MAD MEN's Vincent Kartheiser and More Set for San Jose Rep's THE DEATH OF THE NOVEL; Full Cast Announced!

MAD MEN's Vincent Kartheiser and More Set for San Jose Rep's THE DEATH OF THE NOVEL; Full Cast Announced!

On hiatus from the AMC smash hit Mad Men, Vincent Kartheiser comes to the Bay Area to lead a vibrant cast in San Jose Rep's world premiere of the Jonathan Marc Feldman drama The Death of the Novel, directed by Rick Lombardo.The cast also includes Vaishnavi Sharma (Sheba), PatRick Jones, Zarah Mahler and Amy Pietz. Pietz is well-known to TV audiences for her roles in The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Burn Notice, Nip/Tuck, The Closer and Private Practice.

The Death of the Novel, which launches San Jose Rep's 2012-2013 season, is a gripping drama about daring to create art in our unpredictable and dangerous world. The Death of the Novel tells the story of a brilliant young novelist Sebastian Justice (Kartheiser) who claims to be "the most well-adjusted, depressed agoraphobic in Manhattan." While he rants about everything from global warming to tennis, his publisher-ordered psychologist (a "writer's-block whisperer") played by Pietz tries to get to the bottom of his grief.

But when a stunning and mysterious Saudi woman (Sharma) intrudes into his self-contained world his emotional descent takes a sudden turn, for the raving beauty may not be the person she says she is. Will this stranger be the one to help him find his way back, and at what cost? Identities blur in this enthralling and evocative story that takes a look at the modern world through the eyes of a brilliant and tragically wounded artist.

Vincent Kartheiser, who has enthralled television audiences across the world with iconic series roles such as Connor in "Angel" and Peter Campbell in the AMC hit, "Mad Men," brings intensity and passion to this enigmatic role. He is impressed with the quality of the writing of the role, and by playwright Feldman's continuing work on the play throughout the rehearsal process.

The playwright, Jonathan Marc Feldman, had in mind both Vincent Kartheiser and San Jose Rep as he wrote The Death of the Novel. "It's a perfect place to do the play. And Rick Lombardo has such deep perceptions about the play that I know he really understands it in a very profound way. I feel very lucky that we found each other," Feldman said.

Feldman was the writer for the film "Swing Kids" with Christian Bale and Kenneth Branagh, and a writer and the executive music producer on the TV mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon."

The play will run from August 30 through September 23. Press Opening Night is September 5, 2012, 7:30 pm.


Vincent Kartheiser (Sebastian)

Known to audiences worldwide as spitfire advertising executive Pete Campbell on Matt Weiner's Golden Globe, Emmy, and SAG Award-winning drama series Mad Men, Vincent

Kartheiser has actually been acting since a teen. Starting with Untamed Heart alongside Marisa Tomei, Kartheiser accumulated an impressive number of credits during his youth including Little Big League, Ironwill, Indian in the Cupboard and Alaska. He has since appeared in Another Day in Paradise with James Woods and Melanie Griffith, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia, and most recently, the sci-fi thriller In Time, which reunited him with his Alpha Dogs co-star Justin Timberlake. During his Mad Men hiatus, Kartheiser filmed the indie Beach Pillows. Kartheiser previously starred on Joss Whedon's Angel and has guest-starred in numerous other series including ER, BBC America's Money and The Cleveland Show. He also lent his voice to the big screen's Rango. A native of Minneapolis, Minn., Kartheiser was named after Vincent Van Gogh and grew up surrounded by his works.

Amy Pietz (Perry)

Ms. Pietz has previously appeared in Top Secret and The Search for the Pentagon Papers (Chinese tour); The Boswell Sisters (The Old Globe Theatre); Love, Loss, and What I Wore and In Mother Words (Geffen Theatre); Christmas in Naples (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Fiorello and Company (Reprise LA); Lobby Hero (Odyssey Theatre); A View From The Bridge and You Can't Take It With You (Steppenwolf Theatre); In The Flesh (Organic Theatre); The Love of the Nightingale (Next Theatre); A Dead Man's Apartment (Met Theatre); Waiting For Lefty (Artistic Home); and Xanadu (Gascon Center Theatre). Other credits include several radio plays for NPR, numerous guest starring roles on television, and several films. Her television credits include regular roles on The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Aliens in America, Rodney, Caroline in the City, (for which she garnered a Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination), Muscle, and The Weber Show.

