Photo Flash: Opening Night of THE MADWOMAN IN THE VOLVO at Pasadena Playhouse
The Pasadena Playhouse presents South Coast Repertory's production of Sandra Tsing Loh's The Madwoman In The Volvo starring Sandra Tsing Loh, Caroline Aaron, and Shannon Holt. The production, directed by Lisa Peterson, opens tonight and plays through June 26, 2016 at The Pasadena Playhouse. The critically acclaimed production comes to The Pasadena Playhouse after its smash World Premiere at South Coast Repertory earlier this year.
In the throes of her own mid-life change, Sandra Tsing Loh wrote an essay for the Atlantic Monthly, which later became the basis for her memoir, The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones. She identified herself as someone who is from the "Triple M Generation-menopausal, middle-aged and a mother." The New York Times selected Madwoman as one of the paper's 100 Notable Books of 2014. Booklist called it "hilarious, comforting and enlightening."
The memoir's three-character stage adaptation is a bumper-car ride through mid-life madness, all sparked by an unlikely trip to Burning Man. The production also explores family relationships, and in the process lifts the veil on mental health. As dramaturge Kat Zukaitis states, "Unlike the women in most pop cultural representations of crisis, Loh does not try to leave behind the smoking ashes of her old life. She stays to deal with the fallout, piece by painful piece, and sometimes the wreckage is not pretty. The Madwoman in the Volvo, which both challenges and embraces the stereotype of the female midlife crisis, is the story of living with your scars and loving the person who emerges from the flames."
Loh is a writer/performer whose solo theatre shows include Aliens in America and Bad Sex With Bud Kemp (both off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre), Sugar Plum Fairy (Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre), I Worry (The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville) and, most recently, The Bitch Is Back (Broad Stage). Her bestselling New York Times Notable Book, Mother on Fire, was inspired by her hit solo show in 2005, during which time Variety named her one of America's 50 most influential comedians. Her memoir, The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, was selected as one of The New York Times' 100 Most Notable Books, and was inspired by her Best American Essay in The Atlantic, for which she is a contributing editor. The play version of Madwoman received development support from Sundance Theatre Lab and Ojai Playwrights Conference. Loh has been a regular commentator on NPR's "Morning Edition," and on PRI's "This American Life" and "Marketplace"; her weekly segment, "The Loh Life," is heard on KPCC, and her syndicated radio minute, "The Loh Down on Science," is heard weekly by 4 million people. Loh is currently an adjunct professor at UC Irvine in drama and science communication.
Peterson has earned numerous directing honors including Obie and Lucile Lortel awards and multiple Drama Desk nominations. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, a member of Ensemble Studio Theater and serves on the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. In addition to playwright Loh, the cast for The Madwoman in the Volvo includes Caroline Aaron and Shannon Holt.
Caroline Aaron made her Broadway debut in Robert Altman's Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and later appeared in the film. She also starred in a Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh. Aaron has worked extensively with director Mike Nichols (on Broadway, Social Security; in film, "Working Girl," "Primary Colors" and "What Planet Are You From?"). She headlined the West Coast premiere of Wendy Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig. She recently starred on Broadway in Woody Allen's comedy, Honeymoon Hotel. In other work with Allen, she appeared in "Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Alice," "Bullets Over Broadway," "Husbands and Wives" and "Deconstructing Harry." Her work with Nora Ephron includes Sleepless in Seattle, This Is My Life, Lucky Numbers and Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Last season, she starred in Lincoln Center's award-winning play A Kid Like Jake. Her film and television credits include recurring roles in "Episodes," "Transparent," "Beyond the Sea," "Edward Scissorhands" and "Bounce." Among her numerous honors are Helen Hayes and Drama-Logue awards (The Sisters Rosensweig) and a Blockbuster Award for Best Supporting Actress ("Bounce").
Shannon Holt was previously seen at South Coast Repertory in Dead Man's Cell Phone and Ben and The Magic Paintbrush. She most recently appeared as Rosemary in Picnic at The Antaeus Company, where she is a company member. She also has appeared at Laguna Playhouse, rg.
Photo Credit: Earl Gibson lll