Gloucester Stage Company to Open 37th Season with LETTICE AND LOVAGE
Gloucester Stage Company kicks off the 37th season of producing professional theater on Cape Ann with Peter Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage opening on May 19 and running through June 11 at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Written by Tony Award-winning playwright Peter Shaffer, Lettice and Lovage follows tour guide Lettice Douffet as she leads tours through an obscure English mansion utterly devoid of interest. Lettice decides to "Enlarge! Enliven! Enlighten!" her tours by fabricating fanciful stories, which ignites the wrath of her employer, Lotte Schon, an inspector from the Preservation Trust. The battle that ensues rapidly turns to friendship as the ladies embark on a series of escapades in this delightful comedy. Directed by Gloucester Stage veteran Benny Sato Ambush, Lettice and Lovage features Academy Award nominated actress and Gloucester resident Lindsay Crouse as Lettice Douffet, Marya Lowry as Lotte Schon, Mark S. Cohen as Bardolph and Janelle Day Mills as Miss Framer. Lettice and Lovage reunites Lindsay Crouse with director Benny Sato Ambush. The pair collaborated on Gloucester Stage's critically acclaimed 2013 production of Driving Miss Daisy.
Lindsay Crouse was last seen at Gloucester Stage in her IRNE award-winning role in 2013's Driving Miss Daisy. She made her Gloucester Stage debut in 2007 in The Belle of Amherst; followed by a return to Gloucester Stage in 2008 in Going To St. Ives, in 2010 in Table Manners, in 2011 in Living Together and in 2012 in Round and Round The Garden. A long-time veteran of the New York stage, Lindsay Crouse has performed off and on Broadway, and has won the Obie and Theater World Awards. At the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles, she starred with John Mahoney in Conor McPherson's The Weir, breaking the theater's box office records. On television, Ms. Crouse has guest-starred on C.S.I., Criminal Minds, Law and Order, E.R, NYPD Blue, Colombo, Murder She Wrote, Touched By An Angel, Hill Street Blues, Frasier, ARLI$$ and Alias. She spent a season as the infamous Professor Maggie Walsh on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. She appeared on all three television networks simultaneously playing recurring characters on Providence for NBC, Hack for CBS, and Dragnet for ABC. She has played three different characters on Law and Order, and appeared as the formidable Judge Andrews on Law and Order SVU. A feature film veteran, some of Ms. Crouse's best known films include The Insider, The Verdict, House of Games, Slapshot, Communion, All The President's Men, Prince Of The City, Daniel, The Arrival, Indian In The Cupboard, Mr. Brooks and Places In The Heart, for which she received an Academy Award nomination.
Ms. Crouse currently teaches around the country a class that is unique in the world, combining principles of Buddhism with principles of drama, creating a fresh approach to acting, writing and directing in all media. This summer she will teach a Master Acting Class to the Gloucester Stage Youth Workshop Summer Session 2016 students. A longtime Gloucester resident, Ms. Crouse began spending her summers in Gloucester as a child and is now a Gloucester resident. Her parents began summering in Gloucester in the late 1940's as an escape from New York City. Lindsay's father playwright Russel Crouse found inspiration on Cape Ann. He often worked here with his longtime partner and collaborator Howard Lindsay. Their partnership of over 28 years is one of the longest in theater history and responsible for such hits as The Sound of Music, Anything Goes, Life With Father and the Pulitzer Prize winning The State of the Union among others.
Marya Lowry made her GSC debut in 2015's critically acclaimed production of Enda Walsh's The New Electric Ballroom. Ms. Lowry is a Founding Member of Actors' Shakespeare Project where her credits include The Cherry Orchard, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Cymbeline, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, Duchess of Malfi, Macbeth (title role), Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar and Richard III. In the Boston area she has performed with Gamm Theater, Speakeasy Stage Company, Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, American Repertory Theater, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Merrimack Repertory Theater, Nora Theater, and New Repertory Theater. Ms. Lowry has appeared as a Featured Performer and Narrator with the Boston Pops and the Handel & Haydn Society at Symphony Hall, Cantata Singers at Jordan Hall, and the Musicians of the Old Post Road. Internationally and regionally she has appeared with The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey; Barter Theater; Riverside Shakespeare Company; Luminato Festival, Toronto; Roy Hart International Arts Centre, France; and a Bulgarian singing tour with Divi Zheni. Since 1986 Ms. Lowry has taught in the Brandeis MFA Professional Actor Training Program. This summer Ms. Lowry will teach an Acting Shakespeare Class to all Summer 2016 Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop students. She has taught internationally as well in Greece, France, Italy, Poland, Cyprus, United Kingdom, and Canada. Ms. Lowry is a spiritual mentor to incarcerated women.
