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Robert Cuccioli to Star in Geroge Street Playhouse's 'The Seafarer'

George Street Playhouse continues their 35th season with the New Jersey premiere of Conor McPherson’s Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated play, The Seafarer.  Broadway’s Jekyll & Hyde Robert Cuccioli, last seen in New Jersey in the NJ Shakespeare Festival’s production of Amadeus heads an ensemble including David Adkins (from GSP’s A Walk in the Woods), Matthew Boston (NJ Shakespeare Festival’s Julius Cesar), William Hill (from Steppenwolf’s Broadway production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and David Schramm (from TV’s Wings).  Anders Cato, who has directed Playhouse productions of I Am My Own Wife, Souvenir and Doubt, returns to helm.  The Seafarer begins its voyage onstage beginning November 18 and continues through December 14.  Opening night is set for Friday, November 21.

“When I saw the play on Broadway, I knew it was perfect for George Street,” said Artistic Director David Saint.  “With its rich Irish story telling – laced with a devilish wit – this is the perfect antidote to the traditional holiday fare.  I am always thrilled to welcome back the enormously talented director Anders Cato, as well as this remarkable cast, including David Adkins of A Walk in the Woods, David Schramm, whom I directetd in Tartuffe on Broadway, New Jersey favorite (and Tony nominee for Jekyll and Hyde) Robert Cuccioli, as well as Matthew Boston and William Hill

Tickets for The Seafarer range from $28 - $64, depending on performance and seat location.  Individual tickets as well as subscription packages are available.  George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, in the heart of New Brunswick’s dining and entertainment district.  For tickets and information contact the George Street Playhouse Box Office at 732-246-7717 or visit www.GSPonline.org.  Groups of ten or more are eligible for discounted admission – for further information contact the GSP Group Sales department at 732-846-2895, ext. 134.

It’s going to be a devil of a Christmas in Baldoyle, a coastal settlement just north of Dublin City.  The fog is dense and a group of friends have gathered for what seems to be a simple game of poker, until a mysterious stranger joins the game and raises the stakes damningly high.  Named Best New Play of the Year by The Wall Street Journal, The Seafarer is an unforgettable Irish tale of old friends and holiday spirits – where the whisky bottle is hidden under the couch and everyone lays their cards on the table.

The creative team for The Seafarer consists of scenic designer R. Michael Miller (last season’s Roger is Dead at GSP); lighting designer Howell Binkley (Broadway’s current revival of Gypsy), costume designer Jennifer Moller (Waiting for Godot at Barringston Stage Festival) and Sound Designer Christopher J. Bailey (lighting design for last season’s Oscar and the Pink Lady at GSP).  Composer Scott Killian will supply original music for the production.

Born in Dublin and educated at University College Dublin, Conor McPherson began writing his first plays there as a member of the college's dramatic society, and went on to found Fly by night theatre company which produced several of his plays. He is considered one of the best contemporary Irish playwrights; his plays have been performed internationally (notably in the West End and on Broadway). The Weir won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play for 1999. His 2004 play Shining City prompted the London Telegraph to describe him as 'the finest dramatist of his generation...' A meditation on regret, guilt and confusion, the play is set entirely within the Dublin offices of a psychiatrist who himself has psychological secrets. It subsequently opened on Broadway in 2006 and was nominated for two Tony Awards, including Best Play.  In September 2006, to great critical acclaim, McPherson made his National Theatre debut as both author and director with The Seafarer, starring Karl Johnson and Jim Norton, with Ron Cook as their poker-playing, Mephistophelean guest. Jim Norton won an Olivier Award for his performance while McPherson was nominated for both the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Play. In October of 2007 The Seafarer came to Broadway keeping with it most of its creative team, including McPherson as director and both Jim Norton and Conleth Hill in their respective roles (with stage and film actor David Morse taking over as Sharky, and Ciarán Hinds portraying Mr. Lockhart.) The production on Broadway received rave reviews including such statements as 'McPherson is quite possibly the finest playwright of his generation' from Ben Brantley at the New York Times and 'Succinct, startling and eerie, and the funniest McPherson play to date' from the Observer, in the press. Jim Norton's performance as Richard Harkin in The Seafarer at The National Theatre won the 2007 Best Supporting Actor Laurence Olivier Award, and he picked up a Tony Award in 2008 for Best Featured Actor in a play.  The film of his first screenplay, I Went Down, was critically acclaimed and a great commercial success. His first feature film as director, Saltwater won the CICAE award for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival. His second feature film was The Actors," which he wrote and directed.

Anders Cato (Director) returns to George Street after directing the acclaimed production of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt last season.  In previous seasons, he directed the hilarious Souvenir as well as Mark Nelson in I Am My Own Wife.  This summer he directed Terrence McNally’s Love! Valour! Compassion! and Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession at the Berkshire Theatre Festival.  Other directing credits include: When the World Was Green at American Repertory Theater and Moscow Art Theater; Texts for Nothing at The Royal Court Theatre and at A Contemporary Theater; Blood Orange at Cherry Lane Theater; A Dream Play at the Westbeth Theater; The War in Heaven at La Jolla Playhouse; All My Sons, Tango Palace and In Berlin at 7 Stages; Gross Indecency, The Lynching of Leo Frank and Dirty Blonde at Theater In the Square. At the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Cato also directed Talley’s Folly, The Night of the Iguana, Via Dolorosa, American Buffalo, The Father, The Misanthrope, Heartbreak House, and the award-winning premiere of Craig Lucas’ adaptation of Miss Julie, which he also directed in New York at the Rattlestick Theater.

