Strawdog Theatre Company is pleased announce casting for its world premiere of Brian James Polak’s topical drama Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire, directed by Artistic Director Leda Hoffmann.
The cast includes Kylie Anderson, Elise Marie Davis, North Rory Homeward, Marssie Mencotti, James Munson, Bianca Phipps, Michael Reyes*, Jackie Seijo, Cary Shoda, Anne Sheridan Smith, Jamie Vann* and David Weiner.
Continuing Strawdog’s 32nd season, “Truth,” Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire will play April 17 – May 30, 2020 at Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Single tickets are currently available at www.strawdog.org. The press opening is Monday, April 27 at 7:30 pm.
Keene, New Hampshire shares a view of Mount Monadnock with Thornton Wilder’s fictional Our Town. Modern day Keene shares many of America’s challenges – guns, opioids, divergent political views. Chicago playwright Brian James Polak’s play explores the way we are today: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying.
Comments Artistic Director Leda Hoffmann, “I am thrilled to be making my Strawdog directing debut working with so many incredible artists. Brian’s play tells a beautiful multi-generational story of a community. Like Our Town, Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire explores what it means to be human in all its complexities. In contemporary America, we need this more than ever. I cannot wait for Chicago audiences to experience this play.”
The production team to date includes Heath Hays* (scenic design), Sally Dolembo (costume design), Claire Chrzan* (lighting design), Daniel Etti-Williams (sound design), Sam Hubbard* (fight director), Julia Atkin (assistant director) and Shannon Rourke (stage manager).
*Denotes Strawdog ensemble member
Title: Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire
Playwright: Brian James Polak
Director: Artistic Director Leda Hoffmann
Cast (in alphabetical order): Elise Marie Davis (Candice), North Rory Homeward (Kevin), Marssie Mencotti (Mrs. Cunningham), Kylie Anderson (Heather), James Munson (Mr. Cunningham), Bianca Phipps (Parking Officer), Michael Reyes* (James), Jackie Seijo (Milo), Cary Shoda (Leon), Anne Sheridan Smith (Sophie) Jamie Vann* (Officer Beauregard) and David Weiner (Louie).
Understudies: Arlene Arnone, Milo Boggan, Tom Lally, Andrew Lund, Ilirida Memedovski, Neil O'Callaghan, Kelsey Rodriguez, Lisa Stran and Thomas Tong
Location: Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Friday, April 17 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, April 19 at 4 pm, Monday, April 20 at 7:30 pm, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 pm, Friday, April 24 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 26 at 4 pm
Board Night Performance: Saturday, April 25 at 7:30 pm
Press performance: Monday, April 27 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, April 30 – Saturday, May 30, 2020
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 4 pm.
Industry Performance: Monday, May 11 at 7:30 pm
Tickets: Previews $18. Regular run $35. Seniors: $26. Board Night: $55. Tickets are currently available at www.strawdog.org. Half price rush and student tickets available at every performance and other discounts available. Call (773) 644-1380 for details.
About the Artists
Brian James Polak (Playwright) was born and raised in New Hampshire, and currently resides in Chicago. His plays include The Patient (The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award, O’Neil Playwright Conference Semi-Finalist), War Profits (The Kennedy Center’s John Cauble Award, Semi-finalist Humanitas/CTG Playwriting Prize), Dance and Crawl and Sing and Fall (Workshops: Loyola Marymount University, Rogers State University, University of Southern CA), Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire, News for the Deaf Man, and several others. Three of his one acts have been published by Smith & Kraus in their annual “Best of” anthologies. Polak received his MFA from University of Southern California, School of Dramatic Arts. He is the producer and host of American Theatre Magazine's "The Subtext," a playwright-centered podcast.
Leda Hoffmann (Director) is the Artistic Director of Strawdog Theatre Company. Her directing credits include A Christmas Carol, Black Pearl Sings, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, The Amish Project (Milwaukee Rep); Born Yesterday (Texas Shakespeare Festival); Bobbins and Thread (Mudlark Theater); A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (Milwaukee Chamber Theater); Hamlet (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); Censored on Final Approach (Renaissance Theatreworks), Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, The Penelopiad, A Second Sam (Luminous Theatre), The Cat in the Hat (Northbrook Theatre), Student Body (Marquette University), The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet (Door Shakespeare), The Chairs, King Lear (Alchemist Theatre), Phaedra’s Love (World’s Stage) and Birth Witches (Riverside Theater). Leda is a proud graduate of Grinnell College, a former Milwaukee Rep directing intern, an SDCF Observer, member of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and is an Artistic Associate at Kokandy Productions. www.ledahoffmann.com
About Strawdog Theatre Company
Since its founding in 1988, Strawdog Theatre Company has offered Chicagoland the premiere storefront theatre experience and garnered numerous Non-Equity Jeff Awards with its commitment to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach. The celebrated Company develops new work, re-imagines the classics, melds music with theatre, asks provocative questions and delivers audiences the unexpected.
Strawdog Theatre Company is supported in part by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.