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Full Cast Has Been Announced For Avant Bard Theatre's Spring Repertory

Full Cast Has Been Announced For Avant Bard Theatre's Spring Repertory

Avant Bard Theatre has announced the full cast for the launch of their 30th Anniversary Mainstage Season, the Avant Bard Spring Repertory. The Rep features Avant Bard's long-awaited return to Tennessee Williams with Suddenly Last Summer, directed by Artistic Director Emeritus Christopher Henley. It also features Ada and the Engine, a companion piece to the 2017 fan-favorite Emilie by the most-produced playwright in America, Lauren Gunderson. Ada will be directed by Megan Behm, making her return to Avant Bard after directing last season's comic hit A Misanthrope.

Set in the hothouse of New Orleans' Garden District, Suddenly Last Summer has all the hallmarks of a Tennessee Williams masterpiece: exotic locales, tortured psyches, glorious, lyrical language, and Williams' gift for creating vivid, unforgettable characters. An elderly socialite mourns the death of her poet son, who died under mysterious circumstances. Eager to protect her son's image, she hires a doctor to silence the only witness to the tragic event--but the shattering truth fights its way to the surface, as it always does in Williams' world.

Suddenly Last Summer features Avant Bard Acting Company members Sara Barker as Catherine Holly (played by Elizabeth Taylor in the film adaptation) and Cam Magee as Mrs. Violet Venable (played by Katherine Hepburn in the film adaptation). It also features Matt Sparacino as Doctor Cukrowicz, Erik Harrison as George Holly, Megan Morgan as Mrs. Holly, Christine Hirrell as Sister Felicity, and Miss Kitty LeLynx as Miss Foxhill.

Director Christopher Henley is a founding ensemble member with Avant Bard Theatre and was artistic director from 1996 until early 2013. For Avant Bard, he directed or co-directed numerous plays, including Tennessee Williams' classics A Streetcar Named Desire and The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. He also directed and co-directed many of Shakespeare's most famous plays, including Hamlet, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, and Richard II. Most recently, he directed the classic French comedy The Madwoman of Chaillot (2015). He makes his return to the director's chair after recently appearing as a performer in Illyria (2018),The Tempest (2017) and King Lear (2016).

From prolific playwright Lauren Gunderson, Ada and the Engine is a whimsical scientific history that once again proves the future is, and has always been, female. Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate child of the amorous poet Lord Byron, had a love of her own: mathematics. Well, a certain polymath-inventor, Charles Babbage, famous as "the father of the computer." It's true that Babbage invented the hardware--the Analytic Engine--but the language, the song, the soul of the thing, the programming: that was all Ada.

Ada and the Engine features Avant Bard-newcomer Dina Soltan as Ada Byron Lovelace, Matthew Pauli as Charles Babbage, Jessica Lefkow as Lady Anabella Byron and Mary Sommerville, and Jon Reynolds as Lord Lovelace and Lord Byron.

Director Megan Behm's credits include Pride & Prejudice (NextStop Theatre), To Tell My Story (Helen Hayes Nomination, Best Original Adaptation) and Switch (The Welders), 45 Plays for 45 Presidents (NextStop Theatre), Cymbeline (Virginia Shakespeare Festival), Safe as Houses (Pinky Swear Productions), The Comedy of Errors (Lean & Hungry Theater), The Campsite Rule (The Washington Rogues), Minus You and Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother's Love Life (The Source Festival), A Midsummer Night's Dream and According to Shakespeare (InterAct Story Theatre). Behm was recently named the Deputy Managing Director of NextStop Theatre in Fairfax, VA.

The Avant Bard Spring Repertory runs February 27th through April 5, 2020. Suddenly Last Summer previews begin Feb 27, and Ada and the Engine previews begin March 10, 2020. Full schedule details available at

Tickets are $40 and available online at or by calling 703-418-4808 (12-6, M-F). Advance-purchase Pay What You Will tickets are also now available online for previews, and will be on sale online for all other performances beginning the Monday before.

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