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Christopher Dinolfo and Felicia Curry to Star in Ford's Theatre Society's JEFFERSON'S GARDEN

Christopher Dinolfo and Felicia Curry to Star in Ford's Theatre Society's JEFFERSON'S GARDEN

Ford's Theatre Society announced casting for playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker's sweeping new drama, Jefferson's Garden, playing from January 19 to February 11, 2018. The production features Christopher Dinolfo as Christian and Felicia Curry as Susannah, with Christopher Bloch, Michael Kevin Darnall, Kimberly Gilbert, Michael Halling, Thomas Keegan, Kathryn Tkel and Maggie Wilder. The play is directed by Nataki Garrett (Woolly Mammoth's An Octoroon), associate artistic director of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company.

Jefferson's Garden is part of Washington's Women's Voices Theater Festival-a celebration of original works by female writers on more than 25 local professional stages in January and February 2018.

Set during the American Revolution, Jefferson's Garden is a work of historical fiction that explores the contradictions between our Founding Fathers' ideals and the realities of freedom. Christian, a Quaker pacifist, defies his family to fight in the Revolution. Susannah, an enslaved woman, is tempted to fight for the British when they promise her liberty. Christian and Susannah cross paths with Sally and James Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason and others. These encounters force them to confront the compromises America makes after the promise of equality.

"The American revolutionaries fought for freedom and spoke of hope, but there was a deep contradiction at the heart of their rhetoric," said Jefferson's Garden playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker. "It seemed to me that this particular moment in American history is when the fault lines were laid, when the definition of freedom was corrupted. These are fault lines we suffer from today."

"I am excited that Timberlake has chosen to address the question of Freedom through the experience of both the Quaker immigrants like Christian's family-who come to this new land in search of hope and possibility, fleeing persecution; and the enslaved characters in the play- whose freedom is relegated to the perception of their value in this newly formed republic," saiddirector Nataki Garrett. "I hope our audiences will ask themselves, who am I in this story, where do I fit in its history and how do I continue to support or dismantle the consequences of history today in the 21st century?"

Tickets for Jefferson's Garden are now on sale and range from $17-$64. Jefferson's Garden is recommended for ages 15 and older. The performance is 2 hours and 30 minutes including an intermission.

Jefferson's Garden is made possible by Lead Sponsor Exxon Mobil Corporation. The Ford's Theatre 2017-2018 Season Sponsors are The Home Depot and Chevron.

THE PLAYWRIGHT

One of the UK's leading playwrights, Timberlake Wertenbaker is the author of more than 30 plays which have been performed in all the UK's major theatres and worldwide. She was Resident Writer at The Royal Court Theatre and is the recipient of numerous awards including an Olivier Award and New York Drama Critics Award for Our Country's Good and a Writers' Guild Award for Three Birds Alighting on a Field. Jefferson's Garden won the 2016 Writer's Guild Award for Best Play. Timberlake is currently working on a new commission for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Wertenbaker was born in New York and raised in the Basque Country, France. She is the daughter of Charles Wertenbaker, a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine.

THE DIRECTOR

Nataki Garrett makes her Ford's Theatre directorial debut with Jefferson's Garden. Garrett's forte and passion is in the fostering and development of new work. She recently directed a stage reading of Aziza Barnes' BLKS at Ojai Playwrights Conference, Nambi Kelly's Native Son at Antaeus Theatre Company, and remounted An Octaroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company during summer 2017, following a successful run in June 2016. Garrett received a 2008 NAACP Theatre Award nomination for Best Director for Black Women State of the Union: An Evening of Plays by Black Women. She has directed in theaters across the country and worked internationally in Bellagio, Italy; Edinburgh, Scotland; Paris, France; and in Rwanda and Uganda. Her work can be heard on the radio through L.A. Theatre Works audio theatre collection and for NPR, recorded live at the Skirball Cultural Arts Center. For full bio, visit www.natakigarrett.com/bio.

