Case Western Reserve University And Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program Ensemble Class Of 2020 Present FIFTH OF JULY
The Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program announces the debut performance of the Class of 2020. Fifth of July, from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, will run in the Helen Theatre at Playhouse Square.
In the wake of the Vietnam War, a veteran and his eccentric family gather in rural Missouri to ring in Independence Day. But the fireworks don't stop once The Fourth is over. Long-standing resentments and disappointments bubble to the surface as the family attempts to reconcile the hopes they once had for the future with the realities of their present. From Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, The Fifth of July is both a stunning and humorous portrait of a generation in search of direction and redemption. This production will introduce the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program's Class of 2020.
Fifth of July debuted at the Circle Repertory Company, a New York based theatre company co-founded by Wilson, starring William Hurt and Jeff Daniels. The production opened April 27, 1978 and ran for 159 performances before transferring to Broadway in 1980. Fifth of July's Broadway debut featured actors Christopher Reeve, and Swoosie Kurtz in her Tony Award-winning performance as Gwen. "So much of the creative process is about collaboration and Fifth of July, a play about a group of people dealing with the past and moving into the future, no matter how painful, offers a rich opportunity for our Class of 2020 to immerse themselves in vibrant distinct characters in a truly ensemble piece," says director Donald Carrier.
ALEX BRIGHTWELL (Ken) is thrilled to be making his CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program debut with Fifth of July. He was born in West Virginia and raised in North Carolina. He earned his BFA from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program. Credits include Yellow Tree Theater, Minnesota Jewish Theatre, Walking Shadow Theatre Company, Public Theater of Minnesota, the Strange Capers, and the Guthrie Theater.
CONOR CANNING (Jed) is a first year MFA student who was born and raised in Alford, Massachusetts. He is a 2016 graduate of Georgetown University where he majored in Political Economy and minored in Theater and Performance Studies. Notable past credits include playing Joe Cooper in Killer Joe, Stacey Kinsella in The Metal Children, and Angelo in Measure for Measure. Conor would like to thank his family for all their love and support and give a special mention to his brother, Patrick, and his fiancé Laurie who will be married this July...
KASEY CONNOLLY (June) came to the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program from New York City where she attended the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU. While there, she focused primarily on classical texts and performed in Hamlet, Mother Courage, and an all-female, democratically directed production, of Julius Caesar. Film credits include the upcoming independent shorts Apprehending Edmund Montrell and A Way Home. kaseyconnolly.com
COMFORT DOLO (Shirley) is excited to be performing for the first time through the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting program! Comfort was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and raised in friendly Fridley, Minnesota. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, with double majors in honors theatre and Communication Studies. Since graduating, she has been performing around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Favorite credits include To Kill a Mockingbird (Guthrie Theater), TOUCH, a remake of the 1984 Emmy Award-winning film project (Illusion Theatre), and various commercials ranging from the Minnesota State Lottery to hand modeling for Key Bank.
Gregory James (John) is a Buffalo, New York, native who received his B.F.A. in theatre performance from SUNY at Buffalo. He has been living and working in Los Angeles for the last six years. Most recently, he was seen in The Fate of the Date: The Mystery of the Silver Chalice presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the Buffalo Lab Theatre which received an Audience Favorite award. Los Angeles theatre credits include Summer and Smoke, Hound of the Baskervilles, and Lend Me a Tenor with the Actors Co-Op Theatre Hollywood, and Some Girl(s) as part of the LA Fringe. Gregory was a founding resident member of the Whitefire Theatre Company in Los Angeles where he appeared in numerous seasonal and Hollywood Shorts. Film credits include Jilted for Glamour Magazine, Slow Clap Comedy, and the original Actors Co-Op series The Fur is Gone.
ABDUL SEIDU (Wes) is corybantic to be acting alongside his fellow classmates in the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA class of 2020's debut production. Abdul recently graduated from Kent State University with a BA in theatre arts. Film credits include the upcoming Crshd and Eat Like a Bird.
COURTNEY STENNETT (Sally) is a native of Eagle, Idaho. She graduated with her BFA in performance from Baylor University. Prior to making the move to Cleveland, Courtney enjoyed living and performing in Chicago. Favorite recent professional credits include Agnes of God with Aleatoric Theatre, A Little Princess with Windy City Music Theatre, and Seminar with Spartan Theatre Company. Courtney is delighted and humbled to be working toward her MFA in the CWRU/CPH Acting program and thrilled to be part of this ensemble!
ELISABETH A. YANCEY (Gwen) hails from eight different states reaching all four corners of the U.S. Most recently, she has worked with Wellesley Repertory Theatre, ACT 1 Nashville, KB Productions (Nashville), and The Wellesley Shakespeare Society. Elisabeth holds a B.A. in theatre studies from Wellesley College, a certificate of classical acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and a certificate of literature from Cambridge University. She is thrilled and incredibly grateful to join the CWRU/CPH class of 2020 in their Cleveland debut!
