Lantern Theater Company Presents The Philadelphia Premiere Of DON'T DRESS FOR DINNER
Lantern Theater Company concludes its record-smashing 2017/18 season with the regional premiere of Don't Dress for Dinner by French playwright Marc Camoletti. Lantern Resident Director Kathryn MacMillan will direct a cast that includes some of Philadelphia's finest comedic actors: Chris Anthony, Jessica Bedford, Marc LeVasseur, Lee Minora, Karen Peakes, and William Zielinski. Theater critics and members of the press are invited to request tickets for opening night on Wednesday, May 30 at 7 p.m. by contacting Anne Shuff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Performances run Thursday, May 24 through Sunday, June 24, 2018; a full schedule is included in the fact sheet below.
Bernard wants Suzanne, and his wife Jacqueline wants his best friend Robert. Suzette comes to cook them all dinner, and her husband George might have to set everybody straight. The action spills from the drawing room to the bedroom to the kitchen in this wickedly funny comedy by French playwright Marc Camoletti.
"Lantern Theater Company has put on a season of emotionally and intellectually challenging, and I hope fulfilling, plays," said Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. "To close the season, we are pleased to offer something completely different: farce. This is not an overtly philosophical genre of playwriting; it exists solely to amuse and delight. But anyone who loves theater will appreciate the enormous technical demands that the form makes of the performers and the production team. In the words of Edmund Kean, 'Dying is easy; comedy is hard.' The modern farces of Marc Camoletti call for nothing less than virtuosity from the actors, and deliver nothing less than delirious enjoyment to an audience never more in need of it."
"Don't Dress for Dinner is full of sophistication and wit, but at the same time leans into physical comedy and double entendre," said Lantern Resident Director Kathryn MacMillan, who will helm the production. "I've been looking forward all season to working on it with this hugely talented cast of comedians." MacMillan has directed nearly 40 productions in the Philadelphia region, including Lantern productions of Mrs. Warren's Profession, Underneath the Lintel, Arcadia, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Breath of Life, and The Hothouse, for which she was nominated for a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play. She will return to the Lantern next season to direct Betrayal. MacMillan's directing credits also include productions with Theatre Horizon, InterAct Theatre Company, Inis Nua Theatre Company, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and Tiny Dynamite, where she serves as producing artistic director.
Best known for his contemporary farces, playwright Marc Camoletti was born in 1923 in Switzerland to French parents of Italian descent. He originally trained as a painter before taking up playwriting in his mid-30s, writing more than 40 plays that have been translated into 18 languages and serve as the source material for numerous international film and television adaptations. Considered the greatest master of the French farce since Georges Feydeau, Camoletti received one of France's highest honors when he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor. His first major international success was Boeing-Boeing, which ran for seven years and 2,000 performances in its debut London production, becoming the Guinness Book of Records' most performed French play worldwide. In 1965, the play was adapted into a film starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis. Camoletti's sequel to Boeing-Boeing, Pyjama pour six, opened at Paris' Thèâtre Michel in 1987; the English adaptation by Robin Hawdon - retitled Don't Dress for Dinner - opened in London in 1991 and ran for six years. It is estimated that 20 million people have seen Camoletti's plays live and 500 million people have seen a recorded version. He died in Paris in 2003.
The Lantern will explore the comedy of Don't Dress for Dinner on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at www.lanterntheater.org/searchlight. Published articles will include a look at the roots of French farce in commedia dell'arte, examples of French farce in American culture and theater, a behind-the-scenes look at the art and precision of staging comedy pratfalls, plus a choose-your-own-adventure quiz. New content will be added throughout the production's run.
Tickets for Don't Dress for Dinner are $26 - $43 and are available online at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Student tickets are $15 in advance; $10 student rush tickets are available ten minutes before curtain with valid ID. Discounts are also available for theater professionals ($10 in advance or at the door), seniors 65 and up, groups of 10 or more, and U.S. military personnel. Lantern Theater Company is located at St. Stephen's Theater, 10th & Ludlow Sts. in Center City Philadelphia.
