Backstage Blog

“The Whale Social Media Night” Top Tweets

Social Media Night allows audience members to  tweet during the performance. It’s an exciting way to share your thoughts on the show and get backstage information from cast and crew, live as it’s happening.  Check out below to see what Twitter loving audience and cast said about The Whale.  Don’t miss the next one on July 24 during Dogfight…it also happens to be combined with a pre-show Tequila Tasting event!

THE WHALE CAST TWEETS

Getting into character TweetElder Thomas before TweetElder Thomas after TweetPhil Johnson Tweet

SOCIAL MEDIA NIGHT FUN FACTS TWEETS

Shana Wride TweetThe Whale set TweetAbout Ellie TweetCygnet Elder Thomas TweetPadded suit TweetCharlie TweetThe Whale Stage Tweet

GIRLBOY PRE-SHOW CONCERT TWEETS

Most happening place TweetGirlBoy Tweet

 

Meet Charlie, Ellie, Liz, Elder Thomas, and Mary

We can all agree that the actor’s job is to bring a scripted character to life. To fully embody their role, they need to understand what makes that person tick.  We asked the actors of this smart and subversive drama to fill out a profile on their character, as well as for themselves. Let’s get to know them and see how it compares!

The Whale Charlie character profile

Charlie

Character Name: Charlie
Age: 47
Hometown: Moscow, ID
Occupation: Online English Teacher/ Tutor
Hobbies: Eating, working, eating, reading
Favorite Saying: “I’m Sorry”
Greatest Fear: Having not done a single thing right in his life

Andrew Oswald head-shot

Andrew Oswald

Actor Name: Andrew Oswald
Age: Come on, you never ask an actor their age
Hometown: Palos Verdes, CA
Occupation: Actor/ Director
Hobbies: Painting, drawing, gardening
Favorite Saying: “Seriously?”
Greatest Fear: Drowning

Ellie

Ellie

Character Name: Ellie
Age: 17
Hometown: Moscow, ID
Occupation: High School Student
Hobbies: Hate blogging, getting high, playing hooky
Favorite Saying: Sayings are for idiots
Greatest Fear: None of your f**king business

Erin McIntosh

Erin McIntosh

Actor Name: Erin McIntosh
Age: –
Hometown: Moscow, ID
Occupation: Actress
Hobbies: Reading poetry, laughing
Favorite Saying: “Think less, swim more.”
Greatest Fear: …I’m not actually sure

 

Liz

Liz

Character Name: Liz
Age: –
Hometown: Moscow, ID
Occupation: Postoperative Nurse at Gritman Medical Center
Hobbies: Playing Lotto Heaven and Angry Birds Epic on my Blackberry
Favorite Saying: “Everyone is bald underneath their hair.”

Judy Bauerlein

Judy Bauerlein

Actor Name: Judy Bauerlein
Age: –
Hometown: Ambler, PA
Occupation: Associate Professor of Theatre at CSUSM/Theatre Maker
Hobbies: All things 6 year old (Pokemon, Minecraft, Nerf, etc.)
Favorite Saying: “You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” -Pema Chodron

Elder Thomas

Elder Thomas

Character Name: Elder Thomas
Age: 19
Hometown: Waterloo, IA
Occupation: Missionary
Hobbies: Spending time w/family & friends, community service, reading the Good Word!
Favorite Saying: “If you want to give light to others, you have to glow yourself.”
Greatest Fear: Failure

Craig Jorczak

Craig Jorczak

Actor Name: Craig Jorczak
Age: Not 19!
Hometown: Houston, TX
Occupation: Actor right now!
Hobbies: Going to the movies, visiting baseball stadiums (been to 29 out of 30!), general malaise
Favorite Saying: “Congratulations!”
Greatest Fear: Failure (I knew Elder and I had something in common!)

Mary

Mary

Character Name: Mary
Age: 42
Hometown: Moscow, ID
Occupation: Unemployed, single mother of Satan incarnate
Hobbies: Drinking, smoking
Favorite Saying: “Shut up, Ellie!”
Greatest Fear: Ellie and prohibition

Melissa Fernandes

Melissa Fernandes

Actor Name: Melissa Fernandes
Age: of a certain…..
Hometown: Carson City, NV
Occupation: Actor by night/ Recruiter by day- like Batman but without the gadgets
Hobbies: TV & movie addict, reading, music
Favorite Saying: “Go to bed!”  Oh wait, you said favorite, not the one I say the most. I’ll get back to you on that one.
Greatest Fear: Being alone and spiders. Being alone with spiders.

