Atlantic Theater's ANIMAL, Starring Rebecca Hall, Finds Full Company

By: Apr. 13, 2017
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Atlantic Theater Company has announced complete casting for The New York premiere play Animal by Clare Lizzimore (Mint) directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch (Harper Regan, Bluebird).

Animal will feature Kristin Griffith (Atlantic's Bottom of the World), Golden Globe Award nominee Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Broadway's Machinal), Greg Keller (Broadway's Our Mother's Brief Affair), David Pegram (Broadway's War Horse), Morgan Spector (Broadway's A View from the Bridge) and Fina Strazza (Broadway's Matilda the Musical).

Animal will begin previews on Wednesday, May 24, officially open Tuesday, June 6 and play a limited engagement through Sunday, June 18, 2017, Off-Broadway at Atlantic Stage 2 (330 West 16 Street).

Rachel has it all: marriage, house, career. So why does she suddenly have this creeping feeling? Did she leave something behind? Or is there something in the walls...? Her husband thinks she needs time; her psychiatrist suggests positive thinking. But then the visions start. A darkly comic play about the underside of domesticity, the complexity of the brain in chaos, and the thin line between sinking and survival.

Playwright Clare Lizzimore's first play Mint was produced at the Royal Court in London and long-listed for the prestigious Bruntwood Prize. As a director, her production of Mike Bartlett's Bull at The Young Vic received the 2015 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, premiered at Sheffield Theatres and then transferred Off-Broadway to the 59E59 Theaters.

Director Gaye Taylor Upchurch returns to Atlantic where she staged the acclaimed productions of Simon Stephens' plays Harper Regan and Bluebird. She directed Lucy Thurber's Stay Off-Broadway at The Rattlestick Theater, Naomi Iizuka's Language of Angels for Lincoln Center Institute and Patrick Huguenin's Paper Dolls for The New York Fringe Festival, which received an Outstanding Ensemble Award. She worked with Sam Mendes for three years on the Trans-Atlantic Bridge Project, including the production of Richard III starring Kevin Spacey.

Animal will feature scenic design by Rachel Hauck, costume design by Sarah J. Holden, lighting design by Bradley King, sound design by Stowe Nelson, original music byDaniel Kluger and casting by Caparelliotis Casting: David Caparelliotis, CSA and Lauren Port, CSA and Joseph Gery.


Clare Lizzimore (Playwright) is a playwright and an Olivier Award-winning director. Her first play, Mint (2013), was produced at the Royal Court's Open Court Season and long-listed for the prestigious Bruntwood Prize. Her first radio play was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2014. Her new radio play The Rage was broadcast in 2016. Her play Animal premiered at Studio Theatre and was a Helen Hayes nominee for The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical. She is currently under commission with The Royal Court Theatre and the Almeida Theatre. As a director, she has worked extensively in new writing, and her latest production, Bull by Mike Bartlett, won the 2015 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in An Affiliate Theatre for its production at The Young Vic; it premiered at Sheffield Theatres and also toured to 59E59 in New York. Other recent directing credits include One Day When We Were Young by Nick Payne in the Roundabout Season at Paines Plough at Sheffield Theatres and Shoreditch Town Hall; Lay Down Your Cross by Nick Payne and On the Rocks by Amy Rosenthal at Hampstead Theatre; Pieces of Vincent by David Watson at Arcola Theatre; Faces in the Crowd by Leo Butler at The Royal Court Theatre; War and Peace and Fear and Misery by Mark Ravenhill at The Royal Court Theatre; Jonah and Otto by Robert Holman at the Royal Exchange Theatre; and Tom Fool by Franz Xaver Kroetz at Glasgow Citizens Theatre and the Bush Theatre, which was nominated for four CATS Awards. Lizzimore'sdirecting awards include the Channel 4 Theatre Directors Award and the Arts Foundation Theatre Directing Fellowship for Innovation. She has been resident director at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, and a staff director at the Royal National Theatre.

