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Gloucester Stage Launches 2015 Season With SWEET AND SAD

Gloucester Stage kicks off the 36th season of producing professional theatre on Cape Ann with Richard Nelson's Sweet and Sad opening on May 28 and running through June 20 at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Written by Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Nelson, Sweet and Sad takes place on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 at a family gathering of the Apple family in Rhinebeck, New York. Against a backdrop formed by the ordinary actions of sharing a meal, the Apple family grapples with not-so-ordinary topics of remembrance, loss, and change as well as debating politics, teasing one another, exposing some raw wounds and sharing a laugh or two.

In 2010 New York's Public Theater commissioned playwright Richard Nelson to write an American epic detailing monumental public moments reflected in the private lives of an ordinary family. This commission resulted in the four play series, The Apple Family Plays which consists of That Hopey Changey Thing; Sweet and Sad; Sorry and Regular Singing. Mr. Nelson directed the premieres of all four plays in New York and each premiered on the day in which the play is set. Sweet and Sad, Part Two of the celebrated Apple Family plays, had its world premiere on September 11; 2011 and garnered an Obie Award for outstanding play. Recently, Mr. Nelson finished a remounting all four plays for a five week European tour.

Gloucester Stage's production of Sweet and Sad is a collaboration with Stoneham Theatre, which presented the first Apple Family play, That Hopey Changey Thing in February, 2015 at the Stoneham Theatre. Gloucester Stage and Stoneham Theatre have joined forces for two consecutive seasons to produce the New England premieres of all four Apple Family plays by Richard Nelson. The remaining Apple Family plays: Sorry will be produced at Stoneham Theatre in spring 2016 and Regular Singing will be produced at Gloucester Stage in 2016.

Stoneham Theatre's Producing Artistic Director Weylin Symes directs all four of the Apple Family plays at both theatres with the same design team and cast. Mr. Symes is thrilled to make his directing debut at Gloucester Stage with Sweet and Sad, "The magic of Sweet and Sad is in its intimacy. That will be especially true at Gloucester Stage, where the audience sits in three sides of the stage. You'll want to reach out and help yourself to a slice of pie."

As the Producing Artistic Director of Stoneham Theatre, Weylin Symes has directed over 25 productions and adapted several pieces for performance, including The Old Man and the Sea, Dracula, and It's a Wonderful Life. Some of his favorite directing projects include: Seminar, Distant Music, I Capture the Castle, Buddy Cop 2, Gaslight, Strangers on a Train, Marathon, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Violet Hour, The Dazzle, and The Girl in the Frame. Prior to Stoneham Theatre, he directed several productions in the Boston area, including Henrik Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman and We Bombed in New Haven by Joseph Heller, and spent a year training law enforcement personnel through role-playing exercises. Mr. Symes graduated from New York University and studied at the Experimental Theatre Wing of the Tisch School of the Arts and at the Dell' Arte International School of Physical Theatre.

The entire cast of Sweet and Sad reunites in Gloucester to reprise the roles they originated this spring at Stoneham Theatre in That Hopey Chanegy Thing, the first Apple Family play. The cast includes Karen MacDonald, Bill Mootos, and Sarah Newhouse returning to Gloucester Stage and three actors, Joel Colodner, Laura Latreille, and Paul Melendy making their Gloucester Stage debut.

A Boston native, Karen MacDonald has acted and directed at Gloucester Stage. She appeared in Last of the Red Hot Lovers and directed Woman in Black and An Ideal Husband. She returns to Gloucester Stage after recently appearing in Ulysses on Bottles with Israeli Stage at Arts Emerson. Other performances this season include Doubt at Stoneham Theatre, Red Hot Patriot at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston and Ether Dome at the Huntington Theatre Company, as well as premiering A Soldier's Carol with the Boston Holiday Pops. Last season, on Broadway, she understudied and appeared as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. A founding company member of the American Repertory Theatre, Ms. MacDonald appeared in 70 productions, including The Sea Gull, Endgame, and Mother Courage. Ms. MacDonald's awards include Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards and both the Robert Brustein Award for Sustained Achievement in the Theatre and the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence in 2010.

Sarah Newhouse is familiar to Gloucester Stage audiences after playing Annie for three consecutive years in Alan Ayckbourn's trilogy, The Norman Conquests which included the plays, Table Manners, Living Together and Round and Round the Garden. Her Boston-area credits include The King Stag, Macbeth, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile with the American Repertory Theatre, The River Was Whiskey and King of the Jews at Boston Playwrights' Theatre; Legacy of Light, Lost in Yonkers, and The Miracle Worker with Lyric Stage Company of Boston; DollHouse at New Repertory Theatre; Miracle on 34th Street and Picnic at Stoneham Theatre and Shear Madness at the Charles Playhouse. Ms. Newhouse is a founding company member of the Actors' Shakespeare Project, with whom she has performed more than a dozen roles in 10 years and currently serves with the company as an Artistic Associate. Ms. Newhouse is a graduate of Hampshire College and the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.

