Pear Theatre to Present THE WALLS OF JERICHO

Pear Theatre inaugurates its 2015/2016 season in a brand new space with the World Premiere of The Walls of Jericho. The Pear's own Artistic Director, Diane Tasca, has created this stage adaptation of the short story "Night Bus," by Samuel Hopkins Adams, the delightful romantic comedy from 1933 that also inspired the classic film, "It Happened One Night." JERICHO follows the adventures of Elspeth and Peter, rich girl and poor boy, who happen to meet on a bus and band together for surviving travel and eluding those seeking Elspeth. THE WALLS OF JERICHO is directed by Caroline Clark, who hails from The Empty Space Theatre in Bakersfield, and directed Kimberly Akimbo last season to much critical acclaim. Her cast includes Sarah Cook as Elspeth, Drew Reitz as Peter, and ensemble players Dave Sikula, Keith Larson, Stephanie Whigham, Todd Wright, and Leslie Newport, all of whom play multiple roles. The production begins with two Preview nights on September 17 and 18, and opens on September 19th at the Pear Theatre's new theatre space at 1110 La Avenida St., Mountain View. For tickets ($10-$35) and information the public may visit www.thepear.org or call (650) 254-1148.

This summer, The Pear has moved from its original 40-seat warehouse space into a new, state-of-the-art black box theatre mere blocks away at 1110 La Avenida St., Mountain View. The new space allows for a capacity of 75-99 seats depending on the configuration of the production. An exciting and daring move for "The Pear that roared,"[1] taking on new challenges and opportunities in a larger space. There could be no more fitting tribute to this new space than to open its inaugural season with a brand-new play penned by Artistic Director Diane Tasca.

THE WALLS OF JERICHO opens in 1933, the deepest year of the Depression, as Elspeth and Peter arrive separately at a Florida bus station, ready to board their bus that will take three days to get to New York City. Delivered off the bus by inclement weather and Elspeth's penchant for long baths, the two embark on an extended journey via bus, boat, car, hitchhiking, and ferry ride before finally arriving in the Big Apple. Both are changed for life by this challenging experience and their growing attraction for each other. Sweet and witty, the story is brought to life in Tasca's innovative stage adaptation that pays homage to the era and the timeless love story.

Diane Tasca is not new to the world of playwriting, and excels at creating lively stage adaptations of novels and stories. Past works that premiered at The Pear include Northanger Abbey, an award-winning adaptation of the beloved Jane Austen novella; and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, a sweeping epic rendition of Mark Twain's classic, played with gusto on The Pear's tiny stage. THE WALLS OF JERICHO represents a long-held dream of Tasca's to bring this story to life, and she's delighted that it became the top choice for opening the new theatre space.

The Pear has assembled a cast of veterans and newcomers for this auspicious season opener, including Sarah Cook as Elspeth. Cook was last seen at the Pear in Three Sisters, before leaving to earn her MFA in Acting at the prestigious New School in New York. Recently returned to the Bay Area, she's thrilled to be back on stage in the Pear's new space. Peter is played by Drew Reitz, most recently seen on stage in The Columnist at the Dragon Theatre, as well as Harvey at Palo Alto Players, and Take Me Out, also at Dragon. The ensemble includes Todd Wright, veteran of many Pear shows including Pygmalion, Cherry Orchard, all 3 Frankie Payne shows, and Slices; Leslie Newport, also seen in Pygmalion, Slices, and numerous local musicals; Stephanie Whigham, recently seen as Cleopatra at Shakespeare Silicon Valley; and Keith Larson, returning to the Pear after appearing in last season's Birds of a Feather.

Caroline Clark (Director) has directed and performed in numerous shows at The Empty Space theatre in Bakersfield before coming to the Bay Area; most recently she directed Kimberly Akimbo for the Pear, and has also appeared in Slices and Pygmalion.

The production team includes: Caroline Clark, director; Charles McKeithan, scenic design; Valerie Clear, lighting design; Linda Atkins, costumes; Gordon Smith on sound design; Jeanie Smith for dramaturgy; and Ben Hemmen, stage management.




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