Writers' Theatre presents David Mamet's THE FROG PRINCE
David Mamet’s The Frog Prince
directed by Artistic Associate Jimmy McDermott
Glencoe, IL— Writers’ Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director
Kathryn M. Lipuma proudly inaugurate family programming with David Mamet’s The Frog Prince, directed by Artistic Associate Jimmy McDermott. The production runs Saturday afternoons on February 23, March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2008, at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday mornings on March 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2008, at 11 a.m. The press is invited to attend on Saturday, February 23, 2008, at 12:30 p.m.
Please note date and time changes: The production runs Saturday afternoons on February 23, March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2008, at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday mornings on March 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2008, at 11 a.m.
Writers’ Theatre introduces family programming with a retelling of The Frog Prince, an unlikely play from one of theatre’s most successful and groundbreaking writers who sheds new light on a familiar fairytale. An arrogant prince, a doomed kingdom, a curse and a kiss all take stage in this story that asks the question: Can people truly change?
“I am delighted to announce the long overdue launch of programming that seeks to provide the same caliber of text and artistry as our main stage productions but which is aimed primarily at a family audience,” comments artistic director Michael Halberstam. “Given the significant number of families in our vicinity, a production that celebrates the word and the artist, while avoiding condescension and overt sentimentality, seems a natural addition to our lineup. Now that we have established a tradition of in-school theatre residencies and outreach programming with our wildly successful touring production The MLK Project directed by Ron OJ Parson, The Frog Prince provides an obvious and necessary component to building a season!”
The Frog Prince is recommended for ages 8 and older. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
The cast includes Erik Hellman (The Prince), Dana Tretta (The Milkmaid), Penny Slusher
(The Peasant), and Aaron Alpern (The Servingman).
The designers are Keith Pitts (scenic), Tatjana Radisic (costumes), Adam Friedland (lights), Tina-Louise Mead Happ (sound), Tramon Crofford (properties). The stage manager is Wendy Woodward.
Jimmy McDermott (Director) is the artistic associate at Writers’ Theatre where he recently directed 365 Days/365 Plays and Puppetmaster of Lodz. He is also a company member with the side project theatre company in Chicago, having directed The 4th Graders Present An Unnamed Love-Suicide, The Elephant Man, Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets, Salome and Sweet Pretty Love Jam. Other directing credits include work for The Hypocrites and Collaboraction. McDermott received his MFA in directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University in 1999.
Erik Hellman (The Prince) is pleased to make his debut at Writers Theatre in this production. Most recently he appeared in Court Theatre’s Titus Andronicus having previously appeared in Court Theatre’s production of Arcadia. Recent work includes the Theatre for Young Audiences performances of The Elephant Man and Huck Finn at Steppenwolf, The Busy World is Hushed (Next Theatre), Feast (Chicago Dramatists), Tartuffe (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company), Hatfield and McCoy (The House Theatre of Chicago), New Orleans (The Side Project) and Macbeth (The Mirror Rep, Off-Broadway, New York).
Erik is a member of Strawdog Theatre Company where he has appeared in Three Sisters, Impossible Marriage (Joseph Jefferson Nomination, Best Supporting Actor) and Puntila and His Man Matti. Film work includes the upcoming feature The Dark Knight. Erik is a Denver native and a graduate of Northwestern University. In his spare time he teaches banjo.
Aaron Alpern (The Servingman) returns to Writers’ Theatre, where previously he portrayed The Bear in Marriage and Bears and has performed as an understudy in The Puppet-master of Lodz, The Chosen, Doctors Dilemma, Rocket to the Moon and is currently an understudying for As You Like It. Locally Alpern has played The Player King in Hamlet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Prospero in The Tempest (First Folio Shakespeare Festival), Eddie in Halcyon Days (TimeLine Theatre Company), Morell in Candida (Circle Theatre) and Shylock in Merchant Of Venice (Shakespeare’s Motley Crew). Regional credits include Bill in Bea’s Niece (Next Act Theatre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Martin in Substance Of Fire (Northern Stage, Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Gavronsky in I.D. (Quantum Theatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Paul in Misery (Apollo Fine Arts and Entertainment Center, Peoria, Illinois), Cooper in Denial (Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Detroit, Michigan), Banquo in Macbeth (Theatre at the Center, Munster, Illinois), Lenny in Mice And Men, (Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, Santa Maria, California). Alpern received his MFA in Acting from The California Institute for the Arts and his Bachelors degree from the University of Michigan.