Catch The Whale now through June 14th!  Click here to buy tickets. 

Diving Beneath the Surface with Playwright Samuel D. Hunter

Samuel D. Hunter

Samuel D. Hunter

Cygnet Theatre literally ends Season 12 in a BIG way with the San Diego premiere of The Whale. Emerging playwright Samuel D. Hunter’s (The Few) big hearted and humorously touching play features a six hundred pound recluse whose issues from his past have brought him to a crisis in the present. This smart and subversive tale features sharp, provocative language and finds heart in challenging situations.  We had a chance to chat with Sam Hunter, one of the nation’s hottest new playwrights, about the play he thought no one would want to produce and his need to write “better.”

Have you had a chance to see any regional theatre productions of this show? What are your impressions?

I actually worked on the first four productions of the play, and it premiered regionally (at the Denver Center) before it came to New York.  So I saw it in Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles.  It’s been amazing to me that this play has had the life that it’s had, when I first wrote it I remember thinking that no one would produce it at all.  The fact that it’s become my most produced play is astonishing to me.  I think the thing that’s been common to all the productions I’ve seen is probably something that’s true of all of my plays, that any value you get from it is the result of coming to the theater with an open mind and an open heart.  The play is very naked in a certain way. It’s not sexy or full of plot twists or stylistic gestures.  It’s really just about this man and the people surrounding him during the last days of his life in this unremarkable little one-bedroom apartment.

What are you working on these days?

I’m working on these two plays that are loosely interconnected, LEWISTON and CLARKSTON.  They’re set to premiere next season in two different theaters, and my thought is maybe someday a theater would be willing to do them both together, either in a single evening, or in rep.  I’m also working on a first draft of a new play tentatively called THE HARVEST about a group of young missionaries preparing to go on a mission in the Middle East.

You were one of the 2014 MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant Award Winners, recognizing “exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future” and comes with an unrestricted stipend of $625,000.  How has your life and work been affected by the “genius” thing?

Ha, well, that sort of remains to be seen I guess.  I mean financially it’s just sort of hugely liberating, so much of being an artist up to this point for me was balancing my art with my economy, figuring out how to delicately monetize something without compromising it at all.  But now, at least for the next five years, I don’t have to think like that anymore.  And like many artists I imagine, I’ve dealt with a lot of self-doubt over the years, so something like this makes you think, “well maybe I’m not a total fraud…”

The other part, though, is suddenly you feel this different kind of pressure replacing the financial one.  I feel like I need to live up to something, what I’m not entirely sure. But, I will say that I feel the need to write better.  I need to really push myself to at least try to live up to this impossible expectation.

thewhale_email_cast_r Obviously, the play addresses challenging themes. How do you describe it? Have you heard a tagline you think really captures the show?

I mean when I sit down to write a play I’m never thinking about marketing, so it’s always interesting to discover later on what particular challenges a play presents.  I mean for my own part I don’t really think of the play as particularly challenging–essentially it’s just the simple story of a man trying to reconnect with a daughter.  It’s about a man who has an undying faith in his daughter’s capacity for empathy, and he has to reach her before his time runs out.

What would you want audiences to know about the show?

The only thing I’d say is that this is not a play about obesity.

San Diego audiences may be familiar with your work from the Old Globe production of  The Few. Were you here for that run? If so, what were some of your favorite things about San Diego?

I was!  I spent a good four weeks out there, the entire rehearsal process.  I had a great time.  Going to work every day in Balboa Park was a real gift.  So much good food, and I’m a big craft beer fan so it was great to visit some breweries.  And going to the beach on our days off in Coronado was pretty amazing.

The Whale begins previews on May 14. It opens on May 23 and runs through June 14. Buy your tickets today!

My Fair Lady: The Myth, The Play, The Musical (Part 3)

Part 3 – The Musical

As we learned in last week’s blog, in the mid-1930’s, film producer Gabriel Pascal persuaded George Bernard Shaw for the rights to produce film versions of several of his plays, Pygmalion among them. And though audiences clamored for it, Shaw remained adamant that it not be adapted into a musical (after having had a bad experience with The Chocolate Soldier, a Viennese operetta based on his play Arms and the Man).

