The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis Hosts Play Performances Following SUNLIGHT

The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis will be presenting two post-play discussions following the March 5th and 14th performances of the National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere of Sunlight. Written by Sharr White and winner of the 2009 Edgerton Foundation New American Play award, Sunlight is a political thriller that addresses the topics of the redefining torture, suspension of Habeas Corpus, law in 21st century America and civil liberties. Post-play discussions are an important part of the Phoenix mission and have been offered throughout the theatre's 27-year history.

Winner of the 2009 Edgerton Foundation New American Play award, Sunlight is a political thriller that tells the story of Matthew Gibbon, liberal lion, attorney and president of a small, prestigious university. Matthew is passionate about the law, his country and his daughter (who happens to be married to his former protégé, the conservative law school dean.) With three of the four characters being attorneys, the play asks if in a world where our family is the ultimate court of justice is it ever more important to be "right" than to be loyal?

As the play opens we find that in retaliation for his son-in-law Vincent (Bill Simmons) being the author of legal memos authorizing torture of Afghan detainees, Matthew (Rich Komenich) has trashed his protégé's office and tried to close down the university newspaper for not agreeing with his views on torture and more. Matthew's daughter Charlotte (Angela Plank) is a tough-as-nails Reagan conservative, sparring with reporters and university trustees on the phone and proactively shredding documents that could show Matthew in a less-than-positive light. Midge (Gayle Steigerwald) is Matthew's long-time assistant and the only non-attorney character in the cast.

AfterWords: Friday, March 5, 2010

A post-play discussion after the 8:00 pm performance (start time approximately 10:15 pm) will be hosted by IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs faculty members Sheila Seuss Kennedy and Jim White. Sheila specializes in civil liberties and civil rights. She was also the Executive Director for the Indiana Civil Liberties Union from 1992 to 1998. Jim White is a retired member of the Indiana State Police with over twenty years of service. His extensive public safety background includes over 37 years of military experience and service as a security planner for the 1993 World University Games, the 1994 World Cup Championships, the 1995 World Rowing Championships, and the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympics. Jim is currently serving as the Director of Emergency Management for Indianapolis Marion County.

AfterWords: Sunday, March 14, 2010

A post-play discussion after the 2:00 pm performance (start time approximately 4:15 pm) will be hosted by history professor Peter DiMeglio. Dr. DiMeglio received his PhD in 20th Century History in 1968 from St. John's University, Jamaica, NY. He taught for 37 years at the University of Wisconsin, specializing in history of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries and World Civilization, specializing in the years from the Industrial Revolution to the modern era. He was also the director of the University of Wisconsin's Institute of International Studies, and he built for his university and for the entire University of Wisconsin System several short term, semester and full year academic study abroad programs. Many were based in Europe but there were programs in Mexico and in Asia as well. As a result of these programs Dr. DiMeglio traveled extensively through Europe, Mexico and various parts of the Middle East and Asia. Along with these programs, he conducted many adult and student programs abroad. He is the recipient of many awards for academic excellence.

Production Staff

Bryan Fonseca, Producing Director at the Phoenix, is directing this Rolling World Premiere that has already opened at Marin Theatre Company (Mill Valley, CA) and will open later this year at New Jersey Repertory Company (Long Branch, NJ). Bryan stated that Sunlight was first brought to his attention by Sharon Gamble, Phoenix Managing Director, who was serving on a play reading committee for NNPN. "We saw a staged reading of Sunlight at an NNPN showcase at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in December 2008 and we agreed it would be an impressive addition to our season. We knew it would be a popular script, so as soon as we came back to Indy, we raced to complete the paperwork and get our name in the running to produce the play."

The setting, a university president's home, is being designed by award-winning professional scenic designer Robert Broadfoot. A professor at the University of Southern Indiana, Broadfoot received his MFA in Scenic Design from UC Davis and marks his Indianapolis design debut with Sunlight. Michael McNamara is Lighting Designer, Chris Hansen is Technical Director and Lori Raffel will be designing the costumes.

Playwright Sharr White

In November 2009, Sharr White flew to Indianapolis to be present for a staged reading of his play that Marian University and the Phoenix presented in conjunction with Marian's senior project built around Howard Gardner's Five Minds for the Future. Mr. White used that reading to rework some aspects of the Sunlight before its first production of the rolling premiere in California earlier this month.

Plays by Sharr White include: Six Years (30th Anniversary Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville); Iris Fields (Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab); Satellites of the Sun (finalist, Princess Grace Award); The Escape Velocity of Savages (Dr. Henry and Lillian Nesburn Award as part of the Julie Harris Award in Playwriting). Sharr is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre's Playwrighting Unit in New York, and a company member of Apartment A Productions in Los Angeles. Sunlight was commissioned by South Coast Repertory.

Ticket Prices

Through the League of Indianapolis Theatres' "Free Ticket February" promotion, 10 free tickets are available to teens aged 16-19 for each performance of Sunlight. Thanks to the generosity of Duke Energy, our CheapSeats performances have expanded to Thursdays and Sundays, so our prices for the 2009-2010 Season are $15.00 per person on Thursdays and Sundays. The Phoenix continues to offer Friday and Saturday shows for $20.00 per person (down from $25.00 last season) and a youth rate of $15 for those 24 and under. All seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Performances are Thursdays at 7:00 pm; Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 8:00 pm. and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Doors open ½ hour prior to curtain for seating. The Phoenix Pub, located inside the theatre, offers beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, and bottled water, as well as treats, and all refreshments may be taken into either theatre and consumed during the performance.

For more information about any Phoenix Productions or to purchase tickets, call The Phoenix Theatre box office at 317.635.PLAY(7529). Tickets may also be purchased online. The theatre's website is

ABOUT The Phoenix Theatre
"The Phoenix Theatre has cornered the market on hip new works." -- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana's only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for 26 years. An Equity house, the Theatre presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented more than 70 world premieres in its quarter century. The Phoenix operates the 130-seat proscenium Mainstage as well as the 75-seat cabaret-style black box Frank & Katrina Basile (buh-SEAL) Theatre. The Phoenix Pub, located in the Basile Theatre, serves beer, wine, coffee, soft drinks, water, and treats, and patrons may take all refreshments into either theatre. Both venues are housed along with administrative offices in a renovated 1907 church in downtown Indianapolis' historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, part of the Mass Ave Arts & Theatre District. The Phoenix Theatre is a member of the National New Play Network and the League of Indianapolis Theatres, and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 500 individual donors.

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