Casting Set for Pasadena Playhouse's MAURITIUS, Previews Begin 3/27
Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director, Ken Novice, Interim Managing Director, Tom Ware, Producing Director) announced casting today for the upcoming production of MAURITIUS by Theresa Rebeck (Pulitzer Finalist for Omnium Gatherum, The Scene). Ray Abruzzo ("The Sopranos" and "LA Law"), John Billingsley ("True Blood" and "Star Trek: Enterprise"), Kirsten Kollender (Williamstown Theatre Festival's Home Baking Made Easy), Monette Magrath (Pasadena Playhouse's The Constant Wife) and Chris L. McKenna (Art School Confidential) star in the West Coast Premiere.
Directed by Jessica Kubzansky (Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre @ Boston Court), the 2007 smash hit Broadway mystery explores the depths that two half-sisters will go to in order to maintain control over a dazzling valuable stamp collection. Preview performances begin March 27 with the official press opening set for Friday, April 3 at Pasadena Playhouse (39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena).
"I am thrilled to continue the celebration of WOMEN: The Heart and Soul of Theatre on our stage by presenting a beautiful play by one of the most successful and talented women writing for the American theatre at the moment, Theresa Rebeck. I have always been a great admirer of her work, and from the moment that I saw this play, it was my hope to make it a part of a season here at The Playhouse and now is the ideal time," said Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps. "I am also thrilled to welcome to our theatre another wonderfully talented woman and a much admired colleague, Jessica Kubzansky. Jessica will, I have no doubt, guide this terrific cast with great skill and provide the exciting evening of theatre that is promised by Theresa's wonderful play."
MAURITIUS is a new mystery by one of American's most prolific playwrights! Filled with scams and double-crosses, two half-sisters vie for the rights to a recently inherited (and dazzlingly valuable) stamp collection. Throughout their farcical escapades, the pair come face-to-face with a couple of machine-gun mouthed con artists who ensnare them in their own brand of beguiling trickery.
"Three Thugs and a Stamp Collection! You can't dismiss the pleasurable kick of watching a woman take on a slew of Mamet-esque thugs! The corkscrew-twist drama of suspense...moves quickly and fluidly...a multitude of mysteries!" - Ben Brantley, The New York Times on the Broadway production of MAURITIUS.
Joining the creative team with Jessica Kubzansky are Tom Buderwitz (scenic design), Maggie Morgan (costume design), Jaymi Lee Smith (lighting design), John Zalewski (original music and sound design), Tim Weske (fight choreographer), Michael Donovan (casting), Jill Gold (production stage manager) and Hethyr Verhoef (assistant stage manager).
MAURITIUS was originally produced in New York by the Manhattan Theatre Club; Lynn Meadow, Artistic Director; Barry Grove, Executive Director; Daniel Sullivan, Acting Artistic Director, during the 2007-2008 Season, at the Biltmore Theatre on September 13, 2007. MAURITIUS was developed at the Lark Play Development Center, New York City. The play was originally produced by the Huntington Theatre Company, Boston; Nicholas Martin, Artistic Director; Michael Maso, Managing Director MAURITIUS is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
MAURITIUS plays at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena. Performances begin March 27 and play through April 26, with the official press opening on Friday, April 3. Performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Schedule notes: There will be no performances on Tuesday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 8 at 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, April 15 at 8:00 p.m. There will be one matinee performance on Wednesday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets range from $32.00 - $67.00. Tickets are available by calling the Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529 by visiting the Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, open from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily excluding holidays and online at www.Pasadenaplayhouse.org. Group Sales (15 or more) are available by calling 800-378-7021.
RAY ABRUZZO (Sterling). Pasadena Playhouse debut. Los Angeles: Louis LaRusso's Vesper's Eve; Stooplife at the Cast Theater; Supreme Therapy at the Egyptian Arena Theater; John Patrick Shanley's Italian- American Reconciliation (world premiere) at the Gnu Theater. New York and other regional: Compliments of the House at Lincoln Center; The Flying Doctor, The Myth of Erysicthon at LaMaMa Experimental Theater; The Male Intellect: an Oxymoron (a one man play) in both Chicago and Boston. For nearly 10 years Ray was active as a director and actor for the Playwright's Kitchen Ensemble - a professional, weekly play reading series at The Coronet Theater. Television credits include guest spots on "NYPD Blue," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "NCIS," "CSI: NY," "Bones" and numerous others. He was a series regular or recurring on "LA Law," "Dynasty," "Night Court," "The Practice," "Boston Legal," and most recently as Little Carmine Lupertazzi for 4 seasons on HBO's groundbreaking series "The Sopranos."
JOHN BILLINGSLEY (Philip). Pasadena Playhouse debut. Billingsley pursued a theatre career in Seattle for many years. He co-founded Book-It Repertory Theatre (devoted to adapting fiction for the stage). He worked at many other notable (and some not so notable) Seattle theatres. In ‘96, he moved to LA to pursue a film/tv career and stage appearances have been, consequently, infrequent (save for a number of productions at A Noise Within over a decade ago). Series regular on :The Nine," "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "The Others." Recurring on "True Blood," "Prison Break," many others.
KIRSTEN KOLLENDER (Jackie). Pasadena Playhouse debut. Having been in Los Angeles just over a year, Kollender has had the wonderful good fortune of playing on two west coast stages; last spring she appeared as Sister James in Santa Barbara Theatre's production of Doubt (directed by Asaad Kelada). More recently she played the role of Betty in The Accomplices at The Fountain Theatre. Favorite credits include Home Baking Made Easy at Williamstown Theatre Festival (workshop); The Glass Menagerie at The Kitchen Theatre; As You Like It_and The Hairy Ape at The Hangar Theatre. Television: "As The World Turns." Kollender holds a B.A. from Cornell University where she double majored in Theatre and English.
