Philadelphia Theatre Presents VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, Now thru 4/20

Master of Absurd Comedy Christopher Durang blends the characters and themes from Anton Chekhov's dramas in the hilarious Tony Award-winner Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike running today, March 21 - April 20 at Philadelphia Theatre Company's Suzanne Roberts Theatre (Broad and Lombard Streets). Directed by James J. Christy, the ensemble features Grace Gonglewski, Deirdre Madigan, Kianne Muschett , Clare O'Malley, Alex Shaw, and Kraig Swartz.

Previews begin Friday, March 21 with Opening Night on Wednesday, March 26. Performances run Tuesdays through Sundays until April 20. Tickets starting at $46 are available by calling the PTC Box Office at 215-985-0420 or visiting Philadelphia Theatre Company's Suzanne Roberts Theatre is located at Broad and Lombard Streets in Center City Philadelphia.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is the latest work in the absurdist canon of playwright Christopher Durang, renowned for his particularly zany and sardonic brand of comic playwriting. In Vanya, two siblings, Vanya and Sonia, have never left the confines of their childhood home in bucolic Bucks County, PA, while their sister, Masha, has been gallivanting around the world as a successful movie star. A surprise visit from Masha and her 20-something boyfriend, Spike, throws the normally quiet household into utter upheaval as its residents and visitors get swept up in an intoxicating mixture of lust, rivalry, regret, and the sudden possibility of escape. Durang riffs on Anton Chekhov's most famous themes in this laugh-out-loud funny yet unexpectedly moving American comedy.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was commissioned by the McCarter Theatre in association with Lincoln Center Theatre. After premiering at McCarter in fall 2012, it moved Off-Broadway to Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater before transferring to Broadway in 2013. The play won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, as well as the New York Drama Critics' Circle, Drama League, and Drama Desk Awards.

"We are delighted to renew our relationship with Christopher Durang whose delightful comic sensibility is in top form with Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," said PTC's Executive Producing Director Sara Garonzik. "This wonderfully hilarious yet touching exploration of family and love pays loving homage to Chekhov's classic themes of loss and longing while also offering sardonic comments on such contemporary topics as global warming and the devolution of culture."

Christopher Durang (Playwright) returns to PTC which produced the world premiere of his musical Adrift in Macao (PTC, 2005) as well as The Vietnamization of New Jersey (PTC, 1982). His other plays on and Off- Broadway include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination), Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy, Baby with the Bathwater, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award, Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award), Laughing Wild, Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie Award), Sex and Longing, Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge, and Miss Witherspoon (2005 Pulitzer finalist). In recent years, he won the Harvard Arts Medal, the Sidney Kingsley Playwriting Award, was the 2008 honoree at the William Inge Festival, and in September, won the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Award for a Master American Dramatist. Durang is a long-time resident of Bucks County.

James J. Christy (Director) was one of the founders of Philadelphia Theatre Company during the '70s where, in more recent years, he directed The Outgoing Tide, Take Me Out, The Laramie Project (both Barrymore aaward winners), Side Man, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and Orson's Shadow at PTC. Five years ago, Chirsty was honored with the Philadelphia Theatre Alliance's Barrymore Award for Lifetime Achievement, a highlight of his long career as a director and educator in Philadelphia. He is a Professor Emeritus at Villanova University where he taught theatre for 39 years.

Grace Gonglewski (Masha) returns to PTC where she last appeared in the Barrymore Award-winning production of The Laramie Project. The recipient of several other Barrymore Awards, including the first F. Otto Haas Award, she has worked at every major theater in Philadelphia over the last twenty years, including nine seasons at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and 25 productions at Arden Theatre Company.

Deidre Madigan (Sonia) recently performed on Broadway in Pam McKinnon's Tony Award-winning revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and has also appeared Off-Broadway in Barbra's Wedding, Major Crimes, and Jigsaws. Regionally she has appeared at Pittsburgh Public Theatre in back-to-back leading roles in Much Ado About Nothing and Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation.

Kianne Muschett (Cassandra) appeared as Oya in In the Red and Brown Water at The Public Theatre, McCarter Theatre, and ALLIANCE THEATRE. She has also been featured in productions at Playwrights Horizons and Theatre Memphis, and co-starred on television in House of Cards.

Clare O'Malley (Nina) comes to Philadelphia following leading roles at Dublin's Gate and Abbey Theatres and the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Regionally she has appeared at Arden Theatre Company, Theatre Horizon and Inis Nua Theatre.

Alec Shaw (Spike) makes his PTC debut with this production. He has appeared in Rocky Horror Picture Show, Elephant's Graveyard, The Little Dog Laughed, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and Rabbit Hole, all at Trustus Theatre, as well as in several productions at University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he earned a BFA in Acting.

Kraig Swartz (Vanya) returns to PTC where he earnEd Barrymore Awards for his performances in Take Me Out (PTC, 2005) and Fully Committed (PTC, 2002). He has also received a Drama Desk nomination for So Help Me God, a Detroit Free Press Award for Broadway Bound, two Carbonell Award nominations for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Bent, and a Jeff Award nomination for Til the Fat Lady Sings. He has appeared in several productions at Guthrie Theatre, Chicago's Victory Gardens, Kennedy Center, Peterborough Players, and Asolo Theatre.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike brings together a creative team of PTC designers favorites - Set Designer David Gordon (The Outgoing Tide, Gross Indecency and Dinner with Friends); Costume Designer Richard St. Clair (Venus in Fur, world premiere of PTC's Golden Age and winner of two Barrymore Awards); Sound Designer Bart Fasbender (4,000 Miles, reasons to be pretty and The Outgoing Tide); and original music by Rob Maggio (The Outgoing Tide, M. Butterfly and Third). Lighting Designer Dennis Parichy recently designed Ghosts at People's Light & Theatre Company where he is a resident artist following a long and award-winning history in American theater, including New York, most memorably at the legendary Circle Rep.

PTC's mainstage season concludes with A Boy and His Soul, written and performed by Philadelphia native Colman Domingo (May 23-June 22).

Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company is a leading regional theatre company whose mission is to produce, develop and present entertaining and imaginative Contemporary Theatre focused on the American experience that both ignites the intellect and touches the soul. By developing new work through commissions, readings and workshops, PTC generates projects that have a national impact and reach broad regional audiences. Under the guidance of PTC's Executive Producing Director, Sara Garonzik, since 1982 and PTC President Priscilla M. Luce, who joined the leadership team in early April of 2013, PTC supports the work of a growing body of diverse dramatists and takes pride in being a home to many nationally recognized artists who have participated in more than 140 world and Philadelphia premieres. PTC has received 46 Barrymore Awards and 155 nominations. In October 2007, PTC opened the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, their home on Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts, which has helped contribute to the revitalization of Center City Philadelphia's thriving arts district.

For further information, please call 215-735-7356.

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