Jeffrey Bean, Sharon Lockwood and More Star in Alley Theatre's 'VANYA AND SONIA', Beg. Tonight

Tony Award-winning comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will feature Resident Actor Jeffrey Bean as Vanya, Sharon Lockwood returning to the Alley as Sonia, Alley Artist Josie de Guzman returning as Masha, and Resident Actor Jay Sullivan as Spike. Rounding out the cast and making their Alley debuts are Rachael Holmes as Cassandra and Sarah Nealis as Nina. Jonathan Moscone, Artistic Director of California Shakespeare Theater, helms the production and returns after having directed the Alley's 2011 production of Amadeus.

This irresistible new comedy by Christopher Durang was recently a smash-hit on Broadway and won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award, Best Play from the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama League Award, and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award. Variety says "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is brainy and witty and clever and cute" and it was called "hugely entertaining!" by USA Today and "a sublime state of hilarity!" (New York Magazine). Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will be the last production on the Hubbard Stage and the next-to-last production in the Alley Theatre before the start of the previously announced building renovation.

Vanya and his sister Sonia live a quiet life in the farmhouse where they grew up. But their sister Masha escaped many years ago and became a famous movie star! When Masha returns unannounced with her 20-something boy toy, Spike, so begins an unforgettable weekend of rivalry, regret, and generally hilarious chaos. By the end of their impromptu family reunion, this lovable bunch won't ever be the same! Recommended for mature audiences due to language.

The design team includes scenic designer Douglas Schmidt, who Alley audiences will remember from his designs for The Gershwins' An American in Paris andThe Civil War. Costume designer Katherine Roth returns to work at the Alley and with director Jonathan Moscone (Amadeus). Lighting design is by Stephen Strawbridge with sound design by Cliff Caruthers. Assistant Director is Brandon Weinbrenner.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, by Christopher Durang, directed by Jonathan Moscone, begins performances Friday, May 23 opens officially Wednesday, May 28, and runs through June 15, 2014 on the Hubbard Stage.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Christopher Durang won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play for his Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. This play also won Best Play from the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama League Award, and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award.

Durang has a B.A. from Harvard College, and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Yale School of Drama, where he worked with some wonderfully talented fellow students like Sigourney Weaver, Albert Innaurato, Meryl Streep and Wendy Wasserstein. His plays include A History of the American Film, which received a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical in 1978; The Actor's Nightmare; Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, which won an Obie award for its off-Broadway run in 1981-83; Beyond Therapy on Broadway in 1982 with Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow; Baby with the Bathwater with Playwrights Horizons in 1983;The Marriage of Bette and Boo with Public Theatre in 1985, which won an Obie award, a Dramatists Guild and Hull Warriner Award; Laughing Wild with Playwrights Horizons in 1987; Durang/Durang, an evening of six plays at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1994, including the Tennessee Williams' parody, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls; Sex and Longing, a Lincoln Center Theatre production at the Cort Theatre in 1996, starring Sigourney Weaver and Dana Ivey; Betty's Summer Vacation with Playwrights Horizons in 1999, which won an Obie award; Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge with City Theatre in Pittsburgh in 2002 starring Kristine Nielsen; Adrift in Macao, a musical written with composer Peter Melncick at Philadelphia Stage Company in 2005 and at Primary Stages in 2006; Miss Witherspoon in 2005, which had a double premiere at McCarter Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, featured Ms. Nielsen again, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Loved Them with Public Theater in 2009, starring Laura Benanti and Ms Nielsen (again!).

He's written and performed in cabaret: at Yale he and Wendy Wasserstein co-authored When Dinah Shore Ruled the Earth; Sigourney Weaver and he wrote and performed in their loony Brecht-Weill parody, Das Lusitania Songspiel (1980), and were both nominated for Best Performers in a Musical; and he performed his crackpot act Chris Durang and Dawne with John Augustine and Sherry Anderson as his back-up group "Dawne," multiple times from 1988 until 1996 when all three won a cabaret Bistro Award. He's acted in some of his plays, he's played ministers and priests and YMCA clerks in movies. He's won various grants and honors including a Rockefeller, a Guggenheim, a Lila Wallace Playwriting award, the Sidney Kingsley playwriting award, the Harvard Arts Medal, and the 2008 William Inge Distinguished Achievement Award. Since 1994 he and Marsha Norman have been co-chairs of the Playwriting Program at the Juilliard School. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild's council. He lives in Pennsylvania.


