Washington Ensemble Theatre presents Cherdonna's DOLL'S HOUSE, a Collaboration with Stranger Genius Award Winner Cherdonna Shinatra

Washington Ensemble Theatre presents Cherdonna's DOLL'S HOUSE, a Collaboration with Stranger Genius Award Winner Cherdonna Shinatra

This Spring Washington Ensemble Theatre (WET) will give Henrik Ibsen's beloved play A Doll's House a fresh new makeover in Cherdonna's Doll's House, a wild and dynamic collaboration with and featuring Cherdonna Shinatra (aka Jody Kuehner), the 2015 Stranger Genius Award winner for Performance. Playing April 28 - May 15, 2017 in the Studio Theater at 12th Avenue Arts, Cherdonna's Doll's House follows the story of Nora, a married woman and mother who struggles to discover her true self or lack thereof. Cherdonna, who is part bio-drag queen, part contemporary dancer, and part performance artist, will celebrate, dissect, and illuminate this text through her own unique feminist lens, scouring Ibsen, Nora, Torvald, and the whole gang for contemporary meaning. Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir, former Co-Artistic Director of WET and co-adapter of the play with Kuehner, directs.

Cherdonna's Doll's House is a topsy-turvy, brightly colored exploration of what humans value, and what they sacrifice. In WET's retelling, Torvald is to Nora as the audience is to Cherdonna, making room to explore what constraints history has placed on contemporary feminism and theatre. Director el-Gasseir and Kuehner have been collaborating on the script for almost two years.

"This rambunctious play reminds me of what I love most about Washington Ensemble Theatre and the artists who choose to work here," said Washington Ensemble Theatre's Artistic Director Samie Spring Detzer. "We have a diverse cast of misfits collectively creating a feminist story about deconstructing and examining the purpose of classics. It's practically why I went to college, or became an artist at all. Jody Kuehner is a genius. Not just a Stranger Genius, but an absolutely evolved artistic being who knows the power of the human body, the intricacies of gender performance, and the undeniable fact that butts are funny."

About the Cast

Jody Kuehner is a Seattle-based dance artist, director, and drag queen Cherdonna Shinatra. She is 2015 Stranger Genius Award winner, Velocity Dance Center's 2014 Artist in Residence, and 2010 Spotlight Award winner. Jody is in residence at the Henry Art Gallery with a project called Clock That Construct which supports a two-year, three-part project, one great, bright, brittle alltogetherness. Realized through a unique partnership between the Henry Art Gallery, Velocity Dance Center and On the Boards with generous support from the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project. Part II Clock that Mug or Dusted premiered at Velocity in 2016 and is currently touring. Part III Kissing Like Babies premieres at On the Boards this October. Jody was Dayna Hanson's Production Coordinator and Assistant Director 2010-2015 for various projects. She danced with Pat Graney company from 2007 - 2016 also assisting Graney's KTF Prison Project. As Cherdonna, she performs regularly with award-winning international sensations Kitten N' Lou and BenDeLaCreme (RuPaul's Drag Race).

Leah Salcido Pfenning* is WET's Art and Casting Director, and returns to The Ensemble stage to star as Nora. She holds a BFA in Theatre & Original Works from Cornish College of the Arts. Leah has appeared in WET productions since 2012, where she was most recently Leda in 99 Ways to Fuck a Swan, Jean in The Tall Girls and Mikayla in Dirty. Other Ensemble credits include The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls, Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo, The Hunchback Of Seville, and Sprawl.

Jason Sharp makes his Ensemble debut as Torvald. He is a local actor, writer and voice talent with well over a decade of thrills performing in Seattle. His work has been seen at Theatre Battery, Theatre22, Theater Schmeater, Annex Theatre, Live Girls!, Macha Monkey, Our American Theater Co, EXITheatre, Bad Actor Productions and Open Circle Theater. Jason is also a veteran actor of 14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival and Ian Bell's Brown Derby Series. His TV credits include NBC's GRIMM.

Brace Evans makes his Ensemble debut as Dr. Rank. A Seattle local, he has studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and completed the ETI program at Freehold Theatre. Recent performances include House of Dinah at On the Boards (OtB), and A Raisin In The Sun at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Other stage credits include Parade and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi with Sound Theatre; The Kentucky Cycle, Hair, and Twelfth Night at Bainbridge Performing Arts; Moby Dick with Book-It Repertory Theatre; Homo for the Holidays; VERNAE with Ethan Folk; and This Land is Your Land with Mark Haim at OTB.

