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Custom Made Theatre Edward Albee's THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA Begins Today

Winner of the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? is about a profoundly unsettling subject: the irrational, confounding, and convention-thwarting nature of love. Martin-a hugely successful architect who has just turned fifty-leads an ostensibly ideal life with his loving wife and gay teenage son. But when he confides to his best friend that he is also in love with Sylvia, he sets in motion events that will destroy his family and leave his life in tatters. Albee's boundary-pushing play is puzzling, powerful, bawdy, and disturbing.

The Goat is known as a controversial play, with subjects that undoubtedly make audiences uncomfortable, but that is precisely the point of Albee's investigation into the dark waters of sexuality and what is permissible in a somewhat civilized society. By challenging our deeply held norms, Edward Albee employs what he called "purposeful shock" to reshape classic tragedy for our time and investigate what happens to a family when our final taboos are shattered.

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? marks the fifth Edward Albee play produced by Custom Made in its 20-year history, making him the most produced play by the company, a fitting choice to open their 20th anniversary season. The first Albee play Custom Made produced was his obscure one-act Finding the Sun, directed by Artistic Director Brian Katz at Off-Market Theatres, followed by Katja Rivera's staging of A Delicate Balance. At their second home, Gough Street Playhouse, Katz again directed Albee in 2012 with his The Play about the Baby, garnering Custom Made's first Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production. (Similar awards would follow in 2014 & 2016.) Most recently, Custom Made and Rivera staged the author's timeless Three Tall Women, which just played to rave reviews in its recent Broadway revival.

Goat will be directed by company member Paul Stout, who recently helmed the Undiscover Works workshop of The Mourner. Scenic design by Sarah Phykitt (M. Butterfly, Middletown). Costume Design by Lindsey Efiert (Man of La Mancha). Lighting Design by Chris Lundhal. The cast includes Matt Weimer (CMTC's Six Degrees of Separation), Hilary Hesse (Streetcar Named Desire at the Shelton Theatre - TBA nom), Ryan Hayes (Rapture, Blister, Burn at Custom Made) and Max Seijas (CMTC's Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies).

About the Director and Cast

Matt Weimer (Martin) is very happy to perform again with Custom Made, having previously played Flan in Six Degrees of Separation. He has also performed with such companies as New Conservatory Theatre Center, Theatre Rhinoceros, SF Theater Pub, Left Coast Theatre, Indra's Net, Porchlight, Pacific Alliance Stage Co., Eastenders Repertory, and Impact. He has toured with children's theater, performed improv and sketch comedy, appeared in independent films and video games, and has written for the stage.

Hilary Hesse (Stevie) holds a BA in Theatre from UCLA and spent several years acting in Los Angeles. Favorite LA stage roles include Crystal in The Women at the Hudson Theatre and Jessica in Sitcom: the Play at the Stella Adler Theatre. She recently played Serenity in Lovesick: The Cat Allergy Musical at the Shelton. Earlier, she played Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, also at the Shelton, for which she received a TBA Best Actress nomination. She was a company member at Tides Theatre in San Francisco, where she performed in Sweet Bird of Youth, Storyworks, It's a Wonderful Life and Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche. Last season, she was on Discovery Channel's episodic I Almost Got Away with It and the new Hulu original Chance.

Ryan Hayes (Ross) arrived in San Francisco 20 years ago this summer and has since been in over 40 theatrical productions, 10 films, and several commercials. The Goat marks his 4th play with The Custom Made Theatre Co., with past collaborations including Rapture, Blister, Burn, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Merchant of Venice. Ryan is thrilled to be working with this talented team of theater artists.

Max Seijas (Billy) is overjoyed to be joining Custom Made Theatre once again! A Bay Area actor trained at San Francisco State University, he earned his B.A. in Theatre Arts. Previous credits include Hooded; or Being Black for Dummies at Custom Made Theatre Company, Gravedigger: The Musical at PianoFight, Spell Eternity with Quantum Dragon Theatre, Romeo and Juliet with Marin Shakespeare Company, Antony and Cleopatra at Hofstra University, and Princess Ida at Hofstra University.

Paul Stout (Director) has been a Custom Made company member since 2012 and staff member since 2015 (currently Associate Casting Director). Though this marks his local mainstage directing debut, he recently directed Custom Made's workshop production of Bridgette Dutta-Portman's, The Mourner. As an actor, he has appeared with over two dozen companies around the Bay Area since his arrival in San Francisco in 2008, including Custom Made, San Jose Stage, and Marin Shakespeare. His directing credits, primarily at the Blue Room Theatre in his former hometown of Chico, include Detroit, Wintertime, What the Butler Saw and more than a half dozen developmental scripts.

About Edward Albee

According to the New York Times, Edward Albee was "widely considered to be the foremost American playwright of his generation." He is best known for works such as The Zoo Story (1958), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), and A Delicate Balance (1966). Three of his plays won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and two of his other works won the Tony Award for Best Play.

His works are often considered as frank examinations of the modern condition. His early works reflect a mastery and Americanization of the Theatre of the Absurd that found its peak in works by European playwrights such as Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, and Jean Genet.

His middle period comprised plays that explored the psychology of maturing, marriage, and sexual relationships. Younger American Playwrights, such as Paula Vogel, credit Albee's daring mix of theatricality and biting dialogue with helping to reinvent the post-war American theatre in the early 1960s. Later in his life, Albee continued to experiment in works such as The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2002).

Edward Albee was born in 1928 and placed for adoption two weeks later. His family was wealthy, and his adoptive mother was a socialite. He would later base the main character of his 1991 play Three Tall Women on his mother, with whom he had a conflicted relationship.

Albee's most iconic play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opened on Broadway October 13, 1962, and closed on May 16, 1964, after 664 performances. The controversial play won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1963 and was selected for the 1963 Pulitzer Prize by the award's drama jury, but was overruled by the advisory committee, which elected not to give a drama award at all. The two members of the jury, John Mason Brown and John Gassner, subsequently resigned in protest.[14] An Academy Award-winning film adaptation of the controversial play was released in 1966 starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis.

Albee was openly gay, but insisted that he did not want to be known as a "gay writer," stating "A writer who happens to be gay or lesbian must be able to transcend self. I am not a gay writer. I am a writer who happens to be gay." His longtime partner, Jonathan Richard Thomas, a sculptor, died in 2005. They had been partners from 1971 until Thomas's death. Albee also had a relationship of several years with playwright Terrence McNally during the 1950s. Albee died on September 16, 2016, aged 88.

The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? opened on Broadway in 2002. It won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play, the 2002 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Show Times and Tickets

Previews: September 20, 21, 22 at 8:00 pm

Press Opening: Sunday, September 23 at 7:00 pm

Runs: Sept. 20 - Oct. 20, 2018. Thurs-Fri 8:00 pm, Saturday 2:00 pm and 8:00pm. No Sat 2pm show Sept 22.

Tickets: $30-49

Learn more & buy tickets at (415) 798-CMTC (2682)

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