Photo Flash: First Look at AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley celebrates the holiday season with a riotous escapade, Around the World in 80 Days. Taking place in an 1870s alive with danger, romance, and comic surprises, fearless adventurer Phileas Fogg and his faithful valet circle the globe in an unheard-of 80 days. In the hilariously theatrical style of The 39 Steps, five actors portray dozens of characters in a thrilling race against time and treachery, recreating one of the greatest adventures of all time. Full of stampeding elephants, raging typhoons, and runaway trains, Around the World in 80 Days, adapted by the award-winning playwright Mark Brown, offers an imaginative and ingenious expedition for the whole family.Directed by TheatreWorks Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley, Around the World in 80 Days will be presented November 29 - December 31, 2017 (press opening: December 2) at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto. For tickets ($40-$100) and more information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.

The story begins in 1872 England, where a local newspaper declares that to circumnavigate the earth in 80 days is impossible. Ready to beat the odds, Phileas and fellow Londoners take on a bet to complete the journey, and immediately encounter twists and turns, diabolical delays and dangerous death-defying detours. Around the World in 80 Days was given its Off-Broadway premiere in 2008 at the Irish Repertory Theatre, where it was hailed "a riveting testament to the ingeniousness of the human imagination" by The New Yorker. Since then, it has literally played around the world including theatres throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Istanbul, Bangladesh, among others.

Based in Los Angeles, playwright Mark Brown also adapted the ribald Henry Fielding novel Tom Jones. His original musical China - The Whole Enchilada was named Outstanding Musical of the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival. Brown's adaptation of The Little Prince set box office records at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore and the Orlando Theatre Project. He has also written the plays The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, and Poe - Deep Into That Darkness Peering.

Playing the wealthy Englishman Phileas Fogg is Jason Kuykendall who returns to the TheatreWorks stage where he was last seen as Michael Astor in The Country House. He has also performed with B Street Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Company, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, and others.

Tristan Cunningham, a 2016 Theatre Bay Area Award-winning actress, will make her TheatreWorks debut as Jean Passepartout, Fogg's comedic and resourceful sidekick. She has regionally performed with California Shakespeare Theater, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, San Francisco Playhouse, Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, The Cutting Ball Theater, and more.

Obie Award winner Michael Gene Sullivan, who has performed with TheatreWorks many times over the past 20 years, will return to portray Detective Fix. Sullivan has been seen at TheatreWorks in Cyrano, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Hound of the Baskervilles, 33 Variations, Violet, and Once on This Island. Sullivan is also a resident playwright for the San Francisco Mime Troupe and has performed with the Denver Center Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater, Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, among others.

Also returning to the TheatreWorks stage is Ron Campbell as Cromarty, reuniting with Michael Gene Sullivan with whom he starred as Sherlock to Sullivan's Dr. Holmes in TheatreWorks' rapid-fire The Hound of the Baskervilles, as well as the company's psychedelic Twelfth Night and riotousPeter and the Starcatcher. Campbell was also seen this summer in the 2017 TheatreWorks New Works Festival reading of Tiny Houses. He has appeared in some 150 productions regionally, at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, The Old Globe Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and more, as well as guest starring in many television series and films.

Making her TheatreWorks debut is Ajna Jai as Aouda, the Indian princess with a mind and wit of her own. Jai has been seen in episodes of Showtime's The Affair, HBO's High Maintenance, and CBS' Limitless, among others, and has worked with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Hangar Theatre, and more.

Director Robert Kelley is TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's Founder and Artistic Director and has served as artistic head of the company since its inception in 1970. He has directed more than 170 TheatreWorks productions, including many world and regional premieres. In 2003 he was honored with the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC) Paine Knickerbocker Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2016 was awarded the Jerry Friedman Lifetime Achievement Award from the SFBATCC. He received SFBATCC Awards for Outstanding Direction for his productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures, Rags, Sweeney Todd, Another Midsummer Night, Sunday in the Park with George, Jane Eyre, andCaroline, or Change. He more recently directed the record-setting production of Jane Austen's EMMA, as well as The Country House, Fallen Angels, Sweeney Todd, Marry Me a Little, Cyrano, Outside Mullingar, Daddy Long Legs, Rags, and this season's Constellations.

With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country.

Photo Credit: Kevin Berne



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