Monette Magrath (Mary). Pasadena Playhouse:_The Constant Wife, Private Lives, Enchanted April, It's a Wonderful Life, As You Like It, Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Regional:_Stick Fly_at McCarter Theatre Center;_Book of Days at Arena Stage;_The Night is a Child_(world premiere) at Milwaukee Repertory Theater;_Enchanted April_at Arizona Theatre Company and The Cleveland Play House; The Ice-Breaker,_The Laramie Project_at Laguna Playhouse._Other west coast credits include_All My Sons_for McCoy/Rigby Entertainment,_Safe in Hell_at South Coast Repertory (Playwright's Fest),_The Glass Menagerie_for Classic and Contemporary American Plays at The Theatre @ Boston Court._New York_productions include_The Seagull; Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean; The Stronger._Television credits include_"Outpost"_(pilot) and_"Redhanded."_Film credits include_The Other Sister,_Jake's Closet, The_Spirit Hunter, Looking for Mr. Miyagi and Two Girls Walk into a Bar. Education: B.F.A from_New York_University,_Tisch School_of the Arts.
CHRIS L. McKENNA (Dennis). Pasadena Playhouse debut. Regional: Over 40 stage productions including You Can't Take it With You at The Geffen Playhouse; Light up the Sky for The Mammoth Players; Don't Talk to the Actors at Laguna Playhouse. Chris Mckenna was born in Queens, New York and began his acting career at the tender age of seven when he was cast as Dopey in a community theater production of Snow White. McKenna has since worked consistently in theater, TV and film including an award-winning three-year stint on "One Life to Live," and appearances on "The Practice," "That 70's Show," "The District," "That's Life" and "Touched by an Angel" to name some. Chris was a series regular on the WB's "Opposite Sex" and has been featured in many films including In & Out, King of the Ants and Art School Confidential.
Theresa Rebeck (Playwright) is a widely produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad. Past New York productions of her work include Mauritius at the Biltmore Theatre in a Manhattan Theater Club Production; The Scene, The Water's Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels at Second Stage; Bad Dates and The Butterfly Collection at Playwrights Horizons; and View of the Dome at New York Theatre Workshop. Omnium Gatherum (co-written, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003) was featured at the Humana Festival, and had a commercial run at the Variety Arts Theatre. Her newest work, The Understudy, premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival this past summer and will open in New York at the Laura Pels Theater at the Roundabout in the Fall of 2009. Her play Our House will be at Playwrights Horizons in the Spring of 2009. All of Ms. Rebeck's past produced plays are published by Smith and Kraus as Theresa Rebeck: Complete Plays, Volumes I, II and III and in acting editions available from Samuel French. Ms. Rebeck's other publications are Free Fire Zone, a book of comedic essays about writing and show business. She has written for American Theatre Magazine and has had excerpts of her plays published in the Harvard Review. Ms. Rebeck's first novel, Three Girls and Their Brother, was published by Random House/Shaye Areheart Books in 2008 and is available online and at fine booksellers everywhere. In television, Ms. Rebeck has written for "Dream On," "Brooklyn Bridge," "L.A. Law," "American Dreamer," "Maximum Bob," "First Wave," and "Third Watch." She has been a writer/producer for "Canterbury's Law," "Smith," "Law and Order:Criminal Intent" and "NYPD Blue." Her produced feature films include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent feature Sunday on the Rocks. Awards include the Mystery Writer's of America's Edgar Award, the Writer's Guild of America award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, and the Peabody, all for her work on "NYPD Blue." She has won The National Theatre Conference Award (for The Family of Mann), and was awarded the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award in 2003 for The Bells. Mauritius was originally produced at Boston's Huntington Theatre, where it received the 2007 IRNE Award for Best New Play as well as the Eliot Norton Award. Ms. Rebeck is originally from Cincinnati and holds an MFA in Playwrighting and a PhD. in Victorian Melodrama, both from Brandeis University. She is a proud board member of the Dramatists Guild and has taught at Brandeis University and Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jess Lynn and two children, Cooper and Cleo.
Jessica Kubzansky (Director) Pasadena Playhouse debut. Jessica is the Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre @ Boston Court right here in Pasadena and an award-winning director working around the country at South Coast Repertory, The Geffen Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Mark Taper Forum, The Kirk Douglas Theatre, Laguna Playhouse,_The Aurora, American Stage Co, etc. Kubzansky does a great deal of new work; recent world premieres include_Bob Clyman's_Tranced_at Laguna Playhouse,_Bryan Davidson's_War Music_at the Geffen Playhouse and LATC, Salamone/McIntyre's_Gulls (a musical adaptation of The Seagull), Mickey Birnbaum's Bleed Rail,_Carlos Murillo's Unfinished American Highwayscape #9 & 32,_Jean-Claude van Itallie's_Light, Cody Henderson's_Cold/Tender all at The Theatre @ Boston Court; also Julia Cho's_BFE_at Portland Center Stage (JAW/WEST), Sheila Callaghan's_Kate Crackernuts_at 24th St. Theatre, Salamone/McIntyre's Moscow at Chekhov Now (NYC). Other recent work includes_The Two Gentlemen of Verona_at Illinois Shakespeare Festival;_The Glass Menagerie,_Toys in the Attic_at The Colony Theatre; Hare/Brecht's_Mother Courage_at The Theatre @ Boston Court;_Measure for Measure_at A Noise Within;_Amy's View; The Servant to Two Masters_at International City Theatre; Dancing at Lughnasa_with McCoy/Rigby Entertainment; Pirates of Penzance at The Publick; and much more. Kubzansky received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre.
Photo of Ray Abruzzo courtesy of HBO Studios