EgoPo Classic Theater Presents its Upcoming Season, SHEPARD COUNTRY

By: Sep. 20, 2019
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EgoPo Classic Theater Presents its Upcoming Season, SHEPARD COUNTRY

EgoPo Classic Theater will carry on its tradition of producing annual themed festival seasons with the 2019-2020 Festival Season, Shepard Country, celebrating the ground-breaking works of the late, great American playwright Sam Shepard. This year, EgoPo returns to America, but through the lens of Shepard, a playwright dedicated to stripping the mask off the myth of the American family to reveal its true depth, rawness, and often painful reality.

EgoPo invites audiences to explore Sam Shepard's profound impact through three of his boldest and most revolutionary works: Buried Child, Fool for Love, and Curse of the Starving Class. These three plays helped to re-define America as a land of monumental dreams and painfully buried histories. Shepard's grounded yet soaring writing allows his gothic worlds to morph into surreal fantasies, and his characters to disclose their deepest inner selves in magnificent jazz-like riffs or arias. As the works of this unforgettable playwright remind us, the myth of America is far more complex - and far more diverse - than we dare to acknowledge. The Shepard Country season launches this October with Buried Child!

Buried Child

EgoPo's season begins with Sam Shepard's gothic family nightmare, Buried Child, in which a young man's return to his grandparents' crumbling farmhouse reopens a horrifying wound that sends the family into a nightmarish spiral of forgotten memories and unhinged confrontation. Following a world premier directed by Robert Woodruff at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco in 1978, Buried Child opened Off-Broadway at Theater for the New City in October of the same year and subsequently won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Dane Eissler, the new associate producer of EgoPo, will direct this mainstage production. Previous EgoPo credits include associate directing and performing in John Guare's The Lydie Breeze Trilogy, performing as Medvedenko in their Barrymore-winning production of Chekhov's The Seagull, adapting/directing their Russian midseason production of Nikolai Gogol's The Nose, and co-directing the Philadelphia premiere of 2015's "surprise hit," Tennessee Williams' Stairs to the Roof. He is also the Artistic Director of Chicago-based multidisciplinary pop-up collective, A Dead Whale Productions.

EgoPo's first show of the season will feature a few familiar faces for the EgoPo ensemble: Damien Wallace ("Master Harold"...and the Boys), Theatre in the X co-artistic directors Carlo Campbell (The Hairy Ape, Anna, Egoli) and Walter DeShields (Egoli), and Davey Strattan White (The Lydie Breeze Trilogy, Company). The production will also feature Cathy Simpson (People's Light, The Arden), Mark Christie (InterAct, Curio), and Merci Lyons-Cox (Theatre Exile, Revolution Shakespeare).

Buried Child will be staged at The Latvian Society. Previews begin October 23rd, with Press Opening on Friday, October 25th; the show will run three weeks, closing on November 10th.

Fool for Love

Sam Shepard Country will continue with Shepard's provocative masterpiece, Fool for Love. This searing portrait of the annihilation wreaked on others in the name of love follows May and Eddie, a couple bound together by a pact from their youth, as they meet once again in a desert hotel room like atomic particles destined for collision. The original production, directed by Shepard, opened in San Francisco at the Magic Theatre in 1983, starring Ed Harris and Kathy Baker, before soon transferring to Off-Broadway's Circle Repertory Theatre. The play would go on to be a 1984 Pulitzer Prize Finalist and win the Obie Award for Best New Play.

Frequent EgoPo Director Brenna Geffers will bring her distinctive vision to this gripping and passionate play. With a long and dedicated history with the company since its Festival of Expressionism, Geffers will utilize her unique physical and vocal techniques to bring this fan favorite to life.

Fool for Love will welcome Julianna Zinkel (The Arden, The Wilma, People's Light) alongside familiar EgoPo faces Jered McLenigan (Marat/Sade), Steve Wright (Death of a Salesman, The Hairy Ape, Marat/Sade), and Joe Canuso (Marat/Sade), founding Artistic Director of Theater Exile.

Fool for Love will be staged at The Latvian Society. Previews begin February 5th, with Press Opening on Friday, February 7th; the show will run three weeks, closing on February 23rd.

Curse of the Starving Class

Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class will conclude this year's Festival Season. The Tates are on the brink of emotional and financial ruin, and every member of the family is planning their own desperate escape in this theatrical explosion of the American Dream. Originally commissioned for London's Royal Court Theatre by Joseph Papp in 1977, Curse of the Starving Class made its Off-Broadway premiere at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1978. In 1985, a few years after winning the 1977 Obie Award for Best New American Play, an Off-Broadway revival opened at the Promenade Theatre, starring Kathy Bates and Bradley Whitford. Kathy Bates reprised her role alongside James Woods and Randy Quaid in the 1994 film adaptation.

EgoPo's Artistic Director, Lane Savadove, will direct this operatic family tragedy.

The cast will feature EgoPo favorites Melanie Julian (The Lydie Breeze Trilogy, The Seagull), Kylie Westerbeck (The Lydie Breeze Trilogy), and Ross Beschler (Hell, Lady from the Sea, Waiting for Godot), alongside Steven Rishard (The Wilma, The Arden, Azuka), Tyler Elliot (People's Light), Scott Rodrigue (Plays and Players), Katherine Perry (The Arden, The Eagle), Brandon Castillo (Philadelphia Artists Collective), and Cameron Del Grosso (The Arden, Philadelphia Artists Collective).

Curse of the Starving Class will be staged at The Latvian Society. Previews begin March 25th, with Press Opening on Friday March 27th; the show will run three weeks, closing on April 12th.


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