Cast Set for Majkin Holmquist's STARGAZERS World Premiere at Page 73

Stargazers runs April 8 – May 4 at the Connelly Theater.

By: Feb. 29, 2024
Cast Set for Majkin Holmquist's STARGAZERS World Premiere at Page 73
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Page 73 has revealed the cast and creative team of its upcoming world premiere production of 2024 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Page 73 Majkin Holmquist's Stargazers. Reuniting the organization with director Colette Robert, who helmed the world premiere of Page 73's production of Zora Howard's Pulitzer Prize Finalist play STEW, Stargazers is an ambitious work of grim humor and heartful horror—a play both warm and barbed with social and political insight. In it, a grieving mother contemplates selling her Kansas farm—guided, she says, by the ghost of her daughter. While her ex-husband and neighbors fight to keep the land, an East Coast developer hopes to build a progressive utopia that would alter the landscape forever. Stargazers runs April 8 – May 4 (official opening April 20) at the Connelly Theater.

The cast of Stargazers is: Lizzy Brooks (Macbeth on Broadway, Macbeth in Stride) as Clementine, Baize Buzan (To Kill A Mockingbird on Broadway, the film Being The Ricardos) as Jessica/Bridget, Andrew Garman (The Holdovers film, Greater Clements) as Al/Dedham, Fernando Gonzalez (Skinnamarink, Prepared) as Avery/Andy, Miles G. Jackson (Endlings, “The Other Two”) as Casey/Jim, Karen Lugo (Privacy, Romeo y Julieta) as Aracely, and Kelly McAndrew (The Thin Place, Men on Boats) as Rita.

The creative team includes Lawrence E. Moten III (set), Alicia J. Austin (costumes), Reza Behjat (lights), Tosin Olufolabi (sound), and Caitlyn Murphy (props). Kate Croasdale is the production stage manager, and Carolyn Reich is the assistant stage manager. Casting is by Taylor Williams, CSA.

When she moved in 2015 from central Kansas's Smoky Valley region to the East Coast, homesickness instilled in Majkin Holmquist the desire to write a play from the perspective of a plot of land like the dilapidated farm her family purchased from distant relatives. “Being on this piece of land ignites my imagination — it's so stunning but also eerie; with its overgrown corrals and broken down barn. From the East Coast, I started experimenting with telling a story about the land, and what it might want to say about the people coming on and off it and changing it. I wanted to ask: what is our responsibility to land's history, and to its future?”

Beyond the land itself is another character who never speaks but whose presence is felt throughout the narrative: Cate, Rita's daughter who would have inherited the farm, but died in a horrific accident. Characters — friends, family members, the subordinates of “progressive” corporate visionaries — merge around this unknowable place and the powerful memory of the figure who died on it.

Says Holmquist, “I was very excited by the idea of trying to figure out how to express an unseen character's arc, when she's essentially an inanimate object—she's been dead many years, she's just memory and bones at this point. I remember going into a reading we did earlier this year, wondering if the morbid humor would work, and I was so pleased at the response—that people could at once see its bleakness and its humor and how the two feed each other.”

Robert, who was a script reader for the 2022 Playwriting Fellowship, for which Holmquist was a finalist (before ultimately receiving the honor in 2023), was enamored of Holmquist's work when she encountered it. The director, who helmed a workshop of Stargazers this past spring, says, “I read another play that Majkin submitted, and I've never done this before, because I was reading hundreds of plays and we read about 20 pages of each—but I asked if I could read the whole play. I was so struck by Majkin's talent and voice.”

She adds of Stargazers, “I remember the first time hearing it around the table for the March 2023 workshop, I was so obsessed with its dark humor. I'm excited by how every character in the play is right and wrong about multiple things, how Majkin shows the nuances and gray areas of the arguments they're having.”

Holmquist's familiarity with both Kansas farmland and America's biggest metropolis are evoked in the play's intersection and complication of biases within two poles of the country: with interactions both tinged by – or, sometimes, assumed to be tinged by – coastal neoliberal condescension and white rural bigotry and parochialism.