After Shaw’s death in 1950, Pascal revisited the idea and solicited lyricist Alan Jay Lerner’s expertise. Lerner agreed, and he and his composer partner Fritz Loewe began work. The team quickly realized that the play violated several key rules for constructing a musical: 1) as Shaw maintained, the main story was not a love story, 2) there was no subplot or secondary love story, and 3) there was no place for an ensemble. After some six months on the project, Lerner and Loewe decided it was impossible (like Rodgers and Hammerstein before them), gave up and parted ways.

The artwork on the original Playbill (and sleeve of the cast recording) is by Al Hirschfeld, who drew the playwright Shaw as a heavenly puppetmaster pulling the strings on the Henry Higgins character, while Higgins in turn attempts to control Eliza Doolittle.

The artwork on the original Playbill is by Al Hirschfeld, who drew the playwright Shaw as a heavenly puppetmaster pulling the strings on the Henry Higgins character, while Higgins in turn attempts to control Eliza Doolittle.

In the years following, Gabriel Pascal died. Whilst trying to musicalize Lil’ Abner, Lerner read Pascal’s obituary and found himself once again preoccupied with the idea of a musical version of Pygmalion. When he and Loewe reunited, everything seemingly fell into place. The insurmountable obstacles that previously stood in their way disappeared and they excitedly began writing the show. They soon learned however that they were not the only ones seeking the musical rights to Pygmalion; MGM studios was also interested in the idea of adapting Shaw’s work and didn’t hesitate to exercise their influence when their lead executives called Lerner to discourage him from challenging the studio. Loewe said, “We will write the show without the rights, and when the time comes for them to decide who is to get them, we will be so far ahead of everyone else that they will be forced to give them to us.” For the next five months, the duo wrote, hired technical designers, and made casting decisions. When the time came to make a decision, Chase Manhattan Bank, who was in charge of Pascal’s estate and owned the rights to Pygmalion, awarded the musical rights to Lerner and Loewe.

The musical premiered on Broadway as My Fair Lady on March 15, 1956 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York City with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in the leading roles. Originally announced as My Lady Liza, the name was changed when Harrison objected to a title based on the name of the female lead- Eliza Doolittle. (The new title was taken from the last line of the nursery rhyme, “London Bridge Is Falling Down” and appears nowhere in the musical.) It transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre and then The Broadway Theatre, where it closed on September 29, 1962 after 2,717 performances.

Haven’t seen My Fair Lady at Cygnet Theatre yet?  It must close April 26th and shows are still selling out so hurry!

Click here to buy tickets.

My Fair Lady: The Myth, The Play, The Musical (Part 2)

Part 2 -  The Play

As we learned in last week’s blog, in ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. The general idea of that myth was actually quite a popular subject for Victorian era English playwrights. In fact, one of Shaw’s influences, W.S. Gilbert, wrote a rather successful play based on the story called Pygmalion and Galatea. This blank verse play, which was presented in three acts, premiered at the Haymarket Theatre in London on December 9, 1871 and ran for a very successful 184 performances. Gilbert’s Pygmalion was so popular that other versions of the play were rushed to the stage, including Ganymede and Galatea in January of 1872, William Brough’s Pygmalion; or, The Statue Fair in March of 1872, and in May of that same year a visiting French company produced VictorMassé’s Galathée. And not too long after in 1883, Galatea, or Pygmalion Re-Versed, a musical burlesque that parodies the Pygmalion myth and specifically Gilbert’s 1871 play, premiered at the Gaiety Theatre in London.

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, however, is easily the most well-known stage play of any similar title. It both delighted and scandalized its first audiences in 1914. A brilliantly witty reworking of the Ovid tale of a sculptor who falls in love with his perfect female statue, it is also a barbed attack on the British class system and a statement of Shaw’s feminist views. In Shaw’s hands, the phoneticist Henry Higgins is the Pygmalion figure who believes he can transform Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl, into a duchess at ease in polite society. The one thing he overlooks is that his ‘creation’ has a mind of her own. Pygmalion nevertheless probes important questions about social class, human behavior, and relations between the sexes.

