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TheatreWorks Kicks Off 44th Season with THE LOUDEST MAN ON EARTH Tonight

TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, launches its 44th season with the World Premiere of Catherine Rush's touching comedy THE LOUDEST MAN ON EARTH, directed by Pamela Berlin. A runaway hit last summer during TheatreWorks' 2012 New Works Festival, this unconventional romantic comedy will again feature a tour-de-force performance by Deaf actor Adrian Blue, who speaks volumes without saying a word. This groundbreaking World Premiere is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. Since 2009, TheatreWorks has been awarded six Edgerton Foundation Awards, which grant funds to give theatres additional rehearsal time for World Premiere productions. THE LOUDEST MAN ON EARTH plays atTheatreWorks at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto tonight, July 10 - August 4. For tickets ($19-$73) and information the public may call (650) 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org.

THE LOUDEST MAN ON EARTH follows two opposites - a deaf, maverick stage director (Adrian Blue) and a hearing, charismatic journalist (Julie Fitzpatrick) - as they work together to navigate a police bust, painful brushes with unthinking strangers, clueless friends and family, and their budding, uncertain romance. Both outrageously funny and immensely touching, this World Premiere combines spoken English, American Sign Language, and gestures to create a soaring new language of the heart.

TheatreWorks has assembled a fantastic cast for this groundbreaking World Premiere. Adrian Blue and Julie Fitzpatrick are joined by Bay Area actors Mia Taganoand Cassidy Brown, all of whom appeared in the play's staged readings at TheatreWorks' 2012 New Works Festival. Adrian Blue makes his TheatreWorks mainstage debut as "Jordan," an enormously successful and abrasive stage director who cannot hear. Also a translator, storyteller, playwright, and director, Blue has collaborated with playwright Catherine Rush on several projects throughout his career. He co-wrote and directed This Island Alone and A Nice Place to Live at the Vineyard Playhouse on Martha's Vineyard, and served as master translator and sign consultant for the ASL Shakespeare Project, translating Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing into American Sign Language. Blue has performed with The National Theatre of the Deaf and has been a consultant throughout the United States on American Sign Language interpretation in the theater, on film, and in television.

Praised in June 2013 by The New York Times as "a gem of an actress who knows how to give depth to quirky characters," Julie Fitzpatrick will reprise her 2012 New Works Festival role as "Haylee." A member of New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre and Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company, Fitzpatrick has also appeared in productions with Firework Theater, Godlight Theatre Company, and Pittsburgh Public Theater, among others. This will be her TheatreWorks mainstage debut. Cassidy Brown and Mia Tagano will play 20 characters, ranging from well-meaning family members to interfering cops, in THE LOUDEST MAN ON EARTH. Brown has performed in TheatreWorks' Doubt, Distracted, and The 39 Steps, as well as in productions at Marin Shakespeare Company, The Jewish Theatre of San Francisco, Aurora Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, and Shotgun Players, among others. Tagano has been seen at TheatreWorks in Snow Falling on Cedars, andM. Butterfly, as well as at California Shakespeare Theater, Hartford Stage, Portland Center Stage, and Pacific Repertory Theatre, among others. She has also performed two solo shows: Cincinnati at the Camden People's Theatre in London, and Voices in Between at the University of Washington, Seattle.

The TheatreWorks production of THE LOUDEST MAN ON EARTH includes scenic design by Jason Simms, costume design by Tanya Finkelstein, lighting design by Paul Toben, and sound design by Cliff Caruthers.

Playwright Catherine Rush was commissioned by Philadelphia Theater Workshop to write The Loudest Man on Earth. It was further developed at New York Theatre Workshop. Her full-length play Losing the Shore was commissioned and produced by BCKSEET Productions in Philadelphia. With Adrian Blue, Ms. Rush wrote This Island Alone, developed and produced at the Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, and A Nice Place to Live, commissioned and produced by Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston. Her play Double Helix won the American Theatre Co-op Full-Length Play Contest. Ms. Rush worked with the ASL Shakespeare Project translating Twelfth Night into American Sign Language, and lectured on the process at the MLA Conference at Kent State University and the "Revolution in Sign" Conference at Gallaudet University. She has taught at the Wilma Studio Theatre School in Philadelphia and Toi Whakaari in Wellington, New Zealand, and holds a Bachelor's Degree from Yale University and an MFA in playwriting from Spalding University.

Pamela Berlin will return direct TheatreWorks' World Premiere of THE LOUDEST MAN ON EARTH. A frequent collaborator of Catherine Rush and Adrian Blue, Berlin helmed the production's staged reading at TheatreWorks' New Works Festival last fall. Other TheatreWorks directing credits include the staged reading of The Giver as part of the 2011 New Works Festival. Her New York credits include Steel Magnolias, which ran Off-Broadway for three years, Broadway's The Cemetery Club, Endpapers (Variety Arts Theatre), To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (Circle in the Square Theatre downtown), Crossing Delancey (Jewish Repertory Theatre),Joined at the Head (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Family of Mann and The Red Address (Second Stage Theatre), Three in the Back, Two in the Head (MCC Theatre), Black Ink and Elm Circle (Playwrights Horizons), Snowing at Delphi, Club Soda, 'til the Rapture Comes (WPA Theatre), Wallflowering and Play by Ear at the HB Playwrights Foundation & Theatre, and numerous one-acts at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Regionally, she has directed at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Huntington Theatre Company, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Long Wharf Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Portland Stage Company, and Virginia Stage Company, among others. Opera credits include La Traviata, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin,Hansel and Gretel, Of Mice and Men, Cold Sassy Tree, Bernstein's Mass, and the World Premiere of Pocahontas.

With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks 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.

Photo credit: Tracy Martin



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