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Diversionary Theatre Announces Cast & Creative Team For THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP

The cast features two performers bringing innumerable ridiculous characters to life in a high camp tour de force: Luke Harvey Jacobs and Bryan Banville.

Diversionary Theatre Announces Cast & Creative Team For THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP

Diversionary Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for its production of The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam, co-directed by Diversionary Executive Artistic Director Matt M. Morrow and Allison Spratt Pearce. The Mystery of Irma Vep will run December 1 - December 24 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. For tickets and information, please visit diversionary.org.

The cast features two performers bringing innumerable ridiculous characters to life in a high camp tour de force: Luke Harvey Jacobs and Bryan Banville.

The creative team includes Jesse Marchese, Dramaturg; Alyssa Kane, Props Designer; Matthew Herman, Scenic Designer; Annelise Salazar, Lighting Designer; Evan Eason, Sound Designer; Brooke Kesler, Costume Designer; Peter Herman, Wig Designer; Jacob Bruce, Fight Choreographer; Levi Kaplan, Special Effects, Bailie Molsberry, Stage Manager and Props Coordinator; Frankie Alicea-Ford, Casting.

The Mystery of Irma Vep is coming to the Diversionary stage for the first time in 20 years. This queer comic masterpiece is gothic horror, Victorian romance, and classic B-movies are whipped together into a diabolical delight for the holidays. When Lady Enid joins her newlywed Lord Edgar at his estate in the mysterious moors of the English countryside, dark family secrets and supernatural lore emerge with some seriously campy consequences.

"I'm thrilled to bring this camp classic extravaganza back to the Diversionary stage for the holidays," said Matt Morrow. "Charles Ludlam is one of my favorite playwrights, and it gives me so much pleasure to celebrate his genius as the forefather of queer theatre in America. I'm honored to have such strong (and funny!) collaborators in co-director Allison Spratt Pearce and actors Luke Harvey Jacobs and Bryan Banville. The Mystery of Irma Vep is not only hilarious and wildly entertaining, it's a tribute to the magical power of live theatre." Spratt Pearce shared, "In our version of The Mystery of Irma Vep, we will honor the absurdity and truth that Charles Ludlam and his longtime companion, Everett Quinton, passed down for this team to ignite in our own way at Diversionary. Let the games begin."

Matt M. Morrow joined Diversionary Theatre in 2014, and since joining, Matt has helped to grow Diversionary Theatre's operating budget by 140%. Under their leadership the theatre has been nominated for 29 San Diego Critics Circle Awards, winning two Outstanding New Play Awards in 2017 and 2019. Alongside Diversionary's Board of Trustees, Matt led the Securing Our Future campaign, a $2.7 million renovation project for the theatre's home in University Heights, which reopened in the Fall of 2021. Notable world-premiere productions Matt has directed and/or produced with Diversionary include Miranda Rose Hall's The Hour of Great Mercy (Winner, 2019 Best New Play, SDCC Award), Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald's musical The Loneliest Girl in the World, Georgette Kelly's Ballast (Winner, 2017 Best New Play, SDCC Award), Justin Huertas' Lizard Boy The Musical (Winner, Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical). Matt was honored with the inaugural Larry T. Baza Arts & Culture Award from San Diego Pride, and was a Creative Catalyst Fellow with The San Diego Foundation and La Jolla Playhouse. Matt served as The John Wells Professor of Directing at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama, and is currently adjunct Professor of Directing at UC San Diego's Graduate Directing program.

Allison Spratt Pearce has been onstage at Diversionary as Janey in Eighty-Sixed and Anita Bryant in The Loneliest Girl in the World. Allison holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Elon and an MFA in Drama from The Old Globe/USD program. Allison was in the original Broadway & Off Broadway casts of Good Vibrations, Cry Baby and Curtains, and Enter Laughing. Selected San Diego credits include: Janice in Come From Away, Victoria in Sideways (La Jolla Playhouse), Phoebe: As You Like It, Viola: Twelfth Night (Globe tour), Jane: Emma (The Old Globe), Emily: Disgraced, Susannah: Black Pearl Sings (SD Rep), Eliza Doolittle: My Fair Lady, Katherine: The Last Wife, and her award winning portrayal of Louise: Gypsy (Cygnet), Maria: The Sound of Music, Amalia: She Loves Me (SDMT), Victor/ia: Victor/Victoria (Moonlight Stages). Along with being an actress, Allison is a private acting teacher and speaker coach for Google Cloud.

Luke Harvey Jacobs plays Actor 1 (Enid, Nico, Al, Pev). Other Diversionary credits include: Chance in Eighty-Sixed, Fastrada in Pippin, Patrick in The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, Michael in The Boys in the Band (2018 reading). Some recent, favorite roles include Max in Cabaret (Cygnet), his work in Hair at The Old Globe, Henri Labisse in Victor/Victoria and Franz Liebkind in The Producers (both at Moonlight). Choreography credits: Little Shop of Horrors (SDMT), Nunsense (the Welk), La Cage aux Folles (Cygnet), and Sister Act (SDMT - Critic's Circle Nomination). Luke received his BFA in Musical Theatre from CSU, Fullerton.

Bryan Banville plays Actor 2 (Edgar, Jane, Intruder). Bryan was last seen at Diversionary in Significant Other. Additional select credits - Old Globe: The Heart of Rock and Roll, Camp David, and Anna Christie; Cygnet Theatre: (Resident Artist) Spamalot (Craig Noel Award Winner), Rock of Ages, Animal Crackers, On the Twentieth Century, and Assassins; Moonlight Stage Productions: Memphis, Something Rotten, Titanic, The Music Man, Spamalot, Mary Poppins, and Catch Me If You Can. Backyard Renaissance: Tarrytown (Craig Noel Award Nominee); SDMT: The Producers and Ragtime; North Coast Repertory: The Sunshine Boys; Farmer's Alley Theatre: Forever Plaid; Welk Resort Theatre: Plaid Tidings.

Diversionary Theatre is the nation's third-oldest LGTBQ+ theatre dedicated to amplifying queer voices through the performing arts in a dynamic, inclusive, and provocative environment that celebrates and preserves their unique culture, while contributing to an environment of diversity and inclusion throughout the broader community. Since Diversionary's founding in 1986, it has continually provided an inspiring and thought-provoking theatrical platform to explore complex and diverse stories of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning communities in the form of live entertainment that can be enjoyed by all.




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