Gaye Taylor Upchurch (Director). Atlantic: Bluebird with Simon Russell Beale; Simon Stephens's Harper Regan; Nancy Harris's Our New Girl. Off-Broadway: Lucy Thurber's Stay (Rattlestick); Laura Marks's Bethany (Women's Project). Regional: the world premieres of Clare Lizzimore's Animal (The Studio Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play), Nick Gandiello's The Blameless (The Old Globe); The Year of Magical Thinking (with Kathleen Turner at Arena Stage); Anna Ziegler's The Last Match (The Old Globe); Melissa Ross's Of Good Stock (South Coast Repertory), and at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival she directed An Iliad (also at West Point) and As You Like It, winner of the international Falstaff Award for Best Production, nominated for Best Director (also at The Folger Theater). Ms. Upchurch has developed new work at New Dramatists, New York Stage and Film, The Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Playwrights' Center, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. She is an alumna of the Women's Project Theater Directors Lab, The Drama League, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Kristin Griffith (Old Woman) recently played opposite Judd Hirsch in The Stone Witch at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. At Atlantic, Neil Pepe directed her in Jody's Mother, and she played in Lucy Thurber's Perry Street and Bottom of the World. Broadway debut: A Texas Trilogy, received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in The Fatal Weakness at the Mint Theater. Ms. Griffith has appeared at the Roundabout, the Promenade (The Holy Terror, written and directed by Simon Gray), the New Georges (Stretch, a Fantasia), Manhattan Theatre Club (In the Summer House), the WPA, and the Women's Project Theater (Bethany, with America Ferrera, The Most Deserving). At the Irish Repertory Theatre she was seen in Da, The Master Builder, It's a Wonderful Life and Ernest in Love. A member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, she has appeared in 15 "Marathons," in plays by, among others, David Mamet, Frank Gilroy, and Joyce Carol Oates. She has appeared in regional theaters across the country and at the Shaw Festival in Canada. She guest-starred on "Law & Order" (and its franchises "SVU" and "Criminal Intent"), "Blue Bloods," "New Amsterdam," "Ed," "Wonderland" and "Third Watch." She co-starred with Jennifer Garner in the TV movie Rose Hill, with Jack Lemmon in The Long Way Home, and in Flesh and Blood with Denzel Washington and John Cassavetes. Feature Films include Woody Allen's Interiors, Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill and the Merchant/Ivory film The Europeans.

Rebecca Hall (Rachel) returns to The New York stage following her Broadway debut performance in Machinal and a notable career on the London stage. Off-Broadway: As You Like It (Brooklyn Academy Of Music) and A Winter's Tale and The Cherry Orchard (The Bridge Project). West End: Mrs. Warren's Profession (Ian Charleson Award), Twelfth Night(National Theatre). Other stage credits include The Fight for Barbara, Man and Superman, Galileo's Daughter and Don Juan (Theatre Royal). Film: Christine, The BFG, The Gift, Tumbledown, Transcendence, A Promise, Closed Circuit, Iron Man 3, Lay the Favorite, The Awakening (BIFA, Gotham Nominations), The Town (National Board of Review Best Ensemble Award), Everything Must Go, Please Give (Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award), DorIan Gray, Frost/Nixon (SAG Cast Ensemble Nomination), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Golden Globe, BAFTA London Critics Circle Nominations), The Prestige (London Critics Circle Nomination), Starter for 10 and the upcoming films The Dinner, Permission and Holmes and Watson. Television: HBO/BBC's "Parade's End," UK Channel 4's "Red Riding: 1974" (BAFTA Award), HBO's "Joe's Palace," BBC Wales "Wide Sargasso Sea," BBC's "Don't Leave Me This Way," UK Channel 4's "The Camomile Lawn."

Greg Keller (Stephen). Broadway: Our Mother's Brief Affair, Wit (MTC). Off-Broadway: Sundown, Yellow Moon (Ars Nova/WP Theater), Of Good Stock (MTC), The Who and The What (LCT3), Belleville (NYTW), Somewhere Fun (Vineyard), Cradle and All (MTC), That Pretty Pretty and Steve & Idi (Rattlestick), Smudge (Women's Project), Telethon(Clubbed Thumb), The Seagull with Dianne Wiest (CSC). Regional: War, Elevada, Scenes From Court Life (Yale Rep), Seminar with Jeff Goldblum, 33 Variations with Jane Fonda (Ahmanson). Greg received his MFA from NYU and was a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School.

David Pegram (Dan). Broadway: War Horse (Lincoln Center). Selected Regional Credits: The Lion In Winter (Guthrie Theater), The Piano Lesson (McCarter Theatre), A Few Good Men (Alley Theatre), Fly (St. Louis Rep), Broke-Ology (Theatreworks Hartford). New York Theater: Autumn's Harvest (Lincoln Center Education), Much Ado About Nothing(Smith Street Stage), The New York Spectacular (Radio City Music Hall), The 1's and 2's (The Tank), 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (The Tank). Television: "Madam Secretary," "The Family. Film: Camp Wedding." Awards: 2015 Innovative Theatre Award (Best Ensemble, Much Ado About Nothing), 2016 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship. Education: BFA, Mason Gross School of the Arts: Rutgers University. David would like to thank the Leonore Anneberg Foundation for their generous support. He is originally from Houston, TX.

