Washington Stage Guild Concludes the Romantic Saga of WWII Newlyweds with GULF VIEW DRIVE
The Washington Stage Guild presents the third and final play in Arlene Hutton's romantic trilogy portraying married life in the mid-20th Century. Gulf View Drive explores the lives of Raleigh and May Brummett, who met by chance during World War II, married in haste and faced the challenges of finding their own way. It is now 1953 and Raleigh's published stories have gained success. But success brings new challenges as both mothers-in-law and a sister descend on the couple. Along the way, each adjusts to the meaning of "family life" in his or her own way and faces an America beginning to confront its racial divide. The play opens on Thursday, January 17 and will run through Sunday, February 10, 2019. Press performance will be on Sunday, January 20 at 2:30 pm. A special talkback with playwright Arlene Hutton is scheduled immediately following this performance.
Returning is the critically acclaimed cast of last season's See Rock City, named one of the best of 2018 by the Washington Post's Nelson Pressley. Wood Van Meter returns as aspiring writer Raleigh Brummett and Lexi Langs joins him as his wife May. Also returning are Stage Guild favorites Laura Giannarelli and Lynn Steinmetz as the pair's mothers. Chelsea Mayo joins the cast as Raleigh's sister Treva.
Stage Guild artistic director Bill Largess directs. "Arlene Hutton's characters have proved to have an enduring place in the hearts of theatergoers," Largess notes. "The beauty of each play is its ability to stand alone so that each is a complete story. However, those who have seen the couple through their courtship and early marriage will take special satisfaction in how seamlessly and surprisingly each character's next chapter completes the trilogy." An added bonus for playgoers will be readings of the first two plays in the "Nibroc Trilogy" - Last Train to Nibroc and See Rock City - featuring the cast of Gulf View Drive. The staged readings will be performed in order, with Last Train to Nibroc to be performed on Wednesday, January 23 at 7:00 p.m. and See Rock City on Wednesday, January 30. Both performances begin at 7:00 p.m. and admission to both is Pay What You Can.
Lexi Langs has appeared on numerous regional stages. Since last season, she has appeared as Babe in Crimes of the Heart at the Virginia Rep. Other notable roles include Avery in Rapture, Blister, Burn (Zoetic Stage); Vanda in Venus in Fur (Cotuit Center for the Arts, MA); Sylvia in Tribes (Mad Cow Theatre); Melody in Bad Jews (GableStage); Frankie Addams in The Member of the Wedding (River City Rep and Virginia Rep); and Becky/Molly in Circle of Friends (American Girl Place Theatre, NYC).
Wood Van Meter is a 2018 Helen Hayes award nominee for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Joseph in Toby's Dinner Theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He has also appeared at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Imagination Stage, Rep Stage, and Signature Theatre.
Laura Giannarelli, a founding member of the Washington Stage Guild, returns as Raleigh's mother, first seen in last season's See Rock City. She has appeared in more than 40 WSG productions, most recently as film star Claire Morgan in this season's All Save One.. Laura has also acted with many other area theatres over the years: Baltimore's Everyman Theatre, Olney Theatre, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Theatre J, Studio Theatre and Round House Theatre, among others. Laura has directed several productions at WSG (including Shaw's Widowers' Houses and
It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play). She has also directed for Quotidian Theatre Company in Bethesda.
Founding Member Lynn Steinmetz also reprises her role as May's warmhearted mother, having introduced the character in last season's See Rock City. Other recent WSG appearances were multiple roles in all three productions of Shaw's epic Back to Methuselah and as Hazel in Tiny Island. Over the past 40 years, she has performed in a variety of venues in the Washington-Baltimore area, including Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Olney Theater Center, Round House Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian and others.
Chelsea Mayo joins the cast as Raleigh's sister Treva. Last seen in Don Juan and Henry VI Part 3 at the Taffety Punk Theatre Co., other DC area appearances include roles in Hamlet and Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Theatre Co., as Irina in The Three Sisters at Annapolis Shakespeare Theatre and as Sister James in Quotidian Theatre Company's Doubt.
Director Bill Largess is a Founding Member of the Stage Guild, and was one of the company's dramaturgs since its founding in 1986. At WSG, he has directed classic plays by Shaw, T.S. Eliot, Beaumarchais and Molnar, among others, as well as the first two installments of the "Nibroc Trilogy." He has adapted and translated works by Dante, Marivaux, Wilde, and A Child's Christmas in Wales and other Tales. As actor, he is a five-time Helen Hayes Award nominee and twice received the Theatre Lobby's Mary Goldwater Award (the only individual to have done so).
Playwright Arlene Hutton, best known for the "Nibroc Trilogy," was praised by the New York Times, observing that "Ms. Hutton ... seems to possess the ability to weave the epic and the incidental with the lightest and least obtrusive thread." The first play in the trilogy, Last Train to Nibroc was nominated for the New York Drama League Best Play. The Los Angeles premiere of See Rock City received the Best Production of a Play Ovation Award in 2018. Other works include the FringeNYTCF hit Running, and As It Is in Heaven and Letters to Sala. Her plays have been presented off- and off-off Broadway, and at regional theatres in the U.S., London, and throughout the world, including four times at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Her work has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, and Romanian.
The evocative set is designed by Carl Gudenius and Jingwei Dai. Lighting is by Resident Lighting Designer Marianne Meadows. Helen Hayes nominee Frank DiSalvo provides the sound design.
2018-2019 Season Passes are still on sale. 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 of the three remaining productions of the season.