Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory

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Ring ring, it's life on the line. An unsuspecting woman becomes deeply involved in the hilarious wiles of a stranger's life. His phone won't stop ringing (and he's not exactly able to answer) so she picks up the phone down the proverbial rabbit hole she goes. Sarah Ruhl penned the romantic comedy that Peter Amster will direct. The show will run in the Cook Theatre through March 8, with a pay-what-you-can (minimum $5, day of performance) preview night on February 18.

Cell phones. We've all got them but in Sarah Ruhl's lively comedy, we beg the question: do these devices keep us connected or isolate us? The answer for Jean, our main character, is both. An incessantly ringing cell phone causes Jean to insert herself into the life of a complete stranger - past the point of no return. She becomes involved with his oddball family, his mysterious and apparently dangerous line of work, and... his brother. Director, Peter Amster calls Dead Man's Cell Phone a "fever-dream, like Alice in Wonderland but instead of falling down a rabbit hole, Jean picks up the phone and says, 'hello?'"

Playwright, Sarah Ruhl is known for her bold psychological works. Her play, In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for the 2010 Tony Awards for Best Play. Ruhl wrote Dead Man's Cell Phone in 2007. "Cell phones, iPods, [and] wireless computers will change people in ways we don't even understand," said Ruhl in a 2008 interview with John Lahr of the New Yorker, "there's absolutely no reason to talk to a stranger anymore... I find that terrifying." In Dead Man's Cell Phone, Ruhl challenges the disconnect of the digital age by using a cell phone to connect two complete strangers. Director, Peter Amster is intrigued by Ruhl's "terror". He recalls the first time he saw someone walking down the street on a cellular device with humor but agrees it can be equally as terrifying when someone is so absorbed in their device that they might not be aware of curbs, cars, or other dangers.

Amster, who just directed the hit Murder on the Orient Express on Asolo Rep's mainstage, has been directing and choreographing theatre and opera all over the United States for 49 years. He is a Sarasota resident, an Artistic Associate, and regular guest director at Asolo Rep, however, this is his first time directing for the Conservatory. Peter is eager to dissect Ruhl's confounding writing and share this hilarious and heartwarming comedy with our audiences.

The creative team for this production includes Scenic Design by Jeffrey Weber, Lighting Design by Chris McVicker, Costumes by Sofia Gonzalez, Sound by Alex Pinchin, Vocal and Dialect Coaching by Patricia Delorey, and Movement Coaching by Eliza Ladd. Rachel Morris is the Stage Manager with Assistant Stage Manager (and first year student), Dayna Lee Palya. First years will crew the show.

To purchase tickets to Dead Man's Cell Phone, call 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, visit asolorep.org/Conservatory, or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The box office is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM when there are no evening performances, and phone reservations close one hour before all performances.

Photo Credit: Frank Atura.

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
Anna Beth Baker and Jacob Sefcak

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
Chris Hayhurst and Anna Beth Baker

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
The cast of Dead Man's Cell Phone

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
The cast of Dead Man's Cell Phone

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
Anna Beth Baker and Chris Hayhurst

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
Jamie Saunders, Jacob Sefcak, Anna Beth Baker, and Bonita Jackson

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
Anna Beth Baker and Bonita Jackson

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
Anna Beth Baker and Chris Hayhurst

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
Anna Beth Baker and Chris Hayhurst

Photo Flash: First Look at DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE at FSU/Asolo Conservatory
Jamie Saunders and Anna Beth Baker




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