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BAD DATES By Theresa Rebeck Announced at Portland Stage

The production will be directed by Jade King Carroll and stars Annie Henk. 

BAD DATES By Theresa Rebeck Announced at Portland Stage

Portland Stage has announced its live, limited-seating production of BAD DATES by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Jade King Carroll and starring Annie Henk.

"We are proud to welcome Jade King Carroll back to Portland Stage," says Executive and Artistic Director Anita Stewart." Jade directed Portland Stage's production of Native Gardens, which closed due to the pandemic in March 2020. She also directed the Portland Stage productions Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Whipping Man, and Skeleton Crew." Carroll has garnered multiple fellowships and awards, including the Paul Green Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Professional from The National Theatre Conference and The Estate of August Wilson, the TCG New Generations Future Leader, SUNY 40 under 40, and Gates Millennium Scholar.

"The safety plans, rules, and regulations for producing theater are still restrictive, so currently we are only allowed to have one actor on our stage," explains Executive and Artistic Director Anita Stewart. "Bad Dates felt like a great show to bring to our community in this moment--it is a comic look at a woman trying to manage a series of events that don't seem to be going her way, and I think we can all relate to that in this moment. We feel like our audiences are seeking levity as they emerge from a challenging year. Many of them will be coming out of their isolated shells with their return to our theater. Bad Dates gives the audience a character named Haley to share that experience with. She's a single mom to a teenage daughter who is coming out of her shell to re-enter the world of dating."

This easily digestible play starts with Haley asking, "Do you like these shoes?" and ends with "I'm going to go have coffee . . . " What ensues between those lines is just as relatable. Haley, who runs an NYC restaurant, decides to start dating after several years' hiatus. Her return to dating is a symptom of her interpretation of her uncharacteristic interest in "Bug Guy." A man she meets at a Buddhist event who thinks people should try to communicate with bugs. "And then I realize, in this sort of strange, hallucinatory moment, that the bug guy is looking kind of good, and the things he's saying about bugs are really kind of fascinating and it is then that I realized that maybe it has been too long since I've been on a date." (Concord Theatrical) The play's charming dialogue takes us through her shoe choices necessitated by the dating. This is followed by many bad-dating stories, that are interrupted when the restaurant owner is released from jail, and his involvement with the Romanian mob is revealed. He is keen to ask questions about Haley's bookkeeping in his absence.

Portland Stage has had its doors open to live theater to limited audiences for the 2020-21 season during the pandemic - made possible by an upgrade to a bipolar ionization-equipped HVAC system in the building and following stringent and ever-evolving protocols for each show. "We are proud to be one of the few theaters nationwide that have been able to keep theater alive during this challenging time. Our safety measures are extreme, and they paid off. No one in our theater has tested positive for covid during this entire process," Anita knocks on proverbial wood.

Portland Stage produced its first show of the season in the fall of 2021 with Talley's Folly by Lanford Wilson starring a married couple who were in the same pod. In December, they produced a world-premiere one-person show adaptation of A Christmas Carol written by Joel Leffert. Unable to secure the Equity rights to produce in January/February, Portland Stage presented the non-equity The Winnipesaukee Playhouse production of Or, by Liz Duffy Adams. The production of Bad Dates by Theresa Rebeck will run from May 21 - May 6 live in the theater. Its digital-on-demand production filmed on the stage will be available for viewing from April 28 - May 16.

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