Holmquist says, “I was experiencing a lot of conversations about the Great Plains, Midwest, Red States, fly-over country, and encountering a lot of really strange assumptions about the place that I come from—and on the flip side, I now go home and encounter very strange assumptions about the East Coast. These two conversations are seldom capturing the reality of the other. I wanted that feeling to persist in the play itself where people are coming with this assumption about who is on this farmland, and the politics of the people there—and then the people in Kansas also see through the lens of their assumptions, about the people who want to change this piece of land.”

“Stargazers feels to me in conversation with other great Page 73-produced writers Samuel D. Hunter and Leah Nanako Winkler,” says Page 73 Artistic Director Michael Walkup. “Certainly the evocation of home and the comedy of closely observed characters – and Majkin also shares their interest in offering audiences glimpses of what feels like a vast, maybe terrifying unknown that pervades our daily lives though is often invisible to us. We're also returning to the Connelly Theater for Majkin's ghost story, an apt follow up to our last premiere in that space, John J. Caswell, Jr.'s supernatural Man Cave.”

About the Cast

Lizzy Brooks

(Clementine). Born and raised in Los Angeles, Lizzy is an actor, singer and screenwriter. BA: Columbia University,  MFA: Brown/Trinity Repertory. Select credits include Broadway: Macbeth (u/s Lady Macbeth, Banquo); Regional Theater: Macbeth in Stride (Shakespeare Theater Company, Philadelphia Theater Company) As You Like It (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Julius Caesar (The Hanover Theater) and Shoebox: A Roadside Picnic (ASF). Film and TV: The Storied Life of AJ Fikry (Hulu/Amazon Prime), “New Amsterdam” (NBC) and “Hostages” (NBC). As always, thanks to her incredible family, friends and team for their unending support. Instagram: @lizzy__brooks

Baize Buzan

(Jessica/Bridget) is a New York-based actress. Select theater includes the role of Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird on Broadway opposite Greg Kinnear, and productions and workshops with Arena Stage, New York Stage and Film, Victory Gardens Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf, and Jackalope Theater Company. Film and television credits include Being The Ricardos, the 2021 SXSW Narrative Competition selection Our Father, NBC's "Chicago Fire," and the indie feature Nobody's Home. She is a graduate of Vassar College and the Yale School of Drama.

Andrew Garman

(Al/Dedham)is a New York-based actor. His extensive theater credits include the world premieres of Greater Clements and Admissions (LCT); The Christians (Drama Desk & Lortel nominations); The Glory of the World (BAM); Ashville (Cherry Lane/Rattlestick); The Ugly One (Soho Rep); Burning (The New Group); A Bright New Boise, The Bereaved, After (The Wild Project/Partial Comfort). Other credits include Salome (Broadway/The Actor's Studio); Tumacho (Connelly Theater/Clubbed Thumb); The Moors (The Duke/Playwrights Realm); Macbeth (Actors Theater of Louisville); A Doll's House Part 2 (George Street Theater); Cymbeline, Hamlet (The Public/NYSF). Most recent TV/Film appearances in “Dead Ringers” and The Holdovers (2024 Oscar nomination for Best Picture) as the headmaster Dr. Hardy Woodrup.

Fernando Gonzalez

(Avery/Andy) is an actor, writer, deviser, science enthusiast, ne'er-do-well, rascal, scamp, and synonym fan. Credits include: Prepared (EST), SPEECH (Lightning Rod Special), Skinnamarink (Little Lord/Next Door @ New York Theatre Workshop), Minor Character (New Saloon/Under the Radar), Play On! (Classic Stage Company), Red Emma and the Mad Monk (The Tank), Breeders (New Light Theater Project), sundry projects at Soho Rep, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, MCC, Primary Stages, The Flea, The Drama League, The Bushwick Starr, and New Dramatists, along with a smattering of film, audio, and web projects. He also translated and adapted Ramón del Valle-Inclán's Bohemian Lights for Live Source's production at HERE Arts Center. Graduate of NYU Tisch/Playwrights Horizons. @uniqueid,

