World Premiere of Mark Roberts' "Rantoul and Die" Opens May 16 at The Lillian Theater

Stephen Eich and Don Foster will present the world premiere of Mark Roberts' RANTOUL AND DIE, A Romantic Comedy Wrapped in Razor Wire at The Lillian Theater (1076 Lillian Way) in Hollywood. Erin Quigley, who is known for her Tony Award-nominated costume designs for The Grapes of Wrath and The Songs of Jacob Zulu, is set to direct this new play. Preview performances begin May 14, 2009, with the official press opening on Saturday, May 16.

Rantoul and Die Producer Stephen Eich, former managing director at The Geffen Playhouse and Steppenwolf Theatre Company said, "Rantoul and Die has all of the wonderful and exciting elements that we looked for in plays years ago in the early days of Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. It is a pleasure to work on this project with some old friends; and some new ones as well." He added, "The Los Angeles theatre scene is so vital and I am hopeful this entry will be a great addition to that artistic tapestry."

"One of the secrets to the success of ‘Two and a Half Men' is Mark's ability to consistently pull handfuls of gorgeous comedic poetry from the deep recesses of his psyche. Lines of dialogue that are at once rude, wrong and perfect," said Rantoul and Die Producer Don Foster. "Reading Rantoul for the first time was a little unsettling for me to realize that the theatre is his true natural habitat."

In RANTOUL AND DIE, Rallis and Debbie's marriage has reached its expiration date. In fact, it's soured and stuck to the bottom of the carton. She wants him to pack his stuff and hit the bricks, but he's clingin' to the past like a cat on a screen door. How far will a man go to hang on to his lady fair? It's a thin line between love and hate. A kiss and a punch. An ice cream cone and a beer bottle to the back of the head.

Playwright Mark Roberts became interested in the arts at an early age and started working at The Station Theatre, a small local performing space in a converted train station in Urbana, Illinois. In his early twenties he moved to Chicago to pursue a career as an actor and writer, using stand-up comedy as a way to pay the bills. Comedy took him to Los Angeles, where Mark appeared on "The Tonight Show" several times and that led to guest starring roles on numerous television series, among them, "Seinfeld," "Friends," "The Practice," "The Larry Sanders Show," "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air" and the films Next Of Kin and Bulletproof. He also worked as a series regular for three seasons on "The Naked Truth" with Téa Leoni.

While working as an actor, Mark wrote and produced several plays in Los Angeles, eventually catching the attention of writer-producer Chuck Lorre, with his one-act comedy Couples Counseling Killed Katie at the Plymouth Theatre Company. He and Lorre created an un-produced pilot based on the stage-play and in 2004 when the Lorre-penned "Two and a Half Men" was picked up by CBS, Roberts was immediately hired as a producer and has been there ever since, rising to the level of Executive Producer.

Roberts continues to return to the Station Theatre to produce his original plays, which include Welcome To Tolono, Whitey, Where The Great Ones Run, and Parasite Drag. Several of his works have been picked up by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. and published into acting editions. Roberts lives in Los Angeles with his wife Teresa and various four-legged freeloaders.

Director Erin Quigley began her theatrical career as the resident costume designer for Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre, during which time she garnered two prestigious Tony Award nominations for her work on Broadway. During the ensuing years, she designed the top-rated television sitcom "Roseanne," "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," along with many other stage, television, and film projects. Later, Erin worked as a producer and development executive for 23 Red Productions, in collaboration with 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers Television. She most recently directed the drag musical Miss Desmond Behind Bars in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Erin is an alum of CSULB and the Art Center College of Design.

The world premiere of RANTOUL AND DIE is presented by Stephen Eich and Don Foster. An original workshop production was produced at the Station Theatre in Urbana, Illinois.

Full casting and the creative team will be announced at a later date.

RANTOUL AND DIE begins performances May 14 through July 4, 2009, with the official press opening on May 16, 2009. The world premiere production will play at The Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way in Hollywood. Performance schedule is Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. Tickets range from $20.00 - $35.00. Tickets are available by calling (323) 960-4424 or online at www.RantoulAndDie.com

 

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