Dana Tretta (The Milkmaid) joins Writers’ Theatre for the first time. She was most recently seen as Sally Bowles in Cabaret with Theo Ubique Theatre Company. She has also worked with Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Drury Lane Watertower, TimeLine Theatre Company, StageLeft Theatre, Bohemian Theatre Company and White Horse Theatre Company.
Penny Slusher (The Peasant) has appeared in several Writers’ Theatre productions. She was seen as Lavinia Hubbard in Another Part Of The Forest (for which she won an After Dark Award and Joseph Jefferson Award for best supporting actress), Grace in Bus Stop and Nettie in The Subject Was Roses. Most recently she portrayed Marina (Nanny) in Uncle Vanya with Court Theatre (After Dark Award). Also at Court Theatre, she was Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest and Mrs. Malins in James Joyce’s The Dead. She has appeared as Simona in Serendipity Theatre’s The Outfit, Rosemary (Joseph Jefferson citation nominee) in Griffin Theatre’s Picnic, Aunt Hannah in All The Way Home (also Griffin Theatre) and Mrs. Grogan in Famous Door’s Joseph Jefferson Award winning production of The Cider House Rules. Musical theatre productions include Countess Maritza and Kismet at Light Opera Works, The 1940s Radio Hour, Oliver! and The Boyfriend.
Writers’ Theatre is a professional company focusing on the word and the artist, with the playwright at the center of its mission. The 16-year-old company produces classic scripts and cultivates new works including literary adaptations, second productions and rarely or infrequently produced works of classic writers, invigorating them with new energy and a new approach. For its first 12 years, Writers’ Theatre performed in the anteroom of “Books on Vernon” at 664 Vernon Avenue in Glencoe. In the fall of 2003, the company opened its new 108-seat thrust stage performance venue at 325 Tudor Court, continuing its tradition of bringing audiences face to face with literature’s greatest creators and creations in an intimate environment.
The company continues to produce works in both spaces, maintaining an intimate theatrical experience for audiences while growing annual attendance to more than 30,000. In the past seven years, the subscriber base has grown almost 250%, from 1,500 in 2000 to more than 5,200 in 2007. With an operating budget of more than $3 million, Writers’ Theatre is supported by a staff of 16 fulltime employees and a 27-member Board of Trustees.
The Frog Prince / FACT SHEET
Title: The Frog Prince
Written by: David Mamet
Directed by: Jimmy McDermott
Featuring: Erik Hellman, Aaron Alpern, Dana Tretta, Penny Slusher
Dates: Press opening: Saturday, February 23, 2008,
at 12:30 p.m.
Regular run: Saturdays February 23, March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29
Sundays, March 9, 16, 23 and 30
Schedule: Saturdays: 12:30 p.m., Sundays: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
Box Office: The Box Office is located at 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe; 847-242-6000; www.writerstheatre.org
Notes of Interest:
· The Frog Prince marks the inauguration of Writers’ Theatre’s new Family Programming, an extension of Writer’s commitment to producing meaningful educational works for children and young adults. In 2005 Writers’ commissioned The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights, written by Yolanda Androzzo and directed by Ron OJ Parson. The one-woman show follows a young girl’s search for truth and self-discovery through the American Civil Rights Movement. The production will tour Chicago-area schools through February 29, 2008.
· The classic fairy tale The Frog Prince is best known through the Brother’s Grimm written version. David Mamet’s charming adaptation is one of his Three Children's Plays, which also contains The Poet and the Rent: A Play for Kids from Seven to 8:15 and The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock.
· The Frog Prince features Equity actors, including Penny Slusher, winner of the Jeff Award for her role in Writers’ production of Another Part of the Forest. The Frog Prince is a full production and exhibits the excellent professional elements that have become Writers’ hallmark.