David Adkins returns to George Street Playhouse after playing the American negotiator Johm Honeyman in A Walk in the Woods during the 2003-04 season.  He has been seen on numerous regional theatre stages around the country, including To Kill a Mockingbird at Barrington Stage Company, Time Flies at The Old Globe, Going Native at Long Wharf, Colossus of Rhodes at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Blithe Spirit at Baltimore’s Center Stage, Boy Gets Girl at the Goodman as well as appearances at The Kennedy Center, Denver Center Theater, ACT – Seattle, Huntington Theatre, The Spoleto Festival and eight seasons at The Berkshire Theatre Festival.  New York credits include Boy Gets Girl at Manhattan Theatre Club, Immaculate Misconception and Sabrina at Primary Stages, and his Broadway debut with the National Actors Theatre in St. Joan.  Television credits include appearances on Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Hope, Trinity, Another World, One Life to Live, the pilot Balq Jaq, directed by Forest Whitaker, and the PBS Mini-Series Ben Franklin.

Matthew Boston has Off Broadway credits that include Disconnect (Working Theater), Magic Hands Freddy (SoHo Playhouse), A Ritual of Faith (Lion Theatre), and Strangerhorse and That Damned Dykstra (Access Theater). His regional credits include The Beard of Avon, The Invention of Love (American premiere), Arcadia, The Cherry Orchard, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, and The Matchmaker (American Conservatory Theater); The Violet Hour, Dancing at Lughnasa, and All’s Well That Ends Well (Dallas Theater Center); The Rainmaker (Centerstage); the world premiere of Donald Margulies’ adaptation of God of Vengeance (A Contemporary Theatre); Cloud Nine (Trinity Repertory Company); Galileo and Pentecost (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Laughter On The 23 rd Floor (The Cleveland Play House); Othello (Great Lakes Theater Festival); Julius Caesar (New Jersey Shakespeare Festival); The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (Stamford Theatre Works); Holiday (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); The Lion in Winter (La Mirada Theater); and Reckless (Princeton Repertory Company). Mr. Boston’s film and television credits include Ghost Ship,Into the Blue, “Camp Wilderness,” “One Life to Live,” and “All My Children.”

Robert Cuccioli has appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables, and the national tour of Camelot, but he is probably best known for his portrayal of the title characters in the 1996 musical Jekyll & Hyde, for which he received a Tony Award nomination and won the Joseph Jefferson Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Drama Desk.  Notable off-Broadway appearances include the recent revival of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Nathan in The Rothschilds, the highly successful Kander and Ebb revue And the World Goes ‘Round (for which he won the Outer Critics Circle Award).  He is no stranger to the regional stages of New Jersey having appeared many times at Paper Mill Playhouse, and The Shakespeare Festival of New Jersey.  Other regional credits include appearances Washington D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre, Westchester Broadway Theatre and the White Plains Peforming Arts Center.  His television credits include guest appearances on Sliders, Baywatch: Hawaii and The Guiding Light.   Feature films include Celebrity and Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target.

William Hill was recently seen on Broadway in the Steppenwolf production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Graduate.  Other stage credits include Hell’s Kitchen Sink, an evening of sketch comedy at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Man With a Flower in His Mouth at Circle Rep, Velvet Elvis, directed by JoAnne Woodward, as well as appearances at HOME, Long Wharf Theatre, River Arts Rep, Syncronicity Space and the Colonial Theatre.    Film credits include Gran Torino, directed by Clint Eastwood, Anything Else, directed by Woody Allen, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Small Time Crooks, The Devil’s Advocate and Striptease.  Television credits include appearances on Fringe, Damages, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Rescue Me, Third Watch and Spin City.

David Schramm is perhaps best known as Roy Biggins, the blustery owner of a rival airline on the long-running NBC sitcom "Wings" (1990-97).  He received his training as a member of the first class taught by famed producer-director John Houseman at Juilliard. Along with fellow graduates, including Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone and David Ogden Stiers, Schramm was a founding member of The Acting Company, which toured the US. Houseman later picked the actor to play King Lear in an off-Broadway production of the Shakespeare classic. Schramm made his debut on Broadway in Bedroom Farce, with John Lithgow.  His early TV work including a limited role as a doctor on the NBC daytime drama Another World. In 1983, Schramm was cast as secretary of defense Robert McNamara in the biographical miniseries Kennedy (NBC, 1983). But Schramm remained relatively obscure until 1988 when he appeared at the Pasadena Playhouse opposite Rebecca DeMornay in a production of Born Yesterday. He then began to receive TV offers, and guest starred on episodes of Wiseguy and Jake and the Fatman, as well as playing supporting roles in the feature films Let It Ride and Johnny Handsome (both 1989). In 1990, he played the recurring role of the police captain on the short-lived CBS series Max Monroe: Loose Cannon and the father of Tess McGill (Sandra Bullock) on the 1990 NBC series version of Working Girl. A supporting role in the 1990 NBC TV-movie Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story brought him to the further attention of the network, and he was slotted onto Wings for the show's premiere.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists.  Managing Director Todd Schmidt was appointed in October 2007.  Founded in 1974, The Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway including Anne Meara’s Down the Garden Paths, the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill and the Broadway hit and Tony® and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays.  In addition to its mainstage season, GSP’s Touring Theatre features five issue-oriented productions that tour to more than 250 schools in the tri-state area, and are seen by more than 75,000 students annually. 

George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Continental Airlines is the official airline of George Street Playhouse.

Photo Credit Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.


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