Lantern Theater Company Presents The Philadelphia Premiere Of HAPGOOD By Tom Stoppard

Lantern Theater Company kicks off its 2018/19 season with the regional premiere of Hapgood by Tom Stoppard. Longtime Lantern artistic collaborator Peter DeLaurier will direct a cast that includes McKenna Kerrigan as MI5 spymaster Elizabeth Hapgood, with Damon Bonetti, Kirk Wendell Brown, Trevor William Fayle, Christopher Patrick Mullen, Adam Phelan, David Pica, William Zielinski, and young actors Charles LaMonaca and Will Zielinski, who will share the role of Hapgood's son Joe. Theater critics and members of the press are invited to request tickets for opening night on Wednesday, September 12 at 7 p.m. by contacting Anne Shuff at ashuff@lanterntheater.org. Performances run Thursday, September 6 through Sunday, October 14, 2018; a full schedule of performances and related special events is included in the fact sheet below.

Tom Stoppard refers to Hapgood as his "plot play." Showcasing the prolific playwright's characteristic wit, verve, and deft wordplay, Russian espionage collides with particle physics in a mesmerizing journey through a wildly complex counterintelligence operation - and absolutely nothing is what it appears to be. Focused mainly on a brilliant British spymaster juggling motherhood and career in a profession dominated by men, Hapgood also references quantum mechanics - including Niels Bohr's "The answer is the question interrogated," Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, and the historically notable mathematical problem of the Seven Bridges of Königsberg. Hapgood marks the Lantern's fifth production of Stoppard's work, including Arcadia (2014), Heroes (2012), Rough Crossing (1998), and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1997).

"Hapgood has long been one of my own favorites among Stoppard's plays," said Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. "It stands out from the body of Stoppard's work as one of his most tightly plotted plays. The front pages of today's newspapers are full of tales of Russian espionage, so the Lantern's production is very much in the spirit of the challenging times in which we live."

"Stoppard has given us a brilliant story," said Hapgood director Peter DeLaurier. "But to call Hapgood a spy thriller may be deceiving. It makes the story sound exotic. Spies are people with appetites and families, loves, joys, and sorrows. Hapgood is full of ordinary human relationships - twins, mother and son, lovers, colleagues, and enemies. The thrill of this play is how the characters sort out these relationships, sometimes happily, but often not." DeLaurier's directing credits include Lantern productions of Red Velvet by Lolita Charkabarti; 36 Views by Naomi Iizuka; The Island and Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, both by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona; and Vigil by Morris Panych. He has also graced the Lantern stage in productions of The Tempest, An Iliad, Underneath the Lintel, QED, The Train Driver, Emma, Heroes, Uncle Vanya, and Skylight. DeLaurier is a seven-time Barrymore Award nominee and received the award twice: for his role as The Librarian in Underneath the Lintel at the Lantern and as Kent in King Lear at People's Light. He is an artistic associate at People's Light and has been a member of their resident company since 1991.

The Lantern will delve into the world of Hapgood on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at www.lanterntheater.org/searchlight. Published articles will explore the history of the Cold War, the women of British intelligence, British spy novelists, particle physics and the dual nature of reality, Stoppard's illusions, behind the scenes interviews with the artists, and more. New content will be added throughout the production's run.

Tickets for Hapgood are $28 - $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 industry 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.

Tom Stoppard has written for film, television, radio, and stage, achieving critical acclaim and popular success with plays such as Arcadia, Travesties, The Real Thing, The Coast of Utopia, and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Stoppard co-wrote the screenplays for Shakespeare in Love and Brazil, and is the winner of an Academy Award and four Tony Awards. He has been a key playwright of London's National Theatre and is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation. He was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1997.

McKenna Kerrigan will make her Lantern debut in the title role of Elizabeth Hapgood, a brilliant British female spymaster juggling motherhood and career in a male-dominated profession. Kerrigan is a longtime company member with New Paradise Laboratories, an associated artist with Target Margin Theater in NYC, and a company member of Partial Comfort Productions in NYC. Her regional credits also include productions with Pig Iron Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Orchestra, People's Light, Headlong Dance Theater, Vineyard Theatre, La Mama, Connelly Theater, PS 122, West End Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, among others. Her film and television credits include Boardwalk Empire, Criminal Minds, Aftermath; Dead Woman Walking, My America, and Lebanon, PA.

The Hapgood cast also includes Damon Bonetti as MI5 agent Ridley (Red Velvet and The Hound of the Baskervilles at the Lantern), Kirk Wendell Brown as CIA agent Wates (Coriolanus, As You Like It, and The Train Driver), Christopher Patrick Mullen as MI5 agent Blair (Lantern debut, longtime People's Light company member), Trevor William Fayle as Hapgood's secretary Maggs (Photograph 51 and Arcadia), Adam Phelan as the Russian (native of Ireland, now serving as a 2018/19 season apprentice at the Lantern), David Pica as MI5 agent Merryweather (Red Velvet and 36 Views), and William Zielinski as Russian nuclear physicist and double agent Kerner (Don't Dress for Dinner, The Comedy of Errors, Travels with My Aunt, Rough Crossing, and True West). Charles LaMonaca (Fun Home at Arden Theatre Company) and Will Zielinski (professional debut) will both make their Lantern debuts in the shared role of Hapgood's son Joe.

The talented design team has created a physical world that encompasses multiple locations within the Lantern's intimate playing space. Leading that effort is scenic designer Nick Embree, whose previous Lantern credits include Copenhagen, The Island, New Jerusalem, and Vigil. Embree also serves as head of University of the Arts' Theater Design and Technology program. Embree is joined by costume designer Natalia de la Torre (The Tempest and An Iliad), lighting designer Lily Fossner (Red Velvet and Informed Consent), and sound designer and composer Christopher Colucci, an eight-time Barrymore Award-winner whose many Lantern credits include Red Velvet, The Gospel According To..., Mrs. Warren's Profession, and Arcadia. Props master Shaelyn Weatherup is making her Lantern debut.

Founded in 1994, Lantern Theater Company is entering its 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 100 nominations and 19 awards, including the 2009 Award for Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service. Following Hapgood, the company's 2018/19 season will continue with 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 Philadelphia-based artists 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.

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