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Casting Announced for Donald Margulies’ ‘Dinner With Friends’ at Westport Country Playhouse


Casting is announced for Westport Country Playhouse’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic drama, Dinner With Friends, written by Connecticut’s own Donald Margulies, and directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director, playing June 1 through June 19.

The cast is comprised of David Aaron Baker as Tom, Mary Bacon as Beth, Steven Skybell as Gabe and Jenna Stern as Karen. Baker appeared in All My Sons at Westport Country Playhouse in 2003. On Broadway, he was in A Raisin in the Sun, The Rainmaker, Once Upon a Mattress and Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Bacon was in Children at Westport Country Playhouse last season. On Broadway, she was seen in Tom Stoppard’s Rock N’ Roll, and off-Broadway in Happy Now? Skybell’s work on Broadway includes Pal Joey, Wicked, The Full Monty, Love! Valour! Compassion! and Ah, Wilderness. Stern appeared on Broadway in The Elephant Man and the recent film, The Best and the Brightest.

All four cast members will be guests at a Sunday Symposium on Sunday, June 6, following the 3 p.m. matinee performance of Dinner With Friends. “It’s always exciting to hear about a play from an actor’s perspective,” said Kennedy, who will moderate the Symposium. “These four have been living and breathing this material for quite a while now. They’re such consummate artists, so articulate about what they do, and a genuine joy to have in rehearsal every day. I know the audience is going to love hearing from them.” The Sunday Symposium is supported, in part, by the White Barn Program of the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

Dinner With Friends is about Gabe & Karen and Tom & Beth, two couples who have been close friends for years, and who participate in all the familiar and comfortable rituals of shared vacations, good conversation and great food. When Tom abruptly walks out on Beth, it threatens more than just their marriage alone. This vibrant and edgy contemporary play explores the difficulties of one couple surviving the other pair’s divorce.

In addition to the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Dinner With Friends received an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play, the Dramatists Guild/Hull-Warriner Award, the American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination.
Donald Margulies’ works include Time Stands Still, which had its Broadway premiere earlier this year and is nominated for a 2010 Tony Award; and Collected Stories, which recently opened on Broadway. Other plays are Shipwrecked! An Entertainment — The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself), Brooklyn Boy and Sight Unseen. Sight Unseen and Collected Stories were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He also wrote Two Days, God of Vengeance, adapted from the classic Yiddish drama by Sholem Asch, The Model Apartment (Obie Award), The Loman Family Picnic, Found a Peanut, Luna Park and What’s Wrong with This Picture? Margulies is the recipient of the 2000 Sidney Kingsley Award for outstanding achievement in the theater by a playwright and is a member of the council of the Dramatists Guild of America. He teaches playwriting at Yale University and lives in New Haven. He attended Purchase College where he majored in visual arts.

This production will mark the Westport Country Playhouse directing debut of Associate Artistic Director David Kennedy. Kennedy joined the Playhouse in March 2009 and most recently served as associate artistic director at Dallas Theater Center. He is a founding artistic director of The Lunar Society in Toronto and Milkman Theatre Group in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was artistic director of The Summer Cabaret in New Haven. Kennedy was the assistant director on the Tony-winning musical Urinetown for Dodger Theatricals/The Araca Group. He is a former Phil Killian Fellow at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a Drama League Directing Fellow and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

The design and production team includes Lee Savage, scenic design (Helen Hayes Award nomination for Richard III and Connecticut Critics Circle Award for The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow); Emily Rebholz, costume design (New York credits with Roundabout Theatre, Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater); Matthew Richards, lighting design (New York credits with Atlantic Theater, Playwrights Horizons, MCC); Fitz Patton, original music and sound design (Broadway’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, 2010 Lortel Award for When the Rain Stops Falling at Lincoln Center); Mark Silence, fight choreographer; Bonnie Brady, production stage manager; and Janet Foster, casting.

Corporate partner is Westport Resources. Board of trustees partners are Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler, and Michael Klingher & Lindsay Schine. 2010 80th Season sponsor is Sun Products Corporation. 2010 media sponsor is Moffly Media.

The performance schedule is Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Special series feature Previews, Opening Nights, Thursday TalkBack, Sunday Symposium and Backstage Pass.

Subscriptions to all five plays are available for preferred seating and pricing. Single tickets range from $35 to $60; opening night tickets, including post-performance reception, are $65. Students and educators are eligible for 50% discounts. Groups of 10 or more save up to 30%. For group sales information call (203) 227-5137, x120.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of Westport Country Playhouse (website | profile | tag archive).

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