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The Elephant Man
Erickson Theatre Off Broadway
Seattle, WA
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The Elephant Man
featuring MJ Sieber and David Pichette
directed by Julie Beckman
written by Bernard Pomerance



Strawshop Continues Commitment to
Great Actors in Great Roles

Strawberry Theatre Workshops BIOGRAPH series is described as an opportunity to offer exceptional roles to actors interested in taking the challenge.  For their two-show summer season of THE ELEPHANT MAN and LADY DAY AT EMERSONS BAR & GRILL, Strawshop has once again signed on Seattle heavy-weights: including David Pichette, Alexandra Tavares, and MJ Sieber for the former, and soulful singer Felicia Loud for the to sing the part of Billie Holiday this September.

Opening July 10, 2009, at the Erickson Theatre Off Broadway is THE ELEPHANT MAN, the story of the famously deformed John Merrick, and Sir Frederick Treves, the doctor who befriended him in 1884.  

The chance to play Merrick or Treves is, frankly, the opportunity of a lifetime.  In David Lynchs well-known movie adaptation of the story, the roles were played by legendary British actors John Hurt (Merrick) and Anthony Hopkins (Treves).  The 1979 Bernard Pomerance play pre-dated the film by four years.  Its notable requirement is that no prosthetic makeup be used on the actor portraying Merrick, focusing the drama on the human connection between men of ambition and grace.

The role of Merrick has been played onstage by David Bowie and Billy Crudup.  At Strawshop, Merrick is in the hands of MJ Sieber , a founding company member at New Century Theatre Company, and a veteran of roles in every major theatre in town.  Sieber is a Strawshop regular (ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST, THE WATER ENGINE, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!) despite being in constant demand for higher-profile and more lucrative jobs elsewhere.

The strength of its artists allowed Strawberry Theatre Workshop to be named winner of the 2007 Genius Award by THE STRANGER.  Once labeled stubbornly, consistently impressive by reviewer Brendan Kiley, Strawshop has remained so by consistently recruiting talent to the stage seemingly above their heads.  This success is due to two factors: 1) a commitment upon their inception to paying professional wages, and 2) selecting plays with roles that actors have waited for.  

Strawshop has never been a fringe theatre, has never been a proving ground for inexperienced artists, and has never aspired to build a reputation at the expense of those doing the work.  In fact, quite the opposite.

During the current recession, Strawshop is one of the few local institutions talking about itself as part of an industry rather than just an amusement.  Artistic Director Greg Carter  says that as a small organization, finances are in peril, but that is not a signal to cut-back on those who are already hurting.  None of our people are paid what they deserve, but the company has remained dedicated to providing balanced wages as it grows and expands.

Since its inception in 2004, Strawshop has brought Todd Jefferson Moore, Amy Thone, Sheila Daniels, Timothy Hyland, Michael Patten, and Darragh Kennan to their small stage -- actors far more familiar to audiences for their work in large downtown theatres.  Some of the citys best-known emerging young actors -- Hana Lass, MJ Sieber, Alex Tavares, Gabriel Baron, George Mount, Troy Fischnaller -- have also appeared on their way to wider recognition.  The companys program biographies read like a directory of regional theatre, with actor credits extending from Intiman, Seattle Rep, and ACT Theatre locally to San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.

David Pichette  will play Treves in THE ELEPHANT MAN.  He is one of the most sought-after actors in Seattle; his 2009 alone has included PHAROAH SERKET (Seattle Childrens Theater), JECKYL & HYDE (ACT), and A THOUSAND CLOWNS (Intiman).  He is joined in the ELEPHANT cast by Alexandra Tavares , who starred with Thone in last summers two-person LENI, and returns to Seattle from roles at Arizona Theatre Company and Actors Theatre of Louisville.  The rest of the ELEPHANT cast includes Marty Mukhalian  and Frank Lawler  (both from WHEN THE MESSNGER IS HOT at Theater Schmeater); Jim Dean  (THE TEMPEST at Seattle Shakes); and Rob Burgess  (I WAS A RAT at SCT).  Original music is composed and performed by Don Darryl Rivera  (also I WAS A RAT).

THE ELEPHANT MAN is directed by Julie Beckman , who directed Strawshops FELLOW PASSENGERS in 2005, as well as multiple scripts at Book-It Repertory Theatre (WAXWINGS, JANE EYRE, HARD TIMES), and Stone Soup (FIVE X TENN).  Designs are by Christine Tschirgi  (costumes), Reed Nakayama  (lights), and Greg Carter  (scenery).


Erickson Theatre Off Broadway
1524 Harvard Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
United States


Arts > Theatre

Minimum Age: 8
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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