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David Rasche and Kecia Lewis Lead THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH Tonight at Theatre for a New Audience

Theatre for a New Audience has announced the performance schedule, cast and creative team for director Arin Arbus's (pictured, left) new staging of Thornton Wilder's comic masterpiece The Skin of Our Teeth, the first major New York production since 1998.

Wilder's characters live in both the New Jersey suburbs and the Ice Age. Visual surprise combines with farce, burlesque, satire and brains (with allusions to the Bible, Homer, Plato and Finnegan's Wake, to name a few) in Wilder's groundbreaking story about a family-and humanity's-ability to somehow survive wars between the sexes and countries as well as natural disasters.

The play, written just before America entered World War II, premiered in 1942 on Broadway, directed by Elia Kazan, winning Wilder his second Pulitzer for Drama. The Skin of Our Teeth follows Arbus's celebrated repertory staging last season of Wilder's adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House, alongside David Greig's version of Strindberg's The Father.

The Skin of Our Teeth will run tonight, February 14, through March 19 at Polonsky Shakespeare Center (262 Ashland Place), TFANA's state-of-the-art permanent home in the heart of the Brooklyn Cultural District. Performances will take place February 14-19, 21, 23-26 and 28, March 1-4, 9-11 and 15-19 at 7:30pm; February 22 at 7:00pm; and February 25 & 26, March 4 & 5, 11 & 12, and 18 & 19 at 2pm. Critics are welcome as of Saturday, February 25, at 2:00pm for an official opening on Tuesday, February 28, at 7:30pm.

Tickets are $85-95 (with a limited number of premium seats available at $110 each) and are on sale to the public, as of today, at, 866.811.4111 and the Polonsky Shakespeare Center box office. New Deal tickets-for those aged 30 and under, and for full-time students of any age-are available for all performances for $20, and can be purchased online, by phone at the box office, in advance or day-of, with valid ID.

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) is a Sui Generis playwright and novelist who is the only American author to win Pulitzers for both drama (Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth) and a novel (The Bridge of San Luis Rey).

Wilder wrote The Skin of Our Teeth with "thoughts about endurance and fortitude in War." The Antrobus family-George, the inventor of the alphabet and wheel, and Maggie, inventor of, among other things, the apron; their restless children, Henry and Gladys; and Sabina, the family's maid and George's mistress-live through the Ice Age, the Great Flood and war. The ambition of Wilder's play lies not only in its perspective on human history and World War II-in which Wilder himself served, missing the Broadway opening of his play as a result-but also in its theatrical innovation. It's a play within a play with projections (designed by the celebrated Peter Nigrini for Arbus's production) and direct address between actors and audience that blurs boundaries between reality and fiction. Arbus stages a company of 33, including 17 professional actors plus a group of 16 artists, musicians and teachers of diverse backgrounds and ages who will play, among other roles, Refugees (at the time of the play's writing, of course, many arrived in America fleeing Nazis).

In Arbus's production, David Rasche (The Country House, films including Burn After Reading and United 93) and Kecia Lewis (Mother Courage, Marie and Rosetta, Dreamgirls) will play Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, and Reynaldo Piniella (The Death of the Last Black Man..., The Tempest with CTH, "Louie," Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and Kimber Monroe (Arbus's A Doll's House and The Father) will play their children, Henry and Gladys. Mary Wiseman (Thérèse Raquin, An Octoroon) will play their maid, Sabina.

The cast also includes Austin Reed Alleman as Fred Bailey, Usher and a Conveener; Andrew R. Butler as Homer and Act II Announcer; Fred Epstein as Dinosaur and bassist; Eric Farber as Mammoth and percussionist; Arthur French as Professor and Chair Pusher; Max Gordon as a Conveener and pianist; Robert Langdon Lloyd as Moses, Chair Pusher and Tremayne; Sam Morales as Muse, Hester and a Conveener; Mary Lou Rosato as Fortune Teller and Muse; Jessie Shelton as Telegraph Boy, Ivy, Muse, and violinist; Storm Thomas as Act I Announcer and Broadcast Official; and William Youmans as Fitzpatrick.

The Skin of Our Teeth features an original score by César Alvarez (An Octoroon, Futurity). The creative team includes Sonya Tayeh (choreography), Riccardo Hernandez (set design), Cait O'Connor (costume and puppet design), Marcus Doshi (lighting design), Stowe Nelson (sound design), Peter Nigrini (projection design), J. Allen Suddeth (fight direction) and Dave Bova (hair, wig and makeup design).