Jeffrey Bean (Vanya) is in his 19th season as an Alley Company Artist and has appeared in over 100 Alley productions since 1989. Recently he has appeared inCommunicating Doors as Reece, the World Premiere of Fool as King William, A Christmas Carol as Ebenezer Scrooge, You Can't Take it With You as Mr. De Pinna, The Elephant Man as Frederick Treves, Clybourne Park as Russ/Dan, Death of a Salesman as Charley and November as Charles Smith. Previous Alley highlights include Amadeus as Salieri, Boeing-Boeing as Robert, The Farnsworth Invention as David Sarnoff, Cyrano de Bergerac as Cyrano, The Scene as Charlie, Doubt as Father Flynn, Subject to Fits as Prince Myshkin, Much Ado About Nothing as Benedick, The Pillowman as Michal, Twelfth Night as Feste, The Importance of Being Earnest as Algernon, Billy Bishop Goes to War as Billy Bishop, Gross Indecency as Oscar Wilde, The Foreigner as Charlie Baker andStones in His Pockets as Charlie Conlon, et al. Broadway credits include Bells Are Ringing as Francis and Amadeus as Kappelmeister Bonno. Film & Television credits include Clinger, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU and All My Children. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts and a Princess Grace Award winner.

Josie de Guzman (Masha) returns to the Alley having recently appeared as Ruella in Communicating Doors, Penelope Sycamore in You Can't Take it with You, Lady Angkatell in The Hollow, Club Secretary in Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, Linda in Death of a Salesman, Barbara Amory in Black Coffee, Belinda Blair in Noises Off, Arkadina in The Seagull, Vera Claythorne in And Then There Were None, Barbara Fordham in August: Osage County, Miss Casewell in The Mousetrap, Berthe in Boeing-Boeing, Mrs. Mannerly in Mrs. Mannerly, Mrs. Gibbs in Our Town, Eleanor/Esme in Rock 'n' Roll, Maggie Cutler inThe Man Who Came to Dinner, Matilde in The Clean House, the title role in Hapgood, as well as After the Fall, Twelfth Night, Sherlock Holmes, And Then There Were None and House & Garden. Her Broadway career includes Tony nominations for Guys and Dolls and West Side Story, as well as creating roles in Nick and Nora, Runaways, and Carmelina. She won the 2002 Connecticut Critics Award for Anna in The King and I; and has appeared extensively at the Public Theatre where she created roles in Elizabeth Swados' Runaways, Lullaby and Goodnight and The Haggadah; at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Missionaries; and Off-Broadway in Tamara, Once Removed. Her regional theatre appearances include Hartford Stage in Diosa and Our Town, Great Lakes Theater in She Loves Me, and The Denver Center in Man of La Mancha, as well as such varied classical roles as Carmen, Viola, Varya, and Beatrice. Her films include Exiles in New York, FX, and FX2, while television appearances include Miami Vice, The Cosby Show, Third Watch, All My Children, and Guiding Light. Her recordings includeLullabies for Everyone and Nanas Para Todos, both sold at, as well as the cast recordings of Guys and Dolls, Carmelina, and Runaways.

Rachael Holmes (Cassandra) is making her Alley debut. New York Credits include Ruined, Manhattan Theatre Club (Kate Whoriskey), Persephone's Cowboy: A Musical (Alex Timbers); 365 Days/365 Plays, The Public (Michael Greif) and Epic Theatre Ensemble (Leigh Silverman, Hal Brooks). Regional credits includeGood People (Kate Whoriskey), Huntington Theatre Company; Ruined (Charles Randolph-Wright), The Book Club Play (Molly Smith), Arena Stage, Richard II(Michael Kahn), Julius Caesar (David Paul), The Shakespeare Theatre Company; and Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, The Studio Theatre (Timothy Douglas). Lady Macbeth and Titania and Folger Shakespeare Library Luminary Shakespeare App (Robert Richmond). TV credits include The Good Wife, Dirt; national commercials and voice-overs. Teacher: New Victory Theater and New York Film Academy. MFA NYU.