Cover-play1913

Illustration from the cover of the 1913 Playbill

Hoping to circumvent what he felt was the tendency of the London press to criticize his plays unfairly, Shaw chose to produce a German translation of Pygmalion in Vienna and Berlin before bringing the play to London. The London critics appreciated the acclaim the play had received overseas, and, after it opened at His Majesty’s Theatre on April 11, 1914, it enjoyed success, firmly establishing Shaw’s reputation as a popular playwright.

The popularity of the play caused its leap from stage to screen. Shaw was always reluctant to have his plays filmed because he would not tolerate any tampering with his dialogue, but he was persuaded by Gabriel Pascal to allow a film version of Pygmalion. Writing the screenplay for the film version of 1938 helped Shaw to become the first and only man ever to win both the Nobel Prize for literature and an Academy Award.

Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle

Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle

However, concessions were extracted from Shaw by the film’s producers, who changed the ending and watered down some of the supporting characters. Before the film came out, Shaw in fact wrote a ‘sequel’ to his first publication of the play. This was to solidify his ending and rebut any possible public demand for a more conventionally romantic ending.

Check back next week to learn how this play turned into one of the most popular musicals of all time. 

My Fair Lady: The Myth, The Play, The Musical (Part 1)

Part One:The Myth

In this three part series, our resident dramaturge Taylor Wycoff, walks us through the history of how My Fair Lady came to be. Before it became one of the most popular musicals of the century, it was a play.  And before it was a play, it was a myth…

As a dramaturge, when you’re tasked with a beloved classic like My Fair Lady, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Things like Covent Garden in early 20th century London, or English currency PRE-decimalization. But one thing I found absolutely delightful about working on this show was revisiting its roots. It’s common knowledge that the critically acclaimed musical is based on George Bernard Shaw’s famous play-turned-Academy-Award-winning movie, Pygmalion. What’s lesser known is that the roots of Shaw’s play actually date all the way back to ancient Greece with the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.

Étienne Maurice Falconet: Pygmalion et Galatée

Étienne Maurice Falconet: Pygmalion et Galatée

So who was Pygmalion? And how did his story end up inspiring such a female-centric narrative? He is most familiar from Ovid’s narrative poem Metamorphoses as the legendary sculptor from Cyprus (Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton), who fell in love with a statue he carved. As the story goes, Pygmalion was so sick of the imperfections of women that he sculpted the perfect woman out of ivory and fell in love with her. At the festival of Aphrodite, when it came time to play his part in the processional, Pygmalion stood before the altar and timidly said, “Ye If you gods can give all things, may I have as my wife, I pray”- he dared not say “the ivory maiden,” but said instead-“one like the ivory maiden.” Aphrodite, who was present at the festival, heard him and knew the thought he would have uttered.

Pygmalion by Jean-Baptiste Regnault, 1786

Pygmalion by Jean-Baptiste Regnault, 1786

Showing her favor, she caused the altar’s flame to flare up three times, shooting a long flame of fire into the still air. After the day’s festivities, when Pygmalion returned home and kissed his Galatea, as was his custom, he was startled by the warmth of her kiss, for Aphrodite had answered his prayers. Aphrodite further blessed the happiness and union of this couple with a child. Pygmalion and Galatea named the child Paphos, for which the city is still known until this day.

Check back next week to learn about George Bernard Shaw and how he adapted this myth into the more well known play of the same title!

A Marriage Made in Theatre Heaven

At Cygnet Theatre, we like to think of ourselves as one big happy family, but two of our My Fair Lady cast members took it a bit more seriously! Featured in multiple roles in the show are married couple Bryan Banville (Assassins) and Katie Whalley Banville (Company, Man of La Mancha). This is not the first time a married couple has taken the stage. The Norman Conquests featured Sandy & Danny Campbell, Bed and Sofa featured Lance Arthur Smith & Colleen Kollar Smith and Assassins included Manny & Melissa Fernandes.

We love Bryan and Katie’s “meet cute” theatre love story and wanted to share it – including the roles fellow cast members Ralph Johnson and Linda Libby played in their romance. A little late for Valentines Day, but very romantic nonetheless! Bryan tells us the tale….

How did you two meet?