In a Critic's Pick review of Arbus's A Doll's House / The Father in 2016, Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, "That's what I love about Ms. Arbus as a director: It's like having a dream teacher at your elbow as you navigate difficult classics, one who leads you into insights without pushing." The New Yorker called the double bill "inspired," and American Theater wrote, "Rarely have two plays been paired as effectively...These late-19th-century masterpieces about marriage, seen side by side, have a stunning impact, offering penetrating, perturbing insights into the complexities of this social institution that resonate resoundingly today." Charles Isherwood included Arbus's Off Broadway debut, her production of Othello for Theatre for a New Audience, on his New York Times list of the best theater of 2009, and named her "the most gifted new director to emerge [that] year."

Companion Programming:

TFANA Talks, in which artists and scholars will discuss the production, will take place following the matinees at 2pm on March 4 & 18.

Every ticket purchased to the performance February 19 at 7:30pm includes a drink ticket for use at the post-show party with the cast and crew.

About the Artists:

Arin Arbus (Director) is the Associate Artistic Director at Theatre for a New Audience, for which she directed last season's repertory productions of A Doll's House and The Father, and, in previous seasons, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Measure for Measure and Othello. She staged La Traviata for The Canadian Opera Company and The Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at Houston Grand Opera. She was a Drama League Directing Fellow, a Princess Grace Award Recipient and spent several years making theatre with prisoners at Woodbourne Correctional Facility in association with Rehabilitation Through the Arts.

Austin Reed Alleman (Fred Bailey) is making his TFANA and Off Broadway debut. Theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (New Orleans Shakespeare Festival), Cymbeline (New Orleans Shakespeare Festival), Marat/Sade (Purchase Rep), and Stage Door (Purchase Rep). He was the composer for Ten Days in a Madhouse (Strangemen and Co.) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Purchase Rep).

Andrew R. Butler (Homer, Act II Announcer) has appeared in FUTURITY (Soho Rep./ArsNova), War Lesbian (Dixon Place), Political Subversities (Joe's Pub), Folk Wandering (Ars Nova), Doomocracy (Creative Time), and Comfort Dogs... (JACK). As a writer/composer Andrew has written commissions for Playwrights Horizons Downtown and TheaterworksUSA and received support and development from Ars Nova, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Civilians, Fresh Ground Pepper, and The Polyphone Festival. He is a founding member of experimental theatre company harunalee.

Fred Epstein (Dinosaur, Bassist) is a Brooklyn-based producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist who has toured both nationally and internationally with a wide range of artists. Regional credits include The Elementary Spacetime Show (World Premiere, Philly Fringe 2016); FUTURITY (Soho Rep./ArsNova); Left of the Sugar Shack and Behind the Pantry (La Mama Club); The Fever (MASS MoCA/Sundance). Recent projects include hip-hop duo BLOOD+SAND, electronic/house collaboration ANML and SEX MEX, a monthly Americana themed burlesque/variety show.

Eric Farber (Mammoth, Percussionist) is a percussionist, theater designer, and sound artist based in Brooklyn. Eric's "wildly animated" performance and "positively gasp-worthy" design was featured in FUTURITY (Soho Rep./ArsNova) and The Foundry Theatre's Good Person of Szechwan (Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Music in a Play - Public Theater, LaMaMa). Eric is a member of The Lisps.

Arthur French (Professor, Chair Pusher) was last seen on Broadway in The Trip To Bountiful. He is a Founding member of the Negro Ensemble Co. and a Recipient of Actors Equity 2015 Paul Robeson Award for distinguished contributions to the performing arts.

Max Gordon (Conveener, Pianist) is making his Off-Broadway debut.

Robert Langdon Lloyd (Moses, Chair Pusher, Tremayne) is a founding member of Peter Brook's company and a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. American theatre credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Marat/Sade, Conference of the Birds, Carmen, and Mahabharata with director Peter Brook; Othello, Measure for Measure, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, and King Lear with director Arin Arbus; Hay Fever, Legacy, and Up Centre Between with director Shauna Kanter; and Burial at Thebes with director Charlotte Moore. Film credits include The Mahabharata, Paul Scofield's King Lear, Julie Taymor's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Tell Me Lies.

