They're funny, they're Southern, they're dysfunctional-and they're bound for the South Coast Repertory stage this spring.
They are the MaGrath sisters of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, stars of Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy Crimes of the Heart, coming to the Segerstrom Stage May 7 through June 6 under the direction of Warner Shook. Life isn't easy for the sisters-Lenny's horse is dead, Meg's singing career is dead and Babe's husband is near-dead (because she shot him!). But nothing-not meddling cousins, nor past and present lovers, nor a touch of mental illness-can keep these women down.
"As people in the South tend to do, they deal with their pain by finding the humor it," Shook said. "That's what keeps them going."
Blair Sams (The Last Night of Ballyhoo), Jenn Lyon (Noises Off) and Kate Rylie (Goldfish) play Lenny, Meg and Babe. Rounding out the cast are Tessa Auberjonois as Chick Boyle, Nathan Baesel as Doc Porter and Kasey Mahaffy as Barnette Lloyd.
The Crimes of the Heart creative team includes Thomas Buderwitz (set design), Angela Balogh Calin (costume design), Peter Maradudin (lighting design), Jim Ragland (sound design), Jamie A. Tucker (stage manager) and Chrissy Church (assistant stage manager).
Jean and Tim Weiss are the Honorary Producers. The Segerstrom Stage season media partner is KOCE-TV.
TICKETS: Can be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the box office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances begin May 7 and continue through June 6. Ticket prices range from $20 to $65. Low-priced preview performances are available May 7-13. Opening night is Friday, May 14, and press night is Saturday, May 15, at 8 p.m.
TIMES: Previews are Friday and Saturday, May 7 - 8, at 8 p.m., Sunday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, May 11 - 12, at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday, May 13, at 8 p.m. Regular performances are Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. There will be an ASL-interpreted performance on Saturday, Jun. 5, at 2:30 p.m.
POST-SHOW DISCUSSIONS: Wednesday, May 19, & Tuesday, May 25
Discuss the play with members of the Crimes of the Heart cast during free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory's literary team.
INSIDE THE SEASON: Saturday, May 22, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. $12
Inside the Season is a series of interactive classes that provide a comprehensive inside look at the theatrical production process. Each two-hour class features creative personnel from South Coast Repertory's current production. Inside the Season is offered on select Saturday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 each and can be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or at the Box Office. (Tickets to Crimes of the Heart are sold separately.)
LOCATION: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the Folino Theater Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available off Anton Blvd. on Park Center Drive.
COMING UP: Ben and the Magic Paintbrush (May 21 - June 6)
ABOUT SCR: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, under the artistic direction of David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theaters in the United States. Founded in 1964, SCR is committed to theater that illuminates the compelling personal and social issues of our time, not only on its stages but through its education and outreach programs. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theater, SCR is renowned for its extensive new play development program, including the Pacific Playwrights Festival. Of SCR's more than 440 productions, 114 have been world premieres with subsequent stagings achieving enormous success across America and around the world. SCR-developed works have garnered eight Pulitzer Prize nominations with Margaret Edson's Wit winning the prize in 1999 and David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole in 2007. Located in Costa Mesa, California, in 2002 SCR opened the Folino Theater Center, an expanded three-theater complex that includes the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.
Beth Henley (Playwright) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play for Crimes of the Heart. Smith and Kraus published a two-volume collection of 12 of her plays, including The Miss Firecracker Contest, The Wake of Jamey Foster, The Debutante Ball, The Lucky Spot, Abundance, Signature, Control Freaks and Impossible Marriage. Ms. Henley wrote the screenplay for the film version of Crimes of the Heart, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She also wrote the screenplays for The Miss Firecracker Contest, Nobody's Fool, Trying Times and True Stories. Ms. Henley is the Presidential Professor of Theatre Arts at LMU/LA.
Warner Shook (Director) previously directed the SCR productions of The Importance of Being Earnest, Born Yesterday (with Jennifer Lyon), The Last Night of Ballyhoo (with Blair Sams and Nathan Baesel), The Circle, You Can't Take It With You, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and Beyond Therapy. For seven years he was Artistic Director of Intiman Theatre, where he directed Angels in America, The Little Foxes, Three Tall Women, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Private Lives, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Royal Family and many others. He also directed Intiman's world premiere of The Kentucky Cycle, plus the subsequent productions at the Mark Taper Forum, the Kennedy Center and on Broadway, where it won the Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for the Tony Award. In Los Angeles, he was privileged to direct Angela Lansbury and Dana Ivey in a benefit performance of Peter Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage, and recently, he staged the world premiere of Gore Vidal's On the March to the Sea with Chris Noth, Michael Learned, Charles Durning and Richard Easton at Duke University. He was reunited with Ms. Lansbury on Broadway for the benefit performance of This Is On Me - An Evening of Dorothy Parker at the Schoenfeld Theatre. He also staged Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? at the Mark Taper Forum.