THE DESIGNERS

Timberlake Wertenbaker's young America comes to life with the aid of a majority-female design team. Scenic Designer Milagros Ponce de León (Ford's Ragtime) compliments Wertenbaker's layered storytelling through a series of scrims that evoke a journey by sea, Virginia's rolling countryside and the words from the Declaration of Independence and Emancipation Proclamation. She has also designed set pieces that transform to suggest a simple Quaker home, Revolutionary battlefields, plantation drawing rooms and Monticello's gardens. Costume Designer Ivania Stack's designs allude to the artifice of the American aristocracy by layering simple linens under digitally-printed Tyvek, which creates the illusion of elaborate period fashions: buttons, sashes and other fine detail. Additionally, costumes for the play's fictional characters feature exaggerated or whimsical elements to denote their step away from reality. The Jefferson's Garden design team also includes Lighting Design by Laura Mroczkowski, Original Music and Sound Design by John Gromada, Hair and Make-Up Design by Anne Nesmith, Dramaturg Jennifer L. Nelson and Dialects and Vocal Director Rachel Hirshorn-Johnston.

SPECIAL PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS

A sign-interpreted performance of Jefferson's Garden is February 1, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. An audio-described performance is February 3, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. A captioned performance is scheduled for February 10, 2018, at 2:00 p.m.

Free Tickets to First Performance: January 19, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

Ford's Theatre Partners with TodayTix to give out free tickets for the first preview of each mainstage production in our theatrical season. Six-hundred tickets are available via the TodayTix app, beginning January 12, for the January 19 7:30 p.m. performance of Jefferson's Garden. Visit www.fords.org/free for lottery entry details.

Lecture with Timberlake Wertenbaker: January 22, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

Playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker will give a lecture at Georgetown University's Gaston Hall on Monday, January 22, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. Event is free and open to the public. Visit performingarts.georgetown.edu/wertenbaker for more information.

Under 35 Night: January 26, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.

Patrons ages 18-35 may use code UNDER3518 to purchase discounted tickets to Jefferson's Garden the evening of January 26, 2018. Following the performance, patrons join other young arts fans for a complementary beverage courtesy of On Tap Magazine.

Meet and Mingle: February 3, 2018, following 7:30 p.m. performance

Patrons are invited to gather at local restaurant Asia Nine (915 E Street NW) following the 7:30 p.m. performance on February 3, 2018. Talk theatre with fellow patrons as well as members of the cast. A cash bar is available.

Women's Voices Theater Festival

Following the enormous artistic and cooperative success of our first Festival in 2015, the Women's Voices Theater Festival returns in January and February 2018, with the continued mission of highlighting both the scope of plays being written by women, and the range of professional theater being produced in and around the nation's capital. Led by the area's premiere theaters, including Arena Stage, Ford's Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, Round House Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the 2018 Festival will advance this mission with unprecedented collaboration across the D.C. artistic community to produce plays by some of the nation's most talented and innovative female and female-identifying playwrights. While the 2015 Festival was limited to world premieres only, the 2018 Festival includes second and third productions of works by female playwrights, nationwide Festival-related activities, and a variety of events for theater-makers and theater-lovers from across the country.

Ford's Theatre Society

One of the most visited sites in the nation's capital, Ford's Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford's Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford's Theatre is the premier destination in the nation's capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln's ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.

Ford's Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford's as a living, Working Theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford's for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the Tony nominated Come From Away and nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith, Necessary Sacrifices, The Widow Lincoln and The Guard, Ford's Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. In the past decade, the mission of Ford's Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. Currently, under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Eric A. Spiegel, the Society is building Ford's Theatre into a national destination for exploring Lincoln's ideas and leadership principles and finding new ways to bring Lincoln's legacy to life for the 21st-century learner.

For more information on Ford's Theatre and the Ford's Theatre Society, please visit www.fords.org.


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