Female Telling of the Story Of Matt And Ben To Conclude Kitchen Theatre Company's 2017-2018 Season
Kitchen Theatre Company concludes its 2017-2018 Season with a female-led production of Matt & Ben by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers, a comedy about friendship, fame, and two well known public figures. Performances of Matt & Ben begin at the Kitchen Theatre Company in The Percy Browning Performance Space on May 27 and run through June 10.Two guys, buddies since high school, eat junk food and work on their first screenplay: a film adaptation of Catcher in the Rye. "Adaptation is the highest form of flattery!" they say. They are getting nowhere fast when all of a sudden, a finished script falls from the ceiling. The script is "Good Will Hunting". What will Matt Damon and Ben Affleck do with their newfound luck? Matt & Ben starts with this ridiculous premise and adds another unexpected twist-Matt and Ben are both played by women. Writers Mindy Kaling (of TV's The Mindy Project and The Office) and Brenda Withers originated the roles and performed in the original hit Off-Broadway run of the play.
"I am so excited to be bringing this side-splittingly funny play to Ithaca!" says Kitchen Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director M. Bevin O'Gara. "It's the perfect start to summer, it's a Corona with a lime, sitting on your back patio eating chips and guac kind of play. And having all these amazing and hilarious women in the room together marks the end of my first season at the Kitchen in exactly the right way-with an amazing team of fabulous ladies."
Matt is played by Caitlin Nasema Cassidy and Ben is played by Lilli Hokama, both NYC-based actors making their Kitchen Theatre Company debuts. The production is led by an all-female artistic team: director Shana Gozansky, scenic designer Anna Grigo, lighting designer Annie Wiegand, sound designer Pornchanok Kanchanabanka, costume and properties designer Megan Parker, and fight choreographer Ashley Brenon. The production stage manager is Jennifer Schilansky. Casting is by Lisa Donadio.
Special events for Matt & Ben include Pay What You Can Nights on May 27 and 29 and Actors' Forum discussions after the shows on June 1 and 8. There will be a special "Drag Mixer" on Wednesday, May 30. Come in drag and get Pay What You Can tickets for that night too! All of our Preview performances (May 27, 29, 30) will feature special Summer Sangria offered for free before the show. Opening Night of Matt & Ben is on May 31 and includes a post-show reception with delicious food from Just a Taste and Emoticakes. On Tuesday, June 5, our Press Play series, a collaboration with Cinemapolis, continues with a showing and discussion there of the film Connie and Carla. For more events and information, visit kitchentheatre.org.
The Show Co-Producer for Matt & Ben is MAGUIRE FAMILY OF DEALERSHIPS. The Media Sponsor is WSTM NBC3.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Mindy Kaling (Playwright) is an American actress, comedian, and writer. Kaling is known for creating, writing, producing and starring in the Fox/Hulu sitcom The Mindy Project (2012-2017). She is also known for her work on the NBC sitcom The Office (2005-2013), where she portrayed the character Kelly Kapoor. In addition to acting on the show, she was a writer, executive producer, and occasional director throughout most of the series' run. Awards for her work on The Office include a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series in 2010. In 2017, NBC ordered Champions, where Kaling is a co-creator, writer, and producer. She will have a reoccurring guest role on the show, which premiered Thursday, March 8, 2018 on NBC. Kailing's film career includes voice work in the films Despicable Me (2010), Wreck It Ralph (2012), Inside Out (2015) and starring roles in the fantasy adventure A Wrinkle in Time and heist-comedy Ocean's 8,both 2018. In addition to her work on film and television, Kaling has written two New York Times best-selling memoirs, titled Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me?.
Brenda Withers (Playwright) is a writer, actor, and founding member of the Harbor Stage Company, an artist-run ensemble on Cape Cod. Her other plays include The Kritik, Northside Hollow, and The Ding Dongs and have been developed and presented at places like Amphibian Stage Productions, PS122, Portland Stage, HERE, and Dreamcatcher Rep. She was an Audrey Resident with New Georges, a playwriting fellow at the Camargo Foundation, and the winner of the 2015 Clauder Prize for her play String Around My Finger. Brenda studied drama and religion at Dartmouth College.