Mark S. Cohen and Janelle Day Mills both make their Gloucester Stage debut in Lettice and Lovage. Mark S. Cohen's recent roles include Marius in The Road to Mecca, and Uncle Peck in How I Learned to Drive at the Boston Center for American Performance; Salter in A Number with Whistler in the Dark Theater; and Watson in The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence in the Brown Summer Rep Season 2015. He also appeared in Sleeping Weazel's 27 Tips for Banishing the Blues, and with many other local Theaters, including Israeli Stage, Boston Playwright's Theater, and Harbor Light Stage. Mr. Cohen is the featured player in Abuela Luna's two new films: Shakespeare in the Shadows and The Land of Nod. He has been on the fulltime faculty at Boston University for 10 years and maintained a teaching/directing relationship with Brown University for 22 years. Janelle Day Mills most recently appeared in Six Degrees of Separation with Bad Habit Productions and in Polish Joke with Titanic Theater Company. Her other credits include: Ollie/Helen in The Misadventures of Spy Matthias with Theater on Fire; Mrs. Marshall in Playhouse Creatures with Maiden Phoenix Theater Company; Gertrude in From Denmark with Love with Vaquero Playground; and Tilly in It's a Wonderful Life at Stoneham Theater. She was a member of the Lyric Stage Company's IRNE award winning Ensemble for The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.
Director Benny Sato Ambush made his Gloucester Stage debut directing 2012's Master Harold ... and the boys for which he won the IRNE Award for Best Director. He returned to GSC in 2013 to direct Driving Miss Daisy featuring Lindsay Crouse, Johnny Lee Davenport and Robert Pemberton. Mr. Ambush is a professional SDC stage director, former Producer/Artistic Director of professional theaters, educator, consultant and published commentator. As a director he has worked at the Old Globe Theater; Oregon Shakespeare Festival; South Coast Rep; Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Merrimack Repertory Theater, Arizona Theater Company; Magic Theater; Geva Theater; Playwrights Horizon; Ford's Theater; American Repertory Theater Institute; Philadelphia Festival Theater for New Plays; Lincoln Center Theater Institute; Heart of America Shakespeare Festival; Indiana's New Harmony Project; Alaska Theater of Youth; International Theater Festival of Chicago; Sacramento Theater Company; National Black Theater Festival; Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater; Lyric Stage Company of Boston; and North Carolina Black Repertory Company. He also directed in the Boston Theater Marathon and on NPR Radio as well as directing all five of the San Francisco Bay Area McDonalds Gospel Fests. In 2005 Mr. Ambush directed the 68th annual edition of America's oldest and longest running outdoor drama The Lost Colony in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. His artistic leadership experience includes: Producing Director: Oakland (CA) Ensemble Theater; Associate Artistic Director: San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater; Acting Artistic Director: Providence, RI's Rites and Reason Theater Company; Co-Artistic Director: San Francisco Bay Area Playwrights Festival; and Producing Artistic Director - Richmond, VA's LORT C TheaterVirginia (one of only 13 people-of-color to have ever been Artistic Director of a LORT Theater).Mr. Ambush was Associate Artistic Director of Anna Deavere Smith's Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard University in the summer of 2000 and Director of the Institute for Teledramatic Arts and Technology at California State University, Monterey Bay. He is a Senior Distinguished Producing Director-In-Residence at Emerson Stage and on the Acting/Directing Faculty in the Department of Performing Arts at Emerson College, Boston MA as well as a Visiting Arts Professor for the NYU Graduate Acting Program; and Artist in Residence, Tisch School of the Arts, NYC. Mr. Ambush has served on numerous regional and national boards including Theater Communications Group (TCG), has been a panelist and site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Peter Shaffer was born in Liverpool, England on May 15th, 1926. He studied history on a scholarship at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Before beginning his playwriting career, Mr. Shaffer was a coal miner during World War II. After World War II he held various odd jobs, including bookstore clerk, assistant at the New York Public Library and literary critic. Early in his writing career, Mr. Shaffer collaborated with his twin, Anthony Shaffer, to publish three mystery novels under the pseudonym "Peter Anthony." Following this, his first radio play, The Prodigal Father, enjoyed success on BBC, as did a number of his other TV and radio works. Mr. Shaffer's first great theatrical success was 1960's Five Finger Exercise, which opened in London for a two-year run. It was followed by two plays in 1962: The Private Ear, and The Public Eye, 1964's The Royal Hunt of the Sun and 1965's Black Comedy. His next two plays, Equus, which was published in 1973 and released as a film in 1977; and Amadeus which was published in 1979 and released as a film in 1984 were both enormous successes with the critics and the public. Equus won numerous awards, including a 1975 Tony Award for Best Play, and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. Equus ran on Broadway for more than 1,000 performances, and was revived in 2008 starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame. Amadeus won the Evening Standard Drama Award and the Theater Critics' Award in London and later won the 1981 Tony Award for Best Play. The film adaptation of Amadeus won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. His later plays include 1985's Yonadab, 1987's Lettice and Lovage, and 1992's The Gift of the Gorgon. Mr. Shaffer was knighted in 2001.
Peter Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage runs May 19 through June 11 at Gloucester Stage. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Following the 2 pm performances on Sunday, May 29 and Sunday, June 5 audiences are invited to free post-show discussions with the artists from Lettice and Lovage. Single ticket prices are $28 to $38 with discounts available for Preview Performances, Cape Ann Residents, Senior Citizens and Patrons 25 years old and under. Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, May 28 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. Gloucester Stage Flex Passes for the 2016 Season are also on sale now. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com.