I saw Katie in ion theatre’s production of Gypsy. In awe of her performance – and her legs – I asked Ralph Johnson, who was also in the production with her, and Justin Tuazon-Martin, who was in Cygnet’s production of Man of La Mancha with Katie and I, to be introduced. Ralph gave Katie my information, and we connected MONTHS later – due to my shyness – and finally had our first date where I showed up 45 minutes early and waited at the restaurant while Katie showed up 30 minutes early and waited in her car. Although it took a while for the second date to happen, delayed by car troubles, injuries, and plain old scheduling, we both showed up to our second date in the same, identical rental car… And the rest is theatre history.

Katie and Byran backstage in Man of La Mancha

Katie and Byran backstage in Man of La Mancha

 

When and where did you get married?

We were married at the beautiful and historical Lafayette Hotel in 2014. We had an amazing celebration marked with the love and support of our family, friends, and the wonderful members of the San Diego theater community. Sunny Haines (who often works backstage as a dresser at Cygnet) was our wedding planner, Kurt Norby provided all the music, David Brannen (choreographer of My Fair Lady) choreographed our first dance, Jen Wheeler-Khan (Stage Manager at the Playhouse and Old Globe) provided the wonderful decorations, Linda Libby read a beautiful passage during the ceremony, and the wonderful Ralph Johnson got ordained and married us!

The wedding ceremony performed by friend and Cygnet artist Ralph Johnson

The wedding ceremony performed by friend and Cygnet artist Ralph Johnson

What happens when two talented performers get married and share a first dance? Take a look here.

How many times have you worked together?

My Fair Lady will be our 7th production together since we met! Our first production as a couple was at Cygnet when we did Man of La Mancha together. We went on to perform in Mixtape for Lamb’s Players Theatre where we got to go to the 80’s prom every night together. Since we have been married we have done a total of 5 shows including My Fair Lady. Right after our wedding we started rehearsals for Passion at ion theatre and then spent the summer at Moonlight Theatre in Vista performing in Spamalot, Mary Poppins, and Catch Me If You Can - the last two, we got to be dance partners which was super fun!

Share your dream roles as a couple.

View More: http://brookealiceon.pass.us/bkwedding

The Newlyweds

This is an interesting question! We have discussed this a few times and have included some of them below:

1.) Jamie & Kathy in The Last Five Years. The music is so beautiful, and the story would be so challenging to tackle as a married couple!

2.) Millie & Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Wonderful show, and fun roles for us to play on our strengths!

3.) Baker & Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. This would be for when we are a bit older, but it would be an absolute pleasure getting to dive into two characters that reflect our personalities so well!

4.) Edward & Sandra Bloom in Big Fish. Again this would be for when we are older, but it’s one of the most real and loving stories to be told about a couple, and the music is GREAT!

Catch them now through April 26th in My Fair Lady at Cygnet Theatre!

Katie, Bryan, and the cast of My Fair Lady, including Ralph Johnson and Linda Libby.

Katie, Bryan, and the cast of My Fair Lady, including Ralph Johnson and Linda Libby.

Announcing Season Thirteen

 From a fish falling out of the sky in the year 2039, to a “sweet transvestite”, to one stupid f**king bird…our next season will take you to seven different times and places filled with humanity, laughter, destruction and compassion. And we’re excited to share it with you now.  Without further antici…pation, here’s our 2015-2016 season!

DOGFIGHT
Music and Lyrics by BENJ PASEK & JUSTIN PAUL
Book by PETER DUCHAN
Based on the Warner Bros. Film and Screenplay by BOB COMFORT
Directed by SEAN MURRAY
July 16th – August 23rd, 2015. Opening July 25th, 2015.

It’s November 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of compassion. Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical and praised by countless critics, Dogfight takes audiences on a romantic and heartbreaking theatrical journey that stays with you long after the performance. Featuring Dave Thomas Brown (Shakespeare’s R&J, Spring Awakening)  “Superbly crafted, gratifyingly intelligent, richly observant, and immensely enjoyable. This is musical theatre at its finest.” – Backstage

Dave Thomas Brown in Spring Awakening

Dave Thomas Brown in Spring Awakening

HAY FEVER (Performed in Rep with The Vortex)
By NOËL COWARD
Directed by ROB LUTFY
Semptember 23rd – November 8th, 2015. Opening October 3rd, 2015.