Donald Carrier (Director) recently directed Clybourne Park, The Misanthrope, Shaw's Too True to Be Good, and The Violins of Hope for the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program; as well as Seminar and Really Really (Beck Center for the Arts), and Becky Shaw (Dobama Theatre). Selected directing credits include The Crucible, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Alms, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Habeas Corpus, The Pirates of Penzance, and Oh! What a Lovely War. He has appeared at Cleveland Play House in Shakespeare in Love; All the Way; Luna Gale; The Crucible; The Little Foxes; Yentl; In the Next Room, or the vibrator play; Ten Chimneys; Noises Off; and Lincolnesque. Regional credits include The Old Globe, Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater, The Studio Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, The Wilma Theater, The Huntington Theatre, The Intiman Theatre, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. He spent nine seasons at the Stratford Festival and two seasons at the Shaw Festival. Television/film: Guns, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Passion of Ayn Rand, and Dead by Monday. Don is a proud Lunt/Fontanne Fellow and is the Interim Director of the CWRU/ CPH MFA Acting Program.
Lanford Wilson (Playwright) received the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Talley's Folly. He was a founding member of Circle Repertory Company and one of 21 resident playwrights for the company. His work at Circle Rep includes The Family Continues (1972), The Hot L Baltimore (1973), The Mound Builders (1975), Serenading Louie (1976), Fifth of July (1978), Talley's Folly (1980), A Tale Told (1981), and Angels Fall (1982), all directed by Marshall Mason; and the one-act plays Brontosaurus (1977) and Thymus Vulgaris (1982). His other plays include Balm in Gilead (1965), The Gingham Dog (1966), The Rimers of Eldritch (1967), Lemon Sky (1969), and some 20 produced one-acts. He also wrote the libretto for Lee Hoiby's opera of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke and two television plays, Taxi! and The Migrants (based on a short story by Tennessee Williams). Other awards include the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, an Obie for The Hot L Baltimore, an Obie for The Mound Builders, a Drama-Logue Award for Fifth of July and Talley's Folly, the Vernon Rice Award for The Rimers of Eldritch, and Tony Award nominations for Talley's Folly, Fifth of July, and Angels Fall. He was the recipient of the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award in Theatre Arts and the Institute of Arts and Letter Award. Mr. Wilson completed an entirely new translation of Chekhov's The Three Sisters, which was commissioned and produced by the Hartford Stage Company. His play Talley and Son (the third play in the Talley Trilogy) opened in New York City in September 1985. His play Burn This opened at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in January 1987, starring John Malkovich and Joan Allen and opened on Broadway in October 1987 with the same cast. Burn This was also done in London in 1990, again starring Mr. Malkovich. His play Redwood Curtain opened in Seattle in January 1992 and in Philadelphia in March, and at The Old Globe in San Diego, California, in January 1993. It opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway on March 30, 1993.
The Design Team for Fifth of July includes: FRANKIE TEUBER (Scenic Designer), JEFFREY VAN CURTIS (Costume Designer), MAUREEN E. PATTERSON (Lighting Designer), JAMES C. SWONGER (Sound Designer). The Stage Manager for this production is AUSTIN KILPATRICK.
Fifth of July will take place in the Helen Theatre from March 28 - April 7, 2018. Tickets are $15 for Wednesday and Thursday performances; Friday and Saturday performances are $20. Tickets are half off for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid student ID, and Young Professional discounts available with YP-CPH Membership. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10+ save at 216-400-7027.
Since 1996, Case Western Reserve University has partnered with Cleveland Play House. Every two years, eight actors are chosen from the hundreds who audition nationwide to join this rigorous three-year conservatory program. The CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program admits committed and bold young artists who possess a love of language, empathy for the human experience, a vivid imagination and the desire to develop the necessary physical and vocal skills for a successful and sustained career in the ever-evolving performing arts scene. All three years are spent in residency at Cleveland Play House, providing students with unique access to its new downtown Cleveland state-of-the-art facilities and the professional expertise of its staff. Program graduates include Rich Sommer (Mad Men, Buried Child), Elizabeth A. Davis (Once - Tony Award Nomination), AJ Cedeno (Z: The Beginning of Everything), Tom Degnan (Limitless), and Stephen Michael Spencer (Oregon Shakespeare Festival).
Donald Carrier is the Interim Director of the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program. Jerrold Scott is the Chair of the CWRU Department of Theater.
Cleveland Play House, founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences across Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. clevelandplayhouse.com
Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Cleveland Play House is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.