Vaishnavi Sharma (Sheba)

Originally from New Delhi, India, Vaishnavi moved to New York City to complete an MFA in theater from The New School for Drama. Vaishnavi was last seen in Brainpeople, written and directed by two-time Obie winner and Oscar nominated writer, Jose Rivera. Vaishnavi performed at the 25th annual season of The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival as Aouda in the critically acclaimed production of Around the World in 80 Days directed by Christopher Edwards. She also played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet with their touring company. Vaishnavi has toured the United States with Aquila Theater Company's A Comedy of Errors, performing in theaters across the country. She played Celia in As You Like It at The Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival (LA Times Critic's Pick) and at the Festival of the Aegean in Greece. Off-Broadway she played Athena in The Iliad at The Lucille Lortel Theater. Vaishnavi is an associate artist with Blessed Unrest in New York City where she has worked and trained since 2008, playing Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Echo in ArtCamp Sexyime FootBall, an original piece devised by the company through workshops and collaboration.

PatRick Jones (Philip)

Patrick is making his San Jose Rep debut in The Death of the Novel. Recent Bay Area credits include the title role in Hamlet (Livermore Shakespeare Festival), The Pitmen Painters (TheatreWorks), The Coast of Utopia: Voyage (Shotgun Players), Bellwether (Marin Theater Company), Metamorphosis (Aurora Theater), and Exit, Pursued by A Bear (Crowded Fire). Other national credits include Cymbeline and Misalliance (New York Classical Theater), Step One: Plays with Instructions (The 52nd Street Project, NYC), You Can't Take it With You (Denver Center), The Lieutenant of Inishmore and In the Belly of the Beast (Florida Studio Theater), A Number (The Northern Stage, Vermont), Vincent in Brixton (The Cleveland Play House), and Arms and the Man (Great Lakes Theater Festival). Patrick earned his MFA in Acting from Case Western Reserve University.

Zarah Mahler (Claire)

Zarah previously appeared in San Jose Rep's productions of A Christmas Carol, Spring Awakening and Love in American Times. Prior to that, she opened as Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago. Other theatre credits include Neil Patrick Harris' Rent (Hollywood Bowl) and Jules Aaron's The Threepenny Opera (International City Theatre) among many others. Ms. Mahler recently completed a starring role in the highly anticipated new feature The Prop is the Girl. She is also set to play the notorious Mary Brunner in Susanna Lo's Manson Girls. Film and TV credits include Ghost Whisperer: The Other Side, Motel Blues, Kemper, Leaving Barstow, Clemency, and Yellow Wood. An accomplished singer/songwriter, Ms. Mahler is working on her first album of original compositions.


Jonathan Marc Feldman (Playwright) has come back to playwriting after succumbing for some years to Hollywood . His play "The Buddy System" was produced at Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park and New York's Circle In The Square. He was a playwright in residence at Circle Repertory Company where his play "The Paper Boy" was presented in their Plays in Process series. His play "HisStory" was recently presented in The Rubicon Theater's Plays in Process series. As a young playwright, with Gerald Chapman and Stephen Sondheim, Jonathan helped create the Young Playwrights Festival. Feldman wrote the screenplay and produced the album for the movie "Swing Kids" with Christian Bale and Kenneth Branagh, and wrote for the HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon." He is vice-chair of the Southern California Committee of Human Rights Watch, and for four years has written a theatrical evening for the organization called Cries from the Heart.

Rick Lombardo (Artistic Director) is in his fourth season as Artistic Director at San Jose Rep, where he has directed "God of Carnage," "A Christmas Carol," "Spring Awakening," "Love in American Times" (world premiere), "The Dresser," "Black Pearl Sings!," "The Weir," and "As You Like It." He was previously the artistic director for 13 years at the award-winning New Repertory Theatre in Boston and was awarded the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence from the Boston Theater Critics Association in 2009 for his work there. He is also the recipient of four Elliot Norton Awards and is a nine-time winner of the "IRNE" Award for his productions of "The Clean House," "Sweeney Todd," "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Ragtime," "Waiting for Godot," and "The Weir". His world premiere of "According to Tip" transferred to Boston's theatre district in 2009, and his New Rep production of "Bill W. and Dr. Bob" enjoyed an extended run off-Broadway in 2007. In the New England area, Mr. Lombardo also directed at Opera Boston, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, and Actors Shakespeare Project, among others. He was previously artistic director of The Players Guild in Ohio, co-director of the theatre program at Fordham University's College at Lincoln Center, as well as founding artistic director of the Stillwater Theatre Company in New York City. Mr. Lombardo is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and lives in San Jose with his wife, actress Rachel Harker, and daughter.


