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MRT Presents World Premiere Of THE VILLAINS' SUPPER CLUB By Lila Rose Kaplan

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For the final play in its 2017-18 Season, Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) is proud to premiere The Villains' Supper Club, a new comedy by playwright Lila Rose Kaplan, whose 2016 play Home of the Brave was the best-selling world premiere in MRT's history.

Featuring the largest cast in the 2017-18 Season with six actors, The Villains' Supper Club stars Kristen Mengelkoch (an audience and critic favorite from this year's Lost Laughs) as Galactic Girl, the world's last living superhero-who is on her first day back from maternity leave.

Kapow! Galactic Girl fights off multiple dastardly villains, including their tiny vicious leader, The Boss. Woosh! She's home in time to feed her baby and maybe even feed herself. When the last superhero on earth is also a new mom, there's no time to lose! Can she save the planet and call back the pediatrician? Or will she fall victim to her arch rival's nefarious schemes? In a twist, the first half of the play is told from a traditional male comic book perspective with high heels and suggestive clothing; in the second act, Galactic Girl takes control of her own story, choosing her no-nonsense pediatrician as the narrator. The Villains' Supper Club is an epic, irresistible comedy for anyone who's ever had to be a superhero.

"Lila Rose Kaplan is one of the most exciting playwrights writing today in our country," said MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels, "and one of the great treasures of the Boston theatre scene. Her last show, Home of the Brave continues to be the best-selling world premiere in MRT's 39 year history. Not only is she an author we'll all be studying in 10 years, but she's an advocate for working moms-continually advocating onstage and off for better work conditions and support systems to make it possible for moms to be artists. Also, she's incredibly funny. No one is able to tackle the subject of superheroes and moms with such humor. You're rolling in the aisles and before you know it, she's sneakily shown you a piece of real life you don't often see in pop culture. Even more important than producing this play, we're honored that one of the bright starts of the American theatre calls MRT home, and will have plays here for years and years."

Lila Rose Kaplan added: "I started working on The Villains' Supper Club during the first year of my daughter's life. I learned very quickly that new moms are True Superheroes. One of the first images I had for the play was Galactic Girl pumping in a phone booth while still wearing her cape. I wanted to write a comedy that explores what it's like to keep a brand new little person alive on no sleep, while also going back to work. I had several productions back-to-back that first year, which meant I was pumping all the time, traveling across the country with a tiny infant, calling the pediatrician from numerous time zones, while also doing rewrites-and did I mention not sleeping? With this play, I imagined a comic book world run by Villains where the only Superhero left is Galactic Girl, an undefeated Superhero who happens to be a new mom. My plays shine light on the stories we don't tell about women. New moms are crucial to our species' survival and yet new moms are invisible until you are one. The Villains' Supper Club is a comic love letter to all the new moms out there."

MRT has a history of bringing nationally recognized artists to Lowell, including for this production: scenic designer Apollo Weaver, whose work has appeared on stages from Philadelphia to Chicago; costume designer Arthur Oliver, known for his work with The Moscow Ballet; illustrator Chad Cunningham, whose incredible graphic drawings will be projected on stage; and fight choreographer Angie Jepson, who also teaches unarmed and armed stage combat courses at several local colleges.

The StageSource Gender Parity Task Force honored The Villains' Supper Club with a "Standing O" stamp for gender parity (it has a female playwright, female centered story, and at least fifty percent female cast). To celebrate, MRT will host a Parity Party at the Thursday, April 26, 2018, 7:30 pm performance. Audiences are invited to stay for an Ask the Artists Post-Show Discussion with members of the play's creative team and can get 10% off that show with code PARITY10.

The approximately 2 hour show will be performed with one intermission. Performances are April 25-May 20, 2018. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $26-$73 and are on sale now at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678. A senior discount is offered for 10% off adult ticket prices. Student tickets are $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. The press performance is on Saturday, April 28 at 8:00 p.m. (Opening Night). More information: www.mrt.org/villains.

The play is by Lila Rose Kaplan, directed by Sean Daniels.

