The Huntington Presents Darkly Funny TEENAGE DICK

Set at a contemporary high school, playwright Mike Lew's take on the Shakespeare classic explores the disabled experience.

By: Nov. 08, 2021
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The Huntington Presents Darkly Funny TEENAGE DICK

The Huntington announces the New England premiere of Teenage Dick by Mike Lew, a darkly comic re-telling of Shakespeare's Richard III set in the most treacherous of places -high school. The production runs from December 3, 2021 to January 2, 2022 at The Huntington's Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, and with digital access to the filmed performance through January 16, 2022.

Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God on Broadway, Tiger Style! at The Huntington) directs this ruthlessly funny show, which centers on a high school outsider named Richard. Bullied because of his cerebral palsy, Richard decides to exact revenge on his class enemies by becoming the senior class president. But all the scheming, manipulation, and revenge plots force him to ask the age-old question: is it better to be loved or feared? The New York Times calls the play "moving, exciting, and profoundly eye-opening."

Featuring Gregg Mozgala as Richard, the play was commissioned and developed by Mozgala's own theatre company, The Apothetae (Brooklyn, NY), which is dedicated to productions that illuminate the disabled experience. When Mozgala, who himself has cerebral palsy, approached Lew about the idea for an adaptation of Richard III, the playwright fell in love with the concept.

"I found in my talks with Gregg that a lot of the work that I try to do on behalf of the Asian American community or artists of color is paralleled in what he's trying to do in terms of disability advocacy," Lew said. "A lot of the stumbling blocks that we've had are the same."

The collaboration reunites Mozgala and von Stuelpnagel, who first met as students at Boston University, as well as Lew and von Stuelpnagel who have worked together numerous times, including on the audio play version of Tiger Style! at The Huntington during the pandemic.

"Teenage Dick spins the narrative that you've usually heard about disability right on its head," says von Stuelpnagel. "And it does it in such a smart and biting way."

The production is produced in association with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington, DC) and Pasadena Playhouse (Pasadena, CA). The play originated at Ma-Yi Theatre Company (New York, NY) in association with The Public Theater (New York, NY).

The cast of Teenage Dick features, in alphabetical order:

Shannon DeVido (she/her) as Barbara "Buck" Buckingham, Richard's best friend in high school, who uses a wheelchair. Shannon is a BAFTA Breakthrough actress and comedian who is best known for her roles in Hulu's "Difficult People," Netflix's "Insatiable," Comedy Central's "Delco Proper," and "Law and Order: SVU."

Louis Reyes McWilliams (he/him) as Eddie Ivy, a football jock and bit-of-a-jerk junior class president. Louis is an actor and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. He has appeared Off Broadway in Coriolanus (The Public Theater), Anna Karenina: a riff (The Flea/Notch Theatre Company), and The War Boys (Columbia Stages).

Gregg Mozgala (he/him) as the scheming Richard Gloucester who longs to become senior class president so his classmates will see past his cerebral palsy. Gregg worked with M. Night Shyamalan and Golden Globe Winner Andra Day on the video for her Emmy nominated single "Rise Up." He received a Lucille Lortel Award (Best Featured Actor) for his work in the Pulitzer Prize winning play Cost of Living by Martyna Majok. He was nominated for a Drama League Distinguished Performance Award for the role of Richard in Teenage Dick.

Portland Thomas (she/her) as the over-achieving Clarissa Duke, junior class vice president.

Portland is a New York City based actress. She has appeared in Seize the King, Fit for a Queen (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Hamlet & St. Joan (Bedlam with The McCarter Theatre), The Wolves (Marin Theatre Company), and The Syringa Tree (Creede Repertory Theatre).

Emily Townley (she/her) as the well-meaning and put upon English teacher Elizabeth York.

Emily was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in The Totalitarians (Woolly Mammoth Theatre). Other credits include The Amateurs, Comedy of Tenors and Bad Dog (Olney Theatre Center), Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Theatre Company).

Zurin Villanueva (she/her) as Anne Margaret, a dancer and popular student who is the object of Richard's affections. Zurin is originally from Brooklyn, New York. She has appeared on Broadway in The Lion King, Mean Girls, Shuffle Along, and The Book of Mormon. Regionally, she appeared in Ruined (Everyman), Ragtime (Barrington Stage), Ain't Misbehavin (Crossroads), and Million Dollar Quartet (PCLO). Zurin has also made television appearances in hits like "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Insatiable," and "Detroit."

Teenage Dick features work by choreographer Jennifer Weber (Disney's "Zombies 2," &Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theater in London), assistant director and choreographer Ashleigh King (Legally Blonde at Keegan Theatre, Fairview at Woolly Mammoth Theatre), Robb Hunter (Invisible Man at The Huntington, HIR at Woolly Mammoth Theatre), scenic designer Wilson Chin (Warner Bros. and NBC's "Blindspot," Next Fall on Broadway), lighting designer Amith Chandrashaker (Bhangin' It at La Jolla Playhouse, The Underlying Chris at Second Stage), costume designer Kelsey Hunt (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Ford's Theater, The Nether at Woolly Mammoth Theatre), and sound designer Palmer Hefferan (Grand Horizons at Second Stage, Tiger Style! at The Huntington).

Other production staff include Judy Bowman, CSA (Casting Director), Sam Layco (Stage Manager), Kevin Schlagle (Assistant Stage Manager) and K. Rudolph (Associate Lighting Designer).


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