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March 10, 2008    
Contact: Heather Nowlin
(801) 581-7222
heather.nowlin@ptc.utah.edu

   
PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS

 
The Heiress

By Ruth and Augustus Goetz, suggested by the Henry James novel Washington Square

 

 

Pioneer Theatre Company presents the romantic drama The Heiress, running March 14 through March 29, 2008. An adaptation of the classic Henry James novel Washington Square, The Heiress enjoyed a successful run on Broadway, 1947 – 1950, and was the basis for the 1949 Academy Award-winning film of the same name starring Olivia de Havilland. More recently, the play was revived at Lincoln Center in 1995, and starred Cherry Jones.

Catherine Sloper, gentle and painfully shy, lives quietly with her widowed father in New York City’s wealthy Washington Square in 1850. When handsome, dashing but penniless Morris Townsend begins to court her, does he truly understand Catherine's passionate and beautiful spirit? Is this Catherine's last chance for love, or is Townsend, as her father suspects, merely a calculating fortune hunter? It’s the 19th Century’s version of dating trials and tribulations – with an overbearing father and meddling aunt thrown in for good measure.

Catherine Sloper is played by AEA member Effie Johnson. Johnson appeared on Broadway in Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington and understudied Cherry Jones in A Moon for the Misbegotten with Gabriel Byrne. She received a Drammy Award at Portland Center Stage for her portrayal of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Her film credits include Delivery (for which she received an Acting Award from the First Run Film Festival), Next, Please, and Enter Dogmaville.

Dr. Austin Sloper, Catherine’s father, is portrayed by Equity actor Thomas Carson. Carson’s New York credits include Major Barbara and The Importance of Being Earnest for Irish Repertory Theatre, Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall, Alive by Night for UBU Repertory, War on The Third Floor at Perry St. Theatre, The Broken Pitcher, Breakfast Conversations in Miami, and The Tempest with Theatre for a New Audience. He returns to PTC after appearing there several years ago in As You Like It.

Catherine’s handsome suitor Morris Townsend is played by AEA actor Alex Podulke. Podulke’s New York credits include Flesh and the Desert at Theatre Row, Romeo and Juliet in Central Park, and Cyrano de Bergerac at the Metropolitan Opera with Placido Domingo. His regional credits include Titus Andronicus at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., Pride and Prejudice at Portland Center Stage, and six seasons at the Guthrie Theatre. He returns to the Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre’s stage after appearing in Enchanted April.

Catherine’s Aunt Lavinia Penniman is played by Equity actress Libby George. George toured nationally with John Houseman’s acting company for three years, and has been seen on various New York stages, most recently in Dorothy Parker’s Ladies of the Corridor. She returns to PTC after appearing in several shows here, including Joyful Noise, Richard III, An Ideal Husband, and last season’s Pride and Prejudice, in which she played Mrs. Bennet.

Playing Morris Townsend’s devoted sister Mrs. Montgomery is AEA actress Colleen Baum. Baum was seen in last season’s You Can’t Take It With You and Lost in Yonkers at PTC. She has also been seen at local companies such as SLAC in SexSting, Rabbit Hole, The Water Project, and others, and Plan-B Theatre Company in Animal Farm, War of the Worlds and The Laramie Project.

Rounding out the cast as members of the Slopers’ family and household are AEA actors Cecelia Riddett as Aunt Elizabeth Almond, Anne Bowles as Catherine’s cousin Marian, happily engaged to Arthur Townsend, who is played by Thomas Marcus. Cheryl Gaysunas plays Maria, the housekeeper. Riddett was last seen in New York as Mrs. Pratt in The Return of the Prodigal at the Mint Theater; Bowles appeared on Broadway in Inherit the Wind as Mrs. Loomis/US-Rachel Brown. Marcus was last seen on the PTC stage as Cobweb in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Gaysunas appeared on Broadway in La Bête, The Moliere Comedies, and as Mabel in An Ideal Husband directed by Sir Peter Hall.