Miles G. Jackson

(Casey/Jim), originally from the outskirts of Atlantic City, is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He was most recently seen in the Sundance Festival premiere of A24's A Different Man opposite Sebastian Stan, directed by Aaron Schimberg, and is featured in the newly released A24 film Problemista opposite writer/director/producer Julio Torres. Miles guest starred in the final season of “The Other Two” (HBO Max), and previously recurred on the Nazi-hunting series “Hunters” (Amazon Studios) and opposite Tracy Morgan in “The Last O.G.” (TBS), both produced by Jordan Peele. On stage, he made his Broadway debut in the company of Chicken & Biscuits. Other stage credits include Endlings at New York Theatre Workshop and American Repertory Theater, as well as productions at Signature Theatre, The Sheen Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Barrington Stage Company, and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Karen Lugo

(Aracely). Off-Broadway: Privacy, Romeo y Julieta, The Mobile Unit: Comedy of Errors (The Public Theater); At the Wedding (LCT3); Actually, We're F*cked (Cherry Lane); Two Mile Hollow (Women's Project). Regional: Girls, Scenes From Court Life (Yale Rep); Water by The Spoonful (Mark Taper Forum); Men on Boats (Baltimore Center Stage); Women of Padilla (Two River Theater); Henry V, Our Town (Chautauqua Theater Festival). TV: "New Amsterdam" (NBC), "Orange is the New Black" (Netflix), "The Americans" (FX). Education: MFA, NYU Grad Acting.

Kelly McAndrew

(Rita). Broadway: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Off-Broadway credits include: The Thin Place, Novenas for a Lost Hospital, Men on Boats, Perfect Arrangement, Abundance (Off-Broadway Alliance Award), Almost, Maine, Good Television, Still Life, The Cataract.  Regional Theatre includes: The Humana Festival ('16, '17 and '19), Westport Country Playhouse, Yale Rep, ART, The Guthrie Theater, Denver Center, The Old Globe and Arena Stage. TV: “New Amsterdam,” “The Sinner,” “The Good Fight,” “Daredevil” (recurring), “Orange is the New Black” (recurring), “House of Cards,” “Elementary,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Smash,” “Law & Order,” and “Gossip Girl.” Film: Peas and Carrots, Commercial Street, A Kid Like Jake (Sundance 2018), Island Zero, Appropriate Behavior (Sundance 2014), In the Family (SPIRIT nomination) and Everybody's Fine (with Robert DeNiro). Training: UMKC.

About the Creative Team

Lawrence E. Moten III

(set). Broadway: Chicken & Biscuits (Circle in the Square). New York: The White Chip (MCC), Covenant (Roundabout), Patience (2ST Uptown), STEW (Page 73). Regional: Twelfth Night,Trouble in Mind (The Old Globe), Black Cypress Bayou (Geffen), Bulrusher (McCarter, Berkeley Rep), Faust (Wolf Trap), Proof, Once Upon a Bridge, The Brothers Size (American Players),Blues for an Alabama Sky (McCarter, Guthrie), Appropriate, The Little Foxes (South Coast Rep),Christmas in Connecticut (Goodspeed), This Little Light of Mine (Santa Fe Opera), Fairview(Wilma), it's not a trip, it's a journey, We Declare You a Terrorist… (Round House). Member: Local USA 829.; @motendesigns

Alicia J. Austin

(costumes) is a Brooklyn-based costume designer for theater, TV, and film. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and the recipient of the Princess Grace Theater Award, Pierre Cardin Honor.

Reza Behjat

(lights) is an Obie Award-winning, New York-based lighting designer for live performances. Off-Broadway: The Ally (Public Theater), Pool Project (59E59), Bees & Honey (MCC Theater), Hang Time (Flea), Arden of Faversham (Red Bull Theater), Good Enemy (Audible), Vagrant Trilogy (Public Theater), With You Were Here (Playwrights Horizons), English (Atlantic Theater), Out of Time (NAATCO), P.S (Ars Nova), Henry VI (NAATCO), Hamlet (Waterwell), etc. Regional: Steppenwolf Theatre, Seattle Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Berkeley Rep, Guthrie Theater, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, Milwaukee Rep, Wilma Theater, Arizona Theater Company, Actors Theater of Louisville, Geva Theater, Long Wharf, Alabama Shakespeare, etc. Awards: Obie Award for Design for English and Wish You Were Here (2022), Knight of Illumination Award for Nina Simone: Four Women (2019).

