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Mercedes Ruehl Stars in Hampton & Wilson's FULL GALLOP, Beginning Tonight at The Old Globe


Long before the devil wore Prada -- 20 years ago, in fact -- the story of the irrepressible Diana Vreeland first commanded the stage of the Globe in a world premiere in 1995. Oscar and Tony Award winner Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King, Lost in Yonkers) now brings "The Empress of Fashion" back in FULL GALLOP. Written by Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson and directed by Andrew Russell, FULL GALLOP will run tonight, September 26, through October 25, 2015, with opening night on Thursday, October 1 at 8:00 p.m., in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Single tickets are now on sale.

Before Anna Wintour, "Sex and the City," and a generation of fashionistas, there was Diana Vreeland, larger-than-life doyenne of American taste. Unceremoniously fired as editor of Vogue, she hunkers down in her famous all-red New York apartment and plans her comeback: a magazine of her own. The path to get there is as complicated and outré as Vreeland herself. FULL GALLOP, which premiered at The Old Globe in 1995, is a witty one-woman tour de force about the fabulous style icon who forever changed the way Americans experience clothing, art, and life.

Mercedes Ruehl (Diana Vreeland) has appeared in the films The Fisher King (Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Los Angeles and Chicago Film Critics Association Awards), Married to the Mob, The Warriors, Big, Heartburn, Slaves of New York, Another You, Last Action Hero, Lost in Yonkers, What's Cooking?, The Amati Girls, Roseanna's Grave, Chu and Blossom, Zeyda and the Hitman, Spooky House, More Dogs Than Bones, and The Minus Man. She has been seen on Broadway in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Helen Hayes Awards), The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (Outer Critics Circle Award, Tony nomination), The Rose Tattoo, The Shadow Box (Tony nomination), and I'm Not Rappaport. Her Off Broadway credits include Woman Before a Glass (Obie Award), Other People's Money (Clarence Derwent Award), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award), Coming of Age in Soho, The Vagina Monologues, and Edward Albee's The Occupant. Ruehl's television credits include HBO's Indictment: The McMartin Trial, Gia, Hallmark Hall of Fame's The Lost Child and Loving Leah, El Jefe, Doubt, Star Spangled Banners, Showtime's North Shore Fish, Guilt by Association, and A Girl Like Me. She also made guest appearances on "Entourage," "Law & Order," "Monday Mornings," "Luck," "Psych," and "Frasier," among others.

The creative team includes Sean Fanning (Scenic Design), Mark Mitchell (Costume Design), Robert J. Aguilar (Lighting Design), Matt Starritt (Sound Design), Brian Meister (Assistant Director), and Annette Yé (Production Stage Manager).

"FULL GALLOP premiered here in 1995, and it's a pleasure to have it back," said Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "It's one of many plays and musicals that went onto great success after its Globe debut, and it is ripe for revival and reexamination. The talented director Andrew Russell, making his Globe debut, finds potent new currents of emotion, humanity, and entertainment in this beguiling story of a defining moment in Diana Vreeland's life. She was grand, her vision capacious, and her impact national, and it takes a very special actor to embody a character as imposing, significant, and extravagant. Mercedes Ruehl is an American treasure, a fearless talent who understands the expressive power of style, and her talents are a precise fit for Vreeland. I'm thrilled to welcome her to the Globe and can't wait to share her gorgeous work with San Diego audiences."

Mark Hampton (Playwright) is grateful to The Old Globe for giving FULL GALLOP its first production in 1995, which allowed the play to be seen subsequently in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. Hampton's subsequent plays include The Boswell Sisters, written with Stuart Ross and produced by The Old Globe; Paper Doll, written with Barbara Zitwer and starring Marlo Thomas and F. Murray Abraham at Pittsburgh Public Theater; and The Secret Letters of Jackie and Marilyn, co-written with Michael Sharp, also at Pittsburgh Public Theater. With Jeannie Berlin he recently completed the screenplay for a romantic comedy, Crackpot, and is currently working on You Don't Own Me, based on the life and music of Lesley Gore. Kiki/Suzanne, a play written for French actress Barbara Schulz, will premiere in Paris next season. And Josephine, a musical based on the life of Josephine Baker, written with Ellen Weston, Steve Doff, and John Bettis for producer Kenneth Waissman, will premiere in April 2016 at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota.

