Rajiv Joseph's Comic Drama ARCHDUKE Comes to TheatreWorks
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents the Northern California premiere of Archduke. Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph, Archduke explores how one man, one moment, can derail an entire century. Focusing on the cataclysmic 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, three hapless insurgents embark on a darkly comic quest for immortality and purpose, unaware that their actions will launch World War I. A hit at TheatreWorks's 2016 New Works Festival, Archduke will be directed by TheatreWorks's Director of New Works Giovanna Sardelli. Archduke will be presented June 5 - 30, 2019 (press opening: June 8, 2019) at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View. For tickets ($40-$100) and more information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.
Joseph's masterful satire examines present day terrorism by delving into this moment that forever changed the world, illuminating how little may have changed from then to now. Commending Archduke's "comedic brilliance," BroadwayWorld noted, "In our world today this play is an urgent plea against terrorism, violence, abuse, and humiliation of any kind."
Archduke was originally commissioned and produced by Center Theater Group/ Mark Taper Forum (Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director; Charles Dillingham, Managing Director, Los Angeles, CA). Its 2017 World Premiere at the Mark Taper Forum was called "First rate. An ambitious mix of comedy, tragedy, and history," by The Los Angeles Times.
TheatreWorks has assembled a stellar cast for this production, featuring Stephen Stocking (Gavrilo), Adam Shonkwiler (Nedeljko) and Jeremy Kahn(Trifko) as the three insurgents called on a mission beyond their ken, for which they are little prepared. Making his TheatreWorks Silicon Valley debut, Stephen Stocking recreates his stunning performance as Gavrilo, seen in the World Premiere of Archduke at the Mark Taper Forum. Stocking was also featured in the 2018 Obie Award-winning production of Rajiv Joseph's Describe the Night at Atlantic Theatre Company and has performed in the national tour of Henry and Mudge and regionally at The Alley Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre Company. Stocking's television credits include roles on CBS's "The Good Fight" and Amazon Studios's "Z: The Beginning of Everything." Returning to TheatreWorks where he was seen as John Birt in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's Frost/Nixon and as Mr. Bingley in the 2018 TheatreWorks New Works Festival workshop of Pride and Prejudice, Adam Shonkwiler's film and TV appearances include The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and The Playboy Club, directed by Kenny Ortega. In addition, he has performed onstage at Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons, The Goodman Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, and San Jose Repertory Theatre. He was also seen in the Marvin Hamlisch and Jerry Lewis workshop stage production of The Nutty Professor and in the national tour for Whistle Down the Wind. Returning to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley where he was seen as Prentiss in Peter and the Starcatcher, Jeremy Kahn has performed regionally at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Aurora Theatre Company, Magic Theater, Shotgun Players, and Center REPertory Company. His film and television credits include HBO's "Looking"
Making his TheatreWorks Silicon Valley debut, Scott Coopwood plays Apis, a former captain and Serbian nationalist who has recruited the insurgents. Coopwood has performed at theatres including Artists Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Shotgun Players. His film and TV credits include NBC's "Trauma" and CBS's "The Human Factor." Returning after performing in the 2018 TheatreWorks New Works Festival workshop of They Promised Her the Moon, Luisa Sermol makes her main stage debut as Sladjana, Apis's assistant. Sermol's Broadway credits include Roundabout Theatre Company's Hamlet. She has performed at theatres across the country, including Lincoln Center Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Portland Center Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, City Light Theatre Company, and Hillbarn Theatre. Sermol's Film and TV credits include roles on NBC's "Grimm" and TNT's "Leverage." Understudying the roles of Gavrilo, Trifko, and Nedeljko, Max Tachis returns to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley where he starred as David/ Crumpet the Elf in the holiday favorite The Santaland Diaries. Tachis has appeared in productions with the Palo Alto Players, City Lights Theater Company, Hillbarn Theatre, Pear Theatre, Dragon Theatre Company, Los Altos Stage Company, and more. Also a playwright, his work Perishable, Keep Refrigerated premiered in 2014 with the Renegade Theatre Experiment.
Director Giovanna Sardelli is TheatreWorks's Director of New Works and has directed and developed plays all throughout the country. Among Sardelli's directing credits at TheatreWorks are the 2018 production of FINKS, the 2016 productions of The Velocity of Autumn and The Crimes of the Heart, the 2015 production of Rajiv Joseph's The Lake Effect, the 2013 production of Somewhere by Matthew Lopez, and the 2011 World Premiere of Joseph's The North Pool. Besides her well-received productions with TheatreWorks, Sardelli also directed the 2018 Obie Award-winning production of Rajiv Joseph's Describe the Night, the World Premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts, and Rajiv Joseph's first professional production, Huck & Holden, as well the World Premieres for his Archduke, All This Intimacy, The Leopard and the Fox, The North Pool, and Animals Out of Paper for which she was awarded the Joe A. Callaway Award for Best Direction. Sardelli will return in the 2019/2020 TheatreWorks season to direct the Northern California premiere of Laurel Ollstein's They Promised Her the Moon in March 2020.
Rajiv Joseph came to national attention when his celebrated hit Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo became a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and received an Outstanding New American Play Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. With direction by Moisés Kaufman, Bengal Tiger was a sensational hit at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles in 2009 and moved to the Mark Taper Forum in 2010 where The New York Times described it as a "boldly imagined, harrowing and surprisingly funny drama." The show made its Broadway debut starring Robin Williams in March 2011. Joseph's play Describe the Night won the 2018 Obie Award for Best New American Play for its production at Atlantic Theatre Company helmed by Giovanna Sardelli, and his play Guards at the Taj was a 2016 Obie Winner for Best New American Play and 2016 Lucille Lortel Winner for Best Play. Other plays include The Lake Effect (produced at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in 2015), The North Pool (produced at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in 2011), Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Monster at the Door, Animals Out of Paper, Mr. Wolf, and Archduke. Rajiv has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists, and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. He received his BA in Creative Writing from Miami University and his MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. His newest play King James about basketball star Lebron James will make its World Premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2020, and he is writing the book for the new musical Fly, a sinister retelling of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan,which will receive its World Premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in 2020.
With over 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