Sharon Lockwood (Sonia) is pleased to return to the Alley where she appeared as the Abbess of X in Tony Kushner's Hydriotaphia, or The Death of Dr. Browne. She recently played Sonia in the West Coast premiere of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Her long association with Berkeley Rep includes work in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Triumph of Love, Volpone, Reckless, Our Town, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Alchemist. She originated the role of the 200 Year Old Woman in the Berkeley Rep/La Jolla Playhouse co-production of Culture Clash's Zorro in Hell which won a San Diego Critic's Circle Award. Ms. Lockwood also originated the role of Barbara in the World Premiere production of Nickel and Dimed at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles directed by Bartlett Sher. In San Francisco, she performs frequently at the American Conservatory Theater, most recently in Napoli! Other work there includes the world premiere of Dead Metaphor, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Philistines, The Rose Tattoo, The Cherry Orchard, Hedda Gabler, and A Christmas Carol. She has also appeared at California Shakespeare Theater, most recently in American Night directed by Jonathan Moscone. Other work there includesTwelfth Night as Malvolio, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, Restoration Comedy, and The Taming of the Shrew. Other theatre credits include The Old Globe, Long Wharf Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and TheatreWorks. Film and Television work includes Mrs. Doubtfire, Vonnegut Stories, and The Long Road Home.

Sarah Nealis (Nina) is making her Alley debut. Off-Broadway credits include Bill W. & Dr. Bob at SoHo Playhouse. Regional credits include Venus in Fur directed by Tea Alagic at Asolo Repertory Theatre (Best Actress, Sarasota Magazine 2013) along with performances at New Jersey Repertory Company, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Magic Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, Center REP Theater and Word for Word. Film credits include Keep In Touch. BFA from UC Berkeley; studied at American Conservatory Theater in SF.

Jay Sullivan (Spike) is an Alley Company Artist. Alley appearances include Freud's Last Session as C.S. Lewis, You Can't Take it With You as Tony Kirby, The Hollow as Edward Angkatell, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club as Prince Nikita Starloff, The Elephant Man as Merrick, A Few Good Menas Cpl. Howard, Clybourne Park as Jim/Tom/Kenneth, A Christmas Carol as Fred/Scrooge at 21, Death of a Salesman as Happy, Black Coffee as Richard Amory, Red as Ken, Peter Pan as Peter, Our Town as George Gibbs and Eurydice as Orpheus. Jay recently made his Broadway debut in Jerusalem as Lee. Other theatre credits include Durango as Red Angel/Bob at The Public Theater and Long Wharf Theatre; DogSeesGod as Matt/Pigpen at Soho Repertory Theater;Orestes: A Tragic Romp as Orestes at Folger Theatre and Two River Theater Company; Afternight Seating as James at Abingdon Theatre Company; and The Bilbao Effect as Grole Andacht at The Center for Architecture, as well as The History Boys as Dakin and Rock 'n' Roll as Stephen at The Studio Theatre; Much Ado About Nothing as Claudio produced by As Written Productions; and Romeo and Juliet (Benvolio) at Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Film and television credits include The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU and The Unidentified. Graduate of Florida State University.


Jonathan Moscone (Director) is very happy to be back working with the Alley company after having directed Amadeus in 2011. He is currently in his 15th season as artistic director of California Shakespeare Theater, where he most recently directed Richard Montoya's American Night: The Ballad of Juan José and where he will direct Shaw's Pygmalion for the 2014 season. Recent credits include Nina Raine's Tribes for Berkeley Repertory Theatre; the world premiere of Ghost Light, which he co-created and developed with playwright Tony Taccone for Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Berkeley Repertory Theatre; and Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park for American Conservatory Theater. For Cal Shakes, Mr. Moscone has directed the world premiere of John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven by Octavio Solis (recipient of the inaugural NEA New Play Development Award); The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; Candida; Twelfth Night; Happy Days; Much Ado About Nothing; The Tempest; and The Seagull. He is the first recipient of the Zelda Fichandler Award, given by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation for "transforming the American theatre through his unique and creative work." Regional credits include Intersection for the Arts, Huntington Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Goodspeed Musicals, Dallas Theater Center, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, and Magic Theatre, among others. Mr. Moscone currently serves as a board member of Theatre Communications Group.