The six-person cast includes: Maggie Carr (The Boss), Kristen Mengelkoch (Galactic Girl), John Gregorio (Lee the Leopard), Barlow Adamson (Fabian the Frog), Jacob Sherburne (Damian the Dart), Lorene Chesley (The Flame/Ms. Caliente).

The creative team headed by Director Sean Daniels (who also directed Home of the Brave) also includes: Apollo Weaver (Scenic Designer), Arthur Oliver (Costume Designer), Brian J. Lilienthal (Lighting Designer), David Remedios (Sound Designer), Elizabeth Dombek (Projection Designer), along with Chad Cunningham (Illustrator), and Angie Jepson (Fight Choreographer).

Lila Rose Kaplan (Playwright) writes plays that shine light on the stories we don't tell about women. Her heroines live in heartfelt comedies, bittersweet dramas, and musicals for young people. Her plays include Home of the Brave, Jesus Girls, The Magician's Daughter, We All Fall Down, 123 - a play about abandonment and ballroom dancing, Wildflower, Bureau of Missing Persons, and Biography of a Constellation. Her musicals for young people include: The Light Princess, The Pirate Princess, and The Magic Fish. Productions include: A.R.T., South Coast Rep, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Victory Theatre, Second Stage, San Francisco Playhouse Neighborhood Productions, Know Theatre, and Perishable Theatre. Development includes: Huntington Theatre Company, Trinity Rep, Arena Stage, Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Theatreworks, PlayPenn, and The Lark. Awards include: MRT Artistic Achievement Award, The National Science Award in Playwriting, and The International Women's Playwriting Award. Fellowships include: Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellowship, The Playwrights' Realm Writing Fellows, The Old Vic/New Voices Exchange, and The Shank Fellowship. Residencies include: The Orchard Project, Space on Ryder Farm, New Rep Next Voices, Harvard Business School, and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. BA with Honors: Brown University. MFA in Playwriting: UC San Diego. Coming up next: The Magician's Daughter premieres at Geva Theatre Center in winter 2019. Lila Rose lives in Cambridge with her marine biologist and her curious daughter. www.lilarose.org

$5 NIGHT: April 25, 7:30 PM. Patrons may purchase tickets for $5, cash only, at the Box Office between 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Limit 2 tickets per person.

STAGESOURCE PARITY PARTY AT MRT: April 26, 7:30 PM. To celebrate the play being honored by StageSource with a "Standing O" for gender parity, MRT will host a Parity Party, when audiences are invited to stay for an Ask the Artists Post-Show Discussion with members of the play's creative team. For this show only, enjoy 10% off any seat with the code PARITY10.

ASK THE ARTISTS POST-SHOW DISCUSSIONS: April 26 and May 10, after the 7:30 pm show. Post-Show Discussions will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the actors and other artists who created the show.

WINE DOWN FRIDAY: April 27, 8:00 PM. Enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with the cast and crew in the lobby following the 8:00 pm performance, as well as with the Western Avenue Studios Artists Association members whose work is currently on exhibit in the lobby.

MRTea: April 29, 2:00 PM. Enjoy complimentary tea before the show, courtesy Crose Nest.

LOWELL NIGHT: May 2, 7:30 PM. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10, cash only, at the box office from 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Proper ID required, limit 2 per person.

LADIES NIGHT: May 10, 6:00 pm. Gather your girlfriends, sisters, and mothers for a night out on the town that includes a reception from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM with complimentary wine, cheese from Mill City Cheesemongers, and handmade confections from Sweet Lydia's. Enjoy the 7:30 performance and stick around for Ask the Artists following the show. RSVP when buying tickets to this performance at mrt.org.

COOKIE MATINEE: April 11, 2:00 PM. Enjoy complimentary cookies and coffee from Brew'd Awakening in the lobby prior to the matinee performance.

EDUCATOR AND MILITARY DISCOUNT DAY: May 5, 4:00 PM. MRT will offers Educator and Military Discounts of 50% off tickets using the discount codes ED50 and MIL50. (Please show ID when picking up tickets.)


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