Friday, January 21, 2011

Transformed by "Circle Mirror"

Honorary Producer Dee Higby and director Sam Gold.
On Friday, January 14, First Night of Circle Mirror Transformation, the Julianne Argyros Stage was filled with subscribers and their guests, who watched mesmerized as five extraordinary actors portrayed ordinary students in an adult acting class.

Set in a smalltown community center, Annie Baker’s OBIE Award-winning play takes the students through a six-week class as they participate in a series of theatre games—exercises to help them grow as actors. In the process, they learn more than they bargained for about each other—and themselves.

After the show, Honorary Producers Larry and Dee Higby, together with First Nighters and their guests, gathered at Scott’s Restaurant and Bar to celebrate the production. Their glowing reviews anticipated the critical raves that appeared in the next few days:
“Delightful…pitch-perfect production…first-rate ensemble." – Los Angeles Times 
“Quirky, sensitive, touching and funny.” – Long Beach Press Telegram
“A tautly structured, macroscopic poem about the trajectories of ordinary lives.” – LA Weekly
“Absolutely fresh and original.” – StageSceneLA
See photos and read more about the Cast Party honoring the Higbys and the five actors who bring Circle Mirror Transformation to life.

Friday, January 7, 2011

SCR Welcomes Familiar and Fresh Faces to ‘Dream’

South Coast Repertory has become a home to countless actors who’ve returned to perform here again and again over the years. Mark Rucker’s imaginative production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream brings a number of them together again—including two Founding Artists and a member of the Resident Company as three of the hilarious Rude Mechanicals.

Founding Artist Richard Doyle appeared in SCR’s third production, Volpone, in 1965. Earlier this season he was seen playing Lord Summerhays in Martin Benson’s re-staging of Misalliance. In Midsummer, he plays Robin Starveling.

Fellow Founding Artist Hal Landon Jr. is probably best known for portraying Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. His history with SCR runs even deeper, to 1967 and Playboy of the Western World. His last non-holiday appearance at SCR was in You, Nero. In Midsummer, he plays Peter Quince.

Another Christmas Carol stalwart, Resident Company member John-David Keller, made his SCR acting debut in 1975 in Lanford Wilson’s The Hot l Baltimore, though by then he’d already made his directing debut with Godspell. In Midsummer, he plays Snug.

Patrick Kerr first appeared at SCR in 1997 in The Triumph of Love as Dimas, also directed by Mark Rucker. He last appeared onstage here in the 2008 musical An Italian Straw Hat as Uncle Fez/Viscount. In Midsummer, he plays Nick Bottom.

Susannah Schulman made her debut at SCR as Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew in 1996. Her most recent performance was Ashley Kohl in Man From Nebraska in 2006. In Midsummer, she plays Titania and Hippolyta.

William Francis McGuire first appeared at SCR in the very first play SCR ever performed—but not the first time we ever performed it: Tartuffe. He was in the 1999 production. He’s played Fred in A Christmas Carol for the last two years, and also appeared in last season’s A Wrinkle in Time. In Midsummer, he plays Snout/Egeus.

Two relatively new faces who both appeared recently on the Julianne Argyros stage will make their debut performance on the Segerstrom in Midsummer:

Kathleen Early recently starred as the romantically frustrated Catherine Givings in this season’s In the Next Room or the vibrator play. In Midsummer, she plays Hermia.

Nick Gabriel appeared in the West Coast premiere of the musical Ordinary Days as a young artist looking for a friend. In Midsummer, he plays Lysander.

SCR also welcomes these actors, all making their SCR debuts: Elijah Alexander (Oberon/Theseus), Rob Campbell (Puck), Dana Green (Hermia), Michael Manuel (Mechanical) and Tobie Windham (Demetrius), along with a number of young actors working in the Ensemble.

From top to bottom: Richard Doyle as the Judge (center) with the cast of Volpone. Peter Ostling (standing) and Hal Landon Jr. as Shawn Keogh in Playboy of the Western World. The cast of The Hot L Baltimore with John-David Keller as Mr. Morse (far right). Colette Kilroy, Patrick Kerr and Tom Beckett in The Triumph of Love. Susannah Schulman as Bianca (left) and Cindy Katz in The Taming of the ShrewWilliam Francis McGuire (left, center) and the cast of Tartuffe. Rebecca Mozo and Kathleen Early (right) as Catherine in In the Next room or the vibrator play Nick Gabriel (left) and David Burnham in Ordinary Days.