PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: SEPTEMBER 22, 2015
CONTACT: Kate Brandt, firstname.lastname@example.org
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678
AWARD-WINNING “I AND YOU” SET TO MAKE NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE AT MERRIMACK REPERTORY THEATRE
New York-bound production originating in Lowell
October 7 – November 1
Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre is following up on the overwhelming success of the season opener, “The Lion,” with a regional premiere directed by the company’s new artistic director Sean Daniels. “I and You” by Lauren Gunderson tells the story of two very different teenagers, Caroline and Anthony, who struggle to connect as they work on a school project about Walt Whitman’s poetry. Over the course of the play and through a stunning surprise ending, they find that there is more that unites them than divides them. This production marks the New England premiere of the play that won the 2014 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, which recognizes new work produced outside of New York.
The 80-minute play will run from October 7 – November 1, with press performances at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Sunday, October 11. Press are also welcome to attend the Opening Night performance on Saturday, October 10 at 8:00 pm, though seating is limited. 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 www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678.
MRT’s production of “I and You” will move Off-Broadway to New York’s 59E59 Theatres in January 2016 in partnership with veteran New York producer Richard Winkler. Winkler has won four Tony Awards as a producer of “The Norman Conquests” (2009), “La Cage aux Folles” (2009), “Memphis” (2010), and “Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike” (2013). The New York production will feature the same actors, designs, and direction as the Lowell show. This is the first of two New York transfers scheduled for this season. “The White Chip” will also move to New York after making its World Premiere at MRT in January.
Director Sean Daniels was drawn to the play, which he considers to be Gunderson’s finest, in part because of the timeliness of its theme: that we all have more in common with each than we realize. Daniels remarked, “Lauren Gunderson is a force in the American Theatre. She writes the smartest, most complex women appearing on our stages today and is deservedly rewarded with awards, productions, and glowing notices. She also writes the most awkward, nervous/ unsure/ brave/ funny/ determined/ unstoppable characters - which is to say, she has truly captured all of us.
“She's been able to create a piece of writing that encourages us to look at our similarities with others, not at our differences. What a revolutionary act in today's world. It's the rare play that not only charms but encourages us to understand others. This play does that at every turn. And, because it's Lauren, on top of that, it's hilarious.”
Playwright Lauren Gunderson is a playwright, screenwriter, and short story author whose work has received national praise and many awards. In addition to receiving the Steinberg/ATCA Award, “I and You” was also a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, which is given annually to recognize women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre, and the Princess Grace Foundation Award. She has been asked to create pilots for MTV, and is writing three films for The Weinstein Company. Gunderson will be in residence at MRT for one week of the rehearsal process to work with Daniels and the cast to fine tune the script.
The cast of “I and You” features actors Kayla Ferguson (as Caroline) and Reggie D. White (as Anthony), who are both making their MRT debuts. Playwright Lauren Gunderson and White knew each other when they were both living in the Bay Area. Gunderson had him in mind for the role of Anthony when she wrote the play, but this is the first time White will actually have the opportunity to play the role written for him.
Daniels is collaborating with scenic designer Michael Carnahan, costume designer Jennifer Caprio, lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal, and sound designer David Remedios. Casting was done by Jay Binder and Jack Bowdan of Binder Casting in New York. Caprio, Lilienthal, Remedios, and Gunderson, are members of MRT’s Patriot Program, a network of theatre artists from around the country who share MRT’s resources and call the company their “theatrical home.”
Tickets range from $60 - $23 and are available at www.mrt.org 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, October 7, 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, October 14 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. A Military Discount of $10 off per ticket (up to four tickets per production) applies to any performance for active duty, retired, veteran, and reservist members of the military.
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 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. Post-Show Discussions will be held following select performances, allowing further access to the production. Most Wednesdays, a Community Conversation will follow the evening performance, when the audience is invited to participate in a discussion about themes of the play with local organizations. Each Thursday, Ask the Artists will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the people who created the show. The second Ladies Night of the season will take place on Thursday, October 22 and includes a pre-show wine and chocolate reception featuring treats from Sweet Lydia’s.
“I and You” is supported by Production Sponsor UMass Lowell and received additional support from Media Sponsor, Merrimack Valley Magazine. 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
(Photos from previous productions available now, production photos from MRT available beginning August 27.)
1. Visit the “I and You” 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.