Retired stage star Judith Bliss, her novelist husband and their two bohemian adult children have each invited houseguests for the weekend. But as the Blisses indulge their artistic eccentricities in a hilarious whirlwind of flirtation and histrionics, the guests begin to wonder if they’ve landed in a madhouse – and if they can survive with their own wits intact. Set in an English country house in the 1920’s, Noël Coward’s hilarious comedy of bad manners has been a favorite amongst theatregoers ever since it first dazzled London’s West End in 1925.  “An evening of intoxicating escape” – The New York Times

THE VORTEX (Performed in Rep with Hay Fever)
By NOËl COWARD
Directed by SEAN MURRAY
September 24th – November 8th, 2015. Opening October 3rd, 2015.

Nicky Lancaster brings his elegant fiancée, Bunty, home to introduce her to his famous mother, stage actress Florence Lancaster. Nicky is shocked to discover that Florence has taken a much younger lover, and when Bunty ditches Nicky to run off with his mother’s boy-toy, both are forced to confront the truth about themselves. Noël Coward’s first commercially successful hit, The Vortex premiered in 1924 in London, and its scandalous subject matter of drug abuse, repressed homosexuality, nymphomania and Oedipal jealousy made Coward an overnight sensation. Hay Fever and The Vortex will feature Rosina Reynolds (The Glass Menagerie, Noises Off)  The Vortex (1924) is the play that turned Noël Coward into a star….Almost nine decades later, it still packs a powerful punch.” -The Telegraph

Rosina Reynolds in The Glass Menagerie

Rosina Reynolds in The Glass Menagerie

A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Adaptation and Lyrics by SEAN MURRAY
Score by BILLY THOMPSON
Directed by SEAN MURRAY
November 27th – December 27th, 2015. Opening December 5th, 2015.

Cygnet Theatre invites you to start your own family tradition with one of ours. This season welcomes the return of theholiday classic adapted from Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of hope and redemption. This re-imagined, fully staged production features original new music, creative stagecraft and puppetry, and live sound effects. Step into a Victorian Christmas card for a unique storytelling experience that is sure to delight the entire family!  “Critics Choice” in 2014 – UT San Diego

A Christmas Carol 2014

A Christmas Carol 2014

 WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING
By ANDREW BOVELL
Directed by ROB LUTFY
January 14th – February 14th, 2016. Opening January 23rd, 2016.

Alice Springs in the year 2039. A fish falls from the sky and lands at the feet of Gabriel York. And it still smells of the sea. It’s been raining for days, and Gabriel knows something is wrong. Fifty years earlier, his grandfather, Henry Law, predicts that fish will fall from the sky heralding a great flood which will end life on earth as we know it. In an intricate, multi-layered story that spans four generations and two continents, When the Rain Stops Falling explores patterns of betrayal, abandonment, destruction, forgiveness and love. This powerful drama unfolds with humanity, surprising humor and hope, as the past plays out into the future.  “The Best New Play of Year” in 2010 – Time Magazine

RICHARD O’BRIAN’S THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Book, Music and Lyrics by RICHARD O’BRIEN
Directed by SEAN MURRAY
March 10th – May 1st, 2016. Opening March 19th, 2016.

A satirical tribute to the science fiction and B-list horror movies of the 20th century, the show centers around two naïve lovers, Brad and Janet. Seeking shelter from a thunderstorm in an old castle, they find themselves thrust into the laboratory of the cross-dressing mad scientist Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter and his motley crew. Stripped of inhibitions — and their clothes — Brad and Janet embark on a wild, unforgettable journey of pleasure and self-discovery. Reality, fiction, and camp collide in this mash-up of comics, rock and roll, and late-night horror flicks.  “A musical that deals with mutating identity and time warps becomes one of the most mutated, time warped phenomena in show business.” – The New York Times

STUPID F**KING BIRD
By AARON POSNER
Directed by ROB LUTFY
May 19th – June 19th, 2016. Opening May 28th, 2016.

In this irreverent, contemporary, and very funny remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull, award-winning playwright Aaron Posner wages a timeless battle between young and old, past and present, in search of the true meaning of it all. An aspiring young director rampages against the art created by his mother’s generation. A nubile young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist. And everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art, and growing up can be. With music, meta-theatricality, and mad humor, playwright Aaron Posner beats The Seagull to a bloody pulp.  “Bitterly sardonic…Ferociously funny” – Stage and Cinema

Purchase single tickets here.