Shana Gozansky (Director) is a freelance director and teaching artist based in the Boston area. Her work has been produced at Boston Playwrights Theater, Central Square Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, the Hangar Theatre, The Calderwood Arts Pavilion, as well as multiple venues throughout New York City. She has assisted on productions at Berkeley Rep, The Geffen, Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, Henry Miller's Theater, and Trinity Repertory Company and has taught acting and directing at Brown University, College of the Holy Cross, Clark University, the Hangar Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Company. Shana holds a MFA in Directing from the Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company MFA Programs and a BA in Theater from Bard College, was an Artistic Associate at the Hangar Theatre, an Artist-in-Residence at chashama and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and is a Drama League Directing Fellow. Shana is thrilled to be back in Ithaca and to be working with the phenomenal Kitchen team.
ANNA GRIGO (Scenic Designer) is a professional New York City-based production designer for theatre, opera, film, and the visual arts. She has a degree in scenic and costume design from Ithaca College. Selected professional credits include: Scenic Designer for Shining City (Hudson Stage Company), Decline and Fall (Jersey City Theatre Center), Peter and the Starcatcher (Hewitt School) (Cider Mill Playhouse), Red (CMP), Anna and Alan (Independent Film), Cherubim (FringeNYC), Implications of Cohabitation (Theater Row); Costume Designer for The Yellow Wallpaper (Dixon Place), Fernando (Ice Factory Festival NYC), Thumbprint (Opera Ithaca), Urinetown (CMP), Billy Blythe (Opera Ithaca), The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Children's Theatre of Charlotte), The 39 Steps (CMP), and Come Back Up (Sanguine Theatre Company). Upcoming projects include: Women In Jeopardy! at Cortland Repertory Theatre (August 15-25). www.annagrigo.com
ANNIE WIEGAND (Lighting Designer) is a freelance lighting designer who happens to be Deaf. Shows in New York City include Spring Awakening (Broadway, 2nd Assistant - Tony Nominee, Best Lighting Design), Movements of the Soul (Baruch), Square Peg, Round Hole(Tectonic Theatre Project, Associate). Boston: The Bridges of Madison County (Speakeasy Stage Company); The Who & The What (Huntington Theatre Company); Fast Company (Lyric Stage); The Trumpet of the Swan, The Taste of Sunrise (Wheelock Family Theatre); Phedre, Othello (Actors Shakespeare Project); Colossal, you for me for you, Love Person (Company One). Member, Wingspace Theatrical Design collective; Teaching Artist, Roudabout Theatre Company, Adjunct Professor, Theatre Arts Department, Gallaudet University in Washington, DC; and Producing Director, New York Deaf Theatre. anniewiegand.com
PORNCHANOK KANCHANABANCA [NOK] (Sound Designer) is a Thai artist ,sound designer , and composer based in New York and Chicago. She graduated fromthe Sound Design program at Yale School of Drama. Recent productions include Cymbeline (Original music, Yale Repertory Theatre), Be Here Now(Original music, Cincinnati Play House) Frontières sans Frontières (The Bushwick Starr), The Humans (Theatresquared), Alligator (New Georges & The Sol Project) , Heartland (Geva Theatre), Father Comes Home From The Wars (Juilliard), Red Demon (Tokyo Metropolitan, Singapore Arts Fest). She has also collaborated on designs with theatre companies in Thailand including B-floor, Babymine, Crescent Moon, Makharmpom, Democrazy. www.wishnok-music.com
LISA DONADIO (Casting Director) is the Associate Casting Director at Playwrights Horizons. Credits include: Clybourne Park (Broadway and PH), The Flick (Barrow Street and PH), Bootycandy, The Qualms, Detroit, Circle Mirror Transformation, Stage Kiss, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, Rapture Blister Burn