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First Off-Broadway Revival of A TASTE OF HONEY in 35 Years Begins Tonight

The Pearl Theatre Company presents A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney. Directed by Tony-nominee Austin Pendleton, the production, running tonight, September 6, through October 16, marks the first Off-Broadway revival of this landmark play in 35 years.

Delaney rocked the theater world when, at 18, she wrote a play that both defined and defied her generation. A Taste of Honey is the clever, passionate, and poignant story of a young woman facing an uncertain future in a hostile world-and learning to trust that love, in its every heartbreaking and messy form, will see her through.

Director Pendleton said, "When I saw A Taste of Honey, on Broadway, I was unmoored. I'd never seen anything like it. The energy of this play is absolutely unique. It's so buoyant, and it's so frightening, it's so funny, it's so dark, and it seems to have been written in one joyous, troubled exhalation. I'm so happy the Pearl has asked me to take this on."

The Pearl's Artistic Director Hal Brooks said, "All of us at The Pearl, and all of us in New York Theater are grateful to have Austin back in our fold. Like his work past work at The Pearl, (William's Vieux Carre and Hellmann's Toys In the Attic), I expect Austin will bring incredible sensitivity and nuance to each character and each actors' performance. Austin has a strong personal connection to A Taste of Honey and I know the production will be at once honest to the original as well as inventive and richly textured."

The cast of Taste of Honey features Rebekah Brockman as Jo, John Evans Reese as Geoff; Rachel Botchan as Helen, Bradford Cover as Peter, and Ade Otukoya as Jimmie.

The creative team includes Harry Feiner (sets), Barbara A. Bell (costumes), Eric Southern (lights), Jane Shaw (sound) and April Ann Kline (production stage manager).

Performances of A Taste of Honey will take place tonight, September 6, through October 16 at The Pearl Theatre (555 West 42nd Street, NYC). Critics are welcome as of September 14 for an official opening on Sunday, September 18. Tickets are $59 regular, $79 premium ($49 previews, $20 Student Rush) and can be purchased by visiting or calling 212.563.9261.

Austin Pendleton (Director) is currently represented in New York by the Mint Theatre production of A Day By the Sea, at Theatre Row. His other recent productions as a director in New York include Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Giurgiu, Hamlet with Peter Sarsgaard at CSC, where he also directed three Chekhov plays (Ivanov, Three Sisters, and Uncle Vanya), Nora at Cherry Lane and Orpheus Descending at St. John's Lutheran Church in the West Village. He has also directed, in New York, The Little Foxes with Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton, Spoils of War by Michael Weller with Kate Nelligan, and Shelter, a musical by Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford, all Broadway shows, all Tony-nominated. As an actor he has worked on and Off and Off-off Broadway, including such recent appearances at The Public Theatre as Straight White Men, written and directed by Young Jean Lee, Mother Courage with Meryl Streep, and Romeo and Juliet with Oscar Isaac and Lauren Ambrose. He apprenticed, acted and directed extensively at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and is a member of the Ensemble at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. He has written three plays (Orson's Shadow, Uncle Bob, and Booth), all published and all produced in New York and around the country and, in the case of Uncle Bob, internationally. He has acted in over 200 movies and in many TV shows, most often in Oz, Homicide, and Law & Order. He teaches acting at HB Studio, in New York.

Shelagh Delaney (Playwright, 1938 - 2011) was a British playwright and screenwriter. She is best known for her debut work A Taste of Honey, which premiered at the Theatre Workshop in 1958, when Delaney was only nineteen, and later opened on the West End in 1959. Joan Plowright won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Jo in the original Broadway production, which also featured Angela Lansbury as her mother and ran for over 300 performances. The play, set in Delaney's native Salford, an industrial neighbor of Manchester, was inspired by a dislike for Terence Rattigan's genteel Variation on a Theme. Though Delaney was often grouped by critics with the "angry young men" like John Osborne and Alan Stillitoe who were challenging the traditional reserve and gentility of British high culture that Rattigan epitomized, she insisted that the comparison overlooked those writers' individual styles and that her writing was motivated not by anger but honesty. She wrote, she said, to record life as she saw it in urban Northern England, where "people are not usually shown as they are. For in actual fact they are very alive and cynical. I write as people talk." Delaney followed A Taste of Honey with another portrayal of working class life in the play The Lion in Love, which did not achieve the former's critical acclaim. She subsequently published a well-received collection of short stories, Sweetly Sings the Donkey (1963), and several screenplays - including The White Bus and Charlie Bubbles (1967) and Dance with a Stranger (1985) - and radio plays - including Tell Me a Film (2003) and Country Life (2004). Her screenplay for the 1961 film adaption of A Taste of Honey, which she co-wrote with director Tony Richardson, won the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay and the Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award in 1962. Delaney was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1985.

The Pearl Theatre Company explores, expands, and enriches the theatrical canon with its a Resident Acting Company by presenting mainstage productions, providing educational programs and performance training, as well as developing commissions and translations for the stage. Under Artistic Director Hal Brooks, The Pearl seeks to lead a dynamic conversation about the past, present, and future of great plays.

Since its founding in 1984 by Shepard Sobel, Joanne Camp, and a small troupe of actors, The Pearl has acted as the advocate for significant plays across history; the company protects and honors the spirit of every play, guiding its artistic evolution for future generations. Recognized by the Drama Desk Awards, Calloway Awards, Drama League and others for our excellent work, The Pearl strives to balance heritage and innovation to create theatre that entertains, challenges, and engages a diverse audience.

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