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Atlantic Announces US Premiere of Bluebird Starring Simon Russell Beale

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is proud to announce the first production of its 2011-2012 season, the U.S. premiere of Simon Stephen's play BLUEBIRD, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch and starring Olivier Award winner and Tony Award® nominee Simon Russell Beale, Tobias Segal and Atlantic Theater Company members Kate Blumberg, Mary McCann, and Todd Weeks.

BLUEBIRD will begin previews Tuesday, August 9, officially open Monday, August 22, and play a limited engagement through Friday, September 9, 2011 off-Broadway at Atlantic Stage 2 (330 West 16 Street).

Additional casting, creative team and schedule information will be announced shortly.

Jimmy MacNeill (Beale) is a London taxi driver who seems to draw personal stories and confessions from his passengers without even trying. Over the course of Simon Stephens' meticulously observed and deeply compassionate play, the truth of Jimmy's own life and secret burdens unfurls with each new "fare." In this acclaimed early play, the first of several he has since had produced at The Royal Court Theatre, Stephens illuminates big questions about how we transcend our own mistakes, and the value and cost of intimacy. He is an unparalleled observer of the small details that unlock joy and pain for the throngs of people anonymously going about their business in the big city.

Acclaimed British playwright Simon Stephens makes his New York and Atlantic debut with the U.S. premiere of Bluebird, which was originally produced at the Royal Court in London. His plays include the Olivier Award winning On the Shore of the Wide World, Herons, Port, One Minute, Christmas and Country Music among many produced throughout the UK. He is the Artistic Associate at the Lyric, Hammersmith in London.

Director Gaye Taylor Upchurch makes her Atlantic Theater Company debut. She recently staged Naomi Iizuka's Language of Angels for Lincoln Center Theater Institute and Patrick Huguenin's Paper Dolls for the New York Fringe Festival, which received an Outstanding Ensemble Award. She is currently working with Sam Mendes on the upcoming Bridge Project production of Richard III starring Kevin Spacey.

Olivier Award winner and Tony Award® nominee Simon Russell Beale returns to the New York stage following starring in the Tony Award® winning musical Spamalot and Tom Stoppard's critically acclaimed play Jumpers. Atlantic founding member Mary McCann recently completed the pilot "Vital Signs," directed by Jonathan Demme. She appeared in the original casts of the world premieres of Ethan Coen's Almost an Evening and Offices and starred in Annie Baker's acclaimed world premiere play Body Awareness at Atlantic. Since appearing in Lincoln Center's When the Rain Stops Falling, company member Kate Blumberg returns to Atlantic, where she also appeared in Almost an Evening and the world premiere of Beau Willimon's Farragut North. Tobias Segal makes his Atlantic stage debut after appearing on Broadway last season in The Miracle Worker. Company member Todd Weeks has recently appeared on the Atlantic stage in David Mamet's Keep your Pantheon and Romance, the world premiere of Lucy Thurber's Scarcity, and the critically acclaimed production of The Voysey Inheritance.

Atlantic's Stage 2 programming and new play development activities are made possible, in part, by the leadership support of Time Warner, Inc.

Stage 2 programs are also supported by the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the John Golden Fund, the Lucille Lortel Foundation, the Lila Acheson Wallace Fund for the Arts, and the Shubert Foundation as well as public funds from the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts which is celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.

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Simon Russell Beale is an Associate Artist of the RSC and National Theatre. RSC performances include 'Konstantin' in The Seagull and 'Ariel' in The Tempest. Numerous productions at the National Theatre include Hamlet, which won him the Evening Standard Best Actor Award, 'Felix Humble' in Humble Boy (also West End), 'George' in Jumpers (also West End/Broadway), 'Benedick' in Much Ado About Nothing, 'Andrew Undershaft' in Major Barbara and 'Sir Harcourt Courtly' in London Assurance. 'Vanya' in Uncle Vanya and 'Malvolio' in Twelfth Night at the Donmar Warehouse and New York's Brooklyn Academy won him Best Actor at the 2002 Olivier and Evening Standard Awards as well as a Village Voice Obie. Simon also starred in Monty Python's Spamalot in New York and London. In 2009 Simon played 'Leontes' in "The Winter's Tale" and 'Lopakhin' in The Cherry Orchard, both directed by Sam Mendes at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, on a European tour, and at the Old Vic. In 2010 Simon starred in the thriller, Death Trap at the Noel Coward Theatre. He played Sir William Collyer in a film version of The Deep Blue Sea directed by Terence Davies, and a cameo role in the film My Week With Marilyn. In 2011 he played The Duchess in the ballet Alice in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Television work includes "A Dance to the Music of Time" for which he won the Royal Television Society Award and a BAFTA for Best Actor, and has filmed two series of "Spooks" for Kudos Productions and for BBC 4 he has presented two series of "Sacred Music" and a series entitled "Symphony." On BBC Radio 4 he has recently played the role of 'George Smiley' in The Complete Smiley, new adaptations of the books by John Le Carre. He has previously appeared at the BBC Proms in 1996 when he narrated the Stravinsky Promenade, and at the 2003 First Night when he narrated Ivan the Terrible, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. In 2010 he took part in the prom celebrating the 80th birthday of Stephen Sondheim. In 2003 Simon was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the Arts.

