Hartford Stage Presents the East Coast Premiere of ETHER DOME, Now thru 10/5

In 1846, the history of the world was forever changed by a dentist from Hartford, and now Hartford Stage will launch its 2014-15 Season with that remarkable and electrifying story: Ether Dome by Elizabeth Egloff (The Swan), directed by former Artistic Director Michael Wilson (The Orphans' Home Cycle).

A co-production with the Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Huntington Theatre Company, the East Coast Premiere of Ether Dome will play tonight, September 11 through October 5 at 50 Church Street in downtown Hartford. During Wilson's tenure, Egloff was commissioned by Hartford Stage to write the script.

Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak said, "I am so happy that Michael Wilson, our fourth Artistic Director, is returning to direct Ether Dome, Elizabeth Egloff's epic and entertaining historical drama about the events and the ideas that have shaped our world and our city. The production of this play is in itself an epic undertaking, and I am grateful to the Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Huntington Theatre Company for joining Hartford Stage in mounting this important American play."

In Ether Dome, when a new treatment promises to eradicate pain, a doctor and his student play out an epic battle between altruism and financial gain. Based on the true story of the discovery of anesthesia in 1846 by Hartford's own Dr. Horace Wells, Ether Dome is a psychological thriller that explores the pain that afflicts humankind, our attempts to find relief, and the beginning of healthcare as big business.

Wilson, who served as Hartford Stage's artistic director for 13 seasons, was represented on Broadway in 2013 with the Tony Award-winning revival of Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful. His TV film of 'Bountiful' was nominated last week for two Emmy Awards (Best TV Movie and Best Actress for Cicely Tyson). Wilson's Hartford Stage productions include Enchanted April, which transferred to Broadway, garnering a 2003 Best Play Tony Award nomination; The Carpetbagger's Children, winner of the 2002 American Theater Critics Award for Best Play; and the nine-hour world premiere of The Orphans' Home Cycle, winner of numerous 2010 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards. He is also the adaptor and original director of Hartford Stage's A Christmas Carol-A Ghost Story of Christmas.

Elizabeth Egloff's plays include The Swan, which has been given numerous productions across the country and abroad. Other works include The Devils, Peter Pan and Wendy, Wolf-Man, The Lover and Phaedra.

The cast of 16 includes Michael Bakkensen (Broadway's The Man Who Came to Dinner; Hartford Stage's Noises Off and A Christmas Carol) as Dr. Horace Wells; Greg Balla (Into the Woods and Death of a Salesman, Lyric Stage Boston) as Bigelow; Ken Cheeseman (New York Shakespeare Festival's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Measure for Measure) as Dr. Gould; Richmond Hoxie (Hartford Stage's The Crucible; Broadway's I'm Not Rappaport) as Dr. Warren; Bill Kux (Hartford Stage's Noises Off and A Christmas Carol) as Hayward; Johanna Morrison (Hartford Stage's A Christmas Carol and Summer and Smoke) as Mrs. Wadsworth; Tom Patterson (Sideways, La Jolla Playhouse; Sick, Coyote Rep. NYC) as William Morton; Amelia Pedlow (The Heir Apparent at Classic Stage Company; You Can Never Tell, The Pearl Theatre Company) as Elizabeth Wells; Lee Sellars (Broadway's A Time to Kill and West Side Story) as Dr. Colton; Liba Vaynberg (Macbeth and Black Milk, Classic Stage Company) as Lizzie Morton; and William Youmans (Original Broadway casts of Titanic and Wicked) as Dr. Jackson.

Also in the cast, Erik Christopher Bloomquist (La Cage aux Folles, Ivoryton Playhouse) as Inman; Danielle Bonanno (Threads of a Spiderweb at Long Wharf) as Girl in White; Andrew Bryce (Twilight Zone, Binghamton University) as Paul; Jacob Grannan (Hartford Stage's A Christmas Carol) as a medical student; and Salvatore Mitsou (reasons to be pretty, The Hartt School) as a medical student.

Ether Dome's creative team includes James Youmans, Set Designer (Egloff's The Swan and Phaedra Off-Broadway); David Woolard, Costume Designer (The Orphans' Home Cycle; A Time to Kill); David Lander, Lighting Designer (Broadway's The Winslow Boy and The Lyons); John Gromada (Broadway's The Trip to Bountiful; more than 30 shows at Hartford Stage, including A Christmas Carol) and Alex Neumann (Bus Stop, Huntington Theatre Company), Sound Designers. Gromada will also compose original music for Ether Dome.

Special Dates:
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 11
Press Night: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 17
Opening Night: 8 p.m. Friday, September 19

Ether Dome opens at the La Jolla Playhouse on July 17. After the Hartford Stage run, the show will play the Huntington in Boston, beginning October 17.

Season subscriptions begin at $125 and include six shows: Ether Dome; Shakespeare's Hamlet, directed by Darko Tresnjak; Private Lives by Noel Coward, directed by Darko Tresnjak; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez, directed by Maxwell Williams; Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane, adapted and directed by Hershey Felder; and Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate, directed by Darko Tresnjak.

Tickets for all shows start at $25. For group discounts (10 or more) of up to 40% off regular ticket prices, contact Theresa MacNaughton at 860-520-7114. For all other tickets, please call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit www.hartfordstage.org.

Celebrating our 51st anniversary season, Hartford Stage is one of the nation's leading resident theatres, known for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals, including 68 world and American premieres.

Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation's most prestigious awards, including four 2014 Tony Awards for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Darko Tresnjak, and the 1988 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans' Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); and Quiara Alegría Hudes' Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

For more information, visit www.hartfordstage.org, or follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hartfordstage, Twitter: www.twitter.com/hartfordstage, Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/hartfordstageco or YouTube: www.youtube.com/hartfordstagect.

Pictured: Tom Patterson (William Morton) and William Youmans (Dr. Charles Jackson) in Ether Dome.

Related Articles View More Connecticut Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You