Mary Louise Wilson (Playwright) has enjoyed a long and successful acting career on stage as well as in television and film. She received a Tony Award for her portrayal of Big Edie in the musical Grey Gardens and a Tony nomination for playing Fraulein Schneider in the Broadway revival of Cabaret. She won Obie and Drama Desk Awards for her performance as the famous fashion icon Diana Vreeland in FULL GALLOP, which she co-wrote with the writer Mark Hampton. FULL GALLOP was subsequently published by Dramatists Play Service and performed all over the world. She has published articles in The New York Times, Playbill, American Theatre, and The New Yorker.

Andrew Russell (Director) is a writer and director based in Seattle with a focus on stage productions celebrating outsiders and those on the fringe. He is the Producing Artistic Director of the Tony Award-winning Intiman Theatre, where he directed Stu for Silverton, a new musical about America's first transgender mayor, and last year's critically acclaimed productions of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Parts One and Two, among others. Currently at Intiman, Russell has co-written with Ana Brown the new play John Baxter is a Switch Hitter, a new comic-drama that tells the true story of a softball team accused of having too many straight players at the 2008 Gay Softball World Series. He has also co-written the musical The Fourth Estate with composer Richard Gray and The 5th Avenue Theatre that puts Dorothy Kilgallen, Jack Ruby, Laura Poitras, and Edward Snowden in the same room. In New York, Russell has directed for The Public Theater, The Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York University, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Naked Angels, among others.

FULL GALLOP is supported in part through gifts from Valerie and Harry Cooper, Nina and Robert Doede, Gloria Rasmussen, and Pam Wagner and Hans Tegebo. The Artist Sponsor for Mercedes Ruehl is Jo Ann Kilty.

FULL GALLOP joins the September 16 world premiere of an exuberant dance-theatre musical, In Your Arms, in kicking off The Old Globe's 2015-2016 Season, which includes three world premieres, new works, and classics-and of course, Shakespeare and the Mean Old Grinch too! Tickets to the Globe's 2015-2016 Season are currently available by subscription only and can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the box office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.

Tickets to FULL GALLOP are on sale now and start at $29. Performances begin tonight, September 26 and continue through October 25. FULL GALLOP performance times: Previews: Tonight, September 26 at 8:00 p.m., Sunday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m., and Wednesday, September 30 at 7:00 p.m. Opening night is Thursday, October 1 at 8:00 p.m. Regular performances: Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. There will be an additional 2:00 p.m. matinee performance on Wednesday, October 14, and no 2:00 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, October 17. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, and groups of 10 or more.

Additional events taking place during the run of FULL GALLOP include:


Tuesday, September 29 at 5:30 p.m. The seminar series features a panel selected from the current show. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE


Saturday, October 3. Following the 2:00 p.m. performance, join renowned fashion designer Zandra Rhodes for an illuminating post-show discussion exploring the ideas and issues raised by the production. Rhodes will discuss her storied life in the fashion industry and how that industry has changed from the 1970s to today. She will also talk about her own relationship with Diana Vreeland, whom she considered a personal mentor. FREE


Sean Fanning (Scenic Design) is a Southern California-based scenic designer with a career spanning over 40 productions on local stages. His previous Globe credits include the Globe for All tour of All's Well That Ends Well, A Doll's House, Kingdom, and Plaid Tidings - A Special Holiday Edition of Forever Plaid. His credits with the Old Globe/USD M.F.A. Program include Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, The Winter's Tale, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. His other recent credits include Everybody's Talkin': The Music of Harry Nilsson, Honky (Craig Noel Award nomination), In the Heights, and Walter Cronkite is Dead. (San Diego Repertory Theatre), Dogfight, The Whale, Sons of the Prophet, Pageant, Maple and Vine, The Importance of Being Earnest, Travesties, and Shakespeare's R&J (Cygnet Theatre Company), South Pacific, Jane Austen's Emma, and Little Shop of Horrors (Summer Repertory Theatre), and The Improv at Harrah's and Menopause The Musical (Harrah's Las Vegas).

