The Washington Stage Guild Presents CANDIDA By George Bernard Shaw
The Washington Stage Guild returns to the Nobel Prize-winning George Bernard Shaw, with a new production of the first play by GBS ever presented by the Stage Guild, Candida. Subtitled "A Mystery," in it, a preacher and a poet are in love with the same woman. The former is her husband, the latter wants to woo her away, and both are shocked by her ultimate choice and the reasons for it.
Candida is one of the playwright's "Plays Pleasant," works that focus more on relationships and human feeling than on social or political issues. One of his earliest successes, it inspired "Candidamania" when it premiered in New York, long before London had a chance to see the play.
"We produced this lovely play in 1988, a very memorable staging that ignited our love of Shaw's witty, complex characters," says Artistic Director Bill Largess. "The love triangle (or is it?) of the Reverend Morell, his wife Candida, and the young poet Marchbanks is one of Shaw's lightest works, although with GBS there are always deep undercurrents and unexpected turns of events. We can't wait to delight DC audiences with it again after 31 years!"
Says director Laura Giannarelli, "I have vivid memories of seeing that 1988 WSG production and recall being enthralled both by the playwright's verbal dexterity and eloquence and by the depth of human emotion the actors were able to bring to a deceptively sunny play. I think the interplay among the characters is as delicately true and relevant now as when GBS wrote it in 1894, and I am excited to delve into it anew with my wonderful company of actors and designers."
Leading the cast as Candida herself is Emelie Faith Thompson, returning to the Stage Guild after appearing as Thea in this spring's Resolving Hedda. Previously based in New York City and southern California, her credits include Off-Broadway's Night Games and A.A. Milne's The Ugly Duckling (Marvell Repertory Theatre). Regional credits include Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Virginia Repertory Theatre), Mother in Ragtime (Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre), Shelby in Steel Magnolias (Wayside Theatre), and the title roles in My Fair Lady, Violet, and Annie Get Your Gun. She is delighted to share the stage with her real-life husband, Nathan Whitmer.
Playing Candida's husband is Emelie's husband, Nathan Whitmer. This is Nathan's first show at the Stage Guild and second in the D.C. area, having debuted in The Heiress at Arena Stage. He has appeared in NYC as Macduff in Macbeth (Titan Theatre Co.), Bumbershoot (In/Visible Theatre/FringeNYC), and A.A. Milne's The Ugly Duckling (Marvell Rep). Along with many regional productions, Nathan spent three seasons in residence at Barter Theatre, where he acted in over 25 productions, including: Cliff in Cabaret, Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps, Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Jim in The Glass Menagerie and many more. He is honored and humbled by the opportunity to share the stage with his wife, Emelie.
The poet Eugene Marchbanks will be played by Ben Ribler in his Washington Stage Guild debut. Ben was most recently seen as Jeremy in the Washington D.C. premiere of Be More Chill with Monumental Theatre Company. Some of his other recent credits include The Great Society with Arena Stage, P.Y.G. or the Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle with Studio Theatre, The Master and Margarita with Constellation Theatre Company, Madagascar - A Musical Adventure with Red Branch Theatre Company, and Trey Parker's Cannibal! The Musical, ClickB@it and The House of Yes with Capital Fringe.
David Bryan Jackson will play Candida's scheming father Burgess in a return to Washington Stage Guild, having appeared previously in The Old Masters, Magic, The Best of Friends and Lord Arthur Savile's Crime. He was recently seen in Hamlet at the Shakespeare Theatre, where he has performed in several productions over the last 25 years; and he has also acted at the Studio, Folger, Signature, Hub, Spooky Action, and Woolly Mammoth Theatres, as well as Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, the Kennedy Center, Scena Theatre, Washington Shakespeare Company, Rep Stage, Actors' Theatre of Washington, Potomac Theatre Project and Olney Theatre, where he was Literary Manager for many years.
Danny Beason, playing the curate Lexy Mill, was last seen at the Guild in All Save One playing Father Theodore. Danny received his MFA in acting from The Catholic University of America in 2018. He has recently been seen in Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's Love Labour's Lost as Costard. Some favorite roles are Jaime in The Last Five Years (GGSS), Macbeth in Macbeth (CUA), and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Danny has also toured with the Missoula Children's Theatre as an actor/director.
Danielle Scott appears as Morell's secretary, Proserpine Garnett in her debut with Washington Stage Guild. Danielle received her MFA in acting at The Catholic University of America. Local work includes: Beatrice-Joanna (The Changeling) and Delio (The Duchess of Malfi) with Brave Spirits Theatre Company, Danielle (The Head That Wears the Crown) with Ally Theatre, Millie Martindale (Perfect Arrangement) with Source, Lucius (Julius Caesar) with Scena, and Child/Ensemble (1984) with Scena.
Candida is directed by WSG Company Member Laura Giannarelli, whose previous directing credits with us include Shaw's Widowers' Houses (one of the "Plays Unpleasant") and his one act, Village Wooing, The Old Masters, and In Praise of Love. Other directing credits include A Lesson From Aloes and Ghost Writer at Quotidian Theatre, and she has appeared on many area stages, most recently at WSG in last season's All Save One, and Gulf View Drive.
Set designers are Resident Designer Carl Gudenius and Jingwei Dai. Other design elements are provided by two of WSG's resident designers-Frank DiSalvo with sound, and Marianne Meadows with lighting; and we are delighted to welcome back Cheryl Yancey to design costumes, which she did in the Guild's very first season, designing costumes for 1987's Translations by Brian Friel.