Dear Ann Landers, can you tell me what I should do for a fun night out this spring? If the celebrated advice columnist was alive today, she would likely advise you to see the Boston-area premiere of The Lady With All The Answers by David Rambo, drawn from the life and letters of Ann Landers herself, with the cooperation of her daughter, Margo Howard. The Nora Theatre Company presents Rambo’s riotous and touching play about everyone’s favorite advice columnist from Thursday, May 13 through Saturday, June 26 at Central Square Theater. The Press performance is set for Sunday, May 16 at 2:00pm.
Directed by Daniel Gidron, The Lady With All The Answers takes place over the course of a long night in 1975 Chicago, as “the lady with all the answers” for others grapples with a big dilemma of her own. While revisiting favorite columns on such topics as nude housekeeping and the correct way to hang toilet paper, Ann, played by Stephanie Clayman, composes the most important letter of her life.
Daniel Gidron, The Nora Theatre Company’s Associate Director, directed the company’s production of The Caretaker this past fall. He also directed The Cherry Orchard in a brand new translation by George Malko and We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! with Stephanie Clayman for the company’s inaugural season at Central Square Theater last year. An IRNE Award nominee for Best Director, Drama, Small Theater for the company’s 2007 production of Buried Child, his work spans 20 productions for The Nora including Mere Mortals, How I Got That Story, The Unexpected Man, Smelling a Rat, the world premiere of Richard McElvain’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone, Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Full Gallop. He has also directed for many other companies such as The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Shakespeare & Company and Tremont Theatre where his production of Golda’s Balcony won both IRNE and Elliot Norton Awards for Best Solo Performance, as well as Peterborough Players, Jewish Theatre of New England, Shakespeare Now!, Opera Boston, La Mama ETC, Worcester Foothills, Mountain Playhouse, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. In Israel, where he was born, he has directed at Habimah National Theater, Haifa Municipal Theatre, Arab Theatre, Beit Lessin, Dror Theatre and Beersheva Municipal Theatre. He has taught at Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Brandeis University. He currently teaches at UMass Boston.
Stephanie Clayman (Ann Landers) has been acting professionally for over 20 years, and has performed at nearly every Boston area theatre over the course of her career. Previously with The Nora she played Antonia in We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, directed by Daniel Gidron, and Sally in Screen Play. She has worked off-Broadway with the Women’s Project and the Vineyard Theatre, and regionally at many theatres, including the Kennedy Center, Trinity Repertory Company, the Huntington Theatre Company, The Publick Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Coyote Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, The Lyric Stage Company of Boston , and New Repertory Theatre. Favorite roles include Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Gertrude (The Underpants), Marlene (Top Girls), Lusia (A Shayna Maidel), Flora (Humble Boy), and Kate (The Taming of the Shrew). Stephanie is featured in the films Orphan, A Simple Question, The Women, and What’s the Worst That Could Happen? As a teacher, Stephanie has worked in venues ranging from inner city schools to universities, teaching acting, improvisation, performance art, Shakespeare, and playwriting, and directing student-created plays.
Returning to The Nora are set designer Brynna Bloomfield (The Cherry Orchard, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, Buried Child, Antigone, Full Gallop, and The Unexpected Man); Elliot Norton Award and IRNE Award winning costume designer Gail Astrid Buckley (Not Enough Air, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, Full Gallop, Betrayal, The Countess); Elliot Norton and IRNE Award winning lighting designer John R. Malinowski (Not Enough Air,The Caretaker, The Cherry Orchard, The Man Who, Crave); and properties master Ronald J. De Marco (The Cherry Orchard).
David Rambo’s plays include God’s Man In Texas, The Ice-Breaker, The Lady With All The Answers, The Spin Cycle, and a new adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt. His plays have been widely produced throughout the country, including productions at Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Geffen Playhouse, the Old Globe, Denver Center Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Northlight Theatre, the Magic Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, and the Florida Stage. He has adapted several classic screenplays for live performance, including All About Eve, Casablanca, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and Adam’s Rib. His adaptation of the Sunset Boulevard screenplay was performed at the Hollywood Bowl accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra playing Franz Waxman’s original film score. He is a writer and producer of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, set in Las Vegas, the most watched TV show in the world. David is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ASCAP, and Writers Guild of America, West.
Margo Howard grew up in Chicago and attended Brandeis University. Her newspaper career began at the Chicago Tribune, and continued at the Chicago Daily-News. Her column of social commentary, “Margo,” was syndicated throughout the country in the 70s. Howard, an interviewer and critic, then wrote for The New Republic, The Nation, People, and TV Guide, among other publications, and was a columnist for Boston Magazine and Good Housekeeping. She was the Prudence behind “Dear Prudence” on Slate.com, as well as for 200 newspapers. Last February she moved to Yahoo! News as “Dear Margo.” She has written two books, effectively becoming her mother’s biographer. The first was a family memoir, Eppie: The Story of Ann Landers published in 1982, and more recently, A Life in Letters; Ann Landers’ Letters to her Only Child, published in 2003. Howard has three children and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband, a physician and surgeon.
The Lady With All The Answers plays at Central Square Theater, 450 Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, Thursday, May 13 through Saturday, June 26. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM with matinees on Sundays at 2 PM. There will be an additional matinee on Thursday, May 13. Tickets, priced at $35; $25 for seniors; $20 for students with a valid ID; $15 for student rush (day of performance), can be purchased by calling (866) 811-4111, online at www.centralsquaretheater.org, or at the Central Square Theater box office. For box office hours, group discounts, and more info call (617) 576-9278 x210.