Photo Flash: First Look at Washington Stage Guild's SUMMERLAND

A ghostly mystery begins a season of DC-area premiere productions by the Washington Stage Guild' (WSG). Summerland by Arlitia Jones tells the mysterious tale of William H. Mumler, a "spirit photographer" with a talent for capturing haunting images from the world beyond the veil. The Civil War has ended, and a grieving nation sees many turning to spiritualism to contact the dead. Mumler sees his business boom as mourners, including a very famous one, flock to his studio. A New York City police official makes it his mission to prove it's a fraud, but finds that harder than he hoped. Based on a true story, this area premiere opens Thursday, Sept. 27 and runs through Sunday, October 21.

The cast features WSG stalwart Steven Carpenter as chief marshal Joseph Tooker. Helen Hayes Award nominee Carpenter has played a dozen roles for the Washington Stage Guild, most recently as Southern Senator E. W. Higgins in last season's Alabama Story. Carpenter's other area roles reveal his special affinity with history-based dramas, from Ford's Theatre's 1776 and Road from Appomattox (Lyman Hall and Ulysses S. Grant respectively) to the Baron in Amadeus at Round House Theatre.

Joining Carpenter are Stage Guild newcomers Yury Lomakin and Rachel Felstein. Lomakin plays Mumler, the photographer. Local audiences have seen him at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company as Thomas Cromwell in Anne of the Thousand Days and Pierre Laporte in Red Velvet, at Annapolis Shakespeare Theater as Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, and as Shultz in Circle Mirror Transformation at Rep Stage. Rachel Felstein, who will play the mysterious Mrs. Mumler, just graduated from the Academy for Classical Acting. Previously, she appeared in a national tour of Man of La Mancha as Antonia, won praise as Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and performed many roles in opera and musical theater as well as classical and contemporary drama.

Helen Hayes Award-winning director Kasi Campbell, who helmed last season's Alabama Story at WSG, has directed at most of the DC area's professional theaters, including Rep Stage, Chesapeake Shakespeare Theater, Theater J, and Spooky Action. She has been nominated for multiple Helen Hayes Awards, winning for her direction of The Dazzle at Rep Stage. The play's creative team includes Scenic Designer Pancharee Sangkaeo, Costume Designer Sigridur Johannesdottir and Resident Lighting Designer Marianne Meadows.

Arlitia Jones is an award-winning poet and playwright. Her most recent work includes her short play Tornado, which was chosen winner in the 38th Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival. Her Come to me, Leopards received a workshop production in 2013 at Cyrano's Theatre. She is a member of the Seattle Repertory Theatre's Playwrights' Group where Summerland was first produced. Her volume of poetry The Bandsaw Riots won the Dorothy Brunsman Award for Poetry from Bear Star Press in 2001. Her web blog Grampus features postings about writing, dog walking and sea monsters.

"Arlitia Jones has turned a true story of a man who was accused of defrauding the grieving into an eerie, ambiguous mystery story," says Artistic Director Bill Largess. "In Washington, a city so affected by the Civil War, there are ghosts of the conflict everywhere. How tempting it would be to make contact with them, and Mumler's customers were drawn to try."

2018-2019 Season Passes are available now. Each Pass gives the recipient four admissions that can be used any way: all four at once; two for one show, two for another; or one for each production.

Photo Credit: C. Stanley Photography

Photo Flash: First Look at Washington Stage Guild's SUMMERLAND
Yury Lomakin as William Mumler and Steven Carpenter as Joseph Tooker

Photo Flash: First Look at Washington Stage Guild's SUMMERLAND
Steven Carpenter as Joseph Tooker and Rachel Felstein as Mrs. Mumler

Photo Flash: First Look at Washington Stage Guild's SUMMERLAND
Yury Lomakin as William Mumler and Steven Carpenter as Joseph Tooker

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