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Lois Smith Leads MARJORIE PRIME, Opening Tonight at Playwrights Horizons

Playwrights Horizons presents the New York premiere of 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist Marjorie Prime, a new play by Jordan Harrison (Maple and Vine, Doris to Darlene at PH; Amazons and Their Men; Kid-Simple; "Orange is the New Black"). Commissioned by Playwrights Horizons and directed by Obie Award winner Anne Kauffman (Detroit, Maple and Vine, Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra at PH; Belleville; This Wide Night; The Thugs), the play is the third production of the theater company's 2015/2016 Season. The production opens tonight, December 14, at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street), and will play a limited engagement through Sunday, January 3.

The cast of Marjorie Prime features Noah Bean (One Arm, The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall, "12 Monkeys," "Nikita," "Damages"), two-time Obie Award winner Lisa Emery (Marvin's Room at PH, Casa Valentina, The Women, Iron, Curtains, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin), Stephen Root (All My Sons, Office Space, "NewsRadio," "King of the Hill," "True Blood," "24," "Boardwalk Empire") and two-time Tony Award nominee Lois Smith (After the Revolution, 100 Saints You Should Know at PH; Buried Child; The Grapes of Wrath; Annie Baker's recent John; "True Blood").

It's the age of artificial intelligence, and 86-year-old Marjorie (Ms. Smith) -- a jumble of disparate, fading memories -- has a handsome new companion (Mr. Bean) who's programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance? In this richly spare, wondrous new play, Jordan Harrison explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits -- if any -- of what technology can replace.

The production features scenic design by Laura Jellinek, costume design by Jessica Pabst, lighting design by Tony Award nominee Ben Stanton and sound design by Daniel Kluger. Production Stage Manager is Vanessa Coakley.

MARJORIE PRIME was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons in association with Theater Masters and its Visionary Playwright Award, and with additional funds provided by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Commissioning Program. Its world premiere was produced by Center Theatre Group at The Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles, CA) in September 2014.


Jordan Harrison's (Playwright) play Marjorie Prime had its world premiere last fall at The Mark Taper Forum and was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist. His other recent work The Grown-Up premiered in 2014 at the Humana Festival. His previous Humana Festival productions include Kid-Simple, Act a Lady, Fit for Feet and Maple and Vine, which went on to be produced at Playwrights Horizons in New York and A.C.T. in San Francisco. Harrison's other plays include Doris to Darlene (Playwrights Horizons), Amazons and Their Men (Clubbed Thumb), Finn in the Underworld (Berkeley Repertory), Futura (Portland Center Stage) and a children's musical, The Flea and the Professor (Arden Theatre). Harrison is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship, the Kesselring Prize, the Roe Green Award from Cleveland Play House, the Heideman Award, the Loewe Award for Musical Theater and a NEA/TCG grant. A graduate of the Brown University M.F.A. program, Harrison is an alumnus of New Dramatists. He currently writes for the Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black."

Anne Kauffman (Director). Described by The New York Times as "one of the leading lights of downtown theater," Anne has directed at most major New York non-profit and regional theaters. Her recent credits include Buzzer by Tracey Scott Wilson (Public), The Nether by Jennifer Haley (MCC), You Got Older by Clare Barron (P73 Productions), Smokefall by Noah Haidle (The Goodman Theater and South Coast Rep), Hundred Days by The Bengsons (Z Space in San Francisco), Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra by Kirk Lynn (Playwrights Horizons), The Muscles in Our Toes by Stephen Belber (Labyrinth Theater Company). Other credits include Lisa D'Amour's Pulitzer Prize finalist play Detroit starring David Schwimmer and Amy Ryan (New York Times, New York Magazine and Time Out New York Top 10 Productions of 2012) and Maple and Vine (both at Playwrights Horizons); Somewhere Fun by Jenny Schwartz (Vineyard Theater); Amy Herzog's Belleville (Yale Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, Steppenwolf; Lortel nomination for Best Director); Chloe Moss's This Wide Night starring Edie Falco and Alison Pill (Naked Angels; Lortel nomination for Best Director); the musical We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Adam Bock and Todd Almond (Yale Rep); Stunning by David Adjmi and Greg Pierce's Slowgirl (both LCT3); Your Better Sit Down: Tales from My Parents' Divorce with The Civilians (Williamstown, ArtsEmerson and The Flea); and God's Ear by Jenny Schwartz (New Georges and the Vineyard). She is a Sundance Program Associate, a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, an alumna of the Soho Rep Writers and Directors Lab, a current member of Soho Rep's Artistic Council, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, The Drama League of New York, a founding member of The Civilians, an Associate Artist with Clubbed Thumb and member of New Georges Kitchen Cabinet. From 2000-2006, Anne was on the directing faculty at NYU. She received her MFA in directing from UCSD, and a BA in Slavic Languages and Literature and Theater from Stanford University. Anne's awards include an Obie Award, the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity from Lincoln Center, the Alan Schneider Director Award, the Barrymore Award for Best Director, and a Lilly Award. Following Marjorie Prime, she'll direct the New York premiere of Noah Haidle's Smokefall for MCC.

