History of Gas Light, Five Chelsea Lane, Angel Street, Gaslight, The Murder on Thornton Square - Gas Light first appeared as a 1938 play in London. A British film version was produced in 1940. Vincent Price saw a three-person version called Five Chelsea Lane in Los Angeles in 1941. He secured the rights for a New York production. Retitled Angel Street, the play premiered on Broadway in 1941 with Price and Leo G. Carroll. Angel Street played 1,295 performances, an astonishing run at the time. The Academy Award-winning American film, now titled Gaslight, was released in 1944 with major stars Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. (The same film was released in Britain as The Murder in Thornton Square to avoid confusion with the earlier film.)
The film is also famous as the vehicle that introduced an 18-year-old Angela Lansbury to American audiences as a conniving, smart-alecky maid. The American stage premiere on Broadway in 1941 starred a virtually unknown, 30-year-old Vincent Price.
Ingrid Bergman won the Best Actress Oscar for the American film version.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Courtney Sale, Nancy L. Donahue Artistic Director
Bonnie J. Butkas, Executive Director
Patrick Hamilton's Gaslight
A new version for the stage by Steven Dietz
Directed by Courtney Sale
Production Stage Manager - Maegan A. Conroy
Live on Zoom September 24, 2020
Samantha Bowling as Nancy
Julia Brothers as Elizabeth
Gavin Lawrence as Sgt. Rough
Melisa Pereyra as Bella Manningham
Chris Thorn as Jack Manningham
All actors and the stage manager are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
TIME AND PLACE
The late 1880’s. New York City.
Lee Viliesis - Production Manager
Kaitlyn Crockett - Zoom Operator
(Nancy) is in her sixth year as an Artists’ Ensemble Member of Native Voices At The Autry. She performs stand up, improv, and musical comedy around Los Angeles, and she also writes music and practices aerial arts. Sam received Best Actress at Campus Movie Fest in New York City for her performance in The Dance, created the comedy collective Bipolar Fantasy Squad, and is a founding member of the nonprofit film production company Chrysalis Pictures. Credits, Theatre; This Was Never Supposed To Be A One Woman Show: A One Woman Show! (Independent Theatre, New York City), The Lowell Offering (Merrimack Repertory Theater, Boston MA), Under a Big Sky (Native Voices at the Autry/Idaho Rep), Written In Stone (The La Jolla Playhouse), Informed Consent (The Lantern Theatre, Philadelphia PA), Off The Rails (Native Voices at the Autry), I May Be Dead But I Still Love You (Complex Theatre, Los Angeles): TV/Film: Back to Awesome (Amazon), “Tomb Invader” