PRESS RELEASE: Addiction Takes Center Stage at MRT in "The White Chip"

DATE: December 3, 2015
CONTACT: Kate Brandt,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678


Addiction conversation comes to the stage with a new dark comedy

Creative team has eight Tony Award-nominations and wins among them

January 6 - 31

Lowell, MA – The first of three world premieres scheduled in Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s 2015-16 Season is set to open early next month. “The White Chip” is a dark comedy about the science of addiction written by Sean Daniels, MRT’s Artistic Director and is based on his own struggles with alcoholism and path to recovery. The autobiographical story will be produced with a creative team that features an impressive list of artists who have many Broadway credits and a total of seven Tony Award nominations and one win between them.

The 90-minute play will run from January 6 - 31 with performances Wednesdays through Sundays. Press performances are on Saturday, January 9 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, January 10 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $60 - $23 and are on sale now at or by calling 978-654-4678.

According to Daniels, whose story begins with sneaking beers in high school and turns into sneaking vodka in staff meetings, “Five years ago, I couldn’t make it more than an hour in-between drinks. I had destroyed everything in my life: my relationships, my career, my health, my sanity. When I was trying to get sober, I kept trying to find something that I could read - something that was about now, something that made me laugh. Surely funny people had been through this before? So, when I got to the other side, I decided to write what I couldn’t find. Hopefully, a funny and true story about how science, humor and a bunch of Jews saved me.”

Creative Team
“The White Chip” is being directed by Sheryl Kaller (Tony-nomination for “Next Fall”) with a powerhouse cast: Benjamin Evett, a well-known and respected member of the Boston theatre community; Isabel Keating, who earned a Tony nomination for “The Boy from Oz”, in which she played opposite Hugh Jackman; and Jeffrey Binder, who recently appeared on Broadway in “The Lion King” and on television in “Damages.”

The design team includes Tony-winning Sound Designer Leon Rothenburg (“The Nance”), and Broadway veterans Jennifer Caprio (Costume Designer), Aaron Rhyne (Video Designer), and Justin Townsend (Lighting Designer), who grew up in Andover before making it big in New York. Julie Felise Dubiner’s doodle illustrations, created during the development of the play, will also be featured. The team is rounded by five-time Tony-nominated producer Tom Kirdahy, who optioned the show after seeing a reading in New York.

Kaller remarked, “I’m beyond thrilled to be directing the world premiere of “The White Chip” by Sean Daniels as he starts his leadership of MRT. Not only is Sean an award-winning director and a forward-thinking Artistic Director, he continues to challenge himself and has written a provocative, funny, heart-warming, and very brave play. “The White Chip” is a very personal play with universal appeal, it speaks to everyone.”

Producer Tom Kirdahy became involved with the production because of its unique approach to the subject and its universal appeal, “‘The White Chip’ puts to rest the idea that plays about addiction have to be depressing or hopeless. Sean Daniels has written a play that speaks to everyone. It's funny, timely and entertaining. I'm thrilled to be partnering with MRT on this show.”

White Chip Shot campaign
Daniels’ desire to make the play accessible to as many people in addiction recovery as possible led to the development of the White Chip Shot campaign. Through this program, an additional performance has been added to the schedule on January 19. This performance is exclusively for people from the community who are in treatment for addiction, who will all receive complimentary tickets to the show. Funding for this program is provided by Lead Sponsor Megan’s House, Featured Sponsor Lowell House, Backer MOAR (Massachuetts Organization for Addiction Recovery), and a group of individual donors. Additional funding received will go toward funding transportation to that performance. More information about the project, including how to donate, can be found at

Tickets range from $60 - $23 and are available at or by calling 978-654-4678. A Senior discount is offered for 10% off adult ticket prices. Student tickets are $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. $5 Night: Wednesday, January 6, at 7:30 pm. Patrons may purchase tickets for $5, cash only, at the Box Office between 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Limit 2 tickets per person. Lowell Night: Wednesday, January 13, at 7:30 pm. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10 at the box office from 4:30 pm-7:30 pm. Proper ID required, limit 2 per person.

Special Events
On Wine Down Sunday, the audience will be invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the lobby following the first Sunday evening performance (January 10) with the cast and crew, as well as with the Western Avenue Studios Artists Association members whose work is currently on exhibit in the lobby. Each Thursday, Ask the Artists will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the people who created the show in a post-show discussion. On most Wednesdays, audiences are invited to stay for Community Conversations, post-show discussions about the themes of the play with local non-profit organizations.

Free Child Care will be offered for patrons of a weekend performance (date to be determined). The child care is provided by licensed and insured providers Acre Family Child Care onsite at MRT. The child care is free, but advance reservations are required. More information about the program can be found at

“The White Chip” is supported by Production Sponsor Circle Health and received additional support from Media Sponsor 90.9 WBUR. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979, and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. The company is known for its high production standards and for creating compelling new plays and regional premieres that reflect the lives and emotions of its audiences. MRT is one of just three theatres in Massachusetts that is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), which has 72 members nationwide.

MRT 2015-16 SEASON
“The Lion”, written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer
August 26 – September 20, 2015

“I and You” by Lauren Gunderson
October 7 – November 1, 2015

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” adapted by Joe Landry
November 25 – December 20, 2015

“The White Chip” by Sean Daniels
January 6 – 31, 2015

“Tinker to Evers to Chance by Mat Smart
February 10 – March 6, 2016

“The Realness: a break beat play” by Idris Goodwin
March 16 – April 10, 2016

“Home of the Brave” by Lila Rose Kaplan
April 20 – May 15, 2016

Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678

Image Download

Headshots available now. PR photos will be available on December 23 and production photos will be available on January 7.
1. Visit the “The White Chip” photo collection on Flickr
2. Select a photo from the Photo Stream or the Albums
3. Click on the thumbnail and let the image load in your browser on the Flickr site.
4. Click the download button and select View All Sizes.
5. Select the size you wish to download from the choices listed across the top of the image.
6. Click the "Download the ___ size of this photo..." link at the top. The image will download to your computer.