play The Girl is Chained. José attended Amherst College where he studied English & Religion and played baseball.

Paul Pontrelli (Felix) made his CTC debut as Anthony in I and You and appeared as Evan in The Aliens. Off-Broadway: The Flick (u/s; Barrow Street, dir. Sam Gold), This Clement World (St. Ann's Warehouse, dir. DJ Mendel), Donogoo (Mint Theatre Company, dir. Gus Kaikonnen), Captain Louie (The Little Shubert, dir. Meridee Stein). Other theater credits include Tiny Beautiful Things (Long Wharf Theatre, dir. Ken Rus Schmoll), House of Dance (Half Straddle, New York City Players, MASS Live Arts, Zurich Theater Festival, Kyoto Experiment; dir. Tina Satter), Look Upon Our Lowliness (The Movement, dir. David Mendizabal). TV: "Instinct" (CBS). Paul holds an MFA from NYU Tisch's Graduate Acting Program.

The artistic and design team also includes Juliana von Haubrich (Set Designer), Matthew Adelson (Lighting Designer), David Wiggal (Sound Designer), Stella Guilietta Schwartz (Costume Designer), and Katy McGlaughlin (Stage Manager).

Performances are Thursday at 2pm and 8pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm. Individual tickets are $42.50. Chester and Middlefield residents, members of the military and their families, and those holding EBT/SNAP cards may purchase $10 tickets at the door or by calling the box office. Student Rush $10 tickets are available day of show in person or on the phone. Tickets may be purchased online at chestertheatre.org, or by phone at 413.354.7771. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available.



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