NJ Rep Presents LUCKY ME by Robert Caisley, 7/31-8/31

By: Jul. 01, 2014
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New Jersey Repertory Company, located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch, is proud to present the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Lucky Me by Robert Caisley, directed by SuzAnne Barabas and starring Dan Grimaldi, Wendy Peace, Michael Irvin Pollard and Mark Light-Orr.

From the playwright who brought us Happy comes a whimsical, romantic comedy about love, aging, cracked windows, broken bones, airport security, and bad luck.

Sara Fine's having a bad week. The light bulbs in her apartment keep burning out; the aquarium is perpetually full of dead fish; the cat's gone AWOL, again, and her blind, elderly father -- who chased off her last beau -- is immediately suspicious of Tom, the new neighbor, a TSA agent who just brought Sara home from the emergency room on New Year's Eve with a fractured 5th metatarsal. As Tom's attraction to Sara intensifies, he learns of an increasingly bizarre streak of bad luck that's been haunting Sara for years - twenty two years to be precise.

Lucky Me begins preview performances on Thursday, July 31 and celebrates its opening night on Saturday, August 2 at New Jersey Repertory Company (179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ), and runs through Sunday, August 31. Tickets may be purchased by calling 732-229-3166 or online at www.njrep.org.

The production team includes: Jessica Parks (Set Design & Props), Jill Nagle (Lighting Design), Merek Royce Press (Sound Design), Patricia E. Doherty (Costume Design), Michael Carroll (Technical Director), and Jennifer Tardibuono (Stage Manager).

For more information about New Jersey Repertory Company please visit www.njrep.org

Who's Who:

Robert Caisley (Playwright) Robert is Professor of Theatre & Film, and Head of the Dramatic Writing Program at the University of Idaho where he oversees new play development, and teaches courses in playwriting and various topics in classic and contemporary theatre. He was named the 2011 Blaine Quarnstrom Visiting Playwright at the University of Southern Mississippi. His latest play Lucky Me has just been optioned by New Jersey Repertory Theatre, Curious Theatre in Denver, Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, CA and Oregon Contemporary Theatre, and will enjoy an NNPN Rolling World Premiere in the 2014-15 season. His last play Happy, presented at the 2011 National New Play Network Annual Showcase of New Plays was a 2012 Finalist for both the prestigious Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's New Play Conference and the Woodward/Newman Award for Drama at Bloomington Playwrights Project, and was selected for a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere in the 2012/2013 season at New Theatre (Miami, FL), Montana Repertory Theatre, 6th Street Playhouse (Santa Rosa, CA) and New Jersey Repertory. Happy has just been nominated for a Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Original Script. Other plays include Kissing (New Theatre, Coral Gables, FL; Phoenix Theatre New Play Festival, Phoenix, AZ), The Lake (Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia; Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, VA; Lavender Footlights Festival, Miami, FL), Good Clean Fun (Montana Actors Theatre, Missoula), Push (commissioned by Penn State University), The 22-Day Adagio (Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, VA; London's Royal Court Theatre, Summer Playwrights Program), Front (Sundance Institute's Playwright's Lab), Kite's Book (6th Street Playhouse, Santa Rosa, CA), Letters to an Alien (optioned by Flying Eagle Films, Mad Horse Theatre, Portland, ME), Santa Fe (StageWorks/Hudson, New York, which was a Finalist for the 2004 Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville) and Winter which received its World Premiere at New Theatre in Miami in 2012. His plays Front and Happy have just been published by Samuel French, Inc. His latest play & Juliet was developed this summer in residency at the Missoula Writers Colony with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Idaho Arts Commission, and received a developmental reading at New Theatre in Miami. He is currently under commission for Clarence Brown Theatre. Caisley served as Interim Artistic Director for Idaho Repertory Theatre from 2001 - 2005, where he directed such plays as Much Ado About Nothing, The Rivals, Lend Me a Tenor, Wild Oats, HUSH: Interview with America, The Underpants and Biloxi Blues. He has worked in the entertainment industry as a Creative Consultant for The History Channel, Triage Entertainment, and also for North by Northwest Productions, Netter Digital Entertainment, New Wave Entertainment and Mahagonny Pictures. Since 2007 he has been on the National Reading Panel for Native Voices at the Autry Museum of the American West. Caisley has been a guest speaker at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the University of the Arts, San Diego State University, Marquette University, Washington State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Montana, Northern Illinois University, Bowling Green State University, Denison University, University of Nevada - Las Vegas, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Howard University, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Bradley University, Cal State - San Bernardino, Rockford College, and American University in Washington, D.C. Robert was lead teaching artist and dramaturg for the 2010 and 2011 Alaska Native Playwrights Project and production dramaturg for the Native Voices/Montana Repertory Theatre developmental co-production of Carolyn Dunn's The Frybread Queen. In 2011 he directed the Los Angeles Premiere of The Frybread Queen and directed staged readings of The Birdhouse by Diane Glancy at La Jolla Playhouse for the 2011 Native Voices Festival of New Works and at the 2012 Native Voices Festival held in Los Angeles. He recently directed the LA World Premiere of The Birdhouse for Native Voices at the Autry National Center. His work is published by Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing Company, One-Act Play Depot of Canada, the Western States Theatre Review and Mizna: A Journal of Arab-American Literature.

