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Merrimack Rep presents ‘The Last Days of Mickey and Jean’


A new play commissioned by Merrimack Repertory Theatre and receiving its world premiere March 18-April 11, 2010, The Last Days of Mickey & Jean by Massachusetts-native Richard Dresser is a retirement story with a twist. MRT’s Artistic Director Charles Towers will direct the production. Performances begin Thursday, March 18 at 7:30PM, with Opening Night on Sunday, March 21 at 7:00PM, running through April 11. Subscriptions and individual tickets are on sale now, through the box office at 978.654.4MRT or www.Merrimackrep.org.

Mickey, a witty, paranoid fugitive ex-mobster from Southie who is on the lam with his no-longer young, Charleston-native girlfriend, Jean, is forced into an early retirement in Europe. With his Boston Red Sox cap never out of reach, he is out of place and away from the one thing he truly loves: his work. While he searches for a way to get back into business and Jean longs for a “normal” life back in Boston, the dysfunctional couple runs into one hilarious situation after another, learning shocking secrets about each other along the way. The Last Days of Mickey & Jean is a funny perspective on unconventional love, unconditional loyalty and life after retirement.

“This world premiere of The Last Days of Mickey & Jean has been over a year in the making, from first conception through early drafts, readings and workshops,” said director Charles Towers. “Merrimack Repertory Theatre has made a real commitment to playwright Richard Dresser over the years, and all of us have relished his distinctively comic voice.”

Merrimack Rep commissioned Dresser to write the play in the spring of 2009. With The Last Days of Mickey & Jean, Merrimack Rep will have produced seven of Dresser’s plays, making him the most produced playwright in MRT history and one of the most produced contemporary playwrights in Eastern Massachusetts during the past decade. Richard Dresser was born in 1951 and was raised in Massachusetts. He is a very popular American playwright whose works have been widely performed in theaters across the United States, as well as in Europe. Before finding success as a playwright, Dresser worked as a freelance writer of corporate speeches and industrial films. He moved to New York City and wrote his first play, At Home, a one act play, which premiered in April 1984. Dresser gained much success after that, with his most notable early works being Better Days, The Downside and Below the Belt. As of May 2009, he had published seventeen plays. Of his plays, at least fourteen full length and six one act plays have been performed for American audiences. According to Kevin Kelly of the Boston Globe, Richard Dresser is “a ferocious playwright… (who) writes with a headlong intensity and a sense of pervasive mystery.” In addition to plays, Dresser also wrote the book for the Broadway musical Good Vibrations and the upcoming musical Johnny Baseball, which will premiere at American Repertory Theatre in May 2010.

The production’s creative staff includes Charles Towers (director), Deborah Newhall (costume design), Bill Clarke (set design), and Dan Kotlowitz (lighting design). The all-Equity cast of The Last Days of Mickey & Jean features Jack Wetherall (Mickey), noted for his role as Vic in four seasons of the TV show Queer as Folk; Rae C. Wright (Jean); and Christopher McHale (Bobby, Dr. Shock, Tinsel). Wetherall originated the role of Gene Tunney in MRT’s world premiere production of Tunney/Shakespeare in Six Rounds. McHale previously has performed in MRT’s productions of Skylight, The Price and Fallen. Wright makes her MRT debut.

Jack Wetherall (Mickey) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: Tunney/Shakespeare in Six Rounds. Select Credits. Broadway: The Elephant Man (title role). Off-Broadway: The Glass Cage (Malcolm), Mint Theater; originated the role of Mario in Tamara; Henry VI (Warwick), Theatre for a New Audience; Swansong (Will Shakespeare), Lucille Lortel’s White Barn Theatre; Bad Women (Phaedra), Talking Band. Stratford Festival Theatre of Canada (under Robin Phillips’ artistic direction): Henry V (title role), As You Like It (Orlando) and The Seagull (Konstanin), the latter two opposite Dame Maggie Smith. Regional: Willi (title role) directed by Charles Towers, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (Oscar Wilde), The Retreat from Moscow (Edward), Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Heartbreak House (Shotover), Goodman Theatre; Cyrano de Bergerac (title role), Guthrie Theatre; Pericles (title role), Hartford Stage Company; Twelfth Night (Orsino), The Rivals (Jack Absolute), The Old Globe; Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio), Long Wharf Theatre; Macbeth (title role), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Berowne), Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Richard II (title role), Utah Shakespearean Festival; The Greeks (Orestes), Williamstown Theatre Festival; The Cherry Orchard (Lopakhin), American Conservatory Theater; Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Valmont), Pittsburgh Public Theater; Democracy, (Ralph Waldo Emerson) G.C.T.C, Ottawa. Film: Starring role in Third Man Out. Television: Queer as Folk (four seasons as Vic), Guiding Light, One Life to Live, Santa Barbara, Ryan’s Hope. Awards: Mr. Wetherall won Dramalogue Awards for his performances in The Bacchae (Dionysis), Odyssey Theatre, and Man and Superman (Jack Tanner), A Noise Within in Los Angeles. Other: He directed Measure for Measure at Chicago’s Centre Theatre and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Our Town, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta; and as assistant director Jekyll & Hyde, Broadway. He recently reprised his role of The Notary in La Fille du Regiment at the Metropolitan Opera.

Christopher McHale (Bobby, Dr. Shock, Tinsel) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: Skylight, The Price, Fallen. Broadway: Julius Caesar (with Denzel Washington), King Lear (with Christopher Plummer), Execution of Justice, Piaf, The Iceman Cometh. Off-Broadway: Two Gentlemen of Verona, Julius Caesar, King John, Macbeth, Richard II, New York Shakespeare Festival; Domino, New York Theatre Workshop. Regional: Iphegenia at Aulis, Yale Repertory Theatre; Silence of God, Thief River, Contemporary American Theatre Festival; Arena Stage; Shakespeare Theatre of Washington; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; among others. Film: The Seduction of Joe Tynan, Still Missing, FX, The Devil’s Own. Television: Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Rescue Me, Six Degrees. Education: BFA, Drama, Carnegie-Mellon University.

Rae C. Wright (Jean) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut. Off-Broadway: The Breaks (Marion, co-authored) The Culture Project; The Grapes of Wrath (Rosasharon), Lincoln Center Out of Doors; 2009 Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge (Ms. Flowergirl), HERE Arts Center; Family (Mum), The Ontological-Hysteric Theater; The Jeweled Skates (Bernie Madoff), PS 122. Regional: The Clean House (Ana), Actors Theatre Louisville, Arizona Theatre Company; Augusta (Molly), Portland Stage Company; House of Blue Leaves (Bananas), Two Rivers Theatre; Our Town (The Stage Manager), Triad Stage. International: She has performed with the New York Street Theatre Caravan in 17 countries. Film: Appeared in countless obscure Indies including Borders (with Steve Buscemi), Joe’s Apartment, and to be completed in June 2010 Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same. Awards: OBIE for Sustained Excellence in Theatre work with The New York Street Theatre Caravan. Education: New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, two time MacDowell Fellow, Professor in the Film/TV Department of NYU, and recently a Fulbright Senior Specialist. Other: She is the author of The Moon in Vain (a ‘fifth act’ to The Seagull), She’s Just Away! (a comedy about grieving); Animal Instincts: Tales of Flesh and Tales of Blood; Vicki Weaver & I (a comedy about hate). Ms. Wright is delighted to be working with everyone at MRT and working on another of Mr. Dresser’s inspiring plays.

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

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