Monday, October 1, 2018

Studio Theatre Extends Season-Opening Production of Steven Levenson's If I Forget

  Richard Fancy & Robin Abramson (r) star in Steven Levenson's If I Forget (Photo: Carol Rosegg)

Studio Theatre's Season-Opening Production If I Forget Extended

Studio Theatre has extended the opening production of its 40th anniversary season, Tony Award-winning playwright Steven Levenson’s (Dear Evan Hansen) If I Forget, directed by Studio’s Associate Artistic Director Matt Torney. This political-but-personal family drama set in 2000 centers on the dynamics of a modern Jewish family in DC’s Tenleytown neighborhood. Brought together by their elderly father’s 75th birthday, the adult children of the Fischer family squabble over what to do with their long-held and now lucrative 14th Street property, igniting debates on religion, politics, and history.

“Steven Levenson’s take on his hometown is a perfect project to launch our 40th anniversary season,” says Artistic Director David Muse. “It’s got great parts for actors and a plot that turns on 14th Street real estate. But even deeper, Steven’s play is a provocative examination of modern Jewish life, asking questions about assimilation, religious and cultural Judaism, and American Jews’ relationship to Israel and the Israeli government - what this family might need to forget to move forward into the twenty-first century, and what they’ll lose if they do.”

If I Forget
Written by Steven Levenson
Directed by Matt Torney
now playing through October 21, 2018

About If I Forget:
It’s July 2000: the Gore/Bush/Nader election cycle is in full swing, the Camp David Summit is falling apart, and in Tenleytown, a modern Jewish family is fracturing over what to do with their 14th Street real estate. Their mother has died, their father will need full-time care, and as their adult children debate what to do next, no topic is off limits: American Jews and their relationship to Israel, who’s already given enough to this family, a sibling’s parenting choices. A political and deeply personal play about history, responsibility, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for a new beginning, told with vicious humor and unflinching honesty by Bethesda native Steven Levenson.

About Steven Levenson:
Steven Levenson is the Tony Award-winning book writer of Dear Evan Hansen. His plays include If I Forget, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, Core Values, The Language of Trees, and Seven Minutes in Heaven. Honors include the Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League Award, Drama Desk Nomination, Hull-Warriner Nomination, Lucille Lortel Nomination, and the Helen Hayes Award. A former Artist in Residence at Ars Nova and a member of the Roundabout Leadership Council, he worked for three seasons as a writer and producer on Showtime’s Masters of Sex and is a founding member of Colt Coeur and an alumnus of MCC’s Playwrights Coalition and Ars Nova’s Play Group. His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service and Playscripts. A graduate of Brown University, he is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. and the WGA.

About Matt Torney:
Matt Torney is entering his fifth season as Associate Artistic Director at Studio, where he has directed Translations, The Hard Problem, MotherStruck!, Hedda Gabler, Jumpers for Goalposts (nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards, including Best Ensemble), The New Electric Ballroom, and The Walworth Farce (nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards.) Prior to his work at Studio, Torney served as the Director of Programming for Origin Theatre in New York, an Off Broadway company that specializes in European new writing. His New York credits include Stop the Tempo and Tiny Dynamite at Origin Theatre (Drama Desk Award nominee), The Twelfth Labor at Loading Dock, The Dudleys at Theatre for the New City, The Angel of History at HERE Arts, and Three Sisters and A Bright Room Called Day at the Atlantic Theatre School. Regional credits include Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme at Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre and Improbable Frequency at Solas Nua (Helen Hayes Award nominee for Best Choreography.) International credits include Digging for Fire and Plaza Suite with Rough Magic (National Tour), Angola at workshop at the Abbey Theatre, Paisley and Me at the Grand Opera House Belfast, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at Making Strange (Irish Theatre Award nominee for Best Director), and Woyzeck at Rough Magic (Best Production nominee at the Dublin Fringe Festival.) Originally from Belfast, Torney holds an MFA from Columbia University.