Tessa Auberjonois (Chick Boyle) appeared at SCR previously in A Wrinkle in Time, Lobby Hero, Hold Please and Everett Beekin. She has appeared Off-Broadway in Trainspotting, Uncommon Women and Others, How to Build a Better Tulip, Killers and Other Family and The Vortex. Regionally she has worked at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C., Yale Repertory Theatre, The Wilma Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse, The Empty Space Theatre and Utah Shakespearean Festival. Ms. Auberjonois' film and television roles include the upcoming Touchback, Birth, I'm Not Rappaport, Stay, "Numb3rs," "ER," "Boston Legal," "Law & Order: SVU," "Jonny Zero" and "Law & Order." Her voice can be heard in many national commercials as well as several video games. She is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and the Yale School of Drama.
Nathan Baesel (Doc Porter) appeared at SCR in A Christmas Carol, Princess Marjorie, On the Mountain and The Last Night of Ballyhoo. He starred in the film Behind the Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon, and playEd Lewis Sirk in ABC's "Invasion." Mr. Baesel guest-starred on such programs as "CSI: Miami," "CSI," "Journeyman," "Numb3rs," "Women's Murder Club" and "Without a Trace." A graduate of The Juilliard School, he has his BA in Theatre from UCLA and began his college career at Fullerton College.
Jennifer Lyon (Meg MaGrath) returns to SCR after appearing as Brooke Ashton in Noises Off (OC Weekly Actress of the Year 2009) and Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday (Ovation Award nomination). Ms. Lyon has appeared on Broadway in Tom Stoppard's trilogy, Coast of Utopia, which garnered a record-breaking 11 Tony Awards as well as playing plumb roles in great theatres all over the country, including ACT Theatre in Seattle, Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery and The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. She can now be seen in a series of Aflac commercials.
Kasey Mahaffy (Barnette Lloyd) appeared at SCR previously in You, Nero, An Italian Straw Hat: A Vaudeville and Taking Steps. Theatre credits include You, Nero at Berkeley Repertory; Out Late at The Macha Theatre in Los Angeles; The Violet Hour at Ensemble Theatre Company; Metamorphoses at Pioneer Theatre Company; Little Women at Kansas City Repertory; The Miracle Worker and Assassins at Berkshire Theatre Festival; Tartuffe and Much Ado About Nothing at Sonnet Repertory Theatre in New York City; The Merchant of Venice at Portland Center Stage; Life is a Dream at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; The Laramie Project, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, The Winter's Tale and The Servant of Two Masters at Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts; Snow White & the Several Dweebs and Something's Afoot at Oregon Cabaret Theatre; and Kiss Me Kate, Evita, South Pacific and My Fair Lady at Rogue Music Theatre. Film and television credits include Ocean's Thirteen, "Bones," "ER," "Medium," "Girlfriends," "Veronica Mars," "Crossing Jordan" and "Joey."
Katie Rylie (Babe Botrelle) returns to SCR after appearing in the world premiere of John Kolvenbach's Goldfish and the Theatre for Young Audiences production of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Additional theatre credits include Equivocation by Bill Cain at Geffen Playhouse, The Catskill Sonata (dir. Paul Mazursky), Taking Steps (dir. Allan Miller) at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and A Midsummer Night's Dream (dir. Nicolas Martin) at Williamstown Theatre Festival. She is a graduate of Connecticut College and has studied acting at the British American Drama Academy in London and at The Antaeus Company.
Blair Sams (Lenny MaGrath) appeared at SCR previously as Lala Levy in The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Theatre credits include the Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Dinner Party; Mezzulah 1946, Hanging Fire and The Gulf of Westchester, all at Florida Stage; Blithe Spirit at Indiana Repertory Theatre; Noises Off at Paper Mill Playhouse; The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Intiman Theatre; The Steward of Christendom at Huntington Theatre Company; Candida and The Adventures of Amy Bock at Yale Repertory Theatre and Alice in Bed at the American Repertory Theater. Television credits include "Ed," "Law & Order: SVU," "Deadline" and "The Guardian." Film credits include Let Others Suffer. Ms. Sams is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and American Repertory Theater's Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.