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Palo Alto Players Announces New Performance Dates For Jaclyn Backhaus' MEN ON BOATS 


The company has assembled an all-star cast of Bay Area female and nonbinary actors under the direction of Lee Ann Payne.

Palo Alto Players Announces New Performance Dates For Jaclyn Backhaus' MEN ON BOATS 

Palo Alto Players ushers in 2022 with Jaclyn Backhaus' MEN ON BOATS - a 19th century adventure story about ten men, four boats, and two rivers.

Told without men, boats, or rivers. The company has assembled an all-star cast of Bay Area actors under the direction of Lee Ann Payne (Players' The Laramie Project, Shakespeare in Love) to tell the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.

MEN ON BOATS has been rescheduled for 11 in-person performances now playing February 4-20, 2022 at the Lucie Stern Theater, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, with a recording of the performance streaming on-demand February 17-20. In person tickets ($27-$57) and on-demand streaming access ($20 per household) are on sale now at or by phone at 650.329.0891. Current information regarding Palo Alto Players' COVID policies can be found at

Pack your gear for this twenty-first century telling of nineteenth-century American explorer and one-armed Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell, who assembles a brawny band of soldiers, trappers, and adventurers to explore the waterways of the American West. Inspired by Powell's actual travel log from 1869, Jaclyn Backhaus' MEN ON BOATS is provocative, laugh-out-loud theater, performed by a cast of female and nonbinary actors who infuse America's legends of male conquest with a sly blast of subtext.

"MEN ON BOATS is a thrilling theatrical expedition and perfect for the Palo Alto Players stage," said Palo Alto Players Artistic Director Patrick Klein. "When the sharp and witty script is combined with the extremely clever direction by Lee Ann Payne, audiences will leave the theater with the feeling they were riding along with the men - er, women - on their journey through the "undiscovered" western American waterways."

MEN ON BOATS is directed by Lee Ann Payne. Payne is a Bay Area award-winning director, choreographer, and teacher working from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. She previously directed Palo Alto Players' productions of The Laramie Project (TBA Award recipient), Shakespeare in Love, and choreographed A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine here. Other recent Bay Area credits include directing and choreographing Pump Boys and Dinettes (Jewel Theatre Company), Shout! (South Bay Musical Theatre) and Anything Goes (Hillbarn Theatre). When not directing and choreographing, Payne is a performer with local theatre companies including TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, San Francisco Playhouse, 42nd Street Moon, and Jewel Theatre Company.

The cast of MEN ON BOATS includes: Jenni Chapman (Bradley), April Culver (Frank Goodman/Mr. Asa), Naomi Evans (Seneca Howland/Johnson), Melissa Jones (William Dunn), Jennifer C. Maggio (O.G. Howland/Just Jim), Mary Melnick (John Wesley Powell), Maria Mikheyenko (Old Shady), Katie O'Bryon (Hawkins), Patty Reinhart (John Colton Sumner), and Jaime Wolf (Hall).

MEN ON BOATS production team includes set design by Heather Kenyon, lighting design by Kaylyn Erickson, costume design by Sharon Peng, props design by Scott Ludwig, music composition/arrangements by Maria Mikheyenko, and sound supervision by Jeff Grafton.

Tickets for MEN ON BOATS can be purchased online at, by phone at 650.329.0891, or by visiting the Box Office (Tuesday through Friday, 11am - 4pm) at the Lucie Stern Theater, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. In-person performances at the Lucie Stern Theater begin on February 5 and continue through February 20, with a preview on February 4. In-person performance times are Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Masks and proof of vaccination (or negative COVID test within 72 hours for those medically exempt from or ineligible to receive the vaccine) are required to attend in-person performances. A recording of the performance is available to stream on-demand ($20) February 17-20. This production features adult language and is recommended for ages 13 and up.

Every ticket purchase directly supports the actors, creative team, and staff for this production, and ensures that Palo Alto Players can remain a vital part of this community. For more information about tickets and Palo Alto Players' current COVID health and safety policies, visit ON BOATS.


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