Kecia Lewis (Mrs. Antrobus) most recently created the role of Sister Rosetta Tharpe to critical acclaim in Atlantic Theater Company's Marie and Rosetta, as well as the title role in Mother Courage and Her Children at CSC. Other Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Leap of Faith, Chicago, The Drowsy Chaperone, Big River, Once On This Island, Dessa Rose (Drama Desk nom.), and Dreamgirls. Television credits include "Conviction," "Blue Bloods," "Limitless," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," and recurring roles on "Law and Order SVU."

Kimber Monroe (Gladys) recently appeared in TFANA's repertory productions of The Father and A Doll's House. Broadway credits include South Pacific. Regional credits include The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds. Film credits include Applesauce.

Sam Morales (Muse, Hester, Conveener) recently appeared in TFANA's production of Pericles directed by Trevor Nunn. NYC credits include Halley Feiffer's It's Just Weird Now... Regional credits include Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Tavern, and The Comedy of Errors (Scranton Shakespeare Festival).

Reynaldo Piniella (Henry) was last seen in The Death of the Last Black Man... (Signature Theatre Company). Television credits include "Sneaky Pete," "Greenleaf," "Law & Order: SVU," "NYC 22," "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "Us & Them," "Louie," "Flesh & Bone," "The Carrie Diaries," and "The Plug" (pilot). He will next be seen in Venus at Signature Theatre Company.

David Rasche (Mr. Antrobus) began his career as an actor at "The Second City" cabaret in Chicago. His Broadway credits include David Mamet's Speed the Plough, Lunch Hour (dir Mike Nichols), Loose Ends, and The Shadow Box. Off-Broadway credits include Little Miss Sunshine (Second Stage); Chekhov's The Seagull for which he earned the Richard Seff award (Classic Stage); Regrets Only (Manhattan Theater Club); Edmond (Atlantic Theater Company); Last Dance (Manhattan Theater Club); and No One Will Be Immune (Ensemble Studio Theater). Film and television credits include In The Loop, The Coen Brothers' Burn After Reading, Flags of Our Fathers, United 93, The Sentinel, An Innocent Man, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Just Married, and The Big Tease.

Mary Lou Rosato (Fortune Teller, Muse) appeared on Broadway in Once Upon a Mattress, School for Scandal, My Life as a Fairytale, The Suicide, Inspector General, Robber Bridegroom, Beggar's Opera, Measure for Measure, Time of Your Life, Three Sisters. Off Broadway credits include Henry the 5th (TFANA), Winter's Tale, Misanthrope, Mother Courage, Cradle Will Rock, Ten by Tennessee, and School for Scandal. Film credits include Quiz Show, Hudsucker Proxy, The Wedding Banquet Two Bits, Spike of Bensonhurst, Brenda Starr, and Illuminata. Television credits include "Titus," "Law & Order," "Caroline in the City," "Warehouse 13," "The Lot," "Miami Vice," and "Stone Pillow."

Jessie Shelton (Telegraph Boy, Ivy, Muse, Violinist) is a multidisciplinary artist and actor based in NYC. Off-Broadway credits include Hadestown (NYTW); FUTURITY (Soho Rep./ArsNova); and Patrick Barlow's A Christmas Carol (Dir. Joe Calarco). Other New York credits include The Servant of Two Masters (Sonnet Repertory Theatre/Dir. Nicolas Minas); Salome (JACK/Dir. Lileana Blain Cruz) and The Power of Emotion (Under the Radar Incoming/Dir. Katherine Brook).

Storm Thomas (Act I Announcer, Broadcast Official) is a playwright, performer, puppet maker, and award winning poet. Storm performed in the Off-Broadway production of FUTURITY and has worked with César Alvarez since 2012. Since receiving an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence, Storm co-founded To Rena, Love Us, the whimsical performance company, with Marisa Clementi. Storm has written Notes on the Past (Transgender Theater Festival @The Brick Theater) and the musical ANCIENT FUTURE, which will be performed this summer.

Mary Wiseman (Sabina) appeared in Soho Rep's An Octoroon at Polonsky Shakespeare Center with Theatre for a New Audience in 2015. Broadway credits include Thérèse Raquin. Regional credits include Off the Main Road (Williamstown), Clybourne Park and Comedy of Errors (CTC). Television credits include the upcoming Netflix original series "The Characters".