Richard Fancy (Lou) makes his Studio Theatre debut in If I Forget. Other theatre credits include Awake and Sing! (LA Drama Critics Circle Award) and All My Sons at Odyssey; Death of a Salesman (LA Drama Critics Circle and Ovation nominations), The Visit, The Master Builder, Ardele, Betrayal, Galileo, Rocket to the Moon, and Julia (also Off Broadway) at Pacific Resident Theatre; and Penelope and Razorback at Rogue Machine, where he is a founding member. He played the role of Roscoe Dexter in Singin’ in the Rain on Broadway, and was in the Off Broadway productions of Kind Lady and Rites of Passage. His extensive TV work includes recurring roles in Seinfeld, General Hospital, The District, and Carnivale. He has also appeared in NCIS, Disney’s The Middle, Mad Men, The Mentalist, The League, Men of a Certain Age, Party Down, Boston Legal, NYPD Blue, Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, and CBS’ Diagnosis: Murder.

Susan Rome (Holly) recently appeared in Studio’s smash hit production of Hand To God. Other theatre credits include Roz and Ray, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Brighton Beach Memoirs (Helen Hayes Award), The Sisters Rosensweig, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide..., The Argument, After the Revolution (Helen Hayes nomination), The Moscows of Nantucket, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, The Last Seder, and Spring Forward/Fall Back at Theater J; Love’s Labor’s Lost at Folger Shakespeare Library; The Great Society and All the Way at Arena Stage; The Diary of Anne Frank at Olney Theatre Center;  After the Revolution, Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, The Enemy of the People, and the world premiere of Mud Blue Sky at Baltimore Center Stage; The Whale, Las Meninas, and A Shayna Maidel at Rep Stage; Richard III, Macbeth, and All’s Well That Ends Well at Baltimore Shakespeare Festival; The Substance of Fire at the Mark Taper Forum; and The Legacy at Seattle Center Stage. Television and film credits include John Waters’ A Dirty Shame, My One and Only, House of Cards, NYPD Blue, and four seasons as District Attorney Ilene Nathan on The Wire.

Jonathan Goldstein (Michael) makes his Studio Theatre debut in If I Forget. Other theatre credits include Master of the House, Glass Menagerie, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Laguna Playhouse; True West at Deaf West; Sylvia at South Bay Civic Light; Zoo District’s productions of The Master & Margarita at Hudson Theatre and The Hostage at Art Share LA; I Hate Hamlet at Fulton Opera House; Very, Very Serious Plays at Goodman Studio Theatre; Fallen Angel at Circle in the Square; Ghosts and The Co-Op at La Mamma Annex; and Dangerous Corner, A Pound of Flesh, The Fatty Arbuckle Spook House Revue, and The Hotel Play for Sacred Fools Theatre Company. Goldstein’s television work includes roles in The Middle, SWAT, The Young & the Restless, Workaholics, Perception, The Defenders, CSI: New York, Criminal Minds, Parks & Recreation, Private Practice, Heroes, Drake & Josh, The Riches, House of Lies, Californication, The West Wing, Without a Trace, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Misfits, Once and Again, and Wasteland.

Robin Abramson (Sharon) makes her Studio Theatre debut in If I Forget. Other theatre credits include Heisenberg and Othello at the Pittsburgh Public Theater; FPA’s Off Broadway production of Shadowlands; The Last Match, Maple and Vine, Blackbird, Time Stands Still, Mary’s Wedding, Elemeno Pea, and Hope and Gravity at Pittsburgh City Theatre; You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up! at Denver Center; TRIBES at Philadelphia Theatre Company; The Electric Baby, Twelfth Night, and When the Rain Stops Falling at Quantum Theatre; and As You Like It at Jerusalem Theatre.

