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New Rep presents Michael Hollinger’s ‘Opus’


New Repertory Theatre, in residence at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, is thrilled to present Opus, a New England Premiere by Michael Hollinger. Opus opens for the press on Monday, March 29, 2010 at 7:30pm and plays through Saturday, April 17, 2010 at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in the Charles Mosesian Theater.

Opus is a highly nuanced masterpiece,” says Kate Warner, New Rep’s Artistic Director. “It examines the complex relationship between artists’ lives and their work, interweaving compelling dialogue and rich, powerful music. Jim Petosa’s experienced directing, along with our talented cast, imparts just the right touch to bring out this work’s absorbing subtleties.”

Jim Petosa, director of Opus, comments, “What a pleasure to be invited to join the vibrant community of artists at New Rep! Opus is a play that has intrigued me for some time. The story puts a sharp focus on the intersection between creative relationship and friendship – the crossroads of love and power, integrity, and compassion.”

Opus features New Rep favorites Benjamin Evett (Indulgences, Permanent Collection, Quills, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, A Girl’s War, and Jerusalem), Bates Wilder (A Streetcar Named Desire, Waiting for Godot, and Frozen), Shelly Bolman (Tartuffe), Michael Kaye (Silence and A House With No Walls), and Becky Webber (Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol).

The celebrated and world-renowned Lazara String Quartet is struggling to prepare for their highest-profile performance when their gifted but volatile violist mysteriously disappears. The play is interwoven with rich and powerful music that propels this New England Premiere forward. Violinist-turned-playwright, Michael Hollinger’s Opus has tempers flaring and egos clashing when a new member is introduced and the group’s secrets are revealed.

Shelley Bolman (Alan) is an actor/educator who received his Master’s in Theatre Education from Emerson College. Credits include: Tartuffe (New Repertory Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); Woman in Black, Billy Bishop Goes to War, and Wind in the Willows (Gloucester Stage Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Shear Madness (Charles Playhouse); Saint Joan, Inherit the Wind, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Holes, Snow White, Pippi Longstocking, and Witch of Blackbird Pond (Wheelock Family Theatre); And Then There Were None, A Christmas Story, and A Christmas Carol (Stoneham Theatre); 2007 Elliot Norton Award-Winning play A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Antony and Cleopatra (Boston Theatre Works); Playboy of the Western World and An Ideal Husband (Wellesley Summer Theatre); Better Off Dead, Almost Maine, and Spinning Into Butter (Village Theatre Project); Manifest and The Adding Machine (The Theatre Cooperative). Regional credits include: Barnstormers Theatre, Worcester Foothills Theatre, Oldcastle Theatre Company, Pioneer Valley Summer Theatre, and Seacoast Repertory Theatre. Shelley is also a founding member of the Village Theatre Project and company member of Theatre Espresso.

Benjamin Evett (Dorian) is the Founding Artistic Director of the Actors’ Shakespeare Project where he has directed numerous productions and played Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, the title role in Coriolanus, Caliban in The Tempest, the title role in Hamlet, Edmund in King Lear, and Cassius in Julius Caesar. At New Rep, he has been seen as the Salesman in Indulgences, Paul Barrow in Permanent Collection (for which he won an Elliot Norton Award), Abbe de Coulmier in Quills, Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Stephen in A Girl’s War, and Will in Jerusalem. He was a member of the Resident Acting Company at the A.R.T. in Cambridge from 1983 to 2003, acting in more than 50 productions including: Waiting for Godot, The Bacchae, Phaedra, Ivanov, The King Stag, and Six Characters in Search of an Author. He has also performed at The Huntington Theatre Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Hartford Stage Company, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Cleveland Play House, and others. Internationally, he has performed at the Festivale Biennale in Venice, the Festival d’Automne in Paris, the Taiwan National Theatre, and The Moscow Art Theatre. He is a graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Classics.

Michael Kaye (Elliot) is delighted to be acting again with New Rep, having performed previously in Silence and A House With No Walls. Michael most recently played Oberon in Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Fort Point Channel Midway Studios. Other Boston area credits include: Dead End (The Huntington Theatre Company); Ears on a Beatle, Book of Days, and the World Premiere of Arthur Laurents’ 2 Lives (Lyric Stage Company); and the premiere of The Lepers of Baile Baiste (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre). This past summer, Michael played the role of Tom in Glass Menagerie at The Olney Theatre Center in Washington D.C. Michael is an Assistant Professor of Acting at the Boston University School of Theatre, where he received both his BFA and MFA.

