THORNTON WILDER'S "OUR TOWN" WILL CHRISTEN
THE MAINSTAGE AT 12TH AVE ARTS
OUR SUNDAY MATINEE (FEB-15) IS SOLD OUT
Amy Thone, Anastasia Higham, and
Marianne Owen Lead Strawshop's Cast
Jan 22- Feb 21
Thornton Wilder--who begins OUR TOWN with the direction, "No curtain. No scenery."--might have been thrilled to stage his Pulitzer Prize winning play in a space where theatre had never been created before. His play pioneered a form of expressionism that demanded an audience collaborate in the creation of the story without the aid of production elements of any kind.
When Strawberry Theatre Workshop Artistic Director Greg Carter walked into the unfinished performance space at 12th Ave Arts on Capitol Hill, he decided that Wilder was uniquely suitable to welcome the neighborhood into a new venue. "The idea of this production is that 12th Ave Arts is not a theatre until we make it one."
To complete the gesture, Strawshop has brought together a team of Seattle theatre luminaries. Amy Thone (winner of the Stranger Genius Award, and three TPS Gregory Awards) will introduce the play as the Stage Manager. Anastasia Higham (who played Miranda opposite Thone in a Wooden O production of THE TEMPEST in 2012) is Emily Webb. The Gibbs and Webb families include Marianne Owen, Rob Burgess, Greg Lyle-Newton, Joe Cummings, and award-winning director Sheila Daniels in a rare onstage performance.
The production team is equally accomplished, with Matthew Smucker and Melanie Burgess taking on scenery and costumes, while former Cornish College Department Chair Dave Tosti-Lane designs sound. Greg Carter--nominated for a TPS Gregory Award for THE LARAMIE PROJECT in 2009--directs.
"Most of this team is--frankly--out of Strawshop's league," explains Carter. "When I started offering roles, the play sold itself. Most theatre artists have a history with OUR TOWN, and will shift their path if an opportunity to work with this text presents itself."
Thone, Burgess, Lyle-Newton, Cummings, Carter, and Daniels were at the core of the creative team that created an acclaimed production of THE NORMAL HEART at Strawshop a year ago. The entire design and production team--that also includes Reed Nakayama on lights, Katherine Stromberger on paint and props, and Claire Branch and Gabrielle Strong as stage managers--is connected to the Performance Production Department at Cornish, where Carter is now interim Chair.
Thornton Wilder--whose novel THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY was adapted into a puppet play by Carter and Daniels at Strawshop in 2006--is the only American writer to receive the Pulitzer for both fiction and drama. He wrote OUR TOWN after becoming dissatisfied with the theatre of his time: "I felt that something had gone wrong," he wrote. "I began to feel that the theatre was not only inadequate, it was evasive." His response was to break the theatre's fourth wall, using a narrator completely aware of his relationship with the audience.
The play has substance beyond its groundbreaking style. OUR TOWN opened in 1938 as the world was responding a global economic depression and the rise of Fascism in Europe. Wilder's Stage Manager stops the proceedings in Act 1 and asks the audience about how to best preserve the daily rituals of American life in a time capsule. He elects to include a copy of the playscript itself, proclaiming "This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying."
Carter and his team of artists think that opening a space with an appreciation for the simplicity of life will help Strawshop establish its roots after three volatile years of planning and preparation that was required to get 12th Ave Arts off the ground. OUR TOWN will be at the foundation of the company's new home.
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."Thornton Wilder.
** SPECIAL NOTE **
The company is lining up celebrity guests to walk-on in the role of Professor Willard in Act 1 of each performance. The guests will be announced via the company's website and Facebook page, and are expected to included the city's political leaders, sports figures, and media personalities. The walk-on opportunity is a gesture to the community in this celebration of civic life, and to thank the neighborhood for its support of 12th Ave Arts.
OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder
Performance Dates: Jan 22-Feb 21
Performance Times: Thu-Fri-Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2:00pm
No Performance Sun Feb-1 (Super Bowl Sunday) or Sun Feb-22
Venue: 12th Ave Arts
Address: 1620 12th Ave, Seattle 98122
Ticket Prices: $36 General, $27 Seniors, $18 Students
Phone Sales: 1-800-838-3006
Online Sales: www.brownpapertickets.com
Press Comp Requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Info: www.strawshop.org
Amy Thone as the Stage Manager
Anastasia Higham as Emily Webb
Sheila Daniels as Mrs Webb
Greg Lyle-Newton as Mr Webb
Joe Cummings as George Gibbs
Marianne Owen as Mrs Gibbs
Rob Burgess as Dr Gibbs
Amy Fleetwood as Mrs Soames
John Ulman as Simon Stinson
with Margaret Savas, Shanna Allman Remke, Richard Hesik, Nate Kelderman, Alexander Silva, and Analiese Guettinger.
Melanie Burgess (Costumes)
Matthew Smucker (Scenery)
Dave Tosti-Lane (Sound)
Reed Nakayama (Lights)
Katherine Stromberger (Props and Paint)
Stage Managed by
12th Avenue Arts (View)
1620 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|