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VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, Christopher Durang's Broadway Smash Appears at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

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Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF presents Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, Vanya is a comedy about two dysfunctional siblings and the wild weekend that unfolds when their famous sister returns with her hunky new boy toy. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike appears from March 30 - May 1, 2016 (Opening Night is April 1) in the Goldman Theater. Tickets are available now by calling (407) 447-1700 ext. 1, visiting www.orlandoshakes.org, or in person at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 East Rollins Street).

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike earned acclaim in its 2013 Broadway debut; awards included the Tony Award for Best Play, the Outer Circle Critics Award for Best Play, the Drama League Award for Best Production of a Play, the Drama Desk Award for Best Play, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Production and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play. Critics called it "a comic tour de force" (Village Voice), "the funniest play in town" (Bloomberg News), an "utterly refreshing...sweet, witty play with a huge pop culture appetite" (Associated Press) and "terrifically kooky" (Entertainment Weekly).

"Vanya is one of those rare plays that is equal parts absurd and relatable," said Orlando Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Jim Helsinger. "Audience members will be rolling with laughter as they watch the self-centered characters squabble their way through a disastrous family reunion."

Sullen siblings Vanya and Sonia have spent their adult years caring for their ailing parents. Meanwhile, their self-involved sister Masha, a glamorous movie star, has traveled the world in decadent style. Masha appears unannounced, accompanied by her hunky young lover Spike, who sparks a friendship with the beautiful girl next door Nina-much to Masha's dismay. The weekend builds to a fever pitch of rivalry, regret, and racket. When Masha reveals plans that will upend the family, long-repressed resentments bubble over in a weekend full of wild costume parties, voodoo dolls, and surprise romance.

Vanya features some of Orlando Shakes' favorite actors, including Philip Nolen as Vanya. Recent credits include Nicholas Nickleby and The Big Bang. The local actor/singer has also been featured at Mad Cow Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the New York and Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festivals.

Anne Hering stars as Sonia. Recent credits include Bakersfield Mist, Bad Dog, A Christmas Carol, and LES MISERABLES. Additional acting credits include Boston Marriage, The Real Thing, and The Little Prince with Orlando Theatre Project.

Orlando Shakes newcomer Carol Halstead joins the cast as Masha. Past credits include Gore Vidal's The Best Man (Broadway), The Duchess of Malfi (Red Bull Theatre), and Walkin' Down Broadway (The Mint Theatre).

Also featured are Benjamin Boucvalt as Spike, Fredena J. Williams as Cassandra (Kiss Me, Kate), and Kathryn Miller as Nina (Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens).

Making her Orlando Shakes directing debut is Eleanor Holdridge. Past directing credits include Queens Girl in the World (2015 Women's Voices Theater Festival), Hay Fever (Olney Theatre Center), Women Beware Women (Academy for Classical Acting), and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (Theater J). Holdridge is currently the Head of the M.F.A. Directing program at The Catholic University of America.

The Orlando Shakes artistic team also includes Scenic Designer Dan Conway, Assistant to the Scenic Designer Katie Sullivan, Lighting Designer Eric T. Haugen, Costume Designer Denise Warner, Sound Designer Britt Sandusky, and Stage Manager Stacy Norwood.

Orlando Shakespeare Theater is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of www.power2give.org/centralflorida, and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts. This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION AND RELATED EVENTS

Preview Dates: March 30 & 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Opening Date: April 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Senior Matinees: April 6; 13; 20; 27 at 2 p.m.

$25 Under 35: April 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Talk Back Performance: April 17 at 2 p.m.

Opening Night Party & Pre-Show Chat - Friday, April 1

Arrive at 6:15 p.m. to enjoy free light appetizers from a local eatery, followed by a brief, informative discussion about the creative process with the Director and members of the creative team. Free to all opening night ticket holders. No RSVP necessary.

$25 Under 35 Vanya Costume Party - Friday, April 15 at 6:00 p.m.

Masha and her siblings are headed to a costume party-and so are you! Come dressed in a silly costume for this pre-show celebration prior to the evening's $25 Under 35 performance, including light appetizers and one complimentary drink. Best costume wins a prize! Ticket holders of any age are invited to add on the pre-show entertainment package for just $20 (per person). Add-on packages may be purchased by calling (407) 447-1700 ext. 1 or by emailing boxoffice@orlandoshakes.org. Limited number of spaces available and activity subject to change.

ABOUT ORLANDO SHAKESPEARE THEATER

Founded in 1989, Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF produces classic, contemporary, and children's plays. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jim Helsinger and Managing Director PJ Albert, Orlando Shakes has grown into one of the region's most acclaimed professional Equity theaters, garnering national recognition from The Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout. "Hence the high quality of Orlando Shakespeare, a company that deserves to be far more widely known outside Florida." With ambitious, high-caliber productions like 2015's Les Miserables and Henry V, and 2014's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Parts I & II, the Theater continues to provide an innovative world-class theatrical experience to its guests, while showcasing William Shakespeare's legacy as the cornerstone of the company. Orlando Shakes also offers immersive educational programming that serves Central Florida schools and the local community at large. For more information visit www.orlandoshakes.org.


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