Alison Fraser, Tom Hewitt, Lenny Wolpe, Karen Ziemba and More to Star in HEARTBREAK HOUSE
Gingold Theatrical Group announces the cast for the Shaw's timely classic comedy Heartbreak House, which will begin a limited Off-Broadway engagement on Tuesday August 28th at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues) and continue through September 29th only.
Artistic Director David Staller directs a cast that features Alison Fraser, Tom Hewitt, Jeff Hiller, Kimberly Immanuel, Derek Smith, Raphael Nash Thompson, Lenny Wolpe, and Karen Ziemba. The design team includes Brian Prather, scenic design; Barbara A. Bell, costumes; Christina Watanabe, lighting; and Toby Algya, sound.This new adaptation of Shaw's infamous WWI play is set during the first days of the London Blitz (September 1940). We're in London's Ambassadors Theatre when the sirens go off. With the performance interrupted, the cast and audience have joined together to seek shelter in the theatre's basement. To entertain the crowd, the cast performs Shaw's most vital paean to resistance and perseverance against tyranny, Heartbreak House. Inspired by actual events as lived by Hermione Gingold during the WWII's darkest days, this revelatory approach will make Shaw's masterpiece more timely than ever. After many years struggling as a classical actress, Hermione Gingold became famous during the early days of the war in London performing satirical musical revue sketches. As the bombs fell, she kept the shows going until the explosions came too close for comfort and would bring everyone below the stage for safety. To keep spirits up, she and her co-stars would entertain the group by presenting plays. The most often requested play was Shaw's most ardent plea for us to stand up to the coming storm, Heartbreak House. This production, inspired by GTG's namesake, a long-time friend of GTG Founding Artistic Director David Staller, will recreate one of these lively events. Heartbreak House, which had its US premiere performed by New York's famed Theatre Guild in 1920, brings a wildly disparate group of people together in the English countryside over a September weekend to make major decisions about their future. No stone is left unturned as each character is forced to come to terms with his or her past while finding a way to move forward in the face of the coming crisis. Inspired by the artistry and activism of George Bernard Shaw, the Gingold Theatrical Group creates theatre and theatre-related programs that promote Shaw's humanitarian ideals including universal human rights, the freedom of thought and speech, and the equality of all living beings. Programs include full Off-Broadway productions as part of the Shaw New York annual festival, the Project Shaw monthly reading series, outreach and education programs, as well as the cultivation of new plays through GTG's Speakers' Corner writers' group. All of GTG's programming is designed to inspire lively discussion and peaceful activism with issues related to human rights, the freedom of speech, and individual liberty. This was the purpose behind all of Shaw's work and why GTG chose him as the guide toward helping create a more tolerant and inclusive world through the exploration of the Arts. Founded in 2006 by David Staller, GTG has carved a permanent niche for the work of George Bernard Shaw within the social and cultural life of New York City, and, through the Project Shaw reading series made history in 2009 as the first company ever to present performances of every one of Shaw's 65 plays (including full-length works, one-acts and sketches). GTG brings together performers, critics, students, academics and the general public with the opportunity to explore and perform Shaw's work and to create new work based on the values that Shaw championed. Through performances, symposiums, educational programs, new play development, and outreach, GTG encourages all people to rejoice in the possibilities of the future. Performances for Heartbreak House will be Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday evenings at 8pm, and matinees Saturday 2pm & Sunday at 3pm, with one special 2pm matinee Wednesday September 26th. All performances will take place at the Lion Theatre at Theater Row (410 West 42nd Street between 9th and Dyer Avenues). The performance will run two-and-a-half hours, including intermission. Tickets for Heartbreak House will be $69 (including theater restoration fee) and can be purchased online at Telecharge.com, by phone at 212-239-6200 or in person at the Theatre Row Box Office.