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Dick Latessa, Brenda Pressley, et al. Join Vinyard Theatre's THE LYONS

Tony Award winner Dick Latessa and actresses Kate Jennings Grant and Brenda Pressley have joined the cast of Nicky Silver's play THE LYONS, being given its world-premiere this fall with previews beginning September 21 prior to an official opening night October 11 at Vineyard Theatre (108 E. 15 St.), it has been announced by Vineyard Theatre artistic director Douglas Aibel and co-artistic director Sarah Stern.

Mr. Latessa, Ms. Jennings Grant and Ms. Pressley join THE LYONS' previously-announced cast members, Tony Award winner Linda Lavin, Michael Esper and Gregory Wooddell. The play is directed by Mark Brokaw, whose numerous directing credits include Vineyard productions of THE DYING GAUL, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME, EIGHT DAYS (BACKWARDS) and AMERICAN FIESTA.

THE LYONS -- Mr. Silver's seventh new play to premiere at The Vineyard -- is an outrageously funny and stirring work about a family grappling with the impending death of its patriarch. When Ben Lyons' wife, Rita, and their grown children gather to say goodbye, they learn that despite being a family, each of them is utterly isolated. Afraid of closeness and afraid of solitude, they are propelled into foreign territory - human connection.

Vineyard Theatre has also announced the design team for THE LYONS: scenic design is by Allen Moyer (The Vineyard's THE DYING GAUL; Tony nominee GREY GARDENS); lighting design by David Lander (The Vineyard's BEAUTIFUL CHILD; Tony nominee BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO); costume design by Michael Krass (The Vineyard's BEAUTIFUL CHILD, Tony nominee THE CONSTANT WIFE); and original music and sound design by David Van Tieghem (The Vineyard's THE METAL

Linda Lavin won a Tony Award, as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critics' and Helen Hayes Awards, for her performance in BROADWAY BOUND in 1987. She is a five-time Tony nominee for her roles in THE LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS, THE DIARY OF Anne Frank, THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST'S WIFE, and most recently,COLLECTED STORIES. She was a two-time Golden Globe winner for her role as Alice on the TV show "Alice". Most recently she was seen off-Broadway in OTHER DESERT CITIES, for which she earned Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Lucille Lortel Award nominations. Her recent film credits include roles in "The Back-Up Plan" and "Wanderlust." Linda was born, raised and educated inPortland, Maine and graduated from the College of William and Mary, which recently conferred on her a Doctor of Arts degree. She started her stage career in the chorus of musical and credits her great friend and mentor, Harold Prince, with changing her life by casting her in her first speaking role on a New York stage and other roles thereafter. When not touring her concert act with her musical director, Billy Stritch, or promoting her new CD, entitled "Possibilities," she and her multi-talented husband and drummer, Steve Bakunas, manage the Red Barn Studio, a 47-seat community theatre they built in Wilmington, North Carolina, for which they have also performed or directed nine plays in the past three years, among them DOUBT, DRIVING MISS DAISY, SPEED-THE-PLOW, THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST'S WIFE, COLLECTED STORIES and RABBIT HOLE. They also have a beagle/jack named Mickey and a wonderful life.

Dick Latessa previously appeared at The Vineyard in its revival of Marc Blitzstein's musical JUNO. won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his performance in the Tony Award-winning musical HAIRSPRAY. Other Broadway credits: CABARET, PROPOSALS, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED..., DAMN YANKEES, THE Will Rogers FOLLIES, RUMORS, BROADWAY BOUND, RAGS, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, PASSIONE, I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES, CHAPTER TWO, FOLLIES, AWAKE AND SING!, DUBARRY WAS A LADY; LI'L ABNER. Mr. Latessa's Off-Broadway credits
include: CHAUCER IN ROME, OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS, FIT TO BE TIED AND SOPHISTRY. His TV and film work includes: "The Substance of Fire," "Alfie," "The Good Wife," and "Six Degrees."

Kate Jennings Grant was last seen on Broadway in the 2009 revival of GUYS AND DOLLS. Her other Broadway credits are PROOF and AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER. Other stage credits include: THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO, THE BEARD OF AVON and RADIANT BABY. Her TV and film work includes: "Body of Proof," "Parenthood," "Royal Pains," "White Collar," "Rescue Me," Diane Sawyer in Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon," "United 93," and "Kinsey."