Kate Blumberg. Broadway: The Odd Couple (u/s). Lincoln Center: When the Rain Stops Falling. Off-Broadway: The Syringa Tree. At the Atlantic Theater Company (ensemble member): Farragut North, Almost an Evening, Parlour Song, Birth and After Birth, Celebration and The Room, A Second Hand Memory, Writer's Block, The Hiding Place, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, The Hothouse, Wolf Lullaby, Once in a Lifetime, Dangerous Corner, Blithe Spirit, The Women. Playwrights Horizons: Other People. Film: The Deal, Choke, Raving, We Pedal Uphill, The Cry, Seaside Trilogy, Serendipity, Picture This. Television: "CSI," "Louis," "Ugly Betty," "Medium," "Grey's Anatomy," "Law and Order: Criminal Intent," "Whoopi," "All My Children," "One Life to Live," "Loving." Graduate of NYU, Tisch School of the Arts.

Mary McCann is a founding member of Atlantic Theater Company. Mary recently filmed the CBS Pilot "Vital Signs" directed by Jonathon Demme and can be seen the upcoming Atlantic production 10x25. She appeared in the original casts of the world premiere productions of Ethan Coen's Almost An Evening and Offices and starred in Annie Baker's acclaimed world premiere play Body Awareness at Atlantic. Mary has appeared in many Atlantic productions including the hit musical Spring Awakening, The Cherry Orchard, The Night Heron, The Hiding Place, This Thing of Darkness, The Beginning of August, Wolf Lullaby, The Water Engine, Edmond, Dangerous Corner and Shaker Heights. Broadway: The Old Neighborhood, Our Town with Spalding Gray and Search and Destroy. Other off-Broadway: Oleanna (Orpheum Theater); Uncommon Women and Others (Second Stage); Boys' Life (Lincoln Center) and Hot Keys (Naked Angels). American Repertory Theater: Oleanna and Boston Marriage. Film credits include the role of "MaryAnn" in Little Children starring Kate Winslet, The Broad Room written by Candice Bushnell, The Green (upcoming) and the films Sordid Things and House of the Devil, The Spanish Prisoner, Things Change and The Night We Never Met. On television she has guest starred on "Cashmere Mafia," "The Naked Brothers Band," as "Ruthie Cheales" in "The Unit," "Law & Order," "Law & Order Special Victims Unit," "Law & Order Criminal Intent," "Sex and the City," "Sports Night," "ER," "Spin City," "Promised Land, " It Must Be Love, Door to Door and The Con. Producing credits include the films Edmond starring William H. Macy and Colin Fitz.

Tobias Segal. Last season played James in The Miracle Worker, his Broadway debut. Past productions include The Cherry Orchard and A Winter's Tale in Sam Mendes' Bridge Project (BAM, Old Vic, European and Asian Tour.) Off Broadway: Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick, The Play Company. Regional: Philadelphia Theater Company, Denver Center. Film and television: Petunia, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Men in Black 3, Rocky Balboa, "Medium," "Law & Order," "Law & Order SVU," "Body of Proof." He has been nominated for both the Drama Desk and Drama League awards for his performance in From up Here at MTC.

Todd Weeks is an Atlantic Company member who has appeared in Atlantic productions of David Mamet's Keep your Pantheon, Scarcity, The Voysey Inheritance, Romance, Sea of Tranquility, The Cider House Rules, Distant Fires, and many others. He also appeared in the original cast of Howard Korder's Boys' Life and The Lights with Atlantic and subsequent productions at Lincoln Center Theater. Broadway: The Full Monty (original cast), The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Summer and Smoke and Our Town. National Tours: Angels in America and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Off-Broadway: Some Americans Abroad (Second Stage), Therese Raquin (CSC) among others. Regional: The Old Globe (The Full Monty, Lucky Duck), Dallas Theater Center (Angels in America, Of Mice and Men), Alliance Theater (Angels in America, The Underpants), Mark Taper (Romance), Playmakers Rep (Copenhagen), Long Wharf Theater (The Front Page) and the Williamstown Theater Festival (Therese Raquin). Television and Film: "Rubicon," "The Defenders," "Men of a Certain Age," "Detroit 187," "Modern Family," "Numb3rs", "Medium," "The Unit," "Law & Order(s)," "Ed," "One Life to Live," The Deal (Sundance), Love Thy Brother (Sundance, Aspen Comedy Festival and HBO Comedy), Mind the Gap (Showtime), South by Southwest Film Festival) and Amos & Andrew and the upcoming film Light Years directed by Atlantic member Maggie Kiley.