Douglas W. Schmidt (Scenic Design) has created work that has been seen extensively on and off Broadway, in regional theatres, American and international opera houses, arenas, theme parks, and on television and film in well over 200 productions in the last 40 years. In 1972, he designed the original NY production of Grease which went on to play a record breaking 3,388 performances. Twice nominated for Tony Awards for the recent Broadway productions of 42nd Street andInto the Woods, he is well known for his musical designs. Experienced in designing productions of scale and spectacle, as well as intimate plays and events, he has designed productions as diverse as George Lucas' Super Live Adventure, a huge, arena spectacular for Ringling Brothers in Japan, and Porgy and Bess on the Great Stage at Radio City Music Hall. Mr. Schmidt has designed productions for many of the great opera companies including De Nederlandse Oper, Amsterdam, The New York City Opera, the Boston Opera Group under the late Sarah Caldwell, The Los Angeles Music Center Opera, Theatro Colon, Buenos Aires, and The Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Katherine Roth (Costume Design) recently designed costumes for Come Fly Away on Broadway, the Alliance Theatre's production of Come Fly with Me andSinatra Dance with Me for Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas. In New York, she has designed for Signature Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Vineyard Theatre, Theatre for a New Audience, Cherry Lane Theatre, Women's Project Theater, Primary Stages, INTAR Theatre, Bat Theatre Company, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Regionally, she has designed for American Conservatory Theater, Alliance Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, The Old Globe where she won a 2003 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Costume Design, the Mark Taper Forum, Huntington Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Theater where she won a 2004 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theater Center where she won a 1996 Leon Rabin Award for Outstanding Costume Design, La Jolla Playhouse, Center Stage Theater, South Coast Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Magic Theatre. Roth won two Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards for Best Costume Design as the associate designer from 1998 to 2007 on All My Children.

Stephen Strawbridge (Lighting Design) has designed more than 200 productions on and off Broadway, at most leading regional theaters and opera houses across the US and internationally in Bergen, Copenhagen, The Hague, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Linz, Munich, Naples, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, and Vienna. Recent: Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 with Shakespeare Theatre Co., Washington DC; Tarell McCraney's adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra with Public Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company; David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette with Soho Repertory Theater; A Streetcar Named Desire with Yale Repertory Theatre; Proof with McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton NJ; The Happy Ones by Julie Marie Myatt with Magic Theatre, San Francisco; AR Gurney's The Dining Room with Westport Country Playhouse; Athol Fugard's The Train Driver and The Blood Knot, both directed by the author, with Signature Theatre Company, NY; Rigoletto with The Dallas Opera; Madame Butterfly with Houston Grand Opera; and Azimuth with Pilobolus Dance Theatre. Nominations and awards include American Theatre Wing, Bay Area Critics Circle, Connecticut Critics Circle, Dallas Theater Critics Forum, Helen Hayes, Henry Hewes Design, Lucille Lortel; and Outer Critics Circle. Co-chair, Design Department, Yale School of Drama and Resident Lighting Designer, Yale Repertory Theatre.

Cliff Caruthers (Sound Design) is a sound designer and composer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and his work has been heard from coast to coast and points between. Highlights include American Night, The Tempest, and The Seagull for California Shakespeare Theater; Elektra, The Homecoming, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Race for American Conservatory Theater; Crime and Punishment and TRAGEDY: a tragedy for Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Troilus and Cressida for Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Ubu Roi, Pelleas and Melisande, ...and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi for The Cutting Ball Theater; BUG, Dead Man's Cell Phone, and Reborning for San Francisco Playhouse; The Happy Ones for Magic Theatre; The Loudest Man on Earth, The Clean House and Memphisfor TheatreWorks; Julius Caesar for The Acting Company; Happy Days for The Guthrie Theater, Gross Indecency for The Kansas City Repertory Theatre; andLasso of Truth, Circle Mirror Transformation, and 9 Circles for Marin Theatre Company. Mr. Caruthers is also co-curator and technical director of the San Francisco Tape Music Festival and has performed his electronic music compositions internationally.

Brandon Weinbrenner (Assistant Director) is pleased to be working on his ninth show at the Alley as Assistant Director, having previously worked onCommunicating Doors, Fool, Other Desert Cities, You Can't Take It With You, The Hollow, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, The ElephantMan, and A Few Good Men. Brandon made his Alley Theatre directing debut with David Ives' Venus in Fur earlier this season. Past theatrical credits include serving as the Bret C.Harte Directing Fellow at Berkeley Rep, producing the 2013 Out of the Loop Fringe Festival in his hometown of Dallas, Texas, and acting in productions at the Guthrie Theater, The Children's Theatre Co., Illusion Theater, WaterTower Theatre, and Undermain Theatre. Brandon is a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Acting Training Program.

