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Emmy Winner Gordon Clapp to Lead Nora Theatre's THE MIDVALE HIGH SCHOOL FIFTIETH REUNION World Premiere

The Nora Theatre Company will present the world premiere of Alan Brody's The Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion from June 1 - July 2, 2017. The Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion is directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. The press performance is Monday, June 5 at 7:30PM.

Tonight, it's Midvale High School's class of 1954's 50th reunion. Tom and Bettina - returning for the first time - are looking for second chances. As the evening revs up to the highly anticipated dance contest, they flash back to formative moments - but are those memories real? Emmy winning actor Gordon Clapp (NYPD Blue, Chicago Fire) and our own Debra Wise, star in Alan Brody's (Operation Epsilon) romantic comedy about how we remember, how we choose and how we never stop looking for love.

The production team includes Marlena Yanetti (Choreographer) Steven Royal (Scenic Designer), John Malinowski (Lighting Designer), Chelsea Kerl (Costume Designer), Annabeth Kelly (Properties Coordinator). The stage manager is Katharine Humbert.

The Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion plays at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Thursday, June 1 - July 2, 2017. Tickets may be purchased by calling 617.576.9278 x1, at the Central Square Theater box office, or online at CentralSquareTheater.org.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Alan Brody (Playwright) is a Professor Theater Emeritus at MIT. He has two plays currently under option for New York productions: Operation Epsilon which was nominated for four Elliot Norton Awards in 2013 after a successful eight week run at the Central Square Theater and The Housewives of Mannheim which was produced at the New Jersey Rep in 2012 and subsequently moved to 59E59 in NYC. During his sabbatical Brody completed a new play, The Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion. It had its first public reading at the NJ Rep in March, 2014. Brody teaches classes in playwriting, acting and script analysis. He directs Playwrights-in-Performance each spring, a production of original student-written scripts selected from work developed in 21M.785 Playwright's Workshop. Professor Brody is an accomplished playwright; his plays have won numerous awards and had productions at such theaters as the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Aspen Playwrights Conference, the Berkshire Theater Festival, and Theater Forty in Beverly Hills. His play, Invention for Fathers And Sons, was the first winner of the annuAl Rosenthal Award at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in 1989. It was subsequently produced at the American Jewish Theater in New York City. The Company of Angels was the recipient of the 1990 Eisner Award from the Streisand Center for Jewish Culture in Los Angeles. It had its world premiere at the New Repertory Theater in Massachusetts in the spring of 1993, and has been produced at the T. Schreiber Studio in New York and Theater Emory in Atlanta. Three of his plays, Five Scenes From Life , Greytop in Love and One-on-One were developed at the Missouri Repertory Theater. Greytop in Love was subsequently seen at the Walnut Street Theater, Philadelphia, in 1998 starring Kim Hunter. His most recent play, Operation Epsilon, had an extended run at the Central Square Theater in the spring of 2013 under the auspices of The Nora Theatre Company and Catalyst Collaborative@MIT. It was nominated for 4 Elliot Norton awards and 4 IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) awards. It swept all four categories in the IRNEs including Best Play of 2013. The dramatic oratorio, Reckoning Time: A Song of Walt Whitman, which he wrote in collaboration with composer Peter Child, had its world premiere at Jordan Hall with the John Oliver Chorale in March of 1995. Among his credits as a director are Vinie Burrows' internationally acclaimed one-woman show, Sister! Sister! and the world premieres of two operas, T.J. Anderson's Soldier Boy, Soldier and Ken Guilmartin's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Brody is also the author of two novels, Coming To (1973) and Hey Lenny, Hey Jack (1975).