SuzAnne Barabas (Director) In addition to being a founding member of the New Jersey Repertory Company, SuzAnne was the co-founder of the Cincinnati Repertory Company and the American Repertory Theater of Philadelphia, and served as the Artistic Director for these non-profit professional theaters. She was also the Founding Director of the Arts Access Program, a unique arts program for severely disabled children and adults at the Matheny School and Hospital in Peapack, NJ. The project began in a single classroom and is now housed in a state-of-the-art facility and theater. SuzAnne is the co-author and lyricist of Find Me a Voice, Immortal Interlude and Hyde and Seek. For NJ Rep, she directed many new works including Find Me a Voice, North Fork (world premiere), Immortal Interlude (world premiere), Octet (world premiere), Till Morning Comes (world premiere), Maggie Rose, Getting in Touch With My Inner B*tch (starring Christine Lavin), The Adjustment, Emil (world premiere), Ten Percent of Molly Snyder, Romulus Linney's Klonsky and Schwartz, Apostasy (world premiere), Women Who Steal, Apple, The Housewives of Mannheim (world premiere), Evie's Waltz, Dead Ringer (world premiere), Steven Dietz's Yankee Tavern, Sharr White's Sunlight, Puma, Night Train, The Judy Holliday Story, and Bakersfield Mist (NNPN world premiere), Annapurna (East Coast premiere), Happy (NNPN world premiere) and Broomstick (NNPN world premiere). In addition, SuzAnne has directed regional productions of Ibsen's A Doll's House, The Fantasticks, The Roar of the Greasepaint the Smell of the Crowd, Cabaret, Shaw's Heartbreak House, A.R. Gurney's The Perfect Party, Marsha Norman's 'Night Mother, Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story, Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy, Mark Dunn's Belles, Lee Blessing's Down the Road, Tennessee Williams' The Mutilated, and Lanford Wilson's Home Free, among others. SuzAnne is a member of AEA, BMI, Dramatists Guild, SDC and the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Dan Grimaldi (Leo Fine) portrayed identical twin mobsters, Patsy & Philly Parisi, on the critically acclaimed HBO series, The Sopranos. He was nominated and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2008 and received a nomination in 2007. Currently, he has completed an independent film, "The Quitter" slated for future release. During his film and television career, Dan has had the opportunity to work with acclaimed actors and directors. On film he has worked with William Devane and Robert Picardo in Chasing the Green; Charles Durning, Billy Dee Williams and William Forsythe in iMurders; James Caan and Mark Walhberg in The Yards directed by James Grey; Judith Ivey and Kelly Ripa in The Stand-In; Frank Vincent in West New York; Lori Petty and Tony Lo Bianco in Riding with Betty; Elijah Wood in North directed by Rob Reiner; Alfre Woodward and Delroy Lindo in Crooklyn directed by Spike Lee; Rod Steiger and John Turturro in Men of Respect; Anthony Lapaglia and Brian Benben in Mortal Sins; Hoyt Axton in Junkman and Deadline: Auto Theft; and starred in Don't Go in the House. Television has paired Dan up with Donnie Wahlberg in Bluebloods; Ed O'Neil in Dragnet; Dennis Franz in NYPD Blue; Lilo Brancato in Witness to the Mob; Jerry Orbach, Chris Noth, Richard Brooks and Paul Sorvino in several episodes of Law & Order; Blair Brown and Shawn Elliot in Molly Dodd; and has featured him in Third Watch, New York Undercover, Another World, All My Children, and As the World Turns. He credits his love of the craft of acting to his mentor, Lee Strasberg. He is a lifetime member of the renowned Actor's Studio and has always been committed to the New York City stage. His performances include leading roles off- Broadway in Six Goumbas and a Wanabee opposite Joe Maruzzo and Kathy Narducci, and directed by Thomas G. Waites; Sweatshop opposite Janet Sarno and written by Louis LaRusso III; Benefits of Doubt opposite Tony Lo Bianco; At the Bottom opposite Tatum O'neal and directed by Susan Batson; Tony 'n Tina's Wedding opposite Aida Turturro and Sharon Angela; Cut to the Chase written by Joe Cacacci; Half-Deserted Streets opposite Michael Imperioli, directed by Richard Compton and written by Robert Moresco; Leather Heart opposite Anthony J. Dennison; Victim opposite Gretta Thyssen and written by Mario Fratti; Union Street opposite Armand Assante; Momma's Little Angels opposite Janet Sarno and Matt Landers, and written by Louis LaRusso III; and Confessions opposite Bridget Fonda. Born, bred and raised on the streets of Brooklyn, Dan has always been proud of his Italian heritage. He graduated P.S. 201, Xaverian High School, Fordham University (B.A.), New York University (M.S.), and City University (Ph.D) before pursuing a career in acting. He has studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Ed Kovens and speech with Alice Hermes. He loves to act and has been filled with a passion for the craft of acting from the first day he walked into an acting class.