William Youmans (Fitzpatrick) has appeared on Broadway in Wicked, The Little Foxes (with Elizabeth Taylor), Billy Elliot, Farnsworth Invention, Bright Star, Big River, Titanic, Baz Luhrman's La Boheme, Pirate Queen, and Finian's Rainbow. Off Broadway credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream (TFANA, dir. Julie Taymor) Henry V, Flux, Coraline (MCC); Road Show (Sondheim); Circle in the Square: The Widow Claire (Horton Foote); New Victory: Brundibar/Giraffe (Tony Kushner). Film credits include Birdman, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Mrs. Soffel, Compromising Positions, Nadine, Fresh Horses, and A League of Their Own. Television credits include "A Private History of A Campaign that Failed" (Peabody Award), "Little Match Girl," and "Separate But Equal."

César Alvarez (Composer) is composer/lyricist/librettist whose musical FUTURITY received the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. César also received the 2016 Jonathan Larson Award. Recent credits include The Elementary Spacetime Show (FringeArts/UArts); FUTURITY (Soho Rep./ArsNova, A.R.T, Walker Art Center, Mass MoCA); An Octoroon (Soho Rep, TFANA. Drama Desk Nomination); Washeteria (Soho Rep); and Good Person of Szechwan (LaMaMa, Public Theater. Drama Desk Nomination). César is a Visiting Associate Professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the Artistic Director of Polyphone, a festival of the emerging musical at UArts.

Sonya Tayeh (Choreographer) is a New York City-based choreographer and teacher. Her work is a tribute to her Detroit roots-a constant yet grounding influence that inspires her to create the aggressive, sometimes jarring, emotional and powerful choreography she has become best known for. Tayeh has gleaned accolades for her work across the worlds of commercial dance and theater, including two Emmy nominations for Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" (2015 and 2013) and the 2014 Lortel Award and an Obie Award for Outstanding Choreography for her work on David Henry Hwang's dance-play Kung Fu. Some of Tayeh's recent choreographic credits include: You'll Still Call Me By Name (New York Live Arts Commissioned Artist/directed and choreographed); Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (City Center Encores!/dir. Leigh Silverman); Martha Graham Dance Company's 2015 Lamentation Variation series (The Joyce Theater); Iphigenia in Aulis (Classic Stage Company/dir. Rachel Chavkin); The Last Goodbye (Old Globe/dir. Alex Timbers); Pieces for LA Ballet's New Wave and Next Wave series; and Cirque du Soleil's Walk for Water (premiered in Las Vegas). Her upcoming credits include: Public Works project (Show TBA, Public Theater's Delacorte Theater 2017) and Hundred Days (Under the Radar Festival, 2017).

Riccardo Hernandez (Scenic Designer) was the scenic designer for the recent TFANA repertory productions of A Doll's House and The Father, as well as the 2014 production of King Lear. Broadway credits include The Gin Game, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, The People in the Picture (Studio 54), Caroline, or Change, Topdog/Underdog, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, Noise/Funk (also National Tour and Japan), Parade (Tony/Drama Desk Noms), The Tempest, and Bells are Ringing. Recent credits include La Mouette, Jan Karski, Mon Nom Est Une Fiction (both for Avignon Festival: Cour d'Honneur, Opera Theatre, France), The Dead (Abbey Theater, Dublin) Il Postino (L.A. Opera, PBS Great Performances), Philip Glass' Appomattox (SFO), and Lost Highway (London's ENO/Young Vic).

Cait O'Connor (Costume and Puppet Designer) is an illustrator, painter and costume designer who lives and works in New York City. She recently obtained her M.F.A. from the Department of Design for Stage and Film at NYU. In addition to fine art, Cait works in opera, dance, theater and film. She has recently designed large-scale puppets and interactive costumes with Michael Curry for The Paris Opera. Cait has exhibited work in New York Galleries including the Monique Goldstrom gallery in Soho. She was awarded a Graduate Assistantship by New York University and was the recipient of the Island Fund Award in 2004.

Marcus Doshi (Lighting Designer) designs for theatre, dance, opera, and non-performance-based work. With TFANA he has designed the repertory productions of A Doll's House and The Father, King Lear (Henry Hewes nomination), Othello (Lortel nomination), Hamlet (Drama Desk & Henry Hewes nominations), Measure for Measure, Macbeth, The Broken Heart, and The Taming of the Shrew. Recent work includes Party People at The Public Theater, Svadba at Angiers Nantes Opera, Mary Page Marlow and Visiting Edna at Steppenwolf. His designs have been seen at most major regional theatres and opera companies and internationally at Festival Lyric d'Aix-en-Provence, La Commédie-Française, La Monnaie, Venice Biennale, Holland Festival, Canadian Opera, and the Sydney Festival among many others.