Samie Spring Detzer* returns to The Ensemble stage as Mrs. Linde. A graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, and Artistic Director of WET, Samie was most recently seen in WET's Revolt. She said. Revolt again., The Things Are Against Us, The Hunchback of Seville (Footlight Award), and The Edge of Our Bodies, in Rikki Tikki Tavi at Seattle Children's Theatre, and Wayne Rawley's award-winning Live! From the Last Night of My Life. She has worked as an actor at Seattle Shakespeare Company, Book-It Rep, Taproot, The Solo Performance Festival, The Chicago Improv Festival, and 14/48. Samie is the co-creator of Six Pack Series, and is the Literary and Executive Manager at ACT Theatre.

Jeffrey Azevedo* returns to the Ensemble stage as Krogstad. He is a Seattle-based theatre artist and WET's Managing Director. He performed last year in WET's production of The Things Are Against Us. Other recent work includes co-creating and performing in Awaiting Oblivion-Temporary Solutions for Surviving the Dystopian Future We Find Ourselves Within At Present, which recently received its world premiere at On the Boards. Jeffrey holds degrees in Make Believe and Electricity from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and since moving to Seattle he's spent most of his time using his electrical/science skills to manifest public presentations of his friend Tim Smith-Stewart's existential crisis.

Sally Brady makes her Ensemble debut as The Maid. She was last seen in Seattle Opera's production of La Traviata, and as the Queen in last summer's Greenstage production of Cymbeline. Other Seattle credits include Mrs. Mortar in The Children's Hour at Ballard Underground, Meg in A Lie of the Mind at ACT, Lady Boyle in Superior Donuts at Seattle Public, and Mrs. Prentice in What the Butler Saw at Centerstage.

Hersh Powers makes his Ensemble debut as Ivar. He was in Seattle Public Theater's Best Christmas Pageant Ever for three years in a row, most recently as Ollie Herdman. Hersh has been in many local children's productions, including The Lion King Jr. (ensemble, Seattle Children's Theatre); Mozart Effect (Mozart/Pete, Seattle Public Theatre Youth Program); and Cinderella (King, Taproot Theatre Camp). Hersh is eleven and currently a 5th grader at Meridian School.

Marlo Olson makes her Ensemble debut as Emmy. She has been acting since she signed herself up at age eight. Marlo has performed in local theater, on the TV show Hatched, modeling gigs, and several commercials including Red Wind Casino, Sleep Train and Puyallup Fair. Marlo is a vibrant and outgoing 7th grader who stays busy in her spare time playing the drums, serving on her school ASB council, cosplay, drawing and writing. Marlo's favorite role is sister to her brother and best friend AJ, who is affected by autism.

The creative team includes Maggie Rogers* (assistant director), Pete Rush (scenic design), Danial Hellman (costume design for Cherdonna Shinatra), Michael Notestine (costume design), Jessica Trundy (lighting design), Tristan Roberson* (sound design), and Karla Davenport* (properties design), with stage management by Joceline Wynn*.

Cherdonna's Doll's House plays April 28 - May 15, 2017 in the Studio Theatre at 12th Avenue Arts, (1620 12th Avenue in Capitol Hill). Press opening is Friday, April 28. Performances run Thursdays through Mondays at 7:30pm.

*denotes member of Washington Ensemble Theatre

Ticket & Box Office Information

Tickets are available for purchase online at www.washingtonensemble.org and range from $15 - $25. The box office is open 60 minutes prior to curtain. Washington Ensemble Theatre does not have a year-round, physical box office.

Washington Ensemble Theatre

Through collaborative artistic leadership, Washington Ensemble Theatre fearlessly creates audacious stories for adventurous Seattle audiences. A resident company at 12th Avenue Arts in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, The Ensemble is committed to maintaining an environment wherein its members, as well as artists from the community, are challenged to grow through its work as an ensemble. For more information about The Ensemble, please visit washingtonensemble.org.

Special thanks to production sponsors Janis Libeks, The Nesholm Family Foundation, and Dramatists Guild Fund, and restaurant sponsor Stout. Additional thanks to Washington Ensemble Theatre's season sponsors 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, K&L Gates, The Stranger, and KUOW 9.49.

The 2016-17 Ensemble is Samie Spring Detzer, Maria Manness, Jeffrey Azevedo, Leah Salcido Pfenning, Rachel Liuzzi, Bobbin Ramsey, Tristan Roberson, KailLee Coleman, Karla Davenport, Joceline Wynn, Erika Bailey, Ryan Dunn, Jenn Oaster, and Maggie Rogers.

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