Bill Mootos last appeared at Gloucester Stage in Neena Beber's Dew Point in 2001. Recently he has appeared in Absence (with Joanna Merlin) and The Company We Keep at Boston Playwrights' Theatre; Good People with the Gamm Theatre; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon at Wheelock Family Theatre, and Dial M for Murder with Ocean State Theatre Company. Other regional credits include productions with New Repertory Theatre, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Central Square Theatre, Publick Theatre, Metropolitan Playhouse NYC, Manhattan Theatre Source, North Shore Music Theatre, Vineyard Playhouse, Nora Theatre Company, Hanover Theatre, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Ivoryton Playhouse, the Barnstormers, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and many others. Mr. Mootos' film credits include the NBC-TV pilots Odyssey and The Hatfields & McCoys, the HBO pilot The Devil You Know. He currently serves on the National Board of SAG-AFTRA.

Paul Melendy, Joel Colodner and Laura Latrielle make their debut performance with Gloucester Stage as members of the Apple Family. A North Shore native, Mr. Melendy has teamed up with many local theaters including Huntington Theatre Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Speakeasy Stage Company, New Repertory Theatre, Actors' Shakespeare Project, Centastage, and Wheelock Family Theater. His most recent area credits include A Disappearing Number with Underground Railway Theatre, and several productions with the Gold Dust Orphans including Jesus Christ, It's Christmas; Snow White; and It's A Horrible Life which he received an Elliot Norton nomination for Outstanding Musical Performance. Mr. Melendy can also be seen on local television sets as the Naked Guy in a popular Bernie and Phyl's ad.

Joel Colodner has appeared in Rimers of Eldritch at Stoneham Theatre and as Solomon Galkin in Imagining Madoff, Emil in Three Viewings at New Repertory Theatre, the Stage Manager in Our Town at Huntington Theatre, Francis Hollister in Mrs. Whitney at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Signor Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza at SpeakEasy Stage Company, and most recently as V. Ira Taub in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife at Lyric Stage Company of Boston. Regionally, he has been seen as Starbuck in The Rainmaker for the Guthrie Theatre, Ritchie in Streamers, Mick in Comedians, and Horatio in Hamlet at Arena Stage, and Konstantin in The Seagull at Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and off Broadway he played Uncle Peck in How I Learned to Drive.

Laura Latreille most recently appeared in Dear Elizabeth at Lyric Stage. Her other Boston area credits include Ryan Landry's M and Mauritius at the Huntington Theatre, God Of Carnage and Four Places at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Time Stands Still and The Understudy with Lyric Stage Company, Fat Pig and The Shape Of Things with SpeakEasy Stage Company, The Sussman Variations and The Glider at Boston Playwrights' Theatre, The Blowin Of Baile Gall at the Vineyard Playhouse and the world premieres of The Trials of Gertrude Moody and Utility Monster with Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. Off-Broadway she has been seen in Love Song at 59E59 and The Elephant Play with Playwright's Collective. Ms. Latreille received an M.F.A. from Brandeis University and is currently a faculty member at Bridgewater State University.

Richard Nelson is an award-winning playwright who has written more than 30 plays and whose work has been honored by the Tony Award, The Obie Award and Drama Desk Award, among others. He received the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for James Joyce's The Dead in 2000 and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play for Some Americans Abroad in 1990. From 2005-2008, Mr. Nelson was the chair of the playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama. An author of radio plays and screen plays as well, Mr. Nelson wrote the critically acclaimed film, Hyde Park on Hudson.

Sweet and Sad marks the premiere of Gloucester Stage's NeverDark series. NeverDark is a series of second-stage events that include lectures, talk backs, film screenings, play readings, and other events designed to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of all Mainstage productions. All NeverDark events are Pay-What-You-Wish. The NeverDark events set for the run of Sweet and Sad are a film screening of 25th Hour on June 1 at 7:30 PM at the Cape Ann Community Cinema and a reading 110 Stories on June 16 at 7:30 PM at Gloucester Stage. In 25th Hour convicted New York drug dealer Montgomery Brogan reevaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before facing a seven-year jail term. Directed by Casey L. Oakes, 110 Stories is a multi-hued range of voices that chronicle the shock and loss suffered on September 2001, from a stunning lineup of 110 writers who represent New York at its most imaginative. Members of the Cape Ann community will participate in this powerful reading.

The New England premiere of Richard Nelson's Sweet and Sad runs May 28 through June 20 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 31, June 7, and June 14 audiences are invited to free post show discussions with the artists from Sweet and Sad. Ticket prices are $28 for all performances. Tickets are $1 for ages 25 Years Old and under for all performances. The $1 tickets are cash only and available at the door on day of performance only. Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, June 2 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at 978-281-4433 or at www.gloucesterstage.com


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