Simon Stephens (Playwright) plays include Bluebird (1998, Royal Court); Herons (2001, Royal Court); Port (2002, Royal Exchange); One Minute (2003, ATC/Sheffield Theatres/Bush Theatre); Christmas (2003, APE/Bush Theatre); Country Music (2004, Royal Court); On The Shore Of The Wide World (2005, Royal Exchange/National Theatre); Motortown (2006, Royal Court); Pornography (2007, Deutsche Schauspielhaus, Hamburg); Harper Regan (2008, National Theatre); Sea Wall (2008, Bush Theatre.); Punk Rock (2009, Lyric Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange); Marine Parade written with Mark Eitzel (2010, ETT at the Brighton Festival); The Trial of Ubu (2010, Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Schauspielhaus Essen); A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky written with Robert Holman and David Eldridge (2010, Lyric Theatre);Wastwater (2011, Royal Court) ; I Am The Wind the English language version of Jon Fosse's play (2011, Young Vic). His plays have been performed throughout Europe, the U.S., Asia and Australia. Since 2009 has been Artistic Associate at the Lyric, Hammersmith. For television he has written "Pornography" (channel 4, 2009) and with Dominic Savage "Dive" (BBC 2010).

Gaye Taylor Upchurch (Director). Select New York directing credits: Naomi Iizuka's Language of Angels (LCT Institute); Patrick Huguenin's Paper Dolls (NY Fringe; Outstanding Ensemble Award); Charles Forbes' minor gods (Summer Play Festival); JorDan Harrison's Fit for Feet (Drama League), The History Lesson (which she wrote and directed for The Culture Project). She has also worked with playwrights Kirsten Greenidge, Laura Eason, Dano Madden, Jessica Provenz and Mando Alvarado, and has developed new work at The Kennedy Center, The Barrow Group, Dixon Place, EST, Sonnet Rep, Fordham University and LCT Director's Lab. As Associate Director of The Bridge Project (BAM/Old Vic), GT worked with Sam Mendes and took his productions of The Cherry Orchard, Winter's Tale, Tempest, and As You Like It on an international tour (Hong Kong; Singapore; Paris; Madrid; Epidavros, Greece, others). She is currently working with Mendes on the upcoming Bridge Project production of Richard III, starring Kevin Spacey. She is an alumna of Women's Project Directors Lab, The Drama League, and NC School of the Arts.

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is the award winning Off-Broadway theater company dedicated to producing great plays simply and truthfully utilizing an artistic ensemble. Atlantic believes that the story of the play and the intent of the playwright are at the core of the creative process. Atlantic maintains an ensemble of acclaimed actors, writers and directors including Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and director David Mamet and Academy Award® nominated actor William H. Macy who founded Atlantic twenty five years ago in 1985.

Atlantic and Neil Pepe were awarded a 2009 Drama Desk Award for "exceptional craftsmanship, dedication to excellence and productions that engage, inspire and enlighten." In 2006, Atlantic was awarded the Lucille Lortel Prize for Outstanding Body of Work as its critically acclaimed production of Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant Of Inishmore transferred to Broadway, where it was nominated for five 2006 Tony Awards® including Best Play.

Atlantic's acclaimed world premiere production of its first musical Spring Awakening, with music by Duncan Sheik, book and lyrics by Steven Sater and direction by Michael Mayer, won 8 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical.

During the 2008-2009 season, Atlantic and Druid's critically acclaimed production of Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, directed by Tony Award® winner Garry Hynes, was extended three times and received four 2009 Lucille Lortel Award nominations including Outstanding Revival, three Outer Critics Circle Award nominations including Outstanding Revival, a Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Revival, and was awarded a 2009 Lortel for Outstanding Ensemble Performance.

Since its inception, Atlantic has produced over 125 productions including the Tony Award® winning play The Beauty Queen of Leenane, the world premieres of Academy Award® winner Ethan Coen's comedies Almost an Evening and Offices, Woody Allen's A Second Hand Memory and Writer's Block, David Mamet's Romance and his adaptation of The Voysey Inheritance, the musicals Spring Awakening and 10 Million Miles, Conor McPherson's Port Authority, Peter Parnell's Trumpery, Lucy Thurber's Scarcity, Annie Baker's Body Awareness, Beau Willimon's Farragut North, Bekah Brunstetter's Oohrah!, David Pittu's What's That Smell: The Music of Jacob Sterling, Leslie Ayvazian's Make Me, Tom Donaghy's Minutes From The Blue Route, Edwin Sanchez's Trafficking in Broken Hearts, the American premieres of Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange, Conor McPherson's Dublin Carol, Jez Butterworth's The Night Heron, the New York premieres of David Mamet's Keep Your Pantheon and School, Jez Butterworth's Parlour Song and Mojo, Rolin Jones' The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow and Peter Parnell's The Cider House Rules as well as revivals of David Mamet's American Buffalo and Edmond, Harold Pinter's The Hothouse and the double bill of Celebration and The Room and Harold Brighouse's Hobson's Choice.

For general inquiries and/or group sales for both the main stage and Atlantic Stage 2 productions, call 212-645-1242.


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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