Syracuse Stage Season Begins 9/24 with VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE

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The 14/15 Season at Syracuse Stage starts September 24 with Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. In this "ripped and roaring" comedy by Christopher Durang, Sonia and Vanya have frittered their lives away in the family farmhouse. Enter their sister, self-absorbed movie star Masha with her 20-something boy toy Spike, and a dysfunctional family's reunion turns into a weekend of hilarity.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike performs Sept. 24 - Oct. 12 in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/Drama Complex, 820 East Genesee Street. Discounted preview performances are Sept. 24 & 25. The Opening Night performance is Friday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets and info are available at, by phone at 315-443-3275, and in person at the Syracuse Stage Box Office (Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm). Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at 315-443-9844. Discounts are also available for seniors, students, and U.S. military personnel and veterans. Sign interpretation, open captioning, and audio description services are available for select performances.

Directing Vanya is Marcela Lorca, who returns to Syracuse after directing two of the most memorable Syracuse Stage productions in recent years, Scorched (2013) and Caroline, or Change (2012). "I'm very happy to be back at Syracuse Stage which I now consider one of my artistic homes," said Lorca. She describes Vanya as "a bit of a wild ride. It's a sweet play that has a real heart as well as a biting sense of humor."

Throughout the play there are a number of references (including the title characters) to the works of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, known for Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Seagull, and The Cherry Orchard.

Vanya smashes together Chekhov's classic themes of loss and longing with really impressive abs, Disney's Snow White, and a prophetic housekeeper. The result is raucous comedy that plays like Arrested Development.

Vanya was praised by The New York Times as "deliriously funny," and USA Today called Vanya "hugely entertaining." In addition to winning the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, Vanya earned the New York Drama Critics' Circle, Drama League, and Drama Desk awards, all for best play of the season.

Christopher Durang (born 1949) is an American playwright known for works of outrageous and often absurd comedy. His plays include Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy, Baby With the Bathwater, A History of the American Film (Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize Finalist), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award), Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie Award), and Miss Witherspoon, among others.

Durang's numerous fellowships and high profile grants include a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller, the CBS Playwriting Fellowship, the Kenyon Festival Theatre Playwriting Prize, and induction into the American Theatre Hall of Fame (wikipedia). Vanya is the first Durang play produced by Syracuse Stage.

The Syracuse Stage cast includes several returning actors: Larry Paulsen as Vanya (Sagot in Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Syracuse Stage, Shakespeare Theatre in D.C.); Lisa Renee Pitts as Cassandra (Syracuse Stage productions of From the Mississippi Delta, Tintypes, and Our Town-professional debut); and Nancy Williamson as Masha (Bad Dates at Syracuse Stage, Romeo and Juliet with Orlando Bloom, Cyrano and Henry IV both with Kevin Kline).

They are joined by Ben Chase as Spike (Trinity Repertory Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Midori Iwama as Nina (Shakespeare's Globe in London); and Dori Legg as Sonia (NY's Toy Box Theatre, Actor's Theatre of Louisville).

Scenic design is by Tony Award winner John Arnone (Syracuse Stage credits spanning from 1978 to 2013 include Scorched, Old World, Loved, Naked, and The World of Sholem Aleichem). Designing costumes is Caitlin Ward, lighting design is by Karin Olson, and the sound designer is Montana Johnson. The production stage manager is Stuart Plymesser.

The Syracuse Stage production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is made possible through the support of generous sponsors. The Presenting Sponsor is Pomco Group. The Sponsor is NBT Bank. Media Sponsors are Clear Channel Media, Business Journal News Network, and the Syracuse New Times. The 14/15 Season Sponsor is Syracuse Media Group.

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