Full Cast And Creative Team Announced For INDECENT at Arena Stage
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces the full company for Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel's thought-provoking play Indecent. Inspired by the 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch's Yiddish drama The God of Vengeance, and the controversy that surrounded its themes of censorship, immigration and anti-Semitism, Vogel explores the behind-the-scenes story of the courageous artists who risked their careers and lives to perform this piece of theater under the most challenging circumstances. Infused with music that combines standards from Yiddish theater with folk traditions of the early to mid-20th century, Indecent, a co-production with Baltimore Center Stage and Kansas City Repertory, is directed by Eric Rosen, with choreography by Erika Chong Shuch and music direction and original music by Alexander Sovronsky. The production runs November 23 - December 30, 2018 in the Kreeger Theater.
Making his Arena Stage debut, Ben Cherry (Broadway's Indecent and Fiddler on the Roof) portrays the stage manager Lemml, the role he held in The Guthrie production as well. Returning to Arena are Susan Lynskey (Roe, Noises Off) as The Middle: Halina/Ensemble and Susan Rome (The Great Society, All the Way) as The Elder: Vera/Ensemble. Also making their Arena debuts are Victor Raider-Wexler (Broadway's Gypsy, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) as The Elder: Otto/Ensemble, Emily Shackelford (Off-Broadway's Lucky Duck) as The Ingenue: Chana/Ensemble, Ethan Watermeier (Les Misérables National Tour) as The Middle: Mendel/Ensemble and Max Wolkowitz (Long Wharf's The Chosen) as The Ingenue: Avram/Ensemble. The three actor/musicians are John Milosich (War Horse National Tour, Synetic Theater's Host and Guest) as Moriz Godowsky/Musician/Ensemble, Maryn Shaw (Studio Theatre's The Wolves) as Nelly Friedman/Musician/Ensemble and Alexander Sovronsky (Broadway's Cyrano de Bergerac) as Mayer Balsam/Musician/Ensemble.
"Paula Vogel is one of America's best living playwrights," says Molly Smith. "She tackles difficult subjects, challenging her audiences to question, confront and learn. I have said at Arena Stage that politics is our voice - in our bones and in our blood. Indecent is the kind of story that demonstrates what an impact theater can have. A great team has been built around this production, with our colleagues from Kansas City Rep and Baltimore CenterStage - which is further evidence of the power of theater."
"Over 20 years ago I encountered and became fascinated by the masterpiece of Yiddish drama God of Vengeance and its extraordinary place in the history of both Jewish and LGBT theatre history," adds Rosen. "I remember with perfect clarity the first time I read the scene between two women, in love, kissing in the rain - a scene that is at the heart of Paula Vogel's masterpiece Indecent. That one scene reminds me how theater can change history and can endure long after any single production. Now, two decades later, I'm thrilled to have the chance to direct that scene in this brilliant love letter to the power and importance of theater, then and now."
In addition to Rosen, Shuch and Sovronsky, the creative team also includes Set Designer Jack Magaw, Costume Designer Linda Roethke, Lighting Designer Josh Epstein, Sound Designer Andre Pluess, Production Designer Jeffrey Cady, Wig Designer Anne Nesmith, Voice and Dialect Coach Zach Campion, Casting Directors Victor Vazquez and Geoff Josselson, Stage Manager Kurt Hall, Assistant Stage Manager Marne Anderson and Production Assistant Emily Ann Mellon.
Paula Vogel (Playwright)'s play, How I Learned to Drive, received the Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Play, as well as her second Obie Award. Other plays include The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot 'N' Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, The Oldest Profession, A Civil War Christmas and Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq. Her play Indecent opened at The Cort Theatre in New York in April 2017. It is available on Broadway HD. TCG has published four books of her work. She teaches playwriting workshops throughout the United States and abroad.
Eric Rosen (Director) recently concluded his decade long tenure as artistic director of Kansas City Repertory Theatre and previously was co-founder and artistic director of Chicago's About Face Theatre for thirteen seasons. World premieres under his direction include Venice (named "Best Musical of 2010" by TIME), Clay, Roof of the World, A Christmas Story: The Musical, M. Proust and Theater District. Other directing credits include Goodman, Hartford Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Chicago Shakespeare, Melbourne Theatre Company, the O'Neill and Sundance. Highlights of his tenure at KCRep include reimagined productions of classic musicals including Evita, Sunday in the Park with George, Hair: Retrospection and a punk rock Pippin, along with classics from Romeo to Death of a Salesman. Rosen helped develop and produced the original production of the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play I Am My Own Wife. As a playwright, his work includes Lot's Wife, Dream Boy, Winesburg, Ohio and Venice. Rosen served on the Board of Theatre Communications Group, was inducted into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame and was a finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award. He holds a doctorate in performance studies from Northwestern University and a B.A. in performance studies from UNC.
Erika Chong Shuch (Choreographer) is a performance maker, choreographer and director whose topic-driven ruminations coalesce into imagistic assemblages of music, movement, text, and design. Interested in expanding ideas around how performance is created and shared, her recent work For You (a Creative Capital Project, commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts) is a series of intimate performances for audiences of 12. Recent projects also include Iron Shoes, a new neo-feminist folk opera created with Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble (supported by Creative Work Fund, NEA) and TheaterTheater, a participatory morality play exploring the hidden forces underlying everyday ethical choices. Her original work has also been commissioned and supported by Gerbode Foundation, Daejeon Metropolitan Dance Theater (Korea) and Berkeley Repertory Theater's Groundfloor Program. Erika choreographs for theater companies such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Folger Theater, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, Kennedy Center, American Conservatory Theater, Pittsburgh Public, Playmakers Rep, California Shakespeare Festival, and Magic Theatre.
Alexander Sovronsky (Music Direction and Original Music) Arena Stage debut. As a composer/performer, NYC credits include Broadway: Cyrano de Bergerac (starring Kevin Kline). Off-Broadway: Mother of the Maid, Romeo & Juliet (The Public); Othello (TFANA); Bottom of the World (Atlantic Theater Co); Volpone, Women Beware Women (Red Bull); King Lear, Marat/Sade, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Three Sisters (Classical Theater of Harlem); The Little Prince (Hang A Tale). Regional: Hartford Stage, Walnut Street Theater, Shakespeare & Co, Shakespeare Theater Company, Ford's Theatre, Barrington Stage Co, Berkshire Theater Group, Arizona Theatre Co, American Shakespeare Center, Connecticut Rep, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Wharton Salon, WAM Theater, Actors Shakespeare Project. International: title role in Hamlet (Milan & NYC). Instagram: @AlexanderSovronsky For a good time, check out www.AlexanderSovronsky.com.