Becky Webber (Grace) is happy to be returning to New Rep, after two great seasons of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. A graduate of Brandeis University, Becky is now a Boston-based actor. Other New England credits include: As You Like It and Shakespeare on Love (Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.); Candide and One Flew Over… (The Berkshire Theatre Festival); SLAMBoston and Thirst (The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center). In addition to acting, she has directed a few projects with Whistler in the Dark, and the GAN-e-meed Theater Project. Catch Becky in GAN-e-meed’s upcoming all-female production of Hamlet.

Bates Wilder (Carl) is an actor who has been seen locally on the stage and nationally in film, commercials, and television. His stage credits include: Blackbird (SpeakEasy Stage); and A Streetcar Named Desire, Waiting for Godot, and Frozen (New Rep). He performed the title role in Killer Joe (W.H.A.T.) and Nick Rosetti in the Record-breaking 30 plus year running of Shear Madness (Charles Playhouse), where he is currently the Production Stage Manager. Bates played the role of Jimmy in Showtime’s Brotherhood for three seasons and can be seen in small roles in films shot locally including: Shutter Island, Mystic River, and Maiden Heist. Bates teaches acting for directors as an adjunct at Boston University and as an independent contractor at Emerson. He also teaches acting at CP Casting.

Michael Hollinger (playwright) received a Bachelor of Music in viola performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Arts in theatre from Villanova University, where he is now an Assistant Professor of Theatre. Because of his background as a musician, Michael considers his plays compositions: characters are instruments, scenes are movements; tempo, rhythm, and dynamics are critical; and melody and counterpoint are always set in relief by rests–beats, pauses, the spaces in between. For PBS, Michael has written three short films and co-authored the feature-length Philadelphia Diary. Awards include the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Fund for New American Plays, a Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play, the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist, a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award, a commission from The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science and Technology Project, and fellowships from the Independence Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Jim Petosa (Director) has been the artistic and educational leader of the Boston University School of Theatre since 2002, as well as Artistic Director of Maryland’s Olney Theatre Center for the Arts (OTC) since 1994. Mr. Petosa also serves as Artistic Director for the National Players educational touring company and as one of three Artistic Directors for the Potomac Theatre Project, a company devoted to the presentation of political works. Petosa has directed more than 35 plays in the last five years. OTC directing credits include: The Glass Menagerie, Democracy, Copenhagen, The Laramie Project, Art, Look! We Have Come Through! (Charles MacArthur Award Nomination for Outstanding New Play), Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director), and The Miracle Worker. For Potomac Theatre Project: Closetland, Marisol, Good, and The Trial of the Catonsville Nine. National Players’ productions include: Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, and Othello. As a guest artist, he has directed at the John F. Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, and Rep Stage. Mr. Petosa also directed the Theater J production of Collected Stories, for which he received a 2001 Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding Direction. For Boston University, Mr. Petosa has directed the School of Theatre Mainstage plays Trumpery, Stuff Happens, Red Noses, Scenes from an Execution, and Amadeus, and the Opera Institute productions of Postcard from Morocco, The Rape of Lucretia, Carmen, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2009, Mr. Petosa established the Boston Center for American Performance, the professional production extension of the Boston University School of Theatre. Petosa has served on the faculty of The Catholic University of America, the University of Maryland-College Park, and the Heifetz International Music Institute at St. John’s College. He has been a visiting professor at Middlebury College, an Artist-in-Residence at George Washington University, and a Guest Artist at Georgetown University, Wolf Trap, and the Smithsonian Institution. In 2008, Mr. Petosa was named Montgomery County’s Outstanding Artist/Scholar at the Montgomery County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Awards ceremony in Maryland. Mr. Petosa has served as Director for the New York Theatre Studio, Theatre Matrix, and as Performing Arts Coordinator for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. A member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Dramatists Guild, Mr. Petosa has served on the Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Catalyst Theatre, and Playwrights Forum. He was educated at Catholic University of America.

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

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