Noah Bean (Walter). Playwrights Horizons debut. Off-Broadway: One Arm, The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall, Yellowface, Voyage of the Carcass, Mary Rose. Television: "12 Monkeys," "Nikita," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Medium," "Damages," "Numbers," "Joan of Arcadia," "Ed." Regional work includes Bus Stop at Huntington Theater, for which he earned Eliot Norton and IRNE nominations for Best Lead Actor.

Lisa Emery (Tess). Playwrights Horizons: Marvin's Room (Drama Desk nomination). Broadway: Casa Valentina, Relatively Speaking, The Smell of the Kill, The Women, Present Laughter, Jackie, Burn This, Rumors. Off-Broadway: The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, Lonely I'm Not, Sex Lives of Our Parents, Gabriel, Distracted, Abigail's Party, Hot 'N' Throbbing, Iron (Obie Award), Dinner with Friends, Curtains (Obie Award). TV: "Violet," "Damages."

Stephen Root (Jon). Playwrights Horizons debut. Broadway: All My Sons (1987). Film: Office Space, No Country for Old Men, O Brother Where Thou Art, Ladykillers, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Jersey Girl, Ghost, Finding Nemo. TV: "Newsroom," "Boardwalk Empire," "The Good Wife," "Raising Hope," "Justified," "Outlaw County," "24," "Pushing Daisies," "True Blood," "The West Wing," "NewsRadio," "Seinfeld," "Frasier," "From the Earth to the Moon."

Lois Smith (Marjorie). Playwrights Horizons: After the Revolution, 100 Saints You Should Know. Broadway: The Grapes of Wrath (Tony nomination), Buried Child (Tony nomination), The Young and Beautiful, The Iceman Cometh, Orpheus Descending (original production), Time Out for Ginger (debut). Recent Off-Broadway: John, The Old Friends, Heartless, The Illusion, The Trip to Bountiful (Obie, Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Kingsley-Evans, Joseph Jefferson awards). Longtime member of The Actors Studio, Steppenwolf Ensemble Member since 1993. Extensive Film/TV includes East of Eden, Five Easy Pieces (National Society of Film Critics Award), "The Americans" (Critics Choice Award nomination), "True Blood."

Playwrights Horizons is a writer's theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists and to the production of their new work. Under the leadership of artistic director Tim Sanford and managing director Leslie Marcus, the theater company continues to encourage the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. In its 45 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 400 writers and has received numerous awards and honors, including a special 2008 Drama Desk Award for "ongoing support to generations of theater artists and undiminished commitment to producing new work." Notable productions include six Pulitzer Prize winners - Annie Baker's The Flick (2013 Obie Award, 2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park (2012 Tony Award, Best Play), Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play), Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George - as well as Ms. Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation (three 2010 Obie Awards including Best New American Play); Lisa D'Amour's Detroit (2013 Obie Award, Best New American Play); Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale (2013 Lortel Award, Best Play); Kirsten Greenidge's Milk Like Sugar (2012 Obie Award); Lucas Hnath's The Christians (2015 Kesselring Prize), Robert O'Hara's Bootycandy (two 2015 Obie Awards); Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Sarah Ruhl's Stage Kiss and Dead Man's Cell Phone; Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn; Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal; Amy Herzog's The Great God Pan and After the Revolution; Bathsheba Doran's Kin; Adam Bock's A Small Fire; Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I; Melissa James Gibson's This (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist); Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's Grey Gardens (three 2007 Tony Awards); Craig Lucas's Prayer For My Enemy and Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play); Adam Rapp's Kindness; Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting); Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero; David Greenspan's She Stoops to Comedy (2003 Obie Award); Kirsten Childs's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (2000 Obie Award); Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey's James Joyce's The Dead (2000 Tony Award, Best Book); Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins; William Finn's March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland; Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You; Richard Nelson's Goodnight Children Everywhere; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Once on This Island; Jon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire; Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room; A.R. Gurney's Later Life; Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins; and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

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