Ensemble Theatre Company Presents THE LEHMAN TRILOGY, Beginning This Week

Performances begin Thursday, April 4 at The New Vic Theatre in Santa Barbara.

By: Apr. 01, 2024
Ensemble Theatre Company Presents THE LEHMAN TRILOGY, Beginning This Week
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Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara has announced the much-anticipated production of Troy Blendell, Chris Butler and Leo Marks starring in THE LEHMAN TRILOGY by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power and directed by Oánh Nguyễn.

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY is a captivating play that chronicles the rise and fall of the Lehman brothers. The story chronicles the 160-year journey of three immigrant brothers (Henry, Emanuel, and Mayer Lehman) striving to build the idealistic American dream wrought with family struggles, missteps, and incredible achievements.

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY won the 2022 Tony Award for “Best Play” and is a powerhouse cautionary tale that transcends time and will perform at The New Vic Theatre, 33 W. Victoria Street, from April 4 to April 21, 2024 (with a press opening on Saturday, April 6 at 7:00pm).

“Catapulted to the top of the industry, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY has profoundly resonated with audiences, both near and far,” comments Scott DeVine, ETC's executive director. “ETC is focused on bringing some of the greatest stories to the New Vic stage and are proud to bring our rendition of this incredible piece to our community.  Audiences will experience the tale of one of America's great immigrant stories, fettered with all of the complexities involved with realizing the American dream, from managing their ambition and family dynamics to the inexorable march of time.”

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY is a theatrical masterpiece that explores the human drama behind the Lehman brothers' empire. The play unfolds in three acts, tracing the family's humble beginnings following their immigration to Alabama from Bavaria in the mid-19th century to the pinnacle of their success and, ultimately, the historic and dramatic collapse of a U.S. investment bank that bore their name and catalyzed the 2008 financial crisis.

Director Oánh Nguyễn adds, “As a Vietnamese refugee, I can relate to the obstacles that come with striving for a better future and seeking a sense of safety and acceptance. The experiences of the Lehman family mirror this journey, guided by a determination to not just succeed but to belong and protect. However, as we follow their narrative, it leads us to question the essence of the American Dream and how it might easily turn into the American Nightmare. When does ambition cross the line? And how do we confront the unsettling reality that those we cheer for may unwittingly become part of the problem?” 

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY has received widespread acclaim for its insightful exploration of finance, ambition, and the human condition. The play has been celebrated for its thought-provoking narrative and ETC's production promises to deliver an intimate and unforgettable experience for theater enthusiasts and those seeking a deeper understanding of the forces that shape our world.

ETC has assembled a stellar cast, featuring Troy Blendell, Chris Butler, and Leo Marks, who bring to life the three Lehman brothers with unparalleled skill and depth. The production is set against a stunning backdrop, with Fred Kinney creating a visually striking and dynamic environment that complements the emotional intensity of the narrative. Don't miss this extraordinary theatrical event that brings history to life right before your eyes.


OÁNH NGUYỄN (Director) has been serving as Chance Theater's founding Artistic Director since 1999. Oánh is a recipient of TCG's New Generations Grant and the TCG Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color Fellowship. He was awarded the Outstanding Artist Award by Arts Orange County, profiled in Orange County Register's “Most Influential People” series and OC Weekly's People Issue, inducted into Anaheim High School's Hall of Fame and was a commencement speaker for Chapman University College of Performing Arts. Oánh was Producing Associate at South Coast Repertory where he initiated and programmed the first three seasons of alternative offerings under the banner of StudioSCR. He also served on the advisory board of the Anaheim High School Performing Arts Conservatory, the board of Network of Ensemble Theatres, LA's 99-seat Transitional Committee, and OC Theatre Guild, as well as panels and committees for Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Alternative Theatre Los Angeles, National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group. His directing credits include productions at Chance Theater, East West Players, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Repertory, Aurora Theatre Company, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, Chapman University, UC Riverside, Azusa Pacific University, AMDA, CSU Fullerton, and served as the Associate Director for the international tour of David Henry Hwang's Chinglish (Berkeley Repertory, South Coast Repertory, Hong Kong Arts Festival). His selected film credits include Two Brothers, Rush Hour 3, and Lonely Boy (Best First Feature Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Louisiana International Film Festival and Audience Award Winner at the 2013 BolderLife Festival).

