Friday, March 6, 2020
FORMER READING WITH “CHEEKY” TITLE RETURNS TO PTC FOR FULL PRODUCTION
Playwright Ellen Simon pens Ass, a new comedy about a difficult artist and his complicated family. PTC artistic director, Karen Azenberg, directs the world premiere.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT— The world premiere of Ass, a comedy by successful playwright and screen writer Ellen Simon, opens at PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY (PTC) on MARCH 27 and runs through APRIL 11, 2020. Tickets for this production can be purchased by calling 801-581-6961 or by visiting pioneertheatre.org.
A brilliant sculptor of great world renown is confronted by his son and ninth wife as he deals with his own mortality. A witty and engaging look at a family who can’t help but behave badly, Ass is funny, and real, and astonishing, all at once.
“Our audiences enjoyed the development of the script for Ass during its Play-by-Play reading in 2018. It’s gratifying to watch this production come full circle with Ellen,” states director Karen Azenberg. “And to witness our lifelong relationship, growing up together backstage in New York, coming around full circle as well.”
“It’s destined that Karen and I would end up in theatre,” said playwright Ellen Simon. “We had a front row seat to our fathers’ (Broadway producer Manny Azenberg and playwright Neil Simon) friendship and to their professional collaboration, influencing our careers in theatre. We’re excited to continue this partnership as second-generation collaborators. “
T. RYDER SMITH stars as Jule Waterman, the contentious father whose genius has inflated his ego to massive proportions. Smith has been on Broadway in Oslo, War Horse, and Equus. He has also appeared on screens in The Report, “Hunters,” “Instinct,” “The Blacklist,” “White Collar,” PBS series “The Abolitionists,” and Brainscan, as well as voice acted for “The Venture Bros.” (Baron Underbheit) and the “Bioshock” video games (Sander Cohen).
BEN CHERRY returns from The Lifespan of a Fact and last season’s Oslo as Will Waterman, the underachieving son who will always be compared to one of the “great” artists. On Broadway, Cherry has performed in Indecent, Fiddler on the Roof, and in the national tour of Mary Poppins. His television appearances include “The Following,” “Smash,” and “I Love You…But I Lied.”
Returning from last season’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, LAURA J. HALL plays Jule’s ninth wife, Tory. She performed on Broadway in Wonderland and toured with Diane Paulus’ revival of Pippin. Her television credits include “The Blacklist,” “Shades of Blue,” and “The Today Show.” She also performed in PTC’s Something’s Afoot and A Christmas Carol: The Musical.
ELIZABETH RAMOS and VINCE MCGILL round out the cast, as Will’s sunny wife, Ana, and Jule’s kind dialysis nurse, Ray. Ramos returns to PTC after last season’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. She’s performed Off-Broadway in Then They Forget About the Rest, The Idea of Me, and A Month in the Country and on television in “Law and Order: SVU.” McGill returns after last season’s Sweat and has had award-winning performances as Paul in Six Degrees of Separation, Floyd in Seven Guitars, Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun, and Capt. Richard Davenport in A Soldier’s Play.
Playwright ELLEN SIMON wrote the screenplays for One Fine Day and Moonlight and Valentino, and worked on the script for the successful box-office movie How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Her plays have been performed as part of the Duke Broadway Preview series, at Stages Repertory Theatre and at Pasadena Playhouse. She also wrote for the TV series “thirtysomething.”
KAREN AZENBERG directs, and is in her eighth season as Artistic Director of PTC. This is her third world premiere at Pioneer Theatre Company (Alabama Story in 2015 and /i/ in 2018, both of which originated as Play-by-Play selections). Among others, she has directed the Utah premiere of The Play That Goes Wrong as well as the regional premieres of Oslo, Sting’s The Last Ship, and Les Misérables.
JO WINIARSKI returns from her work on The Lifespan of a Fact to design the scenic production. Her credits include being art director for “Late Night With Seth Meyers” for the first five seasons, as well as receiving an Emmy nomination for art direction for “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!”
PHILLIP R. LOWE designs costumes, returning from last season’s The Lion in Winter. He was the Kennedy Center’s 2002 recipient of the National Barbizon Award for his costume design in The Lion in Winter. He was the Costume Director for Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre and has created costumes for Plan-B Theatre Company and Salt Lake Acting Company, among many others.
PAUL MILLER designs lights. He returns to PTC this season after Cagney, and has designed on Broadway for Amazing Grace, The Illusionists, Macbeth, Legally Blonde and Company. He also designed Mamma Mia!, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Curious Incident…, I Hate Hamlet, A Few Good Men, Much Ado About Nothing, and In The Heights at Pioneer Theatre Company.
WILL VAN DYKE composes original music for Ass. Previously he created original music for /i/ and is currently the music supervisor/orchestrator/arranger for The Little Shop of Horrors Off-Broadway. He was previously the music supervisor for Pretty Woman: The Musical on Broadway, and also served as the music director of Kinky Boots.
PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY (PTC): Now celebrating its 58th season, the award-winning PTC is Utah’s Premiere Professional Theatre and a leading arts organization of the West. Led by Artistic Director Karen Azenberg and Managing Director Christopher Massimine, PTC promotes community-building and education through presenting world-class productions; developing new socially resonant and universal work; hosting talks, lectures, and workshops that engage a versatile and inclusive demographic, while celebrating diversity in culture and society; and serving as the connecting bridge between art and scholarship as an affiliate of the University of Utah.
MEDIA PHOTOS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: High-resolution color photos of this production will be available for media use on the PTC website beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020 after 3 p.m.
Go directly to http://www.pioneertheatre.org/press-room/media-photos/ to view.
INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff are available. Call 801-581-7222 to arrange.
Pioneer Theatre Company
By Ellen Simon
March 27 – April 11, 2020
Monday – Thursday, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Pioneer Theatre Company (PTC) is located in the
Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City
$31 – $47 in advance; $5 more when purchased on day of show
Box Office: 801-581-6961
Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon. – Fri.
BEN CHERRY*………………………..Will Waterman
LAURA J. HALL*………………….……Tori
T. RYDER SMITH*…………………….Jule Waterman
JO WINIARSKI………………………….Scenic Designer
PHILLIP R. LOWE……………………..Costume Designer
PAUL MILLER…………………………..Lighting Designer
WILL VAN DYKE……………………….Composer
ALLAN BRANSON…………………….Sound Designer
MARY COSTELLO*……………………Production Stage Manager
* Member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)