Julie-Ann Elliott (Ellen) returns to Studio Theatre after previous appearances in Chimerica and Superior Donuts. An Artistic Associate at Olney Theatre Center, she has appeared in many productions there, including leading roles in Marjorie Prime, The Tempest, Angel Street, Dinner with Friends, The Constant Wife, The Millionairess, Night Must Fall, Hedda Gabler, The Mousetrap, Blithe Spirit, Tartuffe, and Trip to Bountiful; Crave, Arcadia, and The Best Man with Potomac Theatre Project. Elsewhere in the region, she has performed with Washington Stage Guild, Baltimore Center Stage, Everyman Theatre, Folger Theatre, The Kennedy Center, MetroStage, Rep Stage, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Theater J. Her television and film credits include HBO’s Veep and the film Jamesy Boy. Elliott is an Adjunct Instructor of Acting at Howard Community College and narrates books for Potomac Talking Book Services, Inc. She holds an MFA in Acting from The Catholic University of America.

Paul Morella (Howard) has appeared at Studio Theatre in Chimerica, Two Sisters and a Piano, Conversations with My Father, Imagine Drowning, North Shore Fish, and Romeo and Juliet. Other DC-area credits include Orpheus Descending and All My Sons at Arena Stage; Richard III and Macbeth at Folger Shakespeare Library; God of Carnage, The Sex Habits of American Women, The Gospel According to Fishman, and Angels in America at Signature Theatre; After the War at Mosaic; Teddy Roosevelt at The Kennedy Center; as well as extensive work with Olney Theatre Center, Theater J, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Round House, Everyman Theatre, and MetroStage. Film credits include The Replacements, The Pelican Brief, The Hunley, Macbeth: Folger Shakespeare Library Edition, Full Moon Fables, Undiscovered, and That Night. Television credits include HBO’s The Wire, CBS’ The District, and NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street.

Joshua Otten (Joey) makes his Studio Theatre debut with If I Forget. Other theatre credits include Carousel at Arena Stage; The Secret Garden at The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre; and Gypsy, Les MisĂ©rables, The Sound of Music, Phantom, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and Hello, Dolly! at Riverside Center.

Deb Booth (Set Design) is Director of Design at Studio Theatre, where she has designed 41 shows since 2002, including Translations, The Wolves, The Father, The Hard Problem, Moment, Constellations, The Apple Family Cycle; Jumpers for Goalposts; Belleville; Cock; Edgar & Annabel; Bachelorette; Moonlight; Blackbird; My Children! My Africa!; The Pillowman; Caroline, or Change; Fat Pig; A Number; Afterplay; The Russian National Postal Service; Far Away; Privates on Parade; and many others. Her international work includes premiere opera Marco Polo (Tan Dun/Martha Clarke) in Munich, Hong Kong, and New York. Regionally, Booth’s credits include Small Mouth Sounds at Roundhouse Theatre; The Collection and The Lover at the Shakespeare Theatre Company; Roz and Ray at Theatre J; the premiere of Lost Boys of the Sudan at Minneapolis Children’s Theatre; Marisol at Hartford Stage and The Public Theatre; Trying, The Illusion, and Happy Days at Portland Stage Company; the New York premiere of Angels in America at The Juilliard School; The Game of Love and Chance at the Berkshire Theatre Festival; Broken Glass at Philadelphia Theatre Company (Barrymore Award nomination); and Moon for the Misbegotten at Yale Repertory Theatre. Booth is the recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Design Grant, and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Helen Huang (Costume Design) has designed 48 plays with Studio since 1991. Her work has been seen locally at The Washington Ballet, Ford’s Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, and Signature Theatre. She has also designed costumes for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Children’s Theatre Company, the Guthrie Theater, Classic Stage Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Disney Entertainment, Syracuse Stage, PlayMakers Repertory Company, and Boston Lyric Opera. Her international work includes set and costume design at National Opera House of China and the Central Television of China. She has received a Helen Hayes Award and an Ivey Award. Huang is a professor of MFA Costume Design at University of Maryland, College Park.