John Iacovelli (Scenic Designer) returns to San Jose Rep having previously designed Spring Awakening, Black Pearl Sings! (for which he won a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award), Noises Off!, and Groundswell. He recently designed Twelfth Night for Shakespeare Santa Cruz. He won an Emmy Award for Peter Pan staring Cathy Rigby. Other Broadway credits include The Twilight of The Golds and the National Tour of Camelot, plus over 300 productions at theaters across the U.S. His film credits include Ruby in Paradise and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!. Television credits include Beckett Directs Beckett: Endgame with the San Quentin Drama Workshop, The Old Settler starring Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen, The Gin Game staring Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, Ed, Babylon 5, Resurrection Blvd., and Lincoln Heights.

Denitsa Bliznakova (Costume Designer) makes her San Jose Rep debut with this production of The Death of the Novel. Her work will soon be seen at the San Diego Opera, Cleveland Play House, and The Old Globe Theatre. Ms. Bliznakova's previous design work includes productions at A Noise Within, New Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, and others. Highlights include The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Old Globe, working with Garry Marshall on Happy Days: A New Musical at the Falcon Theatre, and Diva at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Born in Bulgaria, her academic background includes a BFA in Fashion Design at the Parson's School of Design in Paris and New York, and an MFA in Theatre from Brandeis University. She is currently an Associate Professor at San Diego State University where she leads the MFA Costume Design program.

David Lee Cuthbert (Lighting Designer) returns to San Jose Rep, having most recently designed lighting for God of Carnage. He designed lighting and media for Love in American Times, Legacy of Light, and Spring Awakening. Mr. Cuthbert also designed scenery and media for Secret Order and As You Like It, and lighting for The Dresser, Rabbit Hole, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Groundswell, and The Kite Runner (for which he received a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award). He lit Billy Crystal's Tony Award®-winning 700 Sundays on Broadway and its international tours. Mr. Cuthbert's work has also been seen at Opera San Jose, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory, Intiman Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, American Repertory Theater, and Arizona Theatre Company. He is the theater arts department chair and a professor of design at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Hadden Givens Kime (Sound Designer) is thrilled to be back at San Jose Rep after writing original music and a sound design for As You Like It in 2009. Haddon has also composed original music and sound designs for Managing Maxine at The Alliance Theater, Richard III at Georgia Shakespeare, as well as The Pillowman and A Streetcar Named Desire at New Rep, the latter earning him the Independent Reviewers of New England Award for best theatrical sound design/original composition. Mr. Kime is also the recipient of the 2009 Tanne Foundation award for artistic excellence. He'd like to thank his wife Katie and 3-year-old daughter Abby for their love and support.

Stephanie Schliemann (Stage Manager) has worked on The Understudy, Double Indemnity, Spring Awakening, Love in American Times, The Dresser, and Ain't Misbehavin', among others, at San Jose Rep. Other local stage management credits include Flower Drum Song, Guys and Dolls, The King and I, Gypsy, and The Wizard of Oz at American Musical Theatre of San Jose; Anansi the Spider, Orson's Shadow, and The Last Schwartz at Marin Theatre Company; Le Nozze di Figaro and The Magic Flute at Opera San Jose; and Race, Marcus, The Tosca Project, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and At Home at the Zoo, among others, at American Conservatory Theater. She has also worked with Teatro ZinZanni and the Circus Center of San Francisco.

Deirdre Rose Holland (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to be back for her fourth show with San Jose Rep, having previously worked on A Christmas Carol, Spring Awakening, and Legacy of Light. Her regional credits include the 2011 Summer Shakespeare Festival, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and The Mystery of Irma Vep (The Old Globe); and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later and the world premiere of Bonnie and Clyde (La Jolla Playhouse). Additional credits include Anna Karenina and The Barber of Seville (Opera San Jose); and the 2010 Summer Hot Dog Series (Palo Alto Children's Theatre). Ms. Holland holds an MFA in stage management from the University of California, San Diego.

San Jose Rep is the premier non-profit, professional theatre company in the South Bay, presenting six to seven main stage productions each year. Now in its 31st year as a major contributor to the South Bay's cultural community, San Jose Rep's mission is to engage, entertain and inspire people. San Jose Rep produces innovative theatrical performances that offer fresh perspectives into the human condition, educational programs that promote life-long learning, and outreach initiatives that benefit our diverse community. For more information, visit

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

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