PRESS RELEASE: Political Farce closes MRT's 2015-16 Season

DATE: APRIL 4, 2016
CONTACT: Kate Brandt,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678


Word premiere farce from local playwright Lila Rose Kaplan skewers politics and family values this spring.

April 20 – May 15

Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre will close out its season in spectacular fashion with the world premiere of Lila Rose Kaplan’s farce “Home of the Brave.” The hilarious play follows senator Bernadette Spence (played by Boston favorite Karen MacDonald) as she desperately works to persuade her family to support her run for the Presidency. Loosely inspired by Moliere’s “Tartuffe,” “Home of the Brave” is an old-fashioned comedy for new-fashioned times, wholeheartedly embracing sheer absurdity, shameless fun, and actors running/climbing/sliding all over the place. Maybe dressed as ninjas. Or in their underwear. Yet at its core, “Home of the Brave” remains a big-hearted love letter to the American family. MRT’s Artistic Director Sean Daniels directs.

The play runs approximately 90 minutes with performances April 20 – May 15. Press performances are at 8:00 pm on Saturday, April 23 (Opening Night), as well as at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Sunday, April 24. 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.

About the Playwright
Lila Rose Kaplan is a nationally-produced playwright living in Cambridge, MA. Her body of work includes “The Light Princess”, which premiered at American Repertory Theatre in 2012 and was recently produced Off-Broadway; “1 2 3”, produced by Boston’s Fresh Ink Theatre Company in 2014; and “Wildflower”, a multiple award-winner produced at Off-Broadway’s Second Stage in 2009. “Home of the Brave” was workshopped at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company in 2014, also with Sean Daniels directing.

“It’s one of the funniest farces that I’ve known,” Daniels remarks. “And it’s of course about politics, which we all enjoy a good chuckle at from time to time. For us to be able to premiere a female playwright out of Boston that really feels current, and also is amazingly funny, is fantastic. Once it’s solidified here, this is a play that’s going to take on the world.”

About the Play
In “Home of the Brave” we meet Bernadette Spence, Iowa senator and All-American mom. She’s gung-ho about a Presidential run, coming home from Washington for the holidays to break the news to her family—who could not be less supportive. Husband Owen fears the toll it would take on his veterinary career. And teenage daughter Marianne is much more interested in her uber-progressive, gender-fluid love partner Val than anything having to do with her mother. It seems the only one who can get behind Bernadette for President is Adrian, her dashing British campaign manager, who remains focused on sprucing up the Spence Family image to groom them for the political life. But Adrian’s true motives may be more sinister than anything they could have possibly imagined…

Utter zaniness ensues as events spin out of control, drawing to a raucous climax in the family barn. (And since what happens in the barn stays in the barn, so that’s all we can say.)

Creative Team and Cast
Multiple IRNE and Norton award-winner Karen MacDonald plays Bernadette Spence. The six-person cast is rounded out by Jordan Brodess (Val), Veronica Duerr (Marianne), John Gregorio (Adrian), Cheryl McMahon (Dora), and Joel Van Liew (Owen).

Director Sean Daniels is joined by a creative team that includes Randall Parsons (sets), Brian J. Lilienthal (lights), Jessica Ford (costumes), David Remedios (sound).

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, April 20 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, April 27 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.

Special Events
MRT is thrilled to continue its first season offering Free Child Care at one performance of every show. Licensed professionals from Acre Family Childcare will provide activities for children (ages 0-10) of ticketholders during the 7:30 pm performance of “Home of the Brave” on Thursday May 5, which will also be the final Ladies Night of the season, featuring a complimentary pre-show wine and chocolate reception with treats from Sweet Lydia’s.

On Wine Down Sunday (April 24), the audience will be invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the lobby following the 7:00 pm 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.

“Home of the Brave” has received support from Production Sponsor Lowell Five. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been the 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 available April 8, production photos available April 21.)
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