Mark Mitchell (Costume Design) is an artist who speaks to social issues through textiles. His contributions to Seattle's cultural community bridge a number of disciplines, including art, music, theater, fashion, and education. He is the subject of the award-winning short film Burial, and he presented a performance and exhibition of the same title at the Frye Art Museum in 2013. Mitchell was recently artist-in-residence at The New Foundation Seattle, where he began developing a new body of work called Burial 2.

Robert J. Aguilar (Lighting Design) most recently designed John Baxter is a Switch Hitter and The Children's Hour (Intiman Theatre Festival), Jasper in Deadland (The 5th Avenue Theatre), Lizard Boy (Seattle Repertory Theatre), and Three Sisters (The Seagull Project). His other regional credits include Angels in America (Intiman), Little Shop of Horrors (5th Avenue/A Contemporary Theatre), Seven Spots on the Sun (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Dear Elizabeth, The Vaudevillians, Bo-Nita, I Am My Own Wife, Of Mice and Men, The K of D, and boom (Seattle Rep), Trails (Village Theatre), The Lady with All the Answers (A Contemporary Theatre), and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Seattle Children's Theatre). He also designed Next to Normal, The Yellow Wood, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Zanna Don't! for Contemporary Classics, where he is the managing director. He is also the lighting associate for Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Matt Starritt (Sound Design) is a Seattle-based, freelance sound designer for theatre and dance. In Seattle, he has designed for Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Strawberry Theatre Workshop, Book-It Repertory Theatre, The Cherdonna and Lou Show, New Century Theatre, BenDeLaCreme, Waxie Moon, zoe | juniper, and Washington Ensemble Theatre. Nationally, he has designed for Alley Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Cornerstone Theater Company, and South Coast Repertory. He is a part-time lecturer for the University of Washington's School of Drama and was a founding member of Washington Ensemble Theatre.

Brian Meister (Assistant Director) has worked on a variety of productions since graduating from New York University, including the Broadway productions of Julius Caesar, Dracula, Hollywood Arms, The Rocky Horror Show, Royal Court Theatre's The Weir, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Once Upon a Mattress, Crazy for You, City of Angels, Metamorphosis, Noises Off, Private Lives, The Royal Shakespeare Company's Good, The Little Foxes, West Side Story, Shirley Bassey On Broadway, Wings, Lily Tomlin's Appearing Nitely, The Merchant, and Hello, Dolly! His Off Broadway credits include Lady Day, Falling, I Love You Because, Bring in the Morning, Program for Murder, Modigliani, and The Mother of Us All. Meister's extensive touring and regional credits include Viva La Vida, Dinner, Little Shop of Horrors, Meet Me in St. Louis, Ain't Misbehavin', Forbidden Broadway, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Rothschilds, A Christmas Carol, The Boy Friend, Gross Points, Noël and Gertie, and You Never Can Tell. For The Metropolitan Opera his stage management credits include La Bohème, Four Saints in Three Acts, Dido and Aeneas, and Phèdre. His work for Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center includes Play Strindberg, People Are Living There, The Duplex, The Ride Across Lake Constance, The Crucible, and Mary Stuart.

Annette Yé (Production Stage Manager) served as stage manager for The Old Globe productions of Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Arms and the Man, The Royale, Quartet, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Few, Pygmalion, God of Carnage, Anna Christie, Groundswell, and the 2010 production of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Her other Globe credits include A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (2011-2014), Boeing-Boeing, The First Wives Club, Opus, Dancing in the Dark, Hay Fever, and the Summer Shakespeare Festivals 2008 and 2010-2013.

The Old Globe is located in San Diego's Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. There are numerous free parking lots available throughout the park. Guests may also be dropped off in front of the Mingei International Museum. The Balboa Park valet is also available during performances ($12), located in front of the Japanese Friendship Garden. For additional parking information visit For directions and up-to-date information, please visit

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country's leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego's flagship arts institution for over 75 years. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Managing Director Michael G. Murphy, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 14 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre's education and community programs. Numerous world premieres such as 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, A Catered Affair, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

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