Trinity Rep Announces Rhode Island Premiere of INTIMATE APPAREL, 2/2

Trinity Rep kicks off the new year with the Rhode Island premiere of Intimate Apparel, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage, sponsored by Brown University with supporting sponsor Ruth's Lingerie. Directed by Trinity Rep company member Janice Duclos, the show begins previews on January 30 in the Dowling Theater and continues through March 2, 2014. This beautifully written and critically acclaimed play is set at the beginning of the 20th century and was inspired by Nottage's own family history. Intimate Apparel centers on Esther, a black seamstress who creates intimate garments for the women of New York City. Hailed as, "a beautifully written and intensely personal play that combines a vibrant feminist sensibility with an ability to cut to the emotional quick with striking veracity, poignancy and intimacy" by the Chicago Tribune, Nottage'sIntimate Apparel tells a deeply moving story of romance and survival. Tickets on sale now at, by calling (401) 351-4242, or at the theater's box office at 201 Washington St., Downtown Providence.

The time is 1905, the place New York City, where Esther (Mia Ellis), a black seamstress, lives in a boarding house for women and sews intimate apparel for clients who range from wealthy white patrons to prostitutes. Her plan is to find the right man and use the money she's saved to open a beauty parlor where black women will be treated as royally as the white women she sews for. By way of a mutual acquaintance, she begins to receive beautiful letters from a lonesome Caribbean man named George (Joe Wilson, Jr.) who is working on the Panama Canal. Over time the correspondence becomes increasingly intimate until George persuades her that they should marry- sight unseen.

"Lynn Nottage's award-winning play is like the extravagant corsets created by its protagonist, both sturdily constructed and richly detailed...," (Chicago Reader). Intimate Apparel premiered at Baltimore's Center Stage and went on to make its New York debut at the Roundabout Theatre in 2004 featuring Viola Davis as Esther. Among the play's many award nominations, it won the 2004 Steinberg New Play Award, Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play, and Lynn Nottage received the John Gassner Award from the same committee.

Members of Trinity Rep's resident Acting Company comprise the cast, including Angela Brazil (Mrs. Van Buren),Mia Ellis (Esther), Mauro Hantman (Mr. Marks), Barbara Meek (Mrs. Dickenson), and Joe Wilson, Jr. (George) with Brown/Trinity Rep MFA student Shelley Fort (Mayme).

To create the multi-faceted world of turn of the century New York, Trinity Rep has assembled the production design team of set designer Patrick Lynch (Boeing-Boeing), lighting designer John Ambrosone (The Grapes of Wrath), costume designer Allison Carrier (A Christmas Carol) and resident sound designer Peter Sasha Hurowitz.

"It is in this setting, a city teeming with people, that Lynn Nottage has written a play she herself described as a meditation on loneliness, " explains director Janice Duclos. "Esther Mills has overcome the many societal barriers facing a single, illiterate, African-American woman by being able to provide for herself; but it is enough? She still finds herself alone."

Continuing Trinity Rep's tradition of offering affordable tickets for all, Intimate Apparel will have discounted previews from January 30 through February 1 at 7:30pm. Friday January 31 is a Pay What You Can (PWYC) performance with tickets on sale at 6:30pm that evening, limit one per person. Additionally, talkbacks will be held after every performance of Intimate Apparel. Audiences are invited to share their response to the production and themes for approximately twenty minutes following the performance.

The State Theater of Rhode Island, Trinity Repertory Company is now celebrating its 50th Anniversary Season. Since its founding in 1963, Trinity Repertory Company has been one of the most respected regional theaters in the country. Featuring the last permanent resident Acting Company in America, Trinity Rep presents a balance of world premiere, contemporary, and classic works for an estimated annual audience of approximately 145,000. In its 50-year history, the theater has produced 62 world premieres, mounted national and international tours, and, through its MFA program, trained hundreds of new actors and directors. This season marks the 46th year of Project Discovery, Trinity Rep's pioneering educational outreach program. Last season, Trinity Rep's educational programs reached nearly 15,000 Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut students through matinees as well as in-school residencies and workshops. Brown University/Trinity Rep offers professional training for actors and directors in a three-year MFA program. Trinity Rep's 50th Anniversary season continues with Lionel Bart's Oliver!, directed and choreographed by Richard and ShaRon Jenkins, the world premiere of Veronica Meadows by Stephen Thorne and A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard. For more information, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at

Photo Credit: Michael Guy; Photo Caption: Mia Ellis for Intimate Apparel at Trinity Rep

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