CATF Welcomes The 2019 Company

By: Jun. 04, 2019
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CATF Welcomes The 2019 Company

With a picnic hosted by the Board of Trustees, the Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University welcomes 2019 company members. Attended by CATF partners, donors, and community members, this annual event is the first time CATF's 2019 company comes to celebrate the six new plays they are about to create. These artists, from around the country, including cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, gather in historic Shepherdstown to create the future of American theater.

Two of CATF's 2019 company members are playwright Dael Orlandersmith and actor Reed Birney. Orlandersmith, a playwright, actor, and poet, is known for her plays Yellowman (Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Pulitzer Prize finalist); Beauty's Daughter (Obie Award); and Stoop Stories. Working in collaboration with Antonio Edwards Suarez, Orlandersmith wrote Antonio's Song/I was dreaming of a son, which will be performed by Suarez.

Birney, playing opposite of his son Ephraim in Joseph Dougherty's Chester Bailey, will portray Dr. Philip Cotton. Birney is known for his Tony Award winning performance in Stephen Karam's The Humans and Tony nominated performance in Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina. His television roles include Donald Blythe in House of Cards, Mr. Prescott in Gossip Girl, and Tom Connolly in The Blacklist.

CATF audiences will remember returning members of The Acting Company: Lizan Mitchell (Dead & Breathing, 2014); Chris Thorn (World Builders, 2015); Tom Coiner (On Clover Road and The Full Catastrophe, 2015; and Kate Udall (Wild Horses, 2017).

The Acting Company also includes Scott Aiello, Juan Arturo, Megan Bartle, Ephraim Birney, Rolando Chusan, Julia Coffey, Peter Kybart, Wade McCullam, Sarah Sun Park, John Leonard Pielmeier, Ken Robinson, Michael Rodgers, Reece Santos, Lou Sumrall, and Angela Wildflower.

Designing this year's collection of six plays in rotating repertory are: Brendan Aanes, John Ambrosone, David M. Barber, Therese Bruck, Victoria Deorio, Jesse Driekosen, Tony Galaska, Beth Goldenberg, Peggy McKowen, Jared Mezzocchi, Andre Pleuss, David Remedios, Louie Rozier, Luciana Stecconi, and D.M. Wood.

Returning stage managers for the 29th season are Deb Acquavella, Lori M. Doyle, Lindsay Eberly, and Tina Shackleford. Paul Holmes, new to CATF, joins the stage management team.

A strong and robust group of staff members, fellows, and interns round-out the Contemporary American Theater Festival's 2019 company. The entire company gathered together to read the 2019 scripts before separating into their teams to build, design, construct, and rehearse.

CATF's 2019 motto, Words Matter, highlights the Festival's dedication to the playwright and the importance of written and spoken language. The 2019 Festival line up is: Support Group For Men by Ellen Fairey, directed by Courtney Sale; Wrecked by Greg Kalleres, directed by Shelley Butler (world premiere); My Lord What A Night by Deborah Brevoort, directed by CATF's Founder and Producing Director Ed Herendeen (world premiere); Chester Bailey by Joseph Dougherty, directed by Ron Lagomarsino; Antonio's Song/ I Was Dreaming Of A Son by Dael Orlandersmith and Antonio Edwards Suarez, directed by Mark Clements (world premiere); and A Welcome Guest by Michael Weller, also directed by Herendeen (CATF commission and world premiere).

The 29th Season of the Contemporary American Theater Festival runs July 5-28 with Previews June 30- July 4. For more information about CATF or to purchase tickets, visit CATF online at or call the box office at 800-999-CATF (2283).


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