Don Stephenson to Direct Asolo Rep's NOISES OFF

Don Stephenson to Direct Asolo Rep's NOISES OFF

Asolo Rep continues its celebration of 60 years on stage with Tony Award-winner Michael Frayn's rip-roaringly hilarious play NOISES OFF, one of the most celebrated farces of all time. Directed by comedic Broadway veteran Don Stephenson, NOISES OFF previews March 20 and 21, opens March 22 and runs through April 20 in rotating repertory in the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

A comedy of epic proportions, NOISES OFF has been the laugh-until-you-cry guilty pleasure of audiences for decades. With opening night just hours away, a motley company of actors stumbles through a frantic, final rehearsal of the British sex farce Nothing On, and things could not be going worse. Lines are forgotten, love triangles are unraveling, sardines are flying everywhere, and complete pandemonium ensues. Will the cast pull their act together on stage even if they can't behind the scenes?

"With Don Stephenson, an extraordinary comedic actor and director at the helm, this production of NOISES OFF is bound to be one of the funniest theatrical experiences we have ever presented," said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. "I urge the Sarasota community to take a break and escape to NOISES OFF, a joyous celebration of the magic of live theatre."

Don Stephenson's directing work includes Titanic (Lincoln Center, MUNY), Broadway Classics (Carnegie Hall), Of Mice and Manhattan (Kennedy Center), A Comedy of Tenors (Paper Mill Playhouse) and more. As an actor on Broadway, he appeared in A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder; Rock of Ages; Dracula, the Musical; The Producers and more.

"NOISES OFF takes its title from the stage direction used in plays to indicate sounds coming from offstage. With his play within a play setup, Mr. Frayn gives the audience a love letter to the theatre," said Don Stephenson. "In a time of breaking news, and more breaking news, NOISES OFF gives us a good, much needed laugh. The show takes us backstage and onstage (and backstage and onstage again and again and again). It gives us a delicious taste of what it's like to be in the theatre."

An all-star ensemble cast will bring the on and off stage antics to life. Christianne Tisdale (Dotty Otley/Mrs. Clackett) has been seen on Broadway in Les Misérables, Beauty and the Beast and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Coburn Goss (Lloyd Dallas) is also in The Crucible at Asolo Rep this season, playing John Proctor. He was seen Off-Broadway in Steppenwolf's When the Messenger Is Hot at 59E59. His recent credits include The Columnist (American Blues Theater), The Burials (Steppenwolf Theatre), and Chimerica (TimeLine Theatre).

Laura Rook (Poppy Norton-Taylor), is also in The Crucible at Asolo Rep this season, as Elizabeth Proctor. Last season she appeared as Viola de Lesseps in Shakespeare in Love and Daisy in Rhinoceros at Asolo Rep. Her other credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love's Labour's Lost, Othello, Henry V, and Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), The Liar (Writers Theatre) and Skylight(Court Theatre).

Kate Hampton's (Belinda Blair/Flavia) New York theater credits include The Master Builder (BAM), All My Sons (Roundabout), and The Typographer's Dream (Clubbed Thumb). She plays Nora in A Doll's House, Part 2 at Asolo Rep this season. Regionally she has appeared at Florida Rep, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Peterborough Players, Williamstown and more. Steve Hendrickson (Selsdon Mowbray/Burglar) plays Francis Nurse in The Crucible and has previously appeared in 1776, The Matchmaker, and Both Your Houses at Asolo Rep. He has also performed at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Old Globe, Geva Theatre Center, Arena Stage and more.

The cast also features FSU/Asolo Conservatory students Andrew Hardaway (Garry Lejeune/Roger), Katie Sah (Brooke Ashton/Vicki), Dylan Crow (Frederick Fellowes/Phillip), and Scott Shomaker (Tim Allgood), who are all in The Crucible.

In addition to the cast of nine, the NOISES OFF set is a character in and of itself. All of the on and off stage impeccably timed mayhem takes place on a two-story revolving set, designed by Michael Schweikardt. His other Asolo Rep productions include South Pacific, Show Boat, Deathtrap, and Barnum. His Off-Broadway productions include The Bus and the American premiere of Frank McGuinness' Gates of Gold (59E59), Bloodsong of Love (Ars Nova) and The Black Suits (The Public Theater).

The creative team also includes Tracy Christensen (Costume Designer), whose work includes the Broadway revival of Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, Candide with John Lithgow (Carnegie Hall), Carousel (London's English National Opera), and the premiere of Anne of Green Gables (Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival).

Stephen Terry's (Lighting Designer) Off-Broadway credits include My Name is Gideon, Titanic in Concert at Lincoln Center and Twyla Tharp Dance at The Joyce and National/International Tour. The creative team also includes Zach Moore (Sound Designer), who has designed more than 90 productions for Pittsburgh Public Theater including six world premieres and two American premieres.

NOISES OFF premiered on Broadway in 1983 and received four Tony Award nominations, including for Best Play. Its most recent revival in 2016 was nominated for five Tony's, including Best Revival of a Play. The play was turned into a feature film in 1992 and starred Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Marilu Henner, Christopher Reeve and John Ritter. Michael Frayn's other works include Alphabetical Order, Make and Break, Donkeys' Years and Benefactors.

Photo Credit: Jessica Fallon Gordon

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