Stefano Massini (Writer) is an internationally renowned novelist and playwright, the first Italian author to receive a Tony Award. He regularly contributes to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, and for several years he has served as artistic consultant at Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d'Europa. His works, including The Lehman Trilogy, have been translated into 30 languages, and his plays have been performed in more theatres around the world than those of any other living Italian writer, produced as far afield as Iran and Korea, and staged by directors such as Luca Ronconi and Sam Mendes. His most acclaimed works, beyond The Lehman Trilogy, include: Intractable Woman, a decades-long international success; Ladies Football Club, which premiered to wide acclaim in Spain; and 7 Minutes, hailed by Le Monde as a “masterpiece” at the Comédie Française. He has won numerous Italian awards, including the Premio Vittorio Tondelli and the Premio Ubu, as well as the Tony Award, the Drama Guild Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award. Qualcosa sui Lehman (The Lehman Trilogy) was among the most acclaimed novels published in Italy in recent years and won the Selezione Campiello Prize, the Super Mondello Prize, the De Sica Prize, the Prix Médicis Essai and the Prix Meilleur Livre Étranger. In 2022 he completed his ten-year writing work on the birth of the atomic bomb in a play entitled Manhattan Project, already requested in many theatres around the world. His rewrite based on Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf will debut in 2024.

Ben Power (Adaptor) is a writer for theatre and the screen. For the last 12 years he has worked at The National Theatre as associate director and deputy artistic director and was responsible for the temporary theatre The Shed. Work for the screen includes Munich: The Edge of War and The Hollow Crown (BAFTA nominations for Best Single Drama and Best Mini-Series). Work for the stage includes adaptations of DH Lawrence's Husbands & Sons, Euripides' Medea and Ibsen's Emperor & Galilean, all for the National; A Tender Thing for the RSC and Complicite's A Disappearing Number (Olivier and Evening Standard Awards). He was associate director of Headlong where he adapted Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author and Marlowe's Faustus. He is currently creating a television series for Working Title and is published by Faber & Faber.

Troy Blendell (Henry Lehman) has appeared extensively on LA stages with the Echo Theater Company, Theatre of NOTE, and Sacred Fools. Recent Television includes roles in “Law And Order,” “Bosch Legacy,” “Snowfall,” “The Politician,” “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” among others. Film appearances include Grapefruit, Collateral (Michael Mann), and The Island (Michael Bay). Originally from Seattle, Troy has been in Southern California for 29 years, the last three in Los Olivos.

Chris Butler (Emanuel Lehman) Chris has appeared in numerous films and television shows, including all seven seasons of CBS's, “The Good Wife” and its spin off, “The Good Fight.” On the stage, Chris made his Broadway debut as Noah in the Tony nominated 110 in the Shade starring Audra McDonald. He won LA Ovation, NAACP and Garland Awards for his work in Yellowman at The Fountain Theater and Stick Fly at the Matrix Theater. Other theater credits include Prospero in The Tempest (Shakespeare Center LA), Othello in Othello, Macduff in Macbeth, Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun, Lymon in The Piano Lesson (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Biff in Death of a Salesman (South Coast Repertory); McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the one person show Twilight-Los Angeles: 1992 (Rubicon Theatre Company). Chris is the Senior Artistic Fellow for The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. He holds an M.F.A. in Theater from UC San Diego and B.A. in Dramatic Arts from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Leo Marks (Mayer Lehman) Recent credits include Jessica Kubzansky's Measure Still For Measure at Boston Court, where he's also played Shylock in Everything That Never Happened and Lewis Carroll in The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll; and If I Forget at The Fountain, directed by Jason Alexander. He's appeared at Geffen Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, The Old Globe, D.C.'s Shakespeare Theater, South Coast Rep, North Coast Rep, The Kirk Douglas, Actors Theater of Louisville, Pasadena Playhouse, Ahmanson Theatre, The Intiman, PICT, Playwright's Arena, Alley Theatre, and Playwrights Horizons, and in the inaugural productions of the Kirk Douglas Theatre and ACT's Strand Theater. He is a proud member of Antaeus theatre company in LA, where he's appeared in The Hothouse, Three Days in the Country, and Wedding Band.  Leo is an Obie-award winner, for Heather Woodbury's Tale of 2Cities: An American Joyride on Multiple Tracks. He's received best acting nominations from the LA Drama Critics Circle, Stage Raw, and the LA Ovations, as well as the 2023 Stage Raw "Queen of the Angels" Award, for his co-leadership of a coalition whose efforts led to the passage of California state law SB1116, the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund.



THE LEHMAN TRILOGY previews on Thursday, April 4 at 6:30pm & Friday, April 5 at 7:00pm; opens on Saturday, April 6 at 7:00pm (press opening) and runs through Sunday, April 21, 2024 at 1:00pm at The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria Street in Santa Barbara. 

Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:00pm, and Sundays at 1:00pm; with added performances on Sunday, April 7 at 7:00pm, Tuesday, April 9 at 6:30pm, Saturday, April 13 at 1pm, and Wednesday, April 17 at 1pm. 

Ticket prices range from $40 - $86. All Patrons 35 and under are always $35. Student tickets are $25. Single tickets are available through the ETC box office at (805) 965-5400, or online at etcsb.org. Prices subject to change.