Laura Pedersen's FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!, Formerly THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN, to Play Buffalo
The VH Theatrical Development Foundation proudly announces that after an acclaimed Off-Broadway engagement last fall, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! (formerly titled THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN), a new play by best-selling author Laura Pedersen, will open the 2015-2016 Theater Season at the 710 Main Street Theatre (formerly Studio Arena Theater) in Buffalo, New York, with a limited engagement scheduled to play Thursday, September 17 - Sunday, October 4, 2015. Directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! is set in Buffalo, where Ms. Pedersen was born and raised. Tickets ($45-$65) are on sale now via www.ticketmaster.com.
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! focuses on The Kilgannons, a typical Irish Catholic family in 1974 Buffalo. With the world outside changing fast and the generation gap widening, the future is up for grabs. Will the Kilgannons find the serenity to accept the things they cannot change and the wisdom to know that what needs changing most is sitting around the dinner table? The show or the family . . . only one can go on. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! is a witty drama about family, faith, and the ties that bind - sometimes too tightly.
The upcoming Buffalo engagement marks a homecoming for playwright and acclaimed author Laura Pedersen. "Buffalo was 80% Catholic when I was growing up there in the 1970s," says Ms. Pedersen. "It was a hotbed of anti-abortion protests, church basement Bingo and Friday night fish frys. While the church was still reeling from the Second Vatican Council, society was being rocked by the Vietnam War, Watergate, birth control, a recession, an oil crisis, and various progressive movements championing African-Americans, Native Americans, Gay Americans, women (Estrogen Americans?), and the environment. It was a time of religious, political, and cultural upheaval that placed young people in opposition to their elders more than at any other moment in recent history. Most families were struggling to make sense of a way of life unraveling before our eyes and find a path forward. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! doesn't recreate my 1974 so much as frame the era in a way that people around back then could fill in their experiences, and those not yet born might have a good laugh at what we were up to, just like they may one day chuckle at their own school yearbooks."
Adds Ms. Pedersen, "It was my great hope that FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! would play in Western New York. I'm especially thrilled that the same incredibly talented creative team was enthusiastic about making the journey from Manhattan to 710 Main, where I have wonderful memories of seeing my first plays and musicals as a child. Just like a young girl never forgets her first ride on the Crystal Beach Comet roller coaster, she never forgets her first Peter Pan. Or the emergency room visit after attempting to fly off the fireplace mantel."
Laura Pedersen began her career as the youngest person, at age 21, to become a partner in a Wall Street trading firm. Glamour magazine named her one of ten "Outstanding Young Working Women" in 1990. Her first book, Play Money (1991), about being the youngest trader on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, became a bestseller, and she appeared on CNN, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Good Morning America," "The Today Show," "Primetime Live," "David Letterman," and other television programs. In 1994, President Clinton honored Ms. Pedersen as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. She was a columnist for The New York Times from 1995 to 2002, and the host of her own television show on the Oxygen Channel from 1999-2002. She is the author of several best-selling and award-winning books, including the Hallie Palmer Series: Beginner's Luck, Heart's Desire, The Big Shuffle; and Best Bet; as well as Going Away Party; Last Call; Fool's Mate; The Sweetest Hours; Buffalo Gal; Buffalo Unbound; Planes, Trains, and Auto-Rickshaws; and most recently Life in New York: How I Learned to Love Squeegee Men, Token Suckers, Trash Twisters, and Subway Sharks. Her first children's book, Unplugged: Ella Gets Her Family Back, was published in 2012 and became a Mom's Choice Awards Gold recipient; another children's book, Ava's Adventure, has just been released. Pedersen's one-act play A Dozen Perfect Moments was performed as part of the 2012 Midtown International Theatre Festival at the June Havoc Theatre. The play was also a winner of the Doc Jim Martin Playwright Competition and a semi-finalist in the Drury University One-Act Playwriting Competition. Other stage works include the one-act play Living Arrangements and the full-length musical This Will All Be Yours (music and lyrics by Charles Bloom). Pedersen has an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Canisius College.
Ludovica Villar-Hauser's other directing credits include: Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night in London's West End; three productions at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival; the premiere of Gregory Murphy's The Countess, which ran Off-Broadway for 634 performances and in the West End; Rona Munro's Bold Girls at the 29th St. Rep.; the NYC premiere of Otho Eskin's Duet, a new play about Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse; the North American premiere of Leaves of Glass by Philip Ridley, as part of Origin's First Irish Festival, Derek Murphy's A Short Wake; As It Is In Heaven by Arlene Hutton, produced by 3 Graces Theater Co. at The Cherry Lane Theatre; A Dozen Perfect Moments, The Brightness of Heaven, Living Arrangements and This Will All be Yours by Laura Pedersen; the Off-Broadway production of Final Analysis by Otho Eskin at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center. Ludovica is the Founder of Works by Women, and serves on the Board of The League of Professional Theatre Women. Visit www.ludovicavillarhauser.com.
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! (formerly titled THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN) was the finalist in the Maxim Mazumder New Play Competition, a finalist in the Ashland New Plays Festival, and a finalist in The Hudson Valley Writers' Center New Play Reading Series. It was first staged as a developmental production, directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser, presented at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in 2012. The play made its Off-Broadway premiere at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre (38 Commerce Street, NYC), where it played to packed houses from October 16 - December 14, 2014 (Opening on October 26, 2014).
The cast of FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! features Emily Batsford (Pains of Youth), Bill Coyne (Greed: A Musical For Our Times), Paula Ewin (founding member of the acclaimed 29th Street Rep, credits include Bible Burlesque opposite Edward Norton), James Michael Lambert (When Blood Ran Red), Kate Kearney-Patch (Richard Nelson's The General from America opposite Corin Redgrave), and Kendall Rileigh (Golda's Balcony) - all seen in the Off-Broadway production last fall - as well as new cast members Peter Davenport (National Tour of The Sound of Music) and Daniel J. Self (National Tour of White Christmas).
Presented by the VH Theatrical Development Foundation in association with the 710 Main Street Theatre (formerly Studio Arena Theater) in Buffalo, New York, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! has set and costume design by Meganne George, lighting design by Natalie Robin, and sound design by Janie Bullard. Amy Stoller is the dialect designer. R. Erin Craig is the Executive Producer.