Wednesday, June 11, 2014


THE LAB AT LUNA Presents a Scripts Up! Production of

The Widow of Tom's Hill
A new play by Aleks Merilo
Directed by Rachel Black Spaulding
Starring Thomas Layman and Melissa Toomey

WHEN: Friday, June 13 @ 8 PM; Saturday, June 14 @ 3 PM & 8 PM
WHERE: Luna Stage, Studio Theatre, 555 Valley Road, West Orange
ADMISSION: $18 (Student Rush with valid ID $10 at the door

It is 1918 and the deadliest plague in human history has erupted across the globe—the influenza pandemic. When a small American town on the Washington coast becomes the subject of an armed quarantine, two liaisons from opposite sides of the blockade —a nineteen-year-old widow and a young sailor - engage in a surprising and dangerous match. Their lives and the town's fate lie in the balance.

Tickets can be purchased ONLINE or by phone (973.395.5551) or in-person Tuesday-Friday 10 AM-3 PM.


Thomas Layman (The Sailor)

Thomas has been working in theater and film for the past seven years. Credits include The Importance of Being Earnest at Tri-State Actors Theater, Marat/Sade, at the Classical Theater of Harlem, The Philadelphia Story at Ivoryton Playhouse and Peter Pan and A Murder is Announced, at the Dorset Theater Festival, as well as numerous acting and directing credits at the American Theater of Actors. He worked with Melvin Van Peebles on the film “Confessions of a Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and has assistant directed at Lake George Rep and directed at Manhattan Rep and American Theater of Actors. He would like to thank the cast, crew, and his family for their support: congratulations and thanks to Beth.


Melissa Toomey (Aideen)

This Lab production marks Melissa's second appearance at Luna, having performed in a reading of Tammy Ryan's Tar Beach in 2012 as part of the New Moon Reading Series. Other recent stage credits include The Tempest, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Pericles (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Jailbait (Alliance Repertory Theater), The Strindberg Project: Miss Julie (Grex Group Theatre), and in a special excerpt presentation of Heartbreak House (The Pearl Theatre Company). Film/Television work includes featured roles on Girls (HBO) and The Following (FOX), and several independent short films. Next up, she'll be shooting That's My Time, a new web series about the NYC Comedy Club scene. Melissa is a BFA graduate of SUNY Purchase's conservatory of acting, and would like to thank Rachel Black Spaulding for the opportunity to work on this piece!


Rachel Black Spaulding (Director)

As an actress Rachel was seen on Luna’s main stage two seasons ago in the role of Vita Sackville West in Vita and Virginia under the direction of Jane Mandel, for which she received rave reviews. Switching hats, her directing credits include Maximum Velocity by Jonathan R. Citron (Luna Stage’s Annual Short Play Festival 2014); Queue, also by Mr. Citron (The Theater Project’s Short Play Festival 2014); Booth Lincoln Booth by Thomas Molyneaux and Written On Her Face by Stacie Lents (Luna Stage’s New Moon Reading Series); and The Potential Amanda by Eric Alter (Grove Street Theater). As a guest artist Rachel recently set Pippin’s “Magic To Do” on the Dance Company at Glenfield Middle School - Montclair, New Jersey’s Magnet School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Rachel coaches and teaches drama and voice, and has been a Literary Associate of Luna Stage for seven years. A veteran performer of the stage (and wee bit of film), she has been directed by such Broadway and film legends as Susan Stroman, Woody Allen, Mike Ockrent, Gracielle Daniele, and Paul Gemignani; and has performed alongside such luminaries as Roger Daltrey, Hal Linden, Roddy McDowell, Ben Vereen, Tony Randall, and more. Rachel is a longstanding member of Actors Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA.


Aleks Merilo (Playwright)

Aleks Merilo is a Portland based playwright and drama teacher. Originally from Palo Alto, CA, he holds a BA in Theater, and an MFA in playwriting from The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. Merilo’s scripts include EXIT 27 (Performed at the Landing Theatre in Houston, Texas, and The Sanguine Theatre Company in New York City) BLUR IN THE REAR VIEW, (Winner of the James Rodgers Playwriting Contest, premiered at the University of Kentucky, Lexington) and LITTLE MOSCOW, (Winner of Dubuque Playwriting Contest). His plays have been performed/developed with the aide of The Furious Theater at the Pasadena Playhouse, Old Globe Theater, Portland Center Stage Fertile Ground Festival, Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Ross Valley Players, The Moving Arts Theater, The UCLA New Play Festival, and Portland Readers Theater among others.


About The Lab at Luna

The Lab at Luna is a new initiative that provides emerging theatre artists with a safe space in which to experiment and share works-in-progress with their audiences. It is a place of possibility; where risk is encouraged and visions are nurtured.