The Clockwork Theatre Presents World Premiere Of UNDERGROUND At The Beckett Theatre 9/29-10/17

The Clockwork Theatre, a New York City-based non-profit organization is proud to announce the first production of their 5th anniversary season, UNDERGROUND, written by JAMES McMANUS (winner of the 2006 Princess Grace Playwriting Award). Performances will begin on Tuesday, September 29th; opening on Sunday, October 4th; and will run through October 17th, 2009 at the Beckett Theatre (410 West 42nd Street). Tickets are $25 and are available at or by calling 212.279.4200.

In UNDERGROUND, Bones, an aspiring country singer, lives in a small mining community where coal is king. When a mine collapse leaves him and his crew trapped, Bones struggles to survive his own guilt and impenetrable darkness. In this moving yet comical play, we witness the sacrifices made by coal miners and their loved ones every time these men go underground. The play is loosely based on the Sago mine disaster of 2006, in which thirteen miners were trapped underground for two whole days and the media descended on the town. Initially, mining officials gave major misinformation to the public, which led to the wide-spread announcement in the press that twelve survivors had been found alive, when, in fact, only one miner survived, while the others had perished.

UNDERGROUND marks the Clockwork's second McManus production, having previously produced critically acclaimed Cherry Smoke which Backstage stated, "it demonstrates McManus is a contender." Director, Owen M. Smith previous directorial collaborations with Clockwork's include Jeff Daniel's Apartment 3A, and Don Juan In Chicago by David Ives. Cast includes: Jay Rohloff (Apartment 3A, True West), Doug Nyman (Cherry Smoke, Biloxi Blues) and Marianna McClellan (King Lear, Fefu and Her Friends), Tina Alexis Allen, Phil Cutrone, Larry Greenbush, Peter Iasillo and Jay Rohloff. This production will feature scenic design by Jay Rohloff, costume design by Jocelyn Melechinsky, lighting design by Vincent Vigilante, and sound design by Dale Bigall.

JAMES McMANUS (Playwright). Plays include Cement City, Underground, Sheena, Cherry Smoke, Bulldog Whiskey, Dorothy 6, The Night They Drugged the Orange and Pistachio. His plays have been read and performed at the Kennedy Center, New Dramatists, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Irish Repertory Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, The Inkwell and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. James was the recipient of the 2006 Princess Grace Award in playwriting for Cherry Smoke, which was recently published by Samuel French. His short film, "Love and Bones," is currently in post-production. McManus received his M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 where he was a two-time recipient of the Schubert Fellowship for Dramatic Writing.

OWEN SMITH has worked as an actor, director and administrator in the theatre for many years. He directed Clockwork's productions of Don Juan in Chicago (for which he is now a credited co-adaptor) and Apartment 3A. His work as a director has also been seen regionally at Albany's Park Playhouse, where he directed Disney's Beauty & The Beast, as well as youth productions of Into the Woods and The Wizard of Oz. Owen will direct Park Playhouse's 20th Anniversary production of West Side Story in 2008. As an actor, he appeared in Clockwork's production of True West (Saul Kimmer), and also, most recently, in the 40th Anniversary National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof. Owen works as an administrator at Theatre for a New Audience, and has also enjoyed stints working at Classic Stage Company, Roundabout Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club.

THE CLOCKWORK THEATRE (Producing Organization) was founded in May 2005. The company presented its premiere production of Sam Shepard's True West in May of 2006 at The Duo Theatre in the East 4th Street Cultural District. The 06/07 Season began at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row in January of 2007, with Clockwork's production of The Monument by Colleen Wagner. Following that, in May, Clockwork produced a newly adapted version of David Ives' comedy, Don Juan in Chicago, directed by Owen M SmitH. Smith, along with Clockwork's Artistic Director, Jay Rohloff, adapted Mr. Ives' previous versions of the play, and that new adaptation has since been published as the Definitive Edition of the script. Clockwork's 07/08 season featured Jeff Daniels' Apartment 3A, directed by Owen M. Smith. The Clockwork Reading Series was founded that season, with James McManus' Cherry Smoke as the series' first offering. The 08/09 season began in September with a revival of Caryl Churchill's A Number, directed by Beverly Brumm. In February 2009, Clockwork presented a full-scale production of Cherry Smoke, directed by Jade King Carroll, following a great reception of the play during the 2008 Reading Series. This current season, the 5th anniversary season for the company, begins with the world premiere of Underground, Clockwork's second production from resident playwright James McManus. Later this year Clockwork presents the US premiere of the ­touching comedy GBS, by Jason Hall in March of 2010. The company will also present the third annual installment of The Clockwork Reading Series that year.

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