THE ELEPHANT MAN Announced At Raue Center
Williams Street Repertory, McHenry County’s growing professional theatre company, is excited to announce its upcoming production of Bernard Pomerance’s “The Elephant Man” at Raue Center For The Arts. This moving drama based on the life of John Merrick opens on May 3, 2019 and runs select dates through May 19, 2019.
“When building WSRep’s 2018 – 2019 season, I knew ‘The Elephant Man’ was going to be a thrilling production that is both timely and relevant,” says Founding Artistic Director, Richard Kuranda**. “The artistry assembled for this show is perhaps the best WSRep has ever pursued,” says Kuranda. “Director Daniel Ellis** and I have a collaboration that spans nearly three decades and I am most proud that his vision will soon be mounted with the immensely talented James Knight* in the main role.”
Based on the life of John Merrick, “The Elephant Man” centers on a young man who lived in London during the latter part of the nineteenth century. Horribly deformed – a victim of rare skin and bone diseases – Merrick becomes the star attraction in traveling sideshows.
Found abandoned and helpless, he is admitted to London’s prestigious Whitechapel Hospital. Under the care of celebrated young physician Frederick Treves, Merrick is introduced to London society and slowly evolves from an object of pity to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati, only to be denied his ultimate dream – to be a man like any other.
“I am excited to revisit this beautiful play based on the life of John Merrick,” says Director, Daniel Ellis** (Grand Théätre de Genève,Michigan Opera Theatre, Finnish National Opera, Lyric Arts Main Stage Theatre), who previously directed “The Elephant Man” with The Weekend Theater Company. “I am attracted to stories that examine relevant topics and ‘The Elephant Man’ is just as relevant as it was the last time I worked on the play some 20 years ago,” he continues. “It is a timeless study into the very nature of prejudice.”
“The Elephant Man” features James Knight* in the role of John Merrick. Knight’s previous credits with WSRep include the regional premiere of “Any Other Name,” “Death of a Salesman” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
“While using no prosthetics or makeup to alter [Knight] in any way other than by the contortions of his own body, the audience will have the chance to witnesses a breathtaking night of theatre,” says Ellis.
WSRep’s production of “The Elephant Man” also features co-founder of Epic-Repertory Theatre Companyand Founding WSRep Ensemble Member, Alicia Regan* as Mrs. Kendal. Regan’s recent credits include WSRep’s production of “Sylvia” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the title role of “Antigone” off-Broadway at the DR2 Theatre and hit TV shows including NBC’s “Chicago Fire and HBO’s “Sex and the City.”
“It is such a pleasure to once again work with Richard Kuranda and Alicia Regan, founding members of Epic-Repertory, to bring ‘The Elephant Man’ to the stage at WSRep,” says Ellis. “Richard and the entire company of WSRep have been able to continue a dream that so many of us had when we helped to create Epic back in NYC in 2001,” he continues. “I am truly humbled to be a part of WSRep this season and see Epic’s vision being continued and expanded upon by Richard and his team.”
WSRep’s production of “The Elephant Man” also features David Moreland as Frederick Treves. Moreland appeared in WSRep’s world premiere of “Bomber’s Moon” earlier in WSRep’s 2018 – 2019 season. Moreland’s recent credits also include “Bridges of Madison County” (BrightSide Theatre) and “Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night” (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre).
The cast also features Ivan Ewert as Carr Gromm/Conductor. Ewert previously appeared in WSRep’s productions of “Art,” “Death of a Salesman” and “A Streetcar Named Desire,” as well as the one-man shows “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” and “The Santaland Diaries.”
Justice Good, who is currently appearing in WSRep’s production of “Emma! A Pop Musical,” returns to WSRep as London Policeman/Belgian Policeman/Snork/Orderly in “The Elephant Man.” Good’s other credits with WSRep include “Ring of Fire” and the world premiere of “Bomber’s Moon.”
Michael Metcalf, who is also currently appearing in “Emma! A Pop Musical” appears in WSRep’s “The Elephant Man” as Pinhead Manager/Porter (Will)/Lord John/Orderly. His credits also include “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (BrightSide Theatre) and “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (Steel Beam Theatre).
Also returning to WSRep from “Emma! A Pop Musical” is Becca Duff, who appears as Nurse/Ensemble in “The Elephant Man.” Duff’s recent credits also include LezSing Cabaret” (Pride Films and Plays) and “39 Steps” (Brightside Theatre).
WSRep’s production of “The Elephant Man” also features Shannon Mayhall as Nurse/Miss Sandwich/ Princess Alexandra. Mayhall’s previous credits with WSRep include “Love Letters,” “Hands on a Hardbody,” “Barefoot in the Park,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Death of a Salesman,” for which Mayhall received the BroadwayWorld Chicago Award for Best Actress in a Play (Resident Equity).
“I am excited to bring this moving story to the Raue Center stage with such a stellar and talented group of actors and designers,” says Ellis. “Fans of WSRep will recognize some familiar faces but I’m so excited to introduce some new talent to this area.”
New talent to Raue Center’s stage includes Steve McDonagh*, who appears as Bishop Howe/Ross. His credits include “Shear Madness” (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (Royal George Theatre) and “A Christmas Carol” (Drury Lane Theatre).
Maddie Sachs, who appears as Pinhead #1, makes her WSRep debut in “The Elephant Man.” Sachs’ recent credits include “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “I Henry IV” (Hoosier Shakes) and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (Metropolis Performing Arts Centre).
Also new to WSRep is Maya Rowe, who appears as Pinhead #2/Countess. Rowe has recently appeared in “A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder” and “Annie” (Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre) and “You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown” (Drury Lane Theatre).