ABOUT THE ALLEY THEATRE: The Alley Theatre is a nationally recognized Theatre Company based in Houston, Texas. The Alley was founded in 1947 and is one of the few US companies with a commitment to resident artists. Under the direction of Artistic Director Gregory Boyd and Managing Director Dean R. Gladden, the Alley creates a wide-ranging repertoire of innovative productions of classics, neglected modern plays, and new works in its 11 production season. The Alley has brought its productions to Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, 40 American cities, to Berlin, Paris, and St. Petersburg, as well as to major European festivals (including two in one season at the Venice Biennale). A recipient of the Special Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, the Alley has premiered plays by Edward Albee, Horton Foote, Robert Wilson, Rajiv Joseph. Kenneth Lin, Eve Ensler, Keith Reddin, and Herbert Siguenza, as well as creating the premieres of the musicals Jekyll & Hyde, The Civil War, and Wonderland. Other notable collaborations include The Roman Plays (with Vanessa Redgrave), Hydriotaphia (by Tony Kushner), and Danton'sDeath. The Alley's productions are built and rehearsed in the Alley Theatre Center for Theatre Production - a 75,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the theatres themselves and are performed on the 824-seat Hubbard Stage and the 310-seat Neuhaus Stage. The Alley continues to provide its audiences with thought-provoking, diverse and transformative theatre.

Tickets to Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike start at $26. All tickets to Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike are available for purchase at, at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by calling 713.220.5700. Groups of 10 or more can receive special concierge services and select discounts by calling 713.220.5700 and asking for the group sales department.

$10 TIX
Saturday, May 24
The Alley Theatre continues its efforts to make the theatre affordable to patrons. Partnering with other social non-profit organizations, the Alley seeks to generate in-kind donations and reward patrons with $10 Tix for select performances. The $10 Tix are available in person only on Saturday, May 24, and are limited to two tickets per person. With your donation, you can purchase two $10 tickets for Sunday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. or Thursday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. Donate and purchase in person at the Box Office (615 Texas Ave.) on Saturday, May 24 only. Limited availability. The $10 Tix partner for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is to be determined.

Sunday, May 25, 2:30 p.m.
The Alley Theatre offers access services for our deaf or hard of hearing and sight-impaired patrons. Audio Description is provided for each Hubbard Stage production and Open Captioning is offered for every Hubbard Stage and Neuhaus Stage production. To ensure that your seats will accommodate your needs, please call the box office 713.220.5700 when ordering tickets to this performance. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more.

Thursday, May 29, 6:00 p.m.
Grab your group and join us for InterACT, the Alley Theatre's newest pre-show mixer for groups of 10 or more. Interact and network with members of other theatre-loving groups while enjoying music, complimentary cocktails and appetizers provided by Frankie P. Mandola's Catering and Damian's Cucina Italiana. This pre-curtain event is FREE with a group purchase of 10 or more tickets to the 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29 performance of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Group Leaders can contact the Group Sales Department at 713.315.3346 or email to inquire about group rates, seat availability, easy payment options and flexible payment due dates. The Group Sales Department is open from 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. InterACT is a great way to mix and mingle prior to seeing the performance. Treat your group to an evening of fun and come interact with the Alley - space is limited so call today!

Tuesday, June 3, 7:30 p.m.
Members of the cast return to the stage following the performance to take questions from the audience. TalkBacks are led by a member of the Alley Artistic Staff.

Thursday, June 5, 6:00 - 7:15 p.m.
Join the hottest GLBT theatre event in town! ActOUT is in its fifth season with a variety of events and productions that will once again have Houston's GLBT community talking. Patrons enjoy fabulous pre-performance mixers with music, socializing, complimentary cocktails and appetizers. The place to see and be seen, ActOUT is sure to be a great night on the town. This pre-curtain event is free with your ticket to the Thursday, June 5, 7:30 p.m. performance of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. To buy a ticket, required for this event, use the promo code: ACTOUT. Purchase online or by calling the Box Office anytime at 713.220.5700, then enter 1. For more information, please e-mail Shelley Finley or call 713.228.9341 ext. 556.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Services, Inc., New York.

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