Pioneer Theatre Company Presents Jane Austen's EMMA 2/17-3/3

By: Feb. 02, 2012
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Pioneer Theatre Company will present the stage adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Emma, February 17 through March 3, 2012.

About the show: "Young, headstrong Emma Woodhouse believes she has a special talent for matchmaking, but where the affections of others and her own heart are concerned she is exasperatingly but charmingly clueless. Jane Austen’s beloved romantic comedy of small village English life in the 18th century comes vividly to life in this enchanting stage adaptation."

Austen’s novel has been adapted for the stage by Jon Jory. Jory is a theatrical director, playwright and New York Theatre Hall of Fame inductee. He served as artistic director of the Long Wharf Theatre from 1965 to 1966. In 1969, he took over the helm of The Actors Theatre of Louisville, and while there created the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays – the festival that has since produced a number of award-winning plays including Crimes of the Heart, Cementville and Dinner with Friends. His Jane Austen adaptations have been produced in twelve countries and his newest, Persuasion, will be published in July.

Austen’s heroine Emma Woodhouse is played by Nisi Sturgis. Sturgis’ Broadway credits include The 39 Steps, the New York premiere of The Pretty Trap, Intimate Apparel at the Roundabout Theatre/Mark Taper Forum, and Dsyphoria and The Less We Talk with Hoi Polloi. She has appeared at regional theatres across the country, and can be seen as June Thompson in the award-winning HBO series Boardwalk Empire. She returns to PTC after appearing as Ophelia in last season’s production of Hamlet.

Michael Sharon plays Mr. George Knightley, Emma’s longtime friend and one of the most eligible bachelors in Highbury. Sharon has appeared in regional theatres across the country, including three seasons at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in productions including Twelfth Night, Coriolanus, Johnny Guitar, Merchant of Venice, Camelot and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His film/TV credits include Identical (LAAFF Winner), Doin’ the L.A. Thing (HBO Choice Award) and In Between Men (Indie Soap nomination). This is his PTC debut.

Katie Fabel plays Harriet Smith, a single young woman for whom Emma wants desperately to find a match. Her UK credits include The Sound of Music on London’s West End, the National Tour of Arsenic and Old Lace, and Royal National Theatre’s The Wind in the Willows. Off-Broadway, Fabel appered in The Shaughraun and Ernest in Love at Irish Repertory Theatre, and in Belle of Belfast at Cherry Lane. Her many regional credits include theatres such as Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, and San Diego’s Old Globe. This is her PTC debut.

Kymberly Mellen plays Mrs. Weston, Emma’s former governess and confidant. Mr. Weston is played by Paul Kiernan. Mellen’s credits include productions at Writers’ Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre. She has also been seen at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth. Her film credits include The Unborn, Boy with Blue and Joseph: Prophet of the Restoration. She received her BFA from BYU and her MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Kiernan has appeared at PTC in many productions including as Caliban in The Tempest, The Diary of Anne Frank, Hamlet and Twelve Angry Men, to name a few. He has also appeared at Salt Lake Acting Company and with Salt Lake Shakespeare, Pennsylvania Shakespeare, The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, and many others. His TV and film credits include Disney’s Luck of the Irish, The Maldonado Miracle, Ice Spiders and the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon.

Mr. and Mrs. Elton, the snobbishly but comically class-conscious couple, are played by RICHARD GALLGHER and Jenny Mercein. On Broadway, Gallagher appeared in The Importance of Being Earnest with the Roundabout Theatre Company. His other New York credits include 59E59 Theaters, Women’s Theatre Project, LArk Theatre Company and the New York Fringe Festival. This is his PTC debut. Mercein has appeared at The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Fulton Opera House, Connecticut Free Shakespeare, Florida Studio Theater, Synapse Productions, Keen Company and New Georges. She returns to PTC after playing Desdemona in Othello.

Frank Churchill, a newly arrived and very eligible bachelor, is played by Jordan Coughtry. New York credits include Murder in the Cathedral as Fourth Tempter, The Narrator in Winter Journey directed by Alec Duffy, and Be Story Free directed by Kirk Wood Bromley at Inverse Theater. His many regional credits include productions at Shakespeare Theatre Company D.C., Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival, among many others. This is his PTC debut.

Emma’s loving but doting father Mr. Woodhouse is played by Jeffrey Hayenga. Hayenga’s extensive New York credits include title roles in Broadway's The Elephant Man and off-Broadway's Jeffrey, as well as The Man Who Came to Dinner, Ah Wilderness, As Bees in Honey Drown, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Two Rooms, Hamlet, King Lear and The Book of Wren, to name just a few.

Playing the eccentric and unwed Miss Bates is ANNE STEWART MARK. Mark returns to the PTC stage after appearing in many shows, including Annie, Sunset Boulevard and White Christmas to name a few. She has been seen at other theatres including The Peterborough Players, Salt Lake Acting Company, and the Utah Opera Company. She is also an accomplished director.

Rounding out the ensemble are University of Utah actors WARD CHAPMAN as Robert Martin, ELIZABETH SUMMERHAYS as Jane Fairfax, and ensemble members Laura Innes MELTON, RYON SHARETTE and SUMMER SPENCE.

Guest Director MATTHEW ARBOUR directs the production. Arbour’s work has been seen at the Mint Theater Company, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Chautauqua Theater Company, Two River Theater Company, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, New Jersey Repertory, 78th Street Theatre Lab, Ohio Theater, Washington Ensemble Theater, Portland Stage Company, Hangar Theatre, Theatre at Monmouth, and the Penobscot Theatre Company among others.

Scenic design is by guest artist Bill Clarke. Clarke designed A Walk in the Woods and Abby’s Song on Broadway, and his off-Broadway work includes Eccentricities of a Nightingale and The Daughter-in-Law (which both appeared on the NY Times’ Ten Best List), Secret Order, June Moon, Queens Blvd., Ann Magnuson’s You Could Be Home Now, Keith Reddin’s The Innocents’ Crusade, Alan Havis’ Morocco and The Cherry Orchard. His recent PTC designs include Pride and Prejudice, Romeo & Juliet and Twelve Angry Men.

BRENDA VAN DER WIEL designs costumes for this production. As costume shop manager for the University of Utah’s Theatre Department, Van der Wiel has designed several dozen shows for the Babcock Theatre and the Classical Greek Theatre Festival. She also frequently designs for Salt Lake Acting Company and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. In addition to many other credits at PTC, she has worked with Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Lighting design is by guest designer KENDALL SMITH. As the Resident Designer for Michigan Opera Theatre for the last twenty years, he has designed over 55 productions. His many other regional credits include designs for Geva Theatre, Studio Theatre in D.C., Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and North Shore Music Theatre. His extensive opera designs include work for Minnesota Opera, Virginia Opera and Eugene Opera, among others.

Hair and makeup design (including wigs) is by PTC resident designer AMANDA FRENCH. Sound design is by PTC resident designer MATTHEW TIBBS.

Pioneer Theatre Company operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah’s only fully professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features.

Box Office: 801-581-6961
Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon – Fri