Lee Mikeska Gardner (Director, Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Company) is in her third season at The Nora, where she directed Her Aching Heart, Grounded, Saving Kitty (with Jennifer Coolidge) and Arcadia, and performed in Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight (Elliot Norton award for Outstanding Actress, Small Theatre), Tess in Majorie Prime and Brodie in Precious Little. She also played Carla in the IRNE nominated Chosen Child at Boston Playwrights' Theatre. An Artistic Associate for ten years at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Lee directed a show a season, earning Helen Hayes nominations for direction for After Ashley, Life During Wartime, and Goodnight, Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet. As an Associate Artist with 1st Stage Lee directed Blithe Spirit, The How and The Why, Humble Boy and Fuddy Meers and played Terry in Sideman (Helen Hayes nomination) and Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir. Lee served as The Managing Director for Washington Shakespeare Company for five years directing shows including the world premieres of Caesar and Dada and Learning Curves as well as A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other favorite directing projects include Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie at The Kennedy Center; Angels in America and Peristroika at Signature Theatre; T.S. Eliot's The Cocktail Party for the Washington Stage Guild (Theatre Lobby Award,); Golden Boy and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with the Keegan Theatre (Artistic Associate); The Butterfingers Angel..., Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), Stones In His Pockets and Three Tall Women at Rep Stage, where Lee also served as Managing Director for two years. Lee has earned a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for the role of Mary in A House in the Country with Charter Theatre, where she created roles in four world premieres, including Carla in A Taste of Fire (Helen Hayes nomination.) Lee has earned an additional three Helen Hayes nominations for performance. Lee spent seven years as Associate Artistic Director with the Shenandoah Playwrights' Retreat working on plays in development. As an educator, Lee has taught or served as a Guest Artist at Colleges and Universities across the nation including Emerson, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, UVA, Charlottesville, University of Maryland, College Park, and Middlebury College. Lee has a B.F.A. in the Performing Arts from George Mason University and an M.F.A. in Acting from The Catholic University of America.

Gordon Clapp (Tom Terres) Best known as the Emmy-winning actor who charmed audiences of 12 season as Detective Greg Medavoy on NYPD Blue, for which he received an Emmy award, Gordon Clapp has enjoyed a distinguished career in television, film, and theater. In 1979, his career in film and television was launched with a leading role in the John Sayles cult hit, The Return of the Secaucus Seven. in 2005, he received a Tony nomination for his role as Dave Moss in the all-star Broadway revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross. Since 2008, he has been working with playwright A. M. Dolan on the play This Verse Business, a one-man show about poet Robert Frost. The play will be part of the 2017-18 season at Vermont's Northern Stage where Gordon recently starred in the World Premiere of Jack Neary's Trick or Treat. He recently married Boston art consultant Elisabeth Gordon.

Sarah ElizaBeth Bedard (Female) is thrilled to be joining the Nora Theatre Company once again, after appearing in Intimate Exchanges this Winter. New York credits include One Year Lease Theatre Company, The Workshop Theatre, Classics on the the Rocks and Mettawee River Theatre. New England credits include SpeakEasy Stage Company (Significant Other); Lyric Stage Company of Boston (BBQ); Gloucester Stage Company (Measure of Normalcy); Company One (Shockheaded Peter); Actor's Shakespeare Project (Phedre); Berkshire Theatre Festival (A Christmas Carol), Shakespeare and Company (DibbleDance), Boston Public Works (Three) and Bad Habit Productions (Arcadia, Translations). Sarah directs at the young company at Stoneham Theatre and works as a freelance fight choreographer and theatre educator in New England and New York. She earned an M.F.A. in Acting from Brandeis University. SarahElizabethBedard.com

