Photo Flash: First Look at Rubicon Theatre Company's THE BABY DANCE: MIXED
Casting has been announced for the World Premiere of THE BABY DANCE: MIXED, a new adaptation by Emmy Award-winner Jane Anderson ("Olive Kitteridge") of her acclaimed 2004 play The Baby Dance. A drama delicately laced with comic overtones, THE BABY DANCE: MIXED is a compelling and urgent play about race, class, and wanting the perfect child. In the story, Regina and Richard, an affluent mixed-race couple in Los Angeles, have everything except a baby. Wanda and Al, an African-American couple living in an overcrowded trailer in modern-day Louisiana, are too poor to keep their soon-to-be-born child. Through an adoption attorney, the two couples broker a deal. However, circumstances arise that affect their decision and the situation spins out of control. The Wall Street Journal described The Baby Dance as "filled with emotional power and nimble humor." The L.A. Times called it "a stunner...funny as well as perceptive."
Anderson has had a remarkable career as a playwright and screenwriter. Her newest play Mother of the Maid is in pre-production for a fall premiere at the New York Public Theatre starring Glenn Close. Her feature film "The Wife," which stars Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater, is slated for August release by Sony Pictures.
In addition to The Baby Dance, Anderson's plays include Defying Gravity (also produced by Rubicon), Looking for Normal, The Quality of Life, and many others, which have received production Off-Broadway at The Geffen Playhouse, Arena Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, and across the nation and world.
Anderson wrote the screenplay for the miniseries "Olive Kitteridge," which starred Frances McDormand. She wrote and directed the feature film "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio." In 2015, Anderson wrote a documentary "Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson" about her great aunt who was a lesbian and painter who was institutionalized in the 1920s.
Anderson has also written and directed critically acclaimed television movies, among them "Normal" starring Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom," "When Billie Beat Bobby," both starring Holly Hunter; and "If These Walls Could Talk 2" (segment "1961"), for which Vanessa Redgrave won an Emmy for her portrayal of a woman who was prevented from visiting her long-time companion in the hospital. She directed the television film "The Baby Dance" with Stockard Channing and Laura Dern. Anderson was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series for her work on the second season of the AMC Series "Mad Men."
THE BABY DANCE: MIXED is helmed by Anderson's longtime friend and collaborator, Rubicon Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan (Liberty Valance/Tea at Five). Sullivan's numerous credits include the premiere of The Baby Dance at The Pasadena Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Long Wharf (CT Director's Award), and Off-Broadway; six seasons at Williamstown; and twenty seasons at Rubicon Theatre Company.
The role of adoptive mother Regina, a well-educated, mid-level Hollywood development executive, is played by Obie Award and NAACP Award-winner Tracey A. Leigh. Leigh's stage credits include the National Tour of The Vagina Monologues and six shows Off-Broadway. Regionally, she has appeared in Death of a Salesman at South Coast Rep; In the Next Room (Or the Vibrator Play) at Shakespeare Center LA; Safe in Hell and Oak & NY at Arena Stage; and Blues for an Alabama Sky, Stone Wall Jackson's House and Fathers and Sons at A Contemporary Theatre. Leigh has guest-starred on "Grey's Anatomy," "Criminal Minds, "Strong Medicine," and co-starred on "Charmed," "Modern Family" and "Jake in Progress." She holds an M.F.A. from UC San Diego and a B.A. from the College of William and Mary.
Set design for THE BABY DANCE: MIXED is by multi-Ovation Award-winner and L.A. Drama Critics Circle Career Achievement Award-winner THOMAS BUDERWITZ, whose credits include South Coast Rep, Geffen Playhouse, The Pasadena Playhouse, and eight productions at Rubicon. Costume design is by Alex Jaeger, who has designed multiple productions at Rubicon, while also sharing his artistry with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Guthrie, Geffen Playhouse and ACT.
New to Rubicon, Derrick McDaniel is the lighting designer for THE BABY DANCE: MIXED. McDaniel is a resident designer at the Whitefire Theatre. He was nominated for the 2017 Ovation Award for Lighting Design, and has been dubbed Scenic Lighting Designer of the Year by Steven Stanley.
Sound Designer RANDALL ROBERT TICO is also new to Rubicon. Tico was a founding member (with director Nancy Keystone) of Critical Mass Performance Group and has received multiple Ovation nominations and a Garland Award. He has been a frequent collaborator with director Jessica Kubzansky, and recently worked with Sullivan on Baby Doll at Ensemble Theatre in Santa Barbara. Tico is the resident composer/sound designer for the Launch Pad program @ UCSB.
Set dressing and prop design is by T. THERESA SCARANO, who has worked on more than thirty shows at Rubicon and also works with Kingsman and Cabrillo in Ventura County.
THE BABY DANCE: MIXED is generously sponsored by DIANE AND PETER GOLDENRING and Barbara Meister; co-sponsored by SHELLY AND RICHARD BAYER.
The World Premiere of THE BABY DANCE: MIXED by Jane Anderson opens on Saturday, May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) at 7:00 p.m., with a red carpet and champagne event prior to the show downstairs at the theatre and a post-show party with the playwright, directors, designers and cast hosted by an area restaurant. Low-priced previews begin on Wednesday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. Previews continue Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. and Friday, May 4 at 8:00 p.m. Regular performances are Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. (a new time this year), Fridays at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Talkbacks take place after the show on all Wednesdays (except the previews).
Ticket prices for THE BABY DANCE: MIXED range from $30 to $55, with special discounts for military, students and groups. THE BABY DANCE: MIXED is a part of Rubicon Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary Season, and may be purchased as a part of a 3- or 4-show subscription package at a 15% savings. Other shows in the season include the World Premiere concert I Dig Rock-and-Roll Music, the encore run of Return to the Forbidden Planet, and a large-cast, two-piano version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific.
For tickets or more information, call the Rubicon Theatre Company Box Office at (805) 667-2900. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the theatre at 1006 E. Main Street (corner of Main and Laurel) in Ventura's Downtown Cultural District. To order online, visit www.rubicontheatre.org.
Now in its 20th Anniversary Season, Rubicon Theatre is the region's premiere professional theatre company. Rubicon was founded in 1998 by Artistic Directors Karyl Lynn Burns and James O'Neil and a board of social and civic leaders. The company has since presented more than 135 productions to over 450,000 audience members in an intimate 180-seat historic former church. Rubicon creates a nurturing environment for artists where exploration and experimentation are encouraged and supported. As a result, luminaries including Alison Brie, Susan Clark, Dana Delany, Michael Learned, Jack Lemmon, Linda Purl, John Ritter, Joe Spano, Stephanie Zimbalist and others have graced the Rubicon stage. The company is committed to telling stories which illuminate our shared humanity. Rubicon presents bold, reimagined productions of classics; innovative productions of contemporary dramas, comedies and musicals; and develops and produces world premieres. Rubicon has been the recipient of the L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence, the NAACP Award, a New York Drama Desk Award, multiple Indy, Robby and Scenie Awards, and 18 Ovation Awards. The company recently won the Ovation for Best Production of a Play, Larger Theatre for Gulf View Drive. Rubicon offers extensive education and outreach programs under helmed by Kirby and Beverly Ward. The company is governed by a Board of Directors and further supported by a regional Board of Advisors and an active volunteer auxiliary. For more information, call 805.667.2900 or visit the website at www.rubicontheatre.org.
Photo Credit: Jeanne Tanner