Morgan Spector (Tom). A classically trained actor, Morgan Spector's extensive body of work spans the stage, small and big screen alike. Spector will next be seen in two feature films that will be premiering at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Spector stars opposite Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens in the relationship drama Permission directed and written by Brian Crano. He also stars opposite Liev Schreiber in director Philipp Falardeau's biopic Chuck, the true story of boxer Chuck Wepner who inspired the film series Rocky. The movie premiered at last year's Toronto Film Festival and will be released by IFC Films in May. This spring, he will be seen starring as the lead in the television series "The Mist" based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The series will premiere June 2017 on Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV). Spector made his Broadway debut in Gregory Mosher's Tony Award-winning revival of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge starring opposite Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson. He was later seen in The New Group's production of Erika Sheffer's Russian Transport starring opposite Janeane Garofalo. Spector's performance earned him a Drama Desk Award nomination. Other significant stage performances include Dissonance (Bay Street), Yanks (workshop directed by David Cromer); The Lion King (National Tour); Enemies: A Love Story (Wilma Theatre). Spector's past television credits include a notable turn on HBO's critically acclaimed series "Boardwalk Empire" where he portrayed Frank Capone, as well as roles in "Allegiance" (NBC), "Person of Interest" (CBS), "Orange is the New Black" (Netflix), "Zero Hour" (ABC), "Do No Harm" (NBC) and "How to Make it in America" (HBO). A graduate of the prestigious American Conservatory Theater, Spector resides in New York.

Fina Strazza (Little Girl) made her Broadway debut at eight years old as the youngest actress to perform the title role in Matilda the Musical. She first appeared Off-Broadway at St Clements Theater (A Loss of Roses, dir. Dan Wackerman). Workshop credits include Anastasia (dir. Darko Tresnjak); Alice Bliss (dir. Mark Brokaw, New Horizons); Snow Child(dir. Molly Sims, Arena Stage); and Summer and Smoke (dir. Jack Cummings III, Classic Theater Company). With numerous appearances on both big and small screens, Fina was chosen by director Mariah Carey to star in the Hallmark Channel's original film A Christmas Melody, for which the legendary singer wrote, produced, and recorded with Fina a new version of her number one single, "Oh, Santa!" Fina is delighted to be joining Atlantic amid such fine company and extends her gratitude for all artistic opportunities to John Mara Jr, Ellen and Rachel at Paradigm, and her family, who inspire her routinely.

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is the award-winning Off-Broadway theater that produces great plays simply and truthfully utilizing an artistic ensemble. Atlantic believes that the story of a play and the intent of its playwright are at the core of the creative process. The plays in the Atlantic repertory, from both new and established playwrights, are boldly interpreted by today's finest theater artists and resonate with contemporary audiences. Celebrating over 30 years of theater, Atlantic has produced more than 150 plays including Tony Award-winning productions of Spring Awakening (Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik) and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh); Pulitzer Prize recipient Between Riverside and Crazy (Stephen Adly Guirgis); New York Drama Critics' Circle winner for Best New Play The Night Alive (Conor McPherson); world premieres of The Penitent (David Mamet); Tell Hector I Miss Him (Paola Lázaro); The Band's Visit (David Yazbek, Itamar Moses); Marie and Rosetta (George Brant); Hold on to Me Darling (Kenneth Lonergan); Guards at the Taj (Rajiv Joseph); Skeleton Crew (Dominique Morisseau); I'm Gonna Pray for You So Hard (Halley Feiffer); Posterity (Doug Wright); Found (Hunter Bell, Eli Bolin, Lee Overtree); Almost an Evening, Offices, Happy Hour and Women or Nothing (Ethan Coen); What Rhymes With America (Melissa James Gibson); 3 Kinds of Exile (John Guare); Storefront Church (John Patrick Shanley); Body Awareness (Annie Baker); revivals of Cloud Nine (Caryl Churchill) and Brecht and Weill's musical The Threepenny Opera directed by Martha Clarke; acclaimed productions of Bluebird and Harper Regan (Simon Stephens); Our New Girl (Nancy Harris); The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Alan Sillitoe, adapted by Roy Williams); The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Cripple of Inishmaan (Martin McDonagh); Pulitzer Prize finalist The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, The Jammer, and These Paper Bullets! (Rolin Jones); The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois and Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling (Adam Rapp); Through a Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman, adapted by Jenny Worton); Farragut North (Beau Willimon); Chimichangas and Zoloft (Fernanda Coppel); Blue/Orange (Joe Penhall); Port Authority and Dublin Carol (Conor McPherson); Writer's Block (Woody Allen); American Buffalo, Romance, and Edmond (David Mamet); The Cider House Rules, Part I (adapted by Peter Parnell); Good Television (Rod McLachlan); Celebration & The Room, The Collection & A Kind of Alaska and The Hothouse (Harold Pinter); Dying for It and Gabriel (Moira Buffini); Oohrah! (Bekah Brunstetter); Mojo,Parlour Song, and The Night Heron (Jez Butterworth); Boys' Life and The Lights (Howard Korder); Distant Fires (Kevin Heelan); The Lying Lesson and Missing Persons (Craig Lucas).Atlantic has garnered 12 Tony Awards, 19 Lucille Lortel Awards, 21 Obie Awards, 7 Drama Desk Awards, 6 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 3 Drama League Awards, 3 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.