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Playwright Insight: Stephen Karam

It’s a special occurrence when a theatre get to chat with a playwright. Stephen Karam took some time from his busy schedule to answer a few of our questions about what he’s working on now, and his hopes for getting out to San Diego.  

Stephen Karam

Stephen Karam

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a new play called, THE HUMANS. To explain the title might be giving too much away. But suffice to say this is a genre-collision play; it’s a ghost story/thriller…and a family play. I suppose it’s…a family thriller? If Sons of the Prophet looked at the way humans cope with suffering, The Humans looks at the way we cope with our biggest fears, the way we process the big existential horrors of life. I wanted to write a play about human fear that was actually scary. It’s an interesting time to think about what “terror” means to us—we keep hearing the word “recovery” in the news, but I think most Americans are still trying to climb out of this weird black pit of dread and malaise set off by 9/11 and the financial crisis. The production just closed in Chicago. It will open in New York City in September. I hope it lands in San Diego soon…

Have you ever been to San Diego? If not, any plans to visit?

Sadly, my California experiences have been limited to Los Angeles and San Francisco. I would love nothing more than to make it San Diego someday. I love warm weather and swimming in the ocean (and adventurous theater companies like Cygnet), so my hunch is I will be quite happy there! I’m delighted when the characters in my plays make it to cities before I do. I’m proud and thrilled the Douaihys have made it to San Diego.

For more on Stephen Karam check out this article and interview from Roundabout Theatre Company.

Virtual Peek Backstage @ Social Media Night

This January we held one of our traditional Cygneture events at the theatre for our patrons, bloggers, Twitter fans, and media. During a fun and engaging night at Sons of the Prophet, our staff, cast, and crew participated in live tweeting and provided some behind-the-scenes facts about the show as it progressed through the night.

Check out these fun facts and recaps from the night
and join us for the next one!

  1. As we were assembling the deer decoy, the office dog, Uli, wasn’t sure what to make of it.  At least we made the playwright, Stephen Karam, laugh.

Deer and Dog

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 1.49.15 PM

Assembling our final cast member, the deer decoy.

2. The actors took some awesome backstage photos. Dylan, who plays Charles, also participated in the first Social Media Night for  Spring Awakening. Do you see a pattern with Dylan?

Dylan&Dylan

  1. Close to home: The voiceovers in the show were actor Faeren Adams (Ensemble), who voiced the automated phone message at the bus station, and the sound designer’s mother, who is an actual nurse, voicing the overhead paging system in the hospital waiting room scene.

Photo by Daren Scott

  1. The image of St. Rafqa in the upstairs bedroom is a religious icon from the Maronite Oder of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lebanon.
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Dylan Mulvaney, as Charles, with the image of St. Rafqa. Photo by Daren Scott

  1. Our Costume Designer (and also our Development Director) Veronica Murphy scored some lucky finds. One of the hardest things to locate in San Diego is a big bulky coat (since 60 degrees is near-freezing).  She searched everywhere for a coat for Gloria, played by Maggie Carney, with no luck. We got a last minute donation and it fit her perfectly!
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Featured in this picture from left to right is Maggie Carney, Alex Hoeffler, Dylan Mulvaney, and Navarre Perry. Photo by Daren Scott

  1. In the last scene, Joseph is wearing a Nazareth Cross Country t-shirt, which was his high school team. It was given to us for free by the actual Nazareth High School Athletic Department in Pennsylvania.Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.13.25 PM
  2. Joseph’s character, Sons of the Prophet’s playwright Stephen Karam, grew up in Scranton, PA. and ran cross-country. He also lived down the street from an actual Douaihy family.

Alex and Stephen

  1. Double throwback fact: Two young Cygnet actors are currently playing Charles in different productions of Sons of the Prophet.  Dylan Mulvaney, who plays Charles at Cygnet, was last seen here at the theatre in Spring Awakening as Ernst. Braxton Molinaro was last seen at Cygnet Theatre in Assassins as John Wilkes Booth. He is currently playing Charles in a production at the Blank Theatre in Hollywood, CA.
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Dylan Mulvaney (left) with fellow actor Jacob Caltrider. Braxton Molinaro (center) with the cast of Assassins.

Join us for the next Social Media Nights for My Fair Lady (March 13) and The Whale (May 22).  You never know what you might learn about the show and its cast!