About the Cast and Production Team
William Zielinski stars as Bernard, an English ex-pat. Zielinski's previous Lantern credits include The Comedy of Errors, Travels with My Aunt, Betrayal, Rough Crossing, and True West. His recent stage credits include productions with Theatre Exile, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Harbor Stage Company, and Portland Stage Company. His film and television credits include Dead Man Down, Do No Harm, Flikken Maastricht (Dutch television), The Wire, The Lovely Bones, and Shot in the Heart. An eight-time Barrymore Award nominee, Zielinski has won four awards as part of four different ensembles. He splits his time between Philadelphia and Amsterdam.
Karen Peakes stars as Jacqueline, Bernard's wife. Peakes previously appeared at the Lantern in The House of Bernarda Alba. She has worked with many local theaters, including Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, People's Light, Delaware Theatre Company, Bristol Riverside Theatre, InterAct Theatre Company, and Act II Playhouse, as well as extensive work with Peterborough Players in New Hampshire and Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. Also a voiceover artist, she has narrated more than 40 audiobooks through Brilliance Audio.
Marc LeVasseur stars as Robert, Bernard's best friend (and Jacqueline's secret lover). LeVasseur's Lantern credits include the title role in the world premiere of Oscar Wilde: From the Depths. He has also appeared in local productions with People's Light and Bristol Riverside Theatre, and in New York City with Metropolitan Playhouse, Red Bull Theatre, The Pearl Theatre Company, Titan Theatre Company, The Queens Players, The Flea Theater, and New York Classical Theatre.
Lee Minora stars as Suzette, a Frenchwoman. Minora is a Philadelphia-based theater maker, comedian, and actor whose Lantern credits include Romeo & Juliet and Emma. Her credits include stage work with Tiny Dynamite, EgoPo Classic Theater, Quintessence Theatre Group, and the Scranton Shakespeare Festival, and she has created new work with The Berserker Residents, Applied Mechanics, New Paradise Laboratories, and Found Theater Company. Her solo work has been featured in the Philly Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scranton Shakespeare Festival, Good Good Comedy Theatre, and The Wilma Theater.
Jessica Bedford stars as Suzanne, an Englishwoman. Bedford previously appeared on the Lantern stage in Private Lives. Her recent credits include productions with Walnut Street Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, People's Light, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Act II Playhouse, Theatre Horizon, and 59E59 in New York City.
Chris Anthony stars as George, Suzette's husband. This is Anthony's fifth production with the Lantern, including The Tempest, Coriolanus, As You Like It, and Photograph 51. His credits also include productions with EgoPo Classic Theater and Provincetown's Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.
The talented design team who will create the production's physical world includes scenic designer Meghan Jones (The Craftsman, Red Velvet, and Coriolanus), lighting designer Shon Causer (many Lantern credits including Barrymore-nominated designs for Oscar Wilde: From the Depths and A Child's Christmas in Wales), and choreographer K. O'Rourke (a Barrymore nominee for her work on the Lantern's Emma). Longtime Lantern collaborator and three-time Barrymore Award nominee J. Alex Cordaro (Romeo & Juliet, Coriolanus, and As You Like It) will serve as the production's fight director, staging the meticulously timed slaps, smacks, falls, and other fights that are typical of the farce genre. Costume designer Alison Roberts and sound designer Damien Figueras round out the creative team, both making their Lantern debuts.
About Lantern Theater Company
Founded in 1994, Lantern Theater Company will enter its upcoming 25th anniversary season with a record number of subscribers and a growing community of theater artists engaged in its productions and audience enrichment events. The Lantern's innovative Theater Artist Fair Pay Initiative was featured in American Theatre magazine as a leading national success story for increasing artist compensation through a combination of fundraising and higher ticket sales. The Lantern seeks to be a vibrant and contributing member of its community, exposing audiences to great theater, inviting participation in dialogue and discussion, engaging audience members on artistic and social issues, and employing theatrical language and techniques to enrich learning in the classroom. Since the inception of the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre in 1995, the Lantern has been recognized with 96 nominations and 19 awards, including the 2009 Award for Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service. The company recently announced its upcoming 2018/19 season, which will include the Philadelphia premiere of Hapgood by Tom Stoppard, the Philadelphia premiere of The Heir Apparent by David Ives, Betrayal by Harold Pinter, Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare, and the world premiere of Minors, a brand new musical by Kittson O'Neill and Robert Kaplowitz, which was commissioned by the Lantern under the auspices of the company's New Works Program. More information is online at www.lanterntheater.org.