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Wheelock Family Theatre presents ‘A Tale of Two Cities’


Wheelock Family Theatre presents A Tale of Two Cities by Dwayne Hartford, based on the book by Charles Dickens from October 30 to November 29, 2009.

Set during the tumult of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities vividly dramatizes the influence of historical and political upheaval on the individual. It follows the intertwined fortunes of a French Aristocrat who reject’s his family’s tradition of terrorizing the lower classes; a physician whose long imprisonment has left him a symbolic hero for the oppressed; a drunken lawyer who finds meaning in life through an requited love; and a mob leader whose sheer rage at the degradation of the lower classes demands vengeance. This new adaptation of the Dickens classic poses questions as pressing today as they were two centuries ago.

How does one prioritize loyalty? Is violence ever justified? What are the costs to society of a citizenry divided between rich and poor Can a single act of honor and love counteract a world filled with hatred? How do the dignity and the rights of the individual withstand the actions of a howling mob? Can a government that asserts its power in the form of public exhibition guarantee control of its audience reaction? Does a society of spectacle breed paranoia and a culture of secrets?

And, in the face of war and terror perpetrated in the name of a broader cause, what is the definition of a life well lived?

About the Playwright
Dwayne Hartford is a playwright, actor and director living in Phoenix, Arizona. He is an associate artist and playwright-in-residence at Childsplay, where his plays for young audiences have been developed through the Whiteman New Plays Program before premiering with the company. Three of his plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing and have been produced around the country and in Canada. Eric and Elliot, was named the 2005 Distinguished Play by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education. The Imaginators had an extended run at Florida Rep in Fort Myers, and was produced and aired on KAET TV, the Phoenix PBS affiliate. In June 2007, A Tale of Two Cities was chosen to take part in NYU’s New Plays for Young Audiences Program, a play development workshop at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York City. To date, the play has been produced at People’s Light and Theatre in Malvern, Pennsylvania and at Seattle Children’s Theatre. Dwayne is originally from a small town in central Maine. He received his BFA from the Boston Conservatory. He is currently working on a new play for Childsplay set in Maine during World War II.

Bill Mootos has appeared in many theaters in the New England and New York areas, most recently in Better Off Dead with Village Theatre Project. This summer, he appeared in Dinner With Friends, The Weir, and On Golden Pond with the Barnstormers Theatre in NH. Regional credits include productions with the Huntington Theatre Company, The Publick Theatre, Metropolitan Playhouse of NYC, Manhattan Theatre Source, North Shore Music Theatre, the Vineyard Playhouse, Gloucester Stage Company, the Lyric Stage Company, Merrimack Rep, Foothills Theatre, Boston Theatre Works, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Garage Theatre Group of NJ, and many others. A proud member of AEA, AFTRA, and SAG, Bill’s film credits include The Company Men, Valediction, Hard Luck, Easy Listening and others. Bill can next be seen in Worcester at the Hanover Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol.

Paul Melendy is making his WFT debut with A Tale of Two Cities. Recent theater credits include New Century Theatre’s Arcadia, Foothills Theatre’s Take Me Out, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew, Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s Eliot Norton award-winning Titus Andronicus, New Repertory Theatre’s tour of Cyrano Debergerac, Publick Theatre’s Design for Living, and Shakespeare Now! Theatre Company’s Julius Caesar Film: The Pink Panther Deux. Paul was honored with the Best Actor Award from the New Hampshire Theatre Awards for his role as Adam in The Fringe Players’ production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) as well as a Best Comedic Actor Award from the New England Theatre Conference at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. He is a four-time KCACTF nominee and three-time Regional Finalist. Paul is a graduate of Salem State College (Salem, MA) where he received a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance.

This production marks Robin Eldridge’s return to WFT stage! Favorite past roles at WFT include Gretl in The Sound of Music, Winnie in the world premiere of Harold Bakken’s memorable Tuck Everlasting, Scout in the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, and Juliet in Romeo & Juliet. Since acting on Wheelock’s stage, Robin earned a BA in philosophy from Brown University and has lived, worked (and acted) in San Francisco (Heidi Chronicles, Actors Ensemble), New York City (An Evening of Christopher Durang with All You Can Eat Theatre), and now Boston.

Jane Staab, a co-founder of the Wheelock Family Theatre, is the Theatre’s resident Equity actor, general manager, and casting director. She has directed many WFT productions, including WFT’s original adaptations of A Little Princess, Holiday Stories and Secret Garden, for which she also composed the music. A private acting coach, Jane also teaches courses in acting and drama at Wheelock College and at WFT. She has played roles in The Belle of Amherst, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Medea, Happy Days, On Golden Pond, I Remember Mama, and many more. Jane has also performed with the California and New Jersey Shakespeare Festivals, Spectrum Theatre in NYC and Hartford Stage Company. She has also performed on Broadway with Frank Langella in the U.S. premiere of The Prince of Homberg. Jane has worked in television, film and radio, including a WGBH Legacies series: Women in History and the PBS series: Best Families.

M. Lynda Robinson has been working in theatre, film & TV for the past 30 years as an actor, director, producer, teacher, and playwright. She attended the Masters Program in Playwriting at B.U. and is a published playwright, most recently in “The Best Ten-Minute Plays for 2 Actors, 2007” published by Smith & Kraus. As an actor she has performed in many theaters in the Boston area including the Publick, Nora, Lyric, Wilbur, W.H.A.T., Huntington, Provincetown Rep, Merrimack, Gloucester Stage, Shear Madness, Stoneham, New Rep, among others. She is currently the Artistic Director of Blackburn Performing Arts in Gloucester, where she also directs and teaches. Her teaching includes Emerson College and Boston Casting. Lynda has performed in hundreds of commercials, corporate videos, live trade-shows, and voice-overs as well as performing principal roles in film and TV. In 1993 she was honored with the Outstanding Boston Actress Award, one of the first local actors to win this award.

David Rothauser has worked in all forms of the theatre and the media. He began his career as an actor while living in Paris, France. Among his film and television credits are The Longest Day (20th Century Fox) and Spenser: For Hire (Warner Bros.) In the United States he has worked with the Living Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Club and the Providence Repertory Theatre in NYC and regional theatres in New England. Mr. Rothauser was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for a screenplay about the Sacco-Vanzetti case, received a First Place Massachusetts Artists Fellowship for his stage play, The First All-American President and won a blue ribbon at the American Film Festival in NYC as co-producer of, A Good Example: Bertolt Brecht. In 1999 he received the Sacco-Vanzetti Award for Social Justice from the Community Church of Boston.

Additional cast includes Kortney Adams, John Davin, Jonathan Overby, Cliff Odle, Tara Henry, De’Lon Grant, Dale Place, Brian Quint, and Audree Hedequist

A Tale of Two Cities is directed by Susan Kosoff with the production team of Anita Fuchs (scenic design), Lisa Simpson (costume design), John Malinowski (lighting design), Dewey Dellay (sound design). The production stage manager is Lindsay Garofalo.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of Wheelock Family Theatre (website | profile | tag archive).

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