New England Premiere Of Mat Smart's AGITATORS Opens At Gloucester Stage

New England Premiere Of Mat Smart's AGITATORS Opens At Gloucester StageGloucester Stage Company continues its 39th season of professional theater with the New England premiere of Mat Smart's The Agitators from September 14 through October 7 at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA.

Directed by award winning Boston based, playwright, actor and director Jacqui Parker, The Agitators tells the powerful story of the enduring but tempestuous friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass while following their 45-year friendship from its beginnings in New York, through a Civil War, and to the highest halls of government as they agitated the nation and each other. Young abolitionists when they met in Rochester in the 1840s, Anthony and Douglass were full of hopes, dreams, and a common purpose. As they grew to become the cultural icons we know today, their movements collided, and their friendship was severely tested. James Ricardo Milord, seen earlier this season as Christian in the New England premiere Cyrano, returns to Gloucester to play Frederick Douglass. Sarah Elizabeth Bedard who last appeared at Gloucester Stage in 2015 returns to play Susan B. Anthony.

Gloucester Stage is the second theater to produce Mat Smart's new play, The Agitators. Rochester, New York's Geva Theatre Center commissioned Smart in 2015 to write The Agitators. The play enjoyed a highly successful world premiere run in October 2017 at the Geva, becoming the highest attended, four week run of a play as well as the best selling world premiere in Geva's 45 year history.

A native of Illinois, playwright Mat Smart currently lives in Manhattan. In addition to The Agitators, his recent world premieres include Kill Local at the La Jolla Playhouse, which was nominated for Outstanding New Play by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle. Mr. Smart is currently under commission by The Second City and the La Jolla Playhouse to write a comedy about white privilege. His other plays include: The Royal Society of Antarctica: Gift Theatre in Chicago, recipient of the 2015 Jeff Award for Best New Work; and Stage West; Samuel J. and K.: Williamstown Theatre Festival; Steppenwolf; and Passage Theatre; The Hopper Collection: Magic Theatre; and Huntington Theatre, and Tinker to Evers to Chance: Geva Theatre Center and Merrimack Rep. An avid traveler and baseball fan, he has been to all of the states, all of the continents, and all of the current MLB stadiums.

Boston based, playwright, actor and director Jacqui Parker makes her Gloucester Stage directing debut with the New England premiere of The Agitators. As an actress she last appeared at Gloucester Stage in 2014's award winning production of Fences. Ms. Parker has won numerous awards for her work as an artist including; the Elliot Norton Award, Boston Theatre Hero Award, eight Independent Reviewers of New England Awards (IRNE) and the DRYLONGSO Award, for her struggle against racism. She is named one of Boston's most influential people, in Don West's book Portraits of Purpose. Ms. Parker was the visiting playwright at Hibernian Hall, where she wrote and directed five productions including A Crack in the Blue Wall, which was nominated as Best New Play, by the Independent Reviewers of New England. Her directing credits include: Glitch at the Contemporary Theatre at Boston Conservatory; Top Eye Open at Hibernian Hall; Wrestling With Freedom Part I at Hibernian Hall; Naomi Iizuka's Polaroid Stories at Harvard University; Intimate Apparel at Brandeis University; and Deborah Lake Fortson's Body & Sold produced by Amy Merrill at Hibernian Hall. Ms. Parker is presently a part of the I Dream Team at Emerson College, devising New Works in High Schools across the city of Boston.

James Ricardo Milord made his Gloucester Stage debut as Christian in the critically-acclaimed Cyrano earlier this season. His other recent credits include Anna Christie and Barbecue at Lyric Stage. Mr. Milord has appeared in Akeelah and The Bee with Wheelock Family Theatre; Clybourne Park at Longwood Players Club; The Good Negro, and The Brothers Size Trilogy with Company One; Zooman & The Sign with Our Place Theatre; and Macbeth with Shakespeare Now. His film credits include Screen Gems' Proud Mary and Showtime's The Brotherhood. Mr. Milord is proud to be the first recipient of the Best Emerging Actor (David Wheeler Award) in 2010.

Sarah Elizabeth Bedard returns to Gloucester Stage after appearing in 2015's Measure of Normalcy. Her New York credits include One Year Lease Theatre Company, The Workshop Theatre, Classics on the Rocks and Mettawee River Theatre. In New England she has worked at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Significant Other; Lyric Stage in Barbecue; Nora Theatre Company in Intimate Exchanges and Midvale High School 50th Reunion; Company One in Shockheaded Peter; Actor's Shakespeare Project in Phedre; Berkshire Theatre Festival in A Christmas Carol; Shakespeare and Company in DibbleDance; Boston Public Works in Three; and Bad Habit Productions in Arcadia and Translations. Ms. Bedard frequently directs at The Young Company at Greater Boston Stage Company and teaches at Bridgewater State University. She earned an M.F.A. in Acting from Brandeis University. She will be seen in The Wolves at Lyric Stage Company later this fall.

Mat Smart's The Agitators runs from September 14 through October 7 at Gloucester Stage. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Following the 2 pm performances on Sunday, September 23 and Sunday, September 30, audiences are invited to free post-show discussions with the artists from The Agitators. Single ticket prices are $35 to $45 with discounts available for Preview Performances, Cape Ann Residents, Senior Citizens and Patrons 18 years old and under. In addition to regular reserved tickets, Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, September 15 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 about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com

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