Aurora Theatre to Present Bay Area Debut of MUD BLUE SKY, 8/28-9/27

Aurora Theatre Company opens its 24th season with the Bay Area Premiere of award-winning playwright Marisa Wegrzyn's (Hickorydickory, The Butcher of Baraboo) MUD BLUE SKY. Aurora Artistic Director Tom Ross (Fifth of July, A Bright New Boise, This Is How It Goes, Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance) helms this profoundly compassionate, fiercely witty new play, featuring Jamie Jones (Gidion's Knot, Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance), Rebecca Dines (The Homecoming, Widower's Houses), Laura Jane Bailey, and Devin O'Brien. MUD BLUE SKY plays August 28 through September 27 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets ($32-60) and information the public can call (510) 843-4822 or visit auroratheatre.org.

There was a time when air travel was considered glamorous, but when three middle-aged flight attendants reunite during a layover near O'Hare Airport, it's enough to make anyone question their aspirations in life. Joined by an unlikely fourth companion, a teenage boy adrift on his prom night, the women are poised on the brink of looking back and moving ahead. A comedy about finding common ground, MUD BLUE SKY offers an edgily humorous and tender look at work, motherhood, and missed connections, and how the small kindnesses we afford each other can inspire us to grab onto life before it flies by.

MUD BLUE SKY premiered at Center Stage in Baltimore in 2013. Aurora Artistic Director Tom Ross (Fifth of July, A Bright New Boise, This Is How It Goes, Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance) helms this profoundly compassionate, fiercely witty new play.

Aurora Theatre Company has assembled a talented ensemble for MUD BLUE SKY. Stage veteran Jamie Jones returns to Aurora Theatre Company as flight attendant Beth; she previously appeared in Aurora's Bay Area Premiere of Gidion's Knot and the company's hit production of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance. Regional credits include productions at American Conservatory Theater, B Street Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Encore Theatre Company, Sacramento Theatre Company, and Capital Stage Company, among others. In New York, she has performed at the Neighborhood Playhouse, the Connelly Theatre, the St. Clement's Theatre, and with the Lincoln Center Director's Lab, among others.

Also returning to the Aurora stage is Rebecca Dines as flight attendant Sam; she previously appeared in the company's productions of The Homecoming and Widower's Houses. Additional credits include productions at TheatreWorks, Magic Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Eureka Theatre, B Street Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, and Kansas City Repertory Theatre, among others.

Laura Jane Bailey makes her Aurora stage debut as Angie in MUD BLUE SKY; credits include productions at San Francisco Playhouse (Man of La Mancha), Crowded Fire Theater (Juan Gelion Dances for the Sun), Impact Theatre (Crevice, Nicky Goes Goth), Boxcar Theater (Equus), Dragon Productions, and Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, among others. Also making his Aurora debut is Devin O'Brien as Jonathan. Credits include productions at New Conservatory Theatre Center (Die, Mommie, Die!), Encore Theatre Company (Hookman), and Sonoma Valley Shakespeare Company (Gatsby's Party), among others.

Aurora Theatre Company Artistic Director Tom Ross helms MUD BLUE SKY. Ross inaugurated Aurora Theatre Company with Barbara Oliver in 1992. He has directed over 25 productions for the company, including Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July, A Bright New Boise, Neil LaBute's This Is How It Goes, Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, The Soldier's Tale (co-directed with Muriel Maffre), Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, the World Premiere of The First Grade, Gore Vidal's The Best Man, Mae West's SEX, and Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party. For Aurora Theatre Company, Ross has also directed acclaimed productions of Marius, Blue/Orange, Betrayal, Lobby Hero, which went on to be presented as a co-production between Aurora Theatre Company, Jonathan Reinis, Inc., and the Napa Valley Opera House, The Shape of Things, The Entertainer, The Homecoming, The Weir, Death Defying Acts, Abigail's Party, The Mystery of Irma Vep (co-directed with Danny Scheie), and The Aspern Papers, among others. He also wrote and directed A Karen Carpenter Christmas in both San Francisco and Seattle. Prior to coming to the Bay Area, Ross worked for eight years at The Public Theater in New York as Executive Assistant to Joseph Papp and as co-Director of Play and Musical Development. While in New York, Ross also penned the book adaptation of the New York Drama Desk nominated musical Up Against It, based on Joe Orton's screenplay for The Beatles.

In addition to MUD BLUE SKY, Marisa Wegrzyn's plays include Psalms of a Questionable Nature, The Butcher of Baraboo, Killing Women, Ten Cent Night, Hickorydickory, and Diversey Harbor. Her work has been presented at Magic Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre Center, The Hourglass Group in New York City, Baltimore CENTERSTAGE, The Road Theatre in Los Angeles. She is currently working on commissions from Steppenwolf and Yale Repertory Theatre, a screenplay adaptation of her play Diversey Harbor. Wegrzyn is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a founding member of Theatre Seven of Chicago. She won the 2009 Wasserstein Prize for her play Hickorydickory. Born to an anesthesiologist and a former flight attendant, Wegrzyn grew up outside Chicago in Willmette, Illinois.

Following MUD BLUE SKY, Aurora Theatre Company presents Bay Area Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-nominee Amy Freed's THE MONSTER-BUILDER in November, directed by Art Manke. Award-winning Bay Area auteur Mark Jackson returns to Aurora with the World Premiere of his play LITTLE ERIK in January, followed by the West Coast Premiere of Sarah Treem's THE HOW AND THE WHY, directed by Joy Carlin and staged in the company's second stage performance space, Harry's UpStage, located in the Nell and Jules Dashow Wing. The season continues in April with the West Coast Premiere of David Ives' THE HEIR APPARENT directed by Josh Costello. Timothy Near makes her Aurora directing debut with the company's season closer in June, Athol Fugard's modern classic "MASTER HAROLD"... and the boys.

Voted Best Theater Company in 2012 by SF Weekly, Aurora Theatre Company continues to offer challenging, literate, intelligent stage works to the Bay Area, each year increasing its reputation for top-notch theater. Located in the heart of the Downtown Berkeley Arts District, Aurora Theatre Company, declared "one of the best regional theaters around" by 7x7 magazine, has been called "one of the most important regional theaters in the area" and "a must-see midsize company" by the San Francisco Chronicle, while The Wall Street Journal has "nothing but praise for the Aurora." The Contra Costa Times stated "perfection is probably an unattainable ideal in a medium as fluid as live performance, but the Aurora Theatre comes luminously close," while the San Jose Mercury News affirmed Aurora Theatre Company is "arguably the finest small theater in the Bay Area," and the Oakland Tribune stated "it's all about choices, and if you value good theater, choose the Aurora."

IF YOU GO:

DATES:

Previews: August 28, 29, September 2 at 8pm; August 30 at 2pm; September 1 at 7pm
Opens: September 3, 2015
Post-show Talkbacks: September 4, 8,16, 24
Closes: September 27

SHOWS: Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pm and 7pm

WHERE: Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA

TICKETS: For subscriptions ($99-$305) and single tickets (Previews $35; Regular Performances $32-50; Limited Opening Night Seating $60) the public can call (510) 843-4822 or visit auroratheatre.org. Half-off tickets for Under 35, student, and group discounts available.

Pictured: Off-duty flight attendant Beth (Jamie Jones*) straightens teen dealer Jonathan's (Devin O'Brien) bowtie in Mud Blue Sky. Photo by David Allen.




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