Academy Award Nominee Leo Leads HEART OF THE CITY at Theatre at 30th St. Starting 6/11

Academy Award Nominee Leo Leads HEART OF THE CITY at Theatre at 30th St. Starting 6/11

Fern Kershon and Orange Thought Productions today announced that 2009 Academy Award nominee Melissa Leo would head The Cast of their new production, Heart of the City, a new play by Eric Lane, directed by Martha Banta. Performances will begin June 11th at the Theatre at 30th Street, for a limited engagement. Additional casting will be announced shortly. 

Heart of the City is the quintessential New York tale -- from a woman on the ultimate date-from-hell; to a mismatched romance on the Brooklyn IRT; to a young artist trying to juggle inspiration and a survival job; to a couple hoping to conceive a child; plus a lesson on the proper way to make a Matzo ball. This new play artfully combines humor, joy, sorrow, love and romance as it takes you on a dazzling ride of the heart.

Melissa Leo has received universal critical adulation for her tour-de-force performance in Frozen River, which premiered at Sundance where it won the grand-jury prize for best drama. For Frozen River, she won the Independent Spirit Award and received a 2009 Best Actress Academy Award nomination. In addition, Leo won the National Board of Review "Spotlight Award," a Best Actress SAG Award nomination, and recognition as one of Variety's "10 Actors to Watch." As a working actor for more than 20 years Melissa Leo is also known for her genius portrayal of Detective Kay Howard on Homicide: Life on the Streets and for her performances in The Young Riders, 21 Grams, and Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

Eric Lane's plays include Heart of the City, Ride, Times of War, Cater-Waiter and Dancing on Checkers' Grave, which starred Jennifer Aniston. Eric wrote and produced the award-winning short films First Breath and Cater-Waiter, which he also directed. With Nina Shengold, he has edited 11 play anthologies for Penguin and Vintage Books, earning a Lambda Literary Award nomination. Eric is an honors graduate oF Brown University. Honors include a Writer's Guild Award, the Berrilla Kerr Playwriting Award and the La MaMa Playwright Award. Fellowships at Yaddo, VCCA, Millay and ST. James Cavalier in Malta.

Martha Banta has directed Eric Lane's plays Lights Along The Highway (One Dream Theater), Cater Waiter (HERE), and Times Of War (Adirondack Theater Festival) as well as several new plays in New York and regionally, including at Rattlestick Theater, New Georges, EST, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, St. Louis Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Berkshire Theater Festival, and countless productions at Adirondack Theater Festival where is a founder and former Artistic Director for 13 seasons, by writers such as Melissa James Gibson, Leslie Ayvazian, Bill Bowers, Steve Murray, Mark Setlock, and Matt Wilkas. She is also the resident director of Mamma Mia on Broadway and the tour..

Fern Kershon is the principal of Call Back, the fully dedicated media sales, promotion and public relations company focused on advertising, marketing and theater projects. As an advertising executive she held positions as Fashion Advertising Director for Modern Bride and Your Prom magazines and the Publisher of Beauty Magazine. She worked as Associate Producer on the Lucille Lortel Award-winning Off-Broadway production of Shakespeare's R&J. She is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute and a member of TRU-Theater Resources Unlimited. Fern is currently working with Films Unlimited on a new film. The collective producing team is responsible for the Oscar winning movies -- Crash and Million Dollar Baby..

Orange Thoughts Productions is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to developing original works for stage and screen. With a core group of actors, writers and directors in NYC, the company has created award-winning plays and films which have gone on to be performed, published and screened around the world. The company has premiered plays at Symphony Space, HERE, St. Mark's Church, La MaMa, and others. Screenings include the DGA, the British Film Institute, NY's Public Theatre, and festivals worldwide. Orange Thoughts has originated works with such notable artists as Jennifer Aniston (in her stage debut), 2009 Oscar nominee Melissa Leo, Neal Huff (The Wire), Lynn Cohen (Munich), Victor Williams (King of Queens), Marcia Jean Kurtz, Lisa Kron, John Kelly and stage director Martha Banta.

Performances will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday evenings at 8 PM, with matinees Saturday at 2 PM (except 6/13) and Sunday at 3 PM. The Theatre at 30th Street is located at 259 West 30th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues; to purchase tickets, which will be $18, visit or call 212/868-4444.

For more information, visit

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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