Patrick Boll and Timothy Crowe Star in BILL W. AND DR. BOB, Beg. Tonight
The new NYC production of Bill W. and Dr. Bob, about the founding of AA, begins tonight, July 8 at the Soho Playhouse. Seth Gordon (Associate Artistic Director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Producer/Director Primary Stages, NYC; director of the acclaimed production of Bill W. and Dr. Bob at the Cleveland Play House in 2010) will direct an ensemble of actors who have garnered acclaim on and off Broadway.Bill W. and Dr. Bob is an expertly told, universally compelling story about the triumph of the human spirit. Patrick Boll (Mamma Mia, Faith Healer, Twentieth Century) will star as Bill Wilson, a famous New York stockbroker who, in 1929, crashes with the stock market, becoming a miserable drunk. Returning to the role he performed to acclaim at the Cleveland Playhouse, Timothy Crowe (resident acting member of Trinity Repertory Company) will play Dr. BoB Smith, a surgeon in Akron who has been an alcoholic for thirty years and often goes into the operating room with a hangover. Both are isolated, alone, and on the brink of death. Through an astonishing series of events, the two men are brought together and, realizing that "the only thing that can keep a drunk sober is telling his story to another drunk," forge a relationship. They help each other stay sober, and then pass on what they've learned to others. The wives of Bill and Bob are an essential part of this remarkable story. In the upcoming production, Tasha Lawrence (The Whale) and Deborah Hedwall (The Fall to Earth), respectively, will play Lois Wilson and Anne Smith. Daniel Pearce (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Falling) and Liz Wisan (Other Desert Cities), as the Man and the Woman, will play many various roles.The creative team for this production includes set designer Wilson Chin (The Jammer), costume designer Teresa Snider-Stein (I'm Not Rappaport) and lighting designer Ann Wrightson (Tony nominee August: Osage County). The Hazelden Foundation is the Presenter, Cinnamon Ventures is the Producer, and Roy Gabay Productions (Chaplin, Rock of Ages) is General Manager.Bill W. and Dr. Bob is nothing less than an international phenomenon. The play has been mounted more than 100 times in 35 states, as well as in Australia, Canada and England. The show has been lauded-for its authenticity, its humanity and its humor-by critics and remarkably diverse audiences, regardless of whether they, or one of their loved ones, are alcoholic. This production is funded by tax-exempt donations to the non-profit Hazelden Foundation. There are no investors. Net proceeds go to Hazelden to support a college tour of Bill W. and Dr. Bob to address the epidemic of binge drinking on campuses, and to patient aid and educational resources for youth and young adults.Disclaimer: This work does not imply affiliation with or endorsement by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.Performances begin tonight, July 8 at New York City's Soho Playhouse (200 Vandam Street). In the first week (July 8 - 14), performances will take place Monday - Saturday at 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm. From July 17 forward, the show will run Tuesday - Thursday at 7pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Wednesday at 2:30 pm; and Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets, $85 - $99, can be purchased at billwanddrbob.com or 866.811.4111. Critics are welcome as of the 3pm matinee on Saturday, July 13 for an official opening on Tuesday, July 16.Samuel Shem (Co-Writer and Co-Producer): Samuel Shem (nee Stephen Bergman) has been called "easily the finest and most important writer ever to focus on the lives of doctors and the world of medicine" (The Bulletin of the Harvard Club of NYC). His classic novel about medical internship, The House of God (1978), was recently named by the British medical journal The Lancet as one of the two most important American medical novels of the 20th century (the other being Sinclair Lewis' Arrowsmith). It has sold over two million copies in thirty languages. The Boston Globe called the sequel, Mount Misery (1996), about psychiatric residency at a mental hospital of that name, "outrageously funny, a sage and important novel by a healer and a Shakespearean." These novels are bestsellers in America, Germany, Spain, Latvia, and the Czech Republic. Shem is also the author of Fine (1986), a novel about a psychoanalyst, which The New York Times described as "funny...full of dazzling, zany intelligence...energetic and exuberant." The Spirit of the Place (2008, Penguin paperback 2012) was the winner of the national "Best Novel of 2008" award from USA Book News, and the national "IPPY-Independent Publishers Book Award (Silver Medal) for Best Literary Fiction 2009." Two of Shem's plays, Room for One Woman and Napoleon's Dinner, have been published in The Best Short Plays anthologies.Aside from Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Shem and Surrey are authors of a nonfiction book, We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues between Women and Men (1999, Basic Books), winner of the 1999 Paradigm Shift Award of the Boston Interfaith Counseling Service, and a curriculum for middle/high school students Making Connections: Building Gender Dialogue and Community in Secondary School.Shem / Bergman is a prolific speaker all over the world. He has given commencement addresses at over fifty medical schools including, in 2009, the Commencement Address at Harvard Medical School. In 2008 he delivered the Gold Lecture in Medical Humanities at the American Association of Medical Colleges, and the 2008 keynote addresses at the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the American Medical Student Association. In 2012 Shem and Surrey were Visiting Artists/Scholars at the American Academy in Rome. www.samuelshem.comJanet Surrey (Co-Writer and Co-Producer): Janet Surrey is a clinical psychologist, author, Buddhist teacher, and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at Wellesley College. She is co-author of Women's Growth in Connection and Mothering Against the Odds, as well as other nonfiction books that deal with women's relational psychology, addiction and spirituality. She was a faculty member of Harvard University for many years, and is now a member of the Institute of Meditation and Psychology in Boston. She is co-author, with Samuel Shem, of We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues between Women and Men, and also a curriculum, "Making Connections: Building Gender Dialogue and Community in Secondary Schools, 2006." Known for her writing and speaking all over the world, she recently completed a training program to be a Community Dharma Leader. Seth Gordon (Director): Seth Gordon is Associate Artistic Director of the St. Louis Rep this season. Previously, he spent nine seasons in the same capacity at the Cleveland Play House. At the Play House, he produced FusionFest, a performing arts festival, and the Next Stage Festival of New Plays. His Play House directing credits include Dinner with Friends, Proof, Forest City (world premiere), Vincent in Brixton, Tuesdays with Morrie, A Christmas Story, RFK, Of Mice and Men, The Chosen, Doubt, The Lady with All the Answers, Inherit the Wind, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, and A Soldier's Tale, which featured a rarely produced libretto by Kurt Vonnegut. This season for the Rep he'll direct Next Fall at the Grandel Theatre and The Fall of Heaven in the main stage season, in addition to directing A Christmas Story at Syracuse Stage. He has also directed in Cleveland for Dobama Theatre, the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, and the Beck Center for the Arts. He recently directed the Arabic premiere of Our Town in Cairo. Previously, he served as Literary Manager and then as Associate Producer of Primary Stages in New York, where he produced and/or directed countless productions, workshops and readings of new plays by this country's leading playwrights. He has also directed at many other New York theatres, and has directed and lectured at various universities including The New School and Case Western Reserve University. He received the 2004 and 2006 Northern Ohio Live Award for Excellence in Theatre. He considers himself a lucky man. Seth directed the box-office smash, critically acclaimed production of Bill W. and Dr. Bob at the Cleveland Play House in 2010.