Michael Giannitti (Lighting Design) was Resident Lighting Designer at Studio Theatre from 2006-2010. Since 1991, he has designed 45 productions at Studio, including The Hard Problem, Jumpers For Goalposts, Water by the Spoonful, The New Electric Ballroom, American Buffalo, reasons to be pretty, Rock ‘n’ Roll, The Pillowman, and Seven Guitars (Helen Hayes Award nomination). He designed lighting for the Broadway premiere of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone; his Off Broadway credits include Cross That River and Sounding Beckett. He has designed extensively for Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Dorset Theatre Festival, Capital Rep, Trinity Rep, Shakespeare & Company, and the Weston Playhouse. Giannitti has also designed for Arkansas Rep, Barrington Stage, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Virginia Stage, Indiana Rep, Portland Stage, George Street, Yale Repertory Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, and the Spoleto Festival. He has been on the faculty at Bennington College in Vermont since 1992. As a Fulbright Specialist, he taught in Romania and New Zealand, and has been a guest lecturer at the Guangxi Arts Institute in China.

Nick Kourtides (Sound Designer and Composer) designs for musical theatre and creates sound environments for collaborative ensemble works. He designed sound for Geogg Sobelle’s The Object Lesson, which toured to Studio following its premiere at BAM; other collaborations with Sobelle include Elephant Room and Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl. Kourtides’s New York credits include Sunset o639 Hours at the Joyce, The Object Lesson for BAM Next Wave, Elephant Room at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Our Aeneid at Red Bull, Carson McCullers Talks About Love at Rattlestick, Jomama Jones: Radiate at Soho Rep, and Chekhov Lizardbrain at Under The Radar and Soho Think Tank. Kourtides’ work has been seen internationally at Lublin Konfrontacje Teatralne, Paris Quartier d’Ete, London Barbican, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Regionally, he has worked at McCarter Theatre, Wilma Theater, Center Theatre Group, Folger Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, Prince Music Theater, and many others. With Pig Iron Theatre Company, he has designed Cankerblossom, Isabella, Chekhov Lizardbrain, and Mission to Mercury. He was a visiting instructor in sound design at Swarthmore College in 2010.

Lauren Halvorsen (Dramaturg) is in her eighth season as Associate Literary Director of Studio Theatre. Her dramaturgy credits at Studio include Vietgone, The Wolves, Skeleton Crew, The Father, Three Sisters, The Hard Problem, Hand to God, Between Riverside and Crazy, Chimerica, The Wolfe Twins, Belleville, Water by the Spoonful, Tribes, The Real Thing, The Motherfucker with the Hat, The Aliens, Bachelorette, The Big Meal, and Time Stands Still. Previously, Halvorsen spent three seasons as Literary Manager of the Alley Theatre. She was the Artistic Associate of the WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory for six years and has worked in various artistic capacities for City Theatre Company, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, First Person Arts Festival, and The Wilma Theater. Halvorsen is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.

Allie Roy (Stage Manager) returns to Studio after previously stage managing Translations and Straight White Men. Other Studio credits include Murder Ballad, Silence! The Musical, and the world premiere of Animal for the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. Regional credits include the world premieres of Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing and Diner, as well as productions of West Side Story, Elmer Gantry, and The Scottsboro Boys at Signature Theatre; the world premiere of After the War, and productions of When January Feels Like Summer, Ulysses on Bottles, and Paper Dolls at Mosaic Theater Company; and The Originalist at Arena Stage.

Laura Stanczyk (Casting) previously cast I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart and Moment for Studio Theatre. Her Broadway, Off Broadway, and tour credits include Side Show, After Midnight, A Night with Janis Joplin, Follies, Lombardi, Ragtime, Impressionism, Seafarer, Radio Golf, Coram Boy, Translations, Damn Yankees, Dirty Dancing, The Glorious Ones, Cripple of Inishmaan, Tryst, Flight, and Urinetown. She has also cast the premieres of Cotton Club Parade, Harps and Angels, Me Myself & I, Fetch Clay Make Man, Gruesome Playground Injuries, and Golden Age, as well as productions of Master Class, Lisbon Traviata, Broadway Three Generations, Don’t Dress for Dinner, Shawshank Redemption, and Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Stanczyk has received six Artios Award nominations for Excellence in Casting and won for Eric Schaeffer's production of Follies.

