Willens' FAMILY DINNER to Open Off-Broadway, 6/21


FAMILY DINNER, a new play by Michele Willens, will be given its world-premiere Off-Broadway this summer in a production directed by Jamibeth Margolis at the Beckett Theatre On Theater Row (410 W. 42 St.) in Manhattan, with previews beginning June 17 prior to an official press opening June 21.

In the first act of FAMILY DINNER, we meet the Wells family in its suburban Southern California home in 1963, a seemingly typical family that reflects the American values as we understood them at that time: father Howard's business is enjoying unexpected growth, mother Jane remains at home to look out for their three school-age children. The family sits down to dinner together every night, with the cocktails and casseroles that were the order of the day in the early '60s.

Act two revisits the Wells family 40 years later (the daughter in the first act is the mother now and the family is located in post 9/11 NYC), and the tradition of conversation and word-play at the family dinner are long-forgotten. In fact, the very idea of a such a dinner is seemingly impossible.

The cast of FAMILY DINNER features Lily Corvo, Rick Desloge, Patrick Riviere, Mary Ellen Ashley, Daniel Pollack, Marshall Pailet, Mary McGloin, Tommy McKieran, Nancy Nagrant and William Broderick.

Michele Willens is a journalist (she coined the term "tweens" in the 'NY Times') and playwright, author of the plays DEAR MAUDIE and DON'T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR Helen Gahagan DOUGLAS (the latter co-written with Wendy Kout). FAMILY DINNER was performed as a staged reading at NY's Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival. Ms. Willens is the co-author of a new book, 'FACE IT: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change' (Hay House).

Jamibeth Margolis directed Ms. Willens' DEAR MAUDIE Off-Broadway and previous staged readings of FAMILY DINNER. She serves as Artistic Director for Musicals at Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival, and was assistant director to Jerry Zaks on THE CAINE MUTINY COURT MARTIAL and Jules Feiffer's A BAD FRIEND on Broadway. Other directing credits include DO I HEAR A WALTZ? at Arvada Center Theater in Denver and PIRATES OF PENZANCE for Boheme Opera.

Mary Ellen Ashley appeared in the original production of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN with Ethel Merman and has recently appeared in THE FULL MONTY and at City Center Encores! in 42ND STREET and 70 GIRLS 70. William Broderick appeared Off-Broadway at the Century Center in ROSMERSHOLM and elsewhere in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD.

Mary McGloin worked extensively in San Francisco Bay Area theatres, including work at ACT, Berkeley Rep and Cal Shakes. Marshall Pailet, who appeared as a toddler in three Broadway shows, has performed elsewhere in the plays STORYTELLING ABILITY OF A BOY, THUCIDYDES and DANCE OF THE FIREFLIES. Patrick Riviere appeared in OPA! at Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival, a role he recently revived at Queens Theatre in the Park. His Off-Broadway credits include WELCOME TO OUR CITY at the Mint and THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM at Theater Off Park.

Scenic design for FAMILY DINNER is by Josh Zangen; lighting design is by Joel Silver; costume design is by Janell Berte; sound design by Drew Levy. Jamie Rog is production stage manager.

Scheduled through July 3, FAMILY DINNER will perform (with some exceptions) on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18 and can be reserved by calling Ticket Central at 212 279 4200.

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