Written by: THERESA REBECK
Direction: ADAM IMMERWAHR
WHEN: October 14 – November 2, Thurs. 7:30 PM; Friday & Saturday 8 PM; Saturday 3 PM & Sunday 2 PM
WHERE: McCarter’s Matthews Theatre, 91 University Place in Princeton.
TICKETS: Single tickets start as low as $25 and are on sale now online at www.mccarter.org, by phone at 609.258.2787, or in person at the McCarter Theatre Ticket Office, located at 91 University Place in Princeton.
For more info about The Understudy, please visit the production’s dedicated website.
Of Note: the Sunday, October 19th Dialogue on Drama will feature director Adam Immerwahr and playwright Theresa Rebeck in conversation, after the performance. Admission to Dialogue on Drama is free and open to the public, and will begin shortly after the 2:00 PM performance (roughly 3:30 PM). No ticket or reservation is required.
Pulitzer Prize-finalist Theresa Rebeck, creator and producer of the NBC hit Smash, pens a backstage battle royale for the ages. Things are looking grim at the understudy rehearsal for a hit new Broadway play—a “lost masterpiece” from one of the 20th century’s most enigmatic writers—Franz Kafka. The set technician is high, the cocky movie star doesn’t understand the script and the new understudy is surprised to find that the stage manager is his jilted ex-fiancée. Backstage drama steps into the spotlight in this biting comedy about art, celebrity, and the crazy things we do for the business we love.
The Understudy, which premiered at Roundabout Theatre Company on Broadway in 2009, will be performed in McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. With more than a thousand seats, McCarter’s production marks the largest space in which the work has ever been staged, featuring a scenic design by Tony and Emmy-Award winning designer Eugene Lee. Audiences will witness a production that takes full advantage of the expansive space - with action taking place onstage, at tech tables, in the back of the house, and right in the aisles.
Playwright Theresa Rebeck adds: “I’m really excited about the space at McCarter; that it will be produced in the larger theater [the Matthews]. I have never seen a production of The Understudy on a stage that size, which I think it was meant for. I’m grateful that Emily [Mann] had the vision to say, “Let’s do it.””
This production also marks the main stage directorial debut of Associate Artistic Director, Adam Immerwahr, who began his professional career in McCarter's Intern Program—a season-long educational and artistic training program dedicated to cultivating and mentoring the next generation of theater artists and artistic leaders.
According to McCarter Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann: “Over the last decade I have had the distinct joy of watching Adam, who has always been an exceptional individual, develop his craft as both a director and an institutional leader and I am proud to introduce his work to McCarter audiences.”
The cast is a trio of young talents, with Adam Green as struggling actor (and understudy) Harry; Danielle Skraasdad as stage manager Roxanne; and JD Taylor as film star Jake. Princeton audiences will well-remember Adam Green for his recent tour-de-force turn as Figaro in McCarter’s productions of The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro. JD Taylor will be appearing at McCarter for the first time, having appeared at numerous theatres across the country including Denver Theatre Center and Williamstown Theatre Festival among others. Danielle Skraasdad, also a McCarter newcomer, has been featured in numerous regional theatres across the country; and New York in such productions as All My Sons (Broadway), In the Wake (The Public), and The Moundbuilders (Signature).
The creative/design team includes a full-of-surprises scenic design from Eugene Lee, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning designer (Sweeney Todd, Wicked, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, many more) who has created numerous celebrated worlds for McCarter in the past, including Proof, Last of the Boys, and A Seagull in the Hamptons. Joining Mr. Lee on the creative team are Stephen Strawbridge (Lighting Design), Kristin Isola (Costume Design), Nick Kourtides (Sound Design), Sam Pinkleton (Choreography) and Samantha Bellomo (Fight Choreography).
ABOUT THERESA REBECK (Playwright)
Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad. NYC productions of her work include Dead Accounts at the Music Box Theatre; Seminar at the Golden Theatre; Mauritius at the Biltmore Theatre in a Manhattan Theater Club Production; The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels at Second Stage; Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection and Our House at Playwrights Horizons; The Understudy at the Laura Pels Theater in a Roundabout Theatre Company production; and View of the Dome at New York Theatre Workshop. Omnium Gatherum (co-written, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003) was featured at the Humana Festival, and had a commercial run at the Variety Arts Theatre. In television, Ms. Rebeck has written for Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, Maximum Bob, First Wave, and Third Watch. She was the creator of the NBC drama Smash. She has been a writer/producer for Canterbury’s Law, Smith, Law and Order:Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue. Awards include the Mystery Writer’s of America’s Edgar Award, the Writer’s Guild of America award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, and the Peabody, all for her work on NYPD Blue. She has won the National Theatre Conference Award (for The Family of Mann), and was awarded the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award in 2003 for The Bells. In 2011 she was named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek.
ABOUT ADAM IMMERWAHR (Director/Associate Artistic Director)
Mr. Immerwahr has worked at McCarter since 2005. NYC directing credits include productions at The Public, Theater Row (both for Summer Play Festival), Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Wild Project, and NYU's Studio Tisch. Internationally, he directed the African premiere of The Convert in Zimbabwe. He has directed and developed work for Luna Stage, Hangar Theatre, Premiere Stages, Playwrights Theatre of NJ, PlayPenn, the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia Artists' Collective, Princeton Summer Theater, Westminster Choir College, Theatre Masters, and Passage Theatre Company in Trenton, where he serves as Resident Director. Adam is the Artistic Director of OnStage Seniors: a community project of McCarter Theatre. Luna Stage Directors’ Lab alumnus, Weston Award for Directing, 2008 Drama League Directing Fellowship, and 2010 NJ Theatre Alliance “Applause Award.”
The Understudy is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
About McCarter Theatre Center
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Emily Mann and Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, McCarter Theatre Center is recognized as one of the nation’s premier theater companies. Renowned for major contributions to the theatrical canon, McCarter premieres include Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (winner of the 2013 Tony Award® for Best Play) and Miss Witherspoon (both commissions); Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays; Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man (commission); Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I (commission); Emily Mann’s Having Our Say; Danai Gurira’s The Convert; Beth Henley’s Ridiculous Fraud (commission); Regina Taylor’s Crowns (commission); Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman (commission); Athol Fugard’s Valley Song; and Stephen Wadsworth’s Marivaux trilogy. McCarter has also produced major new productions of Brian Friel’s Translations, directed by Garry Hynes; Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics and Edward Albee’s All Over, directed by Emily Mann; and Electra, directed by David Leveaux. McCarter is supported by Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and over 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations. McCarter Theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton, NJ. For more information, www.mccarter.org.
Construction continues around McCarter for Princeton University’s Arts & Transit project and the expansion of the Lewis Center for the Arts. This will have an impact on parking, traffic, and transit in and around McCarter through early Fall 2014. Stay informed by visiting mccarter.org/VisitorInfo to get the latest construction updates.