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Gurnet Theatre Project presents ‘Cherry Smoke’ beginning July 9

Gurnet Theatre Project is excited to present the New England premiere of James McManus’ Cherry Smoke directed by Brett Marks, running from July 9, 2010 until July 24, 2010 at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (949 Commonwealth Avenue) in Boston, MA.

After two years GTP returns to the Boston theatre scene with this explosive new play. Following acclaimed Boston premieres of Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead and Adam Rapp’s Essential Self-Defense, as well as the IRNE nominated This Is Our Youth, GTP is excited to be presenting yet another provocative premiere, Cherry Smoke, from one of America’s newest voices, James McManus.

Winner of the Princess Grace Award for Playwriting and set among the abandoned steel mills on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Cherry Smoke is the story of Fish, a club fighter and ticking time bomb and his girlfriend Cherry, a runaway fortune teller who has been on her own since the age of ten. Along with Fish’s brother Duffy and Duffy’s wife, Bug, the couple struggles to balance their all-consuming passion for each other with the reality of their place in life. Moving back and forth in time, the lives of four young souls are put to the test in this poetic and potent new work.

Please by advised, Cherry Smoke contains strong language, violence, and adult content. It is recommended for ages 16 and older.

Cherry Smoke features a four-person cast, all of whom are making their GTP debut, under the direction of Brett Marks.

JAMES MCMANUS (Playwright): plays include: Over/Under, Blood Potato, Underground, Cherry Smoke, Bulldog Whiskey and Dorothy 6. His plays have been developed and performed at The Clockwork Theatre, Glass Umbrella Creative (Sydney), The Kennedy Center, New Dramatists, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Barebones Productions, Irish Repertory Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, The Inkwell, Diverse City Theater and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. James was the recipient of the 2006 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting for Cherry Smoke and is a resident playwright at New Dramatists.

BRETT MARKS (Director): recent directing credits include pieces in the Boston Theatre Marathon on behalf of Gurnet Theatre Project, the Huntington Theatre Company, The Lyric Stage Company, and Orfeo Group. He is the Producing Associate at The Lyric Stage Company, and under the Growing Voices New Play Development program there, has directed numerous readings of plays by local playwrights. He is also an actor, having worked with Gurnet Theatre Project, Zeitgeist Stage, Company One, Way Theatre Artists, and Vokes Players. Brett received his BA in Theatre Arts from Boston College.

CHRIS GRAHAM (Fish): graduated from Boston College in May with a B.A. in Theater Arts and Psychology. His recent BC credits include Translations (2010), Sweet Charity (2009), and CodeMonkey (2009), an original musical written and directed by Dr. Luke Jorgensen. Hailing from Feeding Hills, MA, Chris worked his summers through high school as a theme park actor at Six Flags New England.

JACKIE MCCOY (Cherry): was most recently seen as Supergirl in The Superheroine Monologues (Phoenix Theater Artists/Company One). Other Boston credits include Donna in Missed Exit (Boston Theater Marathon), Jill/Debbie in The Heidi Chronicles (Longwood Players),and Hottie in Tenpinhighway (Boston Actor’s Theater). She is a 2007 Boston College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts and Elementary Education where she appeared as Lady Macbeth, Smeraldina in The King Stag, Beverly in The Shadowbox, Nuna in Necessary Targets, and Thomasina in Arcadia. Jackie will begin masters studies in Arts Administration at Boston University this fall.

JOE RUSCIO (Duffy): recent graduate of Emerson College’s BFA acting studio. He has most recently been seen in Moliere^2 (Ensemble) with Imaginary Beasts. Past roles at Emerson College include Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing, Tobias in Harold’s Fall or King Will, and B in Crave. Joe has also recently been collboarting to create a theatre/multimedia group called Rough Week that is developing a webseries called With These Hands.

CHELSEA SCHMIDT (Bug): has most recently been seen in Moliere^2 (Ensemble) with Imaginary Beasts. Since graduating from Emerson College she has appeared as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (ShakespeareNOW!), Lorna in Act a Lady (Theatre on Fire), and Hannah in What Cheer, Iowa? (Rough Week). She is also one of the founding members of Rough Week Productions, a brand new theatre company that had it’s debut performance last fall. Chelsea is also currently the creator of a new web series (With These Hands) which will be online this summer.

Cherry Smoke opens July 9th, 2010 and runs until July 24th, 2010 at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, 02215. Performances are 7:30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays; with 3pm matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $15.00, and may be purchased by calling 866-811-4111 or at The performances on Saturday, July 10 at 3:00pm and Wednesday, July 14 at 7:30pm will be “pay-what-you-can” performances with a $5 minimum in person, day of show only, cash only. $13 student rush tickets are available for the entire run, one hour before curtain, cash only with valid I.D. For directions, both driving and T access, please visit

Compiled from the press release courtesy of Gurnet Theatre Project (website | profile | tag archive). Your source for news and information about Boston Theatre. Join our email list, follow us on Twitter @exploretheatre and become a fan on Facebook.

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