Directing the production is John Going. On Broadway, Going directed Tony Lo Bianco in Hizzoner! His other New York credits include direction for Mart Crowley's A Breeze from the Gulf. Internationally his work has been seen in Moscow, Johannesburg, Vienna, Frankfurt, Toronto and Winnipeg. Going, associate Artistic Director for the Olney Theatre in Maryland, returns to PTC after directing Evita, Hay Fever, and Fiddler on the Roof, among others.

Scenic Design for The Heiress is by James Wolk. Wolk’s NYC designs include The President and Her Mistress, Summer of the Swans at Theatreworks USA, Pagans at the Abingdon Theatre, Boys' Life at Lincoln Center and Three Sisters, both directed by William H. Macy. He has been nominated for the Helen Hayes, Barrymore, and American Theatre Wing Awards. Wolk returns to PTC after designing such shows as Lost in Yonkers, The Mousetrap, and A Streetcar Named Desire.

PTC Resident Costume Designer Carol Wells-Day designs the costumes for this lavish period piece. Wells-Day worked for the Utah Shakespearean Festival for 13 years as a costume shop supervisor and designer. Her recent designs for PTC include Doubt, Lost in Yonkers, and Pride and Prejudice.

Lighting Design is by Dennis Parichy.

Sound design is by PTC resident sound designer Joe Payne. Payne is in his eighth season as Resident Sound Designer for Pioneer Theatre Company. He has designed sound and/or composed music for more than 100 productions in theatres throughout the country.

Hair and make-up designer Amanda French, PTC resident designer, has worked for theatres all over the west. She is a contributing writer in the ninth edition of Stage Makeup by Richard Corson and James Glavan and is a featured artist in The Costume Technician’s Handbook by Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey.

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MEDIA PHOTO SHOOT: There will be a media photo shoot on Tuesday, March 4th, 2008. The shoot will be held at 12:30 P.M. in the REHEARSAL HALL (Room 245, downstairs) of Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 E., SLC. Please RSVP at (801) 581-7222. Please RSVP at (801) 581-7222.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: High-resolution color photos of this production will be available for media use on the PTC website beginning Wed., February 6, 2008 after 3:00 p.m. Go directly to www.pioneertheatre.org /season/presspix.html

TV CAMERA FILMING: Filming a short segment of the production during Preview or Opening Night for press use can be arranged. Call (801) 581-6270.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff are available. Call (801) 581-7222.

PRESS TOURS: Tours of the set for the press are available. Call (801) 581-7222.

 

WHO:              Pioneer Theatre Company

 

WHAT:           The Heiress

 

WHEN:           March 14 – March 29, 2008

 

TIMES:           Mondays - Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.

                        Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00 p.m.

                        Saturday matinees, 2:00 p.m.

 

WHERE:         Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre

                        300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City

 

PRICE:           $21 - $39; Children are half price on Mondays and Tuesdays

 

MORE INFO: Box Office (801) 581-6961. The Box Office is open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday - Friday, and Saturdays when there are performance.   www.pioneertheatre.org

 

CAST:

Colleen Baum*............................................................ Mrs. Montgomery

Anne Bowles*............................................................. Marian Almond

Thomas Carson*......................................................... Dr. Austin Sloper

Cheryl Gaysunas*........................................................ Maria

Libby George*............................................................ Mrs. Lavinia Penniman

Effie Johnson*............................................................. Catherine Sloper

Thomas Marcus........................................................... Arthur Townsend

Alex Podulke*............................................................. Morris Townsend

Cecelia Riddett*.......................................................... Mrs. Elizabeth Almond

 

 

ARTISTIC TEAM:

Director....................................................................... John Going

Set Designer................................................................ James Wolk

Costume Designer....................................................... Carol Wells-Day   

Lighting Designer......................................................... Dennis Parichy

Dialect Coach.............................................................. Adrianne Moore

Sound Designer........................................................... Joe Payne

Wig and Make-up Designer......................................... Amanda French

 

 

* Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.