Tosin Olufolabi

(sound). NYC: Bite Me (WP Theater). DC/MD/VA: Gloria (2018 Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Sound Design for a Hayes Production); There's Always the Hudson and Hi, Are You Single?; Incendiary; The Sensational Sea Mink-ettes (Woolly Mammoth); Ain't No Mo (Woolly Mammoth/Baltimore Center Stage); Life is a Dream (Baltimore Center Stage); Crying on Television, Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, The Sound Inside, The Chinese Lady, Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Everyman Theater); School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play; it's not a trip it's a journey (Round House Theatre); Moses, Fires in the Mirror (Theater J); The Thanksgiving Play (Olney Theatre Center); A Wind in the Door (Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences).

Caitlyn Murphy

(props) is a New York-based props and scenic designer for theater and film. Recent props credits include STEW (Page 73), Snow in Midsummer (Classic Stage Company) SuperHero (Houses on the Moon), Out of Time (NAATCO/ The Public), Where You Are Now, Georgia Mertching is Dead, Behind the Sheet (Ensemble Studio), White Chip (59E59), Porto (WP Theater), This Girl Laughs… (ATC). Set design: Fiddler on the Roof (St. Jean Theater), Diva: Live from Hell (Theater for the New City), Crackskull Row (Irish Rep Theatre).

Kate Croasdale

(production stage manager). Broadway: Sea Wall/A Life, Sunday in the Park with George, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Ghost The Musical, Dead Accounts and Relatively Speaking. Other Credits include: Mary Gets Hers with The Playwrights Realm and Drift at New World Stages. Kate has also worked with: City Center Encores!, The Public Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Two River Theater and Kaimera Productions.

Carolyn Reich

(assistant stage manager). Broadway: The Minutes; Off-Broadway: Gloria: A Life, The Play That Goes Wrong, Original Sound, Esai's Table, The Old Settler; National Tour: Frozen, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Bodyguard, The Bridges of Madison County; Regional: Bay Street Theater, American Repertory Theater, Hartford Stage, Trinity Repertory Company, McCarter Theatre Center, and six summers at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Graduate of the University of Michigan.

About Majkin Holmquist

Majkin Holmquist is the 2024 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Page 73, where she was also the 2023 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow and a member of the 2023 Page 73 Writers Group. She is originally from the Smoky Valley region in central Kansas where she was co-founder of The Next Stage Theatre Company. Her play Tent Revival received a digital production through Paula Vogel's Bard at the Gate series in partnership with the McCarter Theatre Center in 2023. Other plays include two headed calf, Every Anne Frank, Quickmatch, Dog Pack Play, and Skinflint. Credits include The Quonsets (co-written with Alex Lubischer, Yale Cabaret), Broken Melodies (WVIT Women in Theatre Festival), and Styx Songs (contributing writer, Yale Cabaret). Her work has been developed at Page 73, New York Stage and Film, Woodshed Collective, Bay Street Theatre, Ucross, and Roundabout Theatre Company. She is currently a member of Midnight Oil Collective and is a Lecturer in Playwriting at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. She holds a BA in Secondary English Education from Bethany College and an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.

About Colette Robert

Colette Robert is a director and playwright from Los Angeles, based in New York. She directed the world premieres of STEW by Zora Howard at Page 73 (Pulitzer Prize Finalist) and Behind the Sheet by Charly Evon Simpson at Ensemble Studio Theatre, where she is a member. She recently directed the first New York revival of Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage with Keen Company. Regional credits include City Theatre Company, Penumbra Theatre, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Colette is an alumnus of The Drama League's Beatrice Terry Residency, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and The Public Theater's Van Lier Directing Fellowship. Her play The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents the 84th Annual Star-burst Cotillion in the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel, which she also directed, premiered last spring, produced by The Movement Theatre Company and New Georges. She is an adjunct lecturer at NYU and the 2023 SDCF Denham Fellow.

Cast Set for Majkin Holmquist's STARGAZERS World Premiere at Page 73


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