DMT Announces First Bare Bones Readings of the 2014 - 2015 Season

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The Douglas Morrisson Theatre (DMT) is excited to announce the first production in the 2014-2015 "Bare Bones" staged reading series: the West Coast premiere of "WHAT RHYMES WITH AMERICA" by Melissa James Gibson, a quirky, poignant funny-sad play about lost souls and the partially examined life.

The play will have one performance, on Monday, September 29, 2014, at 8:00pm, at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre, 22311 N. Third St. in Hayward, CA. Tickets are $10 (open seating), and are available through the Box Office at (510) 881-6777 or online at

As the play begins, Hank and his 16 ½ year-old daughter, Marlene, stand on either side of a closed door. Hank is a bit of a sad-sack, his life is unraveling and he's trying hard to rekindle a relationship with Marlene. He's managed to blow up his 20-year marriage, owes his (almost) ex-wife $183,000 and he's lost his job as an economist at the university so now he's working as an extra at the opera house alongside cohort Sheryl, a frustrated actress. Hank is also awkwardly re-entering the dating scene with Lydia, an unsuccessful short-story writer who has just lost her father. These are the complicated and slightly odd, drifting characters who people the world of "WHAT RHYMES WITH AMERICA."

Melissa James Gibson's unique rhythms flow through "WHAT RHYMES WITH AMERICA." The playwright's idiosyncratic dialogue is filled with overlaps, non sequiturs and poignant silences. Gibson has said that she tries to capture how she hears things, "the way peoples' thought processes are reflected in the way they speak." "WHAT RHYMES WITH AMERICA" had its world premiere in December 2012 at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City, in a production directed by Daniel Aukin.

Melissa James Gibson's plays include "[sic]" (Steppenwolf commission, 2002 Obie Award winner); "Brooklyn Bridge"; "Suitcase, or Those That Resemble Flies From A Distance"; "Given Fish"; "Six Fugues"; "God's Paws"; "Nuda Veritas"; "Current Nobody" (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, DC); "This" (Playwrights Horizons); and "What Rhymes With America." She has received many honors including a Kesselring Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Writers' Award and a 2011 Steinberg Playwright Award. Ms. Gibson also writes for the movies (screenplay for "Almost Christmas", and "All is Bright") and television (Netflix's "House of Cards" and the FX series "The Americans"). Gibson's first job out of grad school was at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, where she worked full time, mostly as a college counselor, until leaving two years ago to write for TV.

Domenique Lozano's directing credits include: "The Drawer Boy," "Welcome Home Jenny Sutter," and "Orlando" (TheatreFirst), "The Countess" (Center REPertory Theatre); "Two for the Seesaw" (Marin Theatre Company); "Inspecting Carol" and the West Coast premiere of Jane Martin's "Anton in Show Business" (San Jose Stage Company); and "The Norman Conquests," "Holiday," "The Real Thing," and "She Loves Me" (Napa Valley Repertory Theatre of which she was a founding member/associate artistic director). Ms. Lozano is a resident artist with A.C.T., director of the mainstage production of "A Christmas Carol," a core faculty member in the M.F.A. Program, and a teacher in the Young Conservatory and Studio A.C.T. Programs. Recent YC projects include Jodie Marshall's "A Stone's Throw," with the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. Acting credits include work with California Shakespeare Theater (artistic associate), A.C.T., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The Douglas Morrisson Theatre is located at 22311 N. Third St. in Hayward, next to the Senior Center and the Japanese Gardens. The Box Office is open Tuesday through Friday, 12:30 to 5:30 and can be reached at (510) 881-6777. Information is also available at

The Douglas Morrisson Theatre is a program and facility of the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.

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