John King (Assistant Director) is an Artistic Apprentice at Studio Theatre. His previous directing credits include Summertime at Dublin Fringe Festival; The Overcoat at Omnibus Theatre, London; Here Comes the Sun // I Want Ur Love at Fierce Festival Birmingham and Camden People's Theatre, and Pippin at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Previous work as assistant director includes The Beggar's Opera, Polly, and The Bacchae with Lazarus Theatre Company, London. As dramaturg, he has worked on The Taming of the Shrew with Lazarus Theatre Company, and Expectations at Theatre N16. King was formerly a Research Assistant at Shakespeare's Globe, Head of Management Team at the National Student Drama Festival UK, and was a participant on the 2017 Royal Court Writers' Group. His first play, ERIS, ran Off West End at the Bunker Theatre in September and is published by Methuen Drama. He holds a BA in English from the University of Cambridge.

Mary Alex Staude (Assistant Stage Manager) is making her Studio debut with If I Forget as the Stage Management Apprentice for the 40th season. Credits include work at Playmakers Repertory Company, Utah Festival Opera, Finborough Theatre, Hangar Theatre, and LAB! Theatre. She recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mari Andrea Travis (Assistant Dramaturg) is an Artistic Apprentice at Studio Theatre. Credits include Baltimore Center Stage: SOUL The Stax Musical (Female Ensemble), Mobile Unit Twelfth Night (Choreographer), Skeleton Crew (Assistant Director), Lookingglass Alice (Assistant Director and Dance Captain). Broadway: Fela! Nigeria (Production Assistant). She has directed Spell #7 and Colorblind: The Katrina Monologues at Arena Players. She has choreographed Black Nativity and The Wiz for Morgan State University, Ain’t Misbehavin at Spotlighter’s Theatre, Smokey Joe's CafĂ© with Arena Players, For Colored Girls... at Coppin State University. Travis has guest choreographed for Georgetown University, the Morgan State University Modern Dance Ensemble, Duke Ellington School for the Arts, and Sidwell Friends School. She is an arts educator and the founder and creative director of Good Stuff On Stage, a Baltimore community-focused performance art company. Travis received her BA in Theatre from Morgan State University.

Where: Studio Theatre’s Metheny Theatre, 1501 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
Performances (applies only to extended dates): Wednesday-Saturdays at 8 PM; Sunday at 2 PM
Ticket Prices: $67-97
now playing through October 21, 2018

Now entering its 40th season, and its ninth under the leadership of Artistic Director David Muse, Studio Theatre is Washington’s premier venue for contemporary theatre, “where local audiences will find today’s edgiest playwrights” (Variety.) One of the most respected mid-sized theatres in the country, Studio Theatre produces exceptional contemporary drama in deliberately intimate spaces. Drawing inspiration from great ensembles - where people work together with a spirit of generosity and professional rigor - Studio brings characteristic thoughtfulness and daring to its work onstage and off, through its new work incubator and engagement, education, and workforce training initiatives. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in the 2018-19 Season, Studio looks to honor its history through encouraging a creative culture in which artistry and boldness stem from inclusion, training, stewardship, and the collaborative spirit of the rehearsal room. Every year, Studio serves nearly 75,000 people, including over 1,000 youth and young adults through engagement and education initiatives. Throughout Studio’s 40-year history, the quality of its work has been recognized by sustained community support, as well as 367 nominations and 70 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in professional theatre.

Location: 1501 14th Street, NW (northeast corner of 14th and P Streets).
Parking: Studio has a parking partnership with Washington Plaza Hotel at 10 Thomas Circle, NW, three blocks south of Studio; patrons who park at the hotel’s parking garage can purchase a $13 voucher at concessions. Street parking is extremely limited; arrive early to increase your options.
Metro Stops: Red Line: Dupont Circle, Orange/Blue Lines: McPherson Square, and Green/ Yellow Lines: U Street/Cardozo.
Accessibility: Studio’s theatres are all wheelchair accessible; seats are available by reservation. Assistive listening devices are available for all shows at concessions. Call the Box Office at (202) 332-3300 for more information.

Contact Information:
Tickets and Subscriptions: (202) 332-3300
Administration: (202) 232-7267