Brenda Pressley appeared at The Vineyard in YOU DON'T MISS THE WATER. Her stage work includes: DREAMGIRLS (original company), THE AMERICAN PLAY, CATS, THE MOONEY SHAPIRO SONGBOOK, THE FIRST BREEZE OF SUMMER, MOM HOW DID YOU MEET THE BEATLES?, SEVEN GUITARS, FRAN'S BED, GOODWILL, MARVIN'S ROOM, AND THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND-THE SONGS OF KANDER AND EBB and BLUES IN THE NIGHT. Her TV and film work includes: "Cradle Will Rock," "Twisted," "Body of Proof," and "Brewster Place" (with Oprah Winfrey).

Michael Esper has been seen on Broadway in AMERICAN IDIOT and A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. His Off-Broadway credits include THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES, subUrbia, and THE AGONY AND THE AGONY. His regional credits include ME, MYSELF AND I at McCarter Theatre. His TV and film credits include: "All Good Things," "Bunker Hill," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Dying is Easy."

Gregory Wooddell appeared in CYMBELINE at Lincoln Center Theatre, in the world-premiere of Terrence McNally's SOME MEN at Philadelphia Theatre Center, the American premiere of SCHOOL OF NIGHT at Mark Taper Forum, and the world premiere of MIRACLE AT NAPLES at Huntington Theatre. His film and TV credits include "Exposed," "30 Rock," "Hard Ball," "The Paradise Virus," and "Third Watch."

Nicky Silver's plays include seven which have premiered at Vineyard Theatre: PTERODACTYLS (Oppenheimer Award, Kesselring Award, Drama Desk nom, Outer Critics Circle nom), RAISED IN CAPTIVITY (Drama Desk nom, Outer Critics Circle nom), THE EROS TRILOGY, THE MAIDEN'S PRAYER, MY MARRIAGE TO ERNEST BORGNINE (Vineyard Lab Production) , THE ALTRUISTS, BEAUTIFUL CHILD and THE AGONY AND THE AGONY (Vineyard Lab Production). Other notable plays include THREE CHANGES (Playwrights Horizons), THE FOOD CHAIN (Broadway, Outer Critics
Circle nom),), FAT MEN IN SKIRTS, FIT TO BE TIED, FREE WILL AND WANTON LUST (Helen Hayes Award), the new book for the Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hart musical, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, and more.

Mark Brokaw directed the Vineyard Theatre's Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Paula Vogel's play HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, as well as Ms. Vogel's THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME, Craig Lucas' THE DYING GAUL, AMERICAN FIESTA and Jeremy Dobrish's EIGHT DAYS (BACKWARDS) all at The Vineyard. He directed the musical CRY BABY on Broadway. Other Off-Broadway credits include AS BEES IN HONEY DROWN, Lisa Kron's 2.5 MINUTE RIDE, THE GOOD TIMES ARE KILLING ME and Kenneth Lonergan's LOBBY HERO.

One of the nation´s leading non-profit theatre companies dedicated to new plays and musicals and bold programming, The Vineyard has consistently premiered provocative, groundbreaking works including the Pulitzer Prize-winning productions of Edward Albee´s THREE TALL WOMEN and Paula Vogel´s HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, Tarell Alvin McCraney´s WIG OUT!, The Civilians´ THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY, Nicky Silver´s PTERODACTYLS and RAISED IN CAPTIVITY, the Laura Nyro musical ELI´S COMIN´, A BOY AND HIS SOUL, written and performed by Colman Domingo, Adam Rapp´s THE METAL CHILDREN, Will Eno´s MIDDLETOWN, Christopher Shinn's PICKED and most recently, Lab Productions of NOW. HERE. THIS., the latest from the creators of [title of show], and the Broadway-bound revival of ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER.

Later this season following the debut of THE LYONS, Vineyard Theatre will produce Zayd Dohrn's new play OUTSIDE PEOPLE as a co-production with Naked Angels, and a Lab Production of the musical THE LANDING (previously titled ANDRA) by Tony Award winner John Kander and his new collaborator Greg Pierce.

Vineyard Theatre is a recipient of the Tony Award for the musical AVENUE Q and continues as producer of the musical´s current production at New World Stages in New York. The Vineyard produced the world-premiere of the musical THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS -- with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by David Thompson, with direction and choreography Susan Stroman - in March 2010 and on Broadway. The Vineyard also produced the musical [title of show] both off and on Broadway.

Douglas Aibel is Artistic Director of the Vineyard Theatre, Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell is Executive Producer, Sarah Stern is Co-Artistic Director and Rebecca Habel is Managing Director.

Scheduled through October 30, tickets to THE LYONS will go on sale to the general public on August 31. Performances will be Tuesdays at 7pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. To guarantee a seat now, become a member of The Vineyard's 2011-12 season, currently available online at, or by calling the box office at 212 353 0303.


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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