Stowe Nelson (Sound Designer) has recently designed in New York for The Wolves (Playwrights Realm); Miles for Mary, Samuel & Alasdair (Mad Ones, Drama Desk Nom.); Small Mouth Sounds (Ars Nova); Indian Summer (Playwrights Horizons); The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature); Buyer & Cellar (Barrow Street). Regional credits include The Book of Will (Denver Center); The 39 Steps, 4000 Miles (Actors Theatre of Louisville); and Macbeth and An Iliad (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival).

Peter Nigrini (Projection Designer) has designed on Broadway for The Heidi Chronicles, An Act of God, The Best Man, Fela!, 9 to 5 and Say Goodnight Gracie. Other designs include Dear Evan Hansen (2nd Stage Theater, Arena Stage), Here Lies Love (The Public Theater/Royal National Theatre London), Amelié (Berkeley Rep), Grounded (The Public Theater), Invisible Thread (2nd Stage Theatre), Fetch Clay, Make Man (New York Theater Workshop, McCarter Theatre Center), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, (2nd Stage Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Dallas Theatre Center), Notes from Underground (Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Theatre for a New Audience), Grace Jones' - Hurricane Tour (Hollywood Bowl, Hammerstein Ballroom), Rent (New World Stages), Elsewhere (BAM), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (New York City Opera), Blind Date (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance), and The Orphan of Zhao (Lincoln Center Festival). Peter is a founding member of the Obie award-winning theater company, Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Awards include the first ever Drama Desk for Outstanding Projection Design and 2013 Hewes Design Award for Here Lies Love, and a Special Lortel Award for Grounded.

J. Allen Suddeth (Fight Director) has worked on TFANA's productions of A Doll's House, The Father, Pericles, Tamburlaine, The Killer, The Broken Heart, Henry V, Cymbeline, As You Like It and several more. J. Allen is a Broadway veteran of 12 shows, over 150 Off-Broadway shows and hundreds of regional theatre productions. He has staged over 750 television shows and teaches at SUNY Purchase and StrasburG. Allen authored a book, Fight Directing for the Theatre.

Dave Bova (Hair/Wig & Makeup Designer) has recently designed for TFANA's productions of The Servant of Two Masters, A Doll's House, The Father, Pericles, and The Killer. Other NYC credits include Violet and The Real Thing, Little Miss Sunshine, Here Lies Love, Booty Candy, My Name is Asher Lev, Good Person of Szechwan, The Ohmies, Romeo and Juliet, Nothing But Trash. Regional credits include Marie Antoinette and Last of the Boys (Steppenwolf Theatre); The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Merchant of Venice (DC. Shakespeare Theatre); Guys and Dolls, Taming of the Shrew, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Great Lakes Theater Festival); and Les Mis and Light in the Piazza (Weston Playhouse).

Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is a modern classic theatre. It produces Shakespeare alongside other major authors from the world repertoire, such as Harley Granville Barker, Edward Bond, Adrienne Kennedy, Richard Nelson, Wallace Shawn and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. TFANA has played Off- and on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally.

In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline, directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC; in 2007, TFANA was invited to return to the RSC with The Merchant of Venice, directed by Darko Tresnjak and starring F. Murray Abraham. In 2011, Mr. Abraham reprised his role as Shylock for a national tour.

After 34 years of being itinerant and playing mostly in Manhattan, Theatre for a New Audience moved to Brooklyn and opened its first permanent home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in October 2013. Built by The City of New York in partnership with Theatre for a New Audience, and located in the Brooklyn Cultural District, Polonsky Shakespeare Center was designed by Hugh Hardy and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture with theatre consultants Akustiks, Milton Glaser, Jean-Guy Lecat, and Theatre Projects. Housed inside the building are the Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage (299 seats)-the first stage built for Shakespeare and classical drama in New York City since Lincoln Center's 1965 Vivian Beaumont-and the Theodore C. Rogers Studio (50 seats).

TFANA's productions have been honored with Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations and reach an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural background.

Theatre for a New Audience created and runs the largest in-depth program in the New York City Public Schools to introduce students to Shakespeare, and has served more than 128,000 students since the program began in 1984. TFANA's New Deal ticket program is one of the lowest reserved ticket prices for youth in the city: $20 for any show, any time for those 30 years old and under or for full-time students of any age.

Photo of Arin Arbus by Phyllis Graber Jensen.

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