Arena Stage Announces Full Cast And Creative Team For DEAR JACK, DEAR LOUISE
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces the full company for the world premiere of Ken Ludwig's (Broadway's Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy For You) Dear Jack, Dear Louise. Based on his own parents' love story, U.S. Army Captain Jacob S. Ludwig and aspiring actress, Louise Rabiner, meet through a series of letters and become pen pals. Set in 1942 during World War II, a romance begins and the two must find their way toward each other, even though they have never met. Directed by Jackie Maxwell, Dear Jack, Dear Louise runs November 21 - December 29, 2019 in the Kreeger Theater.
Arena Stage is excited to welcome back Ludwig, after his 2015 world-premiere production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery.
"It is particularly exhilarating to be back at Arena Stage, working with this incredible team of artists to bring the story of my parents' courtship to life for the first time," explains Ludwig. "I've written a piece that goes deep into the hearts of two young lovers during World War II, in a way that's more personal than I've ever done before."
"Ken Ludwig's work runs the gamut: from farce to epic tales of heroism. He is a master of creating big stories with human souls. Lend Me a Tenor, Baskerville, Crazy for You are some of his often-produced works. Dear Jack, Dear Louise is his newest child, and I think it's his best," shares Artistic Director Molly Smith. "This is a classic love story and Ken is bucking his own trend by writing a two-person play, based on his parents, that brings us back to a time when written letters were the most important form of communication when separated. This is a flat-out beautiful new play."
Making their Arena Stage debuts are Jake Epstein (Broadway's Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, "Degrassi") as Jacob S. Ludwig and Amelia Pedlow (Studio's Doubt, Shakespeare's Love's Labor's Lost) as Louise Rabiner.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing Ken's beautiful play to theatrical life at Arena Stage," said Maxwell. "We have a fabulous cast and creative team to bring out the joy, humor and humanity of Jack and Louise's story."
In addition to Maxwell, the creative team includes Set Designer Beowulf Boritt, Costume Designer Linda Cho, Lighting Designer Jason Lyons, Original Music and Sound Design Lindsay Jones, Stage Manager Kurt Hall and Assistant Stage Manager Rachael Danielle Albert.
Ken Ludwig (Playwright) is a two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright who has written over 28 plays and musicals, including six shows on Broadway and seven in London's West End. Lend Me A Tenor won two Tony Awards and was called "one of the classic comedies of the 20th century" by the Washington Post. His best-known works include: Crazy for You (five years on Broadway, Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical); Moon Over Buffalo; Baskerville; Shakespeare in Hollywood (Helen Hayes Award); Sherwood; and a stage version of Murder on the Orient Express, written at the request of the Agatha Christie Estate. His book "How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare" won the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book of the Year. His work has been performed in over 30 countries, in more than 20 languages and is produced somewhere in the United States every night of the year. www.kenludwig.com
Jackie Maxwell (Director) previously directed Arena Stage's Junk, Watch on the Rhine and Good People. Jackie most recently directed a critically acclaimed production of August: Osage County for Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre. Other recent productions include the world premiere of Paradise Lost for the Stratford Festival and the Canadian premiere of The Humans for the Canadian Stage/Citadel Theatre. In 2016, she finished a 14-year tenure as artistic director of The Shaw Festival. Some favorite productions directed there include Uncle Vanya, Sweeney Todd, The Divine (world premiere), Come Back Little Sheba, Major Barbara, Ragtime and Saint Joan. Jackie has worked extensively throughout Canada and in the U.S. and was artistic director of Toronto's Factory Theatre for eight years. She has received many awards including two Dora Mavor Moore Awards for directing, two honorary degrees and the Order of Ontario. Upcoming projects include a remount of Paradise Lost for the Centaur Theatre Montreal and a return to the Shaw Festival to direct Playboy of the Western World.
Cast Biographies (in alphabetical order)
Jake Epstein (Jack Ludwig) last appeared in D.C. as Melchior in the National Tour of Spring Awakening at The Kennedy Center. On Broadway, he originated the role of Gerry Goffin in the Tony-nominated Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and survived playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Other favorite theater credits include: Straight (Off-Broadway); American Idiot (1st National Tour); Billy Elliot (Mirvish); Dog Sees God (Canadian premiere); and Therefore Choose Life (co-writer, HGJT). On television, he is best known for "Degrassi" (Gemini Award); "Designated Survivor"; and "Suits." Recently, Jake premiered his solo show Boy Falls from the Sky at the Toronto Fringe Festival (Best of Fringe, Outstanding Production). Graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada. For Ness.
Amelia Pedlow (Louise Rabiner)'s D.C. credits include: Doubt at Studio Theatre; Love's Labor's Lost at The Folger; and The Metromaniacs, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice with Shakespeare Theatre Company. Off-Broadway credits include: Intelligence (world premiere) at NYTW Next Door; Pride & Prejudice with Primary Stages (world premiere by Kate Hamill); Tis Pity She's a Whore with Red Bull Theatre Company; The Liar and The Heir Apparent with Classic Stage Company; and You Never Can Tell with The Pearl Theatre Company. Other regional credits include: Playing with Fire at The Guthrie; Fortune at The Hanger; Pride & Prejudice and The General from America with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival; Red Velvet at The Old Globe; Ether Dome with La Jolla Playhouse, Hartford Stage and The Huntington; The Glass Menagerie and Hamlet with The Denver Center; and Legacy of Light with Cleveland Playhouse. Her TV credits include: "The Good Wife," "Blue Bloods," "Shades of Blue" and "The Blacklist." She received her B.F.A. from The Juilliard School.
Dear Jack, Dear Louise is generously sponsored by the Guttman-McCabe Family in honor of Fred and Ilse Ruben, Ingleside at Rock Creek, Daniel Korengold, Martha Dippell, Ourisman Automotive of Virginia and Hubert M. (Hank) Schlosberg.
Connect with our shows beyond the performance at a post-show conversation with artists and staff on December 11 following the 12 p.m. performance, December 12 following the 8 p.m. performance, December 17 following the 12 p.m. performance, December 18 following the 12 p.m. performance and December 24 following the 7:30 p.m. performance.