Wendy Peace (Sarah Fine) Wendy is thrilled to be back on the main stage at NJ Rep having appeared as Melinda in Robert Caisley's Happy and Alice in The Housewives of Mannheim, a role she went on to play in Indianapolis, Santa Barbara and Off- Broadway. Trained at the University of Toronto and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she began her professional career as Molly in the long-running Toronto production of The Mousetrap. Since then she has worked Off-Broadway, regionally and on national tour in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. Favorite roles include Elmire in Tartuffe (in French and English), Adriana in Comedy of Errors, Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Pam in The Poetry of Pizza, Lady M in Macbeth, and Claudius in an all-female version of Hamlet. Over the last 2 years she has performed the 8 characters in the solo show Listen! The River in New York, Edinburgh and London. Wendy has directed several productions, including winners of one-act play festivals. When not involved in creative pursuits, Wendy plays hockey and volunteers with her pet therapy dog, Cooper the Great Dane.

Michael Irvin Pollard (Tom) Michael was seen in the other NJ Rep productions of Big Boys, Ten Percent of Molly Snyder, Apple, Dead Ringer, Yankee Tavern, Night Train, Release Point and Happy. He just concluded a run of Turquoise at Dixon Place in NYC, and before that Greater Tuna at Shadowland Theatre. Other credits include appearances at the Adirondack Theatre Festival, The Bickford Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, Playwrights Theatre, The Depot Theatre, The Pioneer Valley Summer Theatre. What Exit? The George Street Playhouse and The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park where he was a member of the professional actor training program. In New York City, Michael is best known for his work in improv and sketch comedy with appearances at numerous venues throughout the city.

Mark Light-Orr (Yuri) Mark previously appeared at NJ Rep in Robert Caisley's Happy. New York credits include the critically acclaimed Counsellor At Law (Lucille Lortel Award-Best Revival), Patrick Barlow's Christmas Carol (Joe Calarco, dir.) and Aaron Steiner in the premiere of The Second Tosca at the 45th Street Theatre. Other NYC credits include Expanded Arts, the Midtown International Theatre Festival, the NY Fringe Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, ASCAP, and the Women's Project & Production Directors Lab. National tours include Susan Stroman's revival of The Music Man (Charlie Cowell). Regional credits include Josh in Jericho at the Florida Studio Theatre, as well as nine seasons with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the Fulton Opera House (Capt. von Trapp in Sound of Music), Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Delaware Theatre Company, Theatreworks CO, and the Engeman Theatre. Film and television credits include The Yellow Wallpaper and Person of Interest (CBS).


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