Kathleen Chalfant Set for Ruhl's 'Dead Man's Cell Phone'

According to Playwrights Horizons' website, Obie Award-winner Kathleen Chalfant will star in the New York premiere of Dead Man's Cell Phone, the new play by Pulitzer Prize-finalist Sarah Ruhl (Eurydice, The Clean House).  She will play the role of the dead man's mother.

Directed by two-time Obie Award winner Anne Bogart (SITI Artistic Director), Dead Man's Cell Phone will begin previews in February 2008 at Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street).

"Gordon is dead, but his cell phone lives on.  When Jean, an empathetic museum worker, answers his ringing phone beside her in a café, she is soon playing unwitting comforter and confessor to the man's grieving friends and family.  Before she knows it, Jean's ensnarled in the underbelly of the dead man's bizarre life.  A wildly imaginative new comedy, Dead Man's Cell Phone is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her assumptions about morality, redemption and the need to connect in a technology-obsessed world," state press notes.

Chalfant has appeared on Broadway in Angels in America, for which she was nominated for a Tony and Drama Desk Award, Racing Demon, the New York premiere directed by Richard Eyre, Dance with Me and M. Butterfly. Off-Broadway work includes: Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, Great Expectations at TheatreworksUSA; Guantanamo at the Culture Project; The Last Letter by Vasily Grossman; Alan Bennett's Talking Heads; Savannah Bay by Marguerite Duras; Far Away by Caryl Churchill; The Vagina Monologues; Wit (Drama Desk, Obie, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics awards); Nine Armenians (Drama Desk nomination); Twelve Dreams (written and directed by James Lapine); Henry V (New York Shakespeare Festival, directed by Doug Hughes, Callaway Award) and True History and Real Adventures (by Sybille Pearson, directed by Michael Mayer).  Awards include 1996 Obie for Sustained Excellence of Performance and Drama League and Sidney Kingsley awards for body of work.  She has made numerous film and TV appearances.  She will also appear in the upcoming Epic Theatre Ensemble production of Howard Barker's A Hard Heart.

Dead Man's Cell Phone was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with funds provided by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Photo of Kathleen Chalfant by Genevieve Rafter-Keddy




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