Debra Wise (Bettina Belknapp, Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater) launched URT in Oberlin, Ohio with founding Artistic Director Wes Sanders, who is currently completing an e-book documenting URT's decades as a touring company (1978-2008). With Sanders, Wise helped create over 30 new works which toured nationally and internationally to venues ranging from Lincoln Center to public schools; titles included Sanctuary - The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, Home is Where, InTOXICating and The Christopher Columbus Follies. Wise led URT collaborations with Boston Symphony Orchestra (Firebird, Creation of the World, Tempest); and Wise created and staged plays for Boston's Museum of Science (Aging Puzzle), New Center for Arts and Culture (Jewish Women and Their Salons), the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the MFA and the ICA (Art InterACTions), and the Cambridge Arts Council (theater in dialogue with public art). Since creating Central Square Theater with The Nora Theatre Company, Wise has focused on re-envisioning URT's mission to grow from within its first theater home. With playwrights Alan Brody and the late Jon Lipsky, and physicist/author Alan Lightman, she co-founded Catalyst Collaborative@MIT (CST's unique science theater partnership with MIT), and led partnerships with Mount Auburn Cemetery (Our Town) and the National Park Service (Roots of Liberty - The Haitian Revolution and the American Civil War, featuring over 50 actors, dancers, musicians and guest artists Danny Glover and Edwidge Danticat). URT has won two Elliott Norton awards under Wise's leadership: for The Convert (Outstanding Production) and Bedlam's St. Joan (Best Visiting Production).Other appearances on the CST stage include Kushner's Homebody, Copenhagen, Brundibar & But the Giraffe!, The Other Place, Distracted, The How and the Why, Einstein's Dreams, From Orchids to Octopi: An Evolutionary Love Story, Yesterday Happened: Remembering H.M., Breaking the Code, Arabian Nights and A Christmas Memory. Acting appearances on other Boston stages include Mistero Buffo (Poet's Theatre); A Boston Marriage and Orson's Shadow (New Repertory Theatre), Brooklyn Boy (SpeakEasy Stage Co.), and Chosen Child (Boston Playwrights' Theater); in NYC, The Haggadah (The Public, with Julie Taymor). Wise has been nominated for Outstanding Performance by both the Elliot Norton Awards and the IRNE. Her work as a playwright includes States of Grace, inspired by the stories, poems and essays of Grace Paley; and Alice's Adventures Underground, based on the works of Lewis Carroll. She collaborates each summer with Harvard's Project Zero, training educators on using theater to help students think more deeply across the curriculum.

Matthew Zahnzinger (Male) is excited to be returning to The Nora after playing Valentine in Arcadia last spring. A Brockton native, Matthew's recent credits include Salieri in Moonbox Productions' Amadeus (IRNE, Best Actor Fringe), as well as Mrs. Packard (Bridge Rep), Company (Lyric Stage Company of Boston), and Crazy for You (Reagle Music Theatre). Other local credits include: Company, The Importance of Being Earnest, A New Brain, and Floyd Collins (Moonbox Productions); The Polish Joke (IRNE - Best Supporting Actor, Titanic Theatre); 6 Hotels (Hub Theatre); The Singularity (Science Fiction Theatre Company); Reader, Copenhagen (Flat Earth Theatre). Matthew has also worked with the Longwood Players, the Peterborough Players (NH), and the Lost Nation Theatre (VT), and is also a contributing voice over artist with The Penumbra Podcast and the Colonial Radio Theatre. Matthew studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland, and has a B.A. in Theatre and English from Northeastern University.

Central Square Theater (CST) opened in 2008 through a groundbreaking partnership between The Nora Theatre Company (The Nora) and Underground Railway Theater (URT). This collaboration has been called a model for the arts community (The Boston Foundation, Culture is our Commonwealth, and The National Collaboration Prize), as it has paired two like-minded performing arts organizations in a strategic alliance with the City of Cambridge and MIT, resulting in the development of a state-of-the-art performing arts center in the heart of Central Square. CST has a mission to support its two theaters-in-residence while maintaining a shared vision of artists and audiences creating theater vital to their communities. The Nora and URT have a combined track record of over 50 years producing award-winning theater. Located in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and steeped in its multiracial, intergenerational, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods, the CST theater experience exudes a democratic energy where classes, races and age groups come together to be inspired, entertained and energized.



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