THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN to Open in June at TheatreWorks

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley closes its 2015/2016 season with the explosive new dramatic comedy, The Velocity of Autumn. This tender-hearted play by Eric Coble centers on an elderly artist locked in a volatile showdown with her family over where she'll spend her remaining years. In a wry, spirited quest to "not go gently" into a retirement home, Alexandra barricades herself in her brownstone with enough homemade Molotov cocktails to blow the entire block sky-high as she negotiates the terms of her future with a long-estranged son who has battles of his own. The Velocity of Autumn was declared "Wickedly funny and wonderfully touching" by Broadway World and "A tale that could resonate with a broad range of audiences as it touches on a sobering dilemma faced by families every day" by Variety. This production will be directed by Giovanna Sardelli with performances June 1-June 26 (press opening: June 4) at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. For tickets ($19-$80) and information the public may visit www.TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.

The 90-minute one-act play opened on Broadway in April 2014 after a run at Washington DC's Arena Theatre, with the New York Daily News noting, "there's a compelling and worthwhile story out there about an age-addled woman's battle to live out her life in her own home." Originally starring Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons and two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Spinella, it earned Parsons a Tony nomination for her role as Alexandra at the age of 86.


Susan Greenhill is making her TheatreWorks debut as Alexandra, the aging artist facing her next chapter. She has worked on many productions including The Clean House (Virginia) at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park where she earned an Acclaim Award, Sideman (Patsy) at the Florida Studio Theatre where she received a Barrymore Award, Next Fall (Arlene) at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis garnered her a Kevin Kline Award nomination, and Becoming Dr. Ruth (Dr. Ruth) at the Florida Studio Theatre. Ms. Greenhill, a seasoned performer, has performed in many US theatres including the Slant Theatre Project in New York, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and the Florida Studio Theatre, among many others.

TheatreWorks favorite Mark Anderson Phillips returns to play the role of Chris, Alexandra's long estranged son. TheatreWorks audiences will remember Mr. Phillips from Fallen Angels (Fred), Grapes of Wrath (Tom Joad),­­­­ which earned him the Bay Area Drama Critic's Circle Award, The Cripple of Inishmaan (BabbyBobby) winning him the Dean Goodman Choice Award, and Time Stands Still (James). He has also starred in The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus (Dr. Faustus) at San Jose Repertory Theatre and A Christmas Carol (Ebenezer Scrooge) at Center REPertory Company. Mr. Phillips has also performed with San Francisco Playhouse, Aurora Theatre Company, A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, and the New York City and Edinburgh Fringe festivals.

Playwright Eric Coble's plays include The Velocity of Autumn, Bright Ideas, The Dead Guy, My Barking Dog, A Girl's Guide to Coffee, and The Giver. They have been produced Off-Broadway, in all fifty states of the U.S., and on several continents, including productions at The Kennedy Center, Playwrights Horizons, the Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Arena Stage, the New York and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, Alliance Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and South Coast Repertory. Awards include the AATE Distinguished Play Award for Best Adaptation, an Emmy nomination, the Chorpenning Playwriting Award for Body of Work, and the NEA Playwright in Residence Grant. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and was raised on the Navajo and Ute reservations in New Mexico and Colorado.

Giovanna Sardelli was appointed TheatreWorks' Director of New Works in May 2014, and has helmed three well-received productions with TheatreWorks, including the company's 2013 production of Somewhere by Matthew Lopez, the 2011 World Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-nominee Rajiv Joseph's The North Pool, and the production last season of Rajiv Joseph's The Lake Effect. She has directed and developed plays around the country, including ten off-Broadway productions in ten years. Her directing credits include Rajiv Joseph's first professional production, Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane), as well as the World Premieres for his All This Intimacy (Second Stage), and The Leopard and the Fox (Alterego Productions), The North Pool (TheatreWorks), and Animals Out of Paper (Second Stage), for which she was awarded the Joe A. Callaway Award for Best Direction. She directed a highly-acclaimed production of Joe Gifford's Finks at off-Broadway's Ensemble Studio Theatre and most recently directed Little Children Dream of God by Jeff Augustine at New York's Roundabout Theatre Company. Sardelli directed the World Premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park). She has also worked on numerous productions of award-winning actress/playwright Adriana Sevan's one-woman show, Taking Flight, directing her performances for Sundance Theatre Lab, Center Theater Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and Goodman Theatre. Her West Coast Premiere of Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man for The Globe Theatre won her an NAACP nomination for Best Director.

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. A home for artists developing new works, it was at TheatreWorks that Memphis, the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical that played on Broadway for three years before embarking on a 19-month national tour, was first workshopped and received its world premiere. It is recently concluded an extended run on London's West End, where it captured two Olivier Awards.




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