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Asolo Rep continues its record-breaking 2017-18 season with Kristoffer Diaz's THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY, a 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist and the 2011 Obie Award-winner for Best New American Play. Directed by Jen Wineman, who previously helmed the educational touring productions of Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream for Asolo Rep and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY previews April 4, 5 and 6, opens April 7 and runs through April 30. The play will be performed in the Cook Theatre, which will be transformed into a full-scale wrestling arena complete with two ringside seating sections to bring audiences even closer to the action.

This is definitely not an ordinary night at the theatre. With a unique combo of powerful physicality and wickedly smart comedy, this vibrantly entertaining play is about - wait for it - professional wrestling. "Mace" Guerra has spent his wrestling career as the perpetual fall guy - losing on purpose to boost the careers of his fellow wrestlers. When he inadvertently discovers Vigneshwar "VP" Paduar, a young Indian American with the charisma to challenge the indomitable Chad Deity, he never imagines the rivalry will be used to exploit racial stereotypes to raise ratings. Hailed as "a culturally explosive knockout" by D.C. Metro Theater Arts, this no-holds-barred comedy slams together thrilling spectacle with political allegory for an invigorating theatrical experience.

"Kristoffer Diaz's brilliant, funny, and engaging play is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting productions we've ever presented - an utterly unique theatrical experience filled with laughter and joy, and anchored by tremendous contemporary purchase," said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. "At first glance, the world of professional wrestling may seem like an out-of-the-box choice for the setting of a play. But in this arena of heightened reality, we are actually able to really narrow in on the unexpected truths of our country's deeply rooted racial tensions."

Playwright Kristoffer Diaz has penned five full-length plays, and his work has been performed at The Public Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Center Theatre Group, The Goodman, Second Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and more. In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY, his work has also been celebrated with the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, Lucille Lortel, Equity Jeff, and Obie Awards, among others.

Off-Broadway, director Jen Wineman has helmed F#%king Up Everything. In New York she has also directed Fable at the New York Musical Festival, The King's Whore at Walkerspace, and Estrella Cruz [The Junkyard Queen] at Ars Nova. Her work has also been seen at regional theaters across the country, including Sweeney Todd at Playmakers Rep, Lysistrata at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, The 39 Steps and Shipwrecked at Triad Stage, and more.

"From start to finish, THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY is a complete spectacle - overflowing with energy, exhilarating music, striking projections and larger-than-life characters. This is not your typical production where the audience sits in the dark and claps politely at the end," said director Jen Wineman. "The action of this production will happen all over the theater, sometimes in the audience itself. We hope people will feel free to get a little rowdy, holding up signs and chanting the names of moves they want to see. But don't worry, patrons will not have to actually wrestle. We'll leave that to the pros."

Pierre Jean Gonzalez leads the cast as Mace. His New York Theater credits include Usnavi in In the Heights, Cassio in Othello and Javier in The House of Ramon Iglesia. In London he appeared as Oberon/Theseus in the Globe's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Garrett Turner takes on the role of Chad Deity. He has appeared as Benny in In the Heights at Aurora Theatre/Theatrical Outfit, Jimmy Early in Dreamgirls at Atlanta Lyric Theatre and as Mr. Franklin/Mr. Venus in Passing Strange at Playhouse in the Park.

THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY contains strong language including racial epithets, as well as mature themes and simulated violence. Not recommended for small children.

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