Cygnet Theatre Dives Beneath the Surface with THE WHALE

Cygnet Theatre literally ends Season 12 in a BIG way with the San Diego premiere of The Whale. Emerging playwright Samuel D. Hunter's (The Few) big hearted and humorously touching play features a six hundred pound recluse whose issues from his past have brought him to a crisis in the present. This smart and subversive tale features sharp, provocative language and finds heart in challenging situations. The Whale begins previews on May 14. It opens on May 23 and runs through June 14.

The Whale is the story of a gay man's last chance at redemption, and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places. The story takes us to the outskirts of a small town in Idaho where an obese recluse hides away in his apartment, eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long estranged daughter, he reaches out to her only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen. Charlie's ex-wife, his devoted friend and caregiver, and a young Mormon on his mission round out the cast.

"We're excited to present this compelling work by a rising star of American theatre and the work of a recognized genius," said Artistic Director Sean Murray. In 2014 Hunter was the recipient of the MacArther Foundation "Genius Grant" Award, which acknowledges "exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future." This vibrant and provocative drama has become one of the most critically acclaimed new plays in the country.

Premiering at Denver Center Theatre Company in January 2012, the play has gone on to have productions Off-Broadway by Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Repertory and Victory Gardens Theater, among others. It has won numerous awards, including the Off-Broadway League's 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, the 2013 Drama Desk Special Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre and the 2013 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding New York Theatre. The Chicago Tibune called it "beautifully devastating, remarkably eloquent and frequently very funny" by the Chicago Tribune,

Cygnet's production will be helmed by Shana Wride. The local actor and director was recently seen in Baby with the Bathwater at Diversionary Theatre. "I was drawn to this play because I found it dangerous and deliciously human," explained Wride, who returns to Cygnet after directing Mistakes Were Made last season. "It shows real people in extraordinary situations, and at hair-pin turns, can be unexpected, smart and brutally funny. That excites me!"

Stepping into the role of Charlie is Andrew Oswald (Company) working on his third show with Cygnet. Cygnet Resident Artist Melissa Fernandes (Assassins, Company, Little Shop of Horrors) and local actor Judy Bauerlein, an associate professor of theatre at CSU San Marcos (Cygnet Theatre debut) join a cast that includes two actors new to San Diego stages. Erin McIntosh is a Los Angeles based actress whose recent credits include MTV's Awkward. She coincidently grew up in the exact same neighborhood in the exact same small town in Idaho where this play takes place. Craig Jorczak is a member ofthe New York based theatre company Lesser America.

The production team features costume design by Veronica Murphy, set design by Sean Fanning, lighting design by R. Craig Wolf, sound design by Melanie Chen, and properties design by Syd Stevens. Ryan Heath will stage manage.

Performances are May 14 through June 14. Show times are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 3:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2:00pm and 7:00pm.

For more information regarding tickets, please contact the box office at 619-337-1525 or visit www.cygnettheatre.com. Tickets may be purchased in person at the box office located at 4040 Twiggs Street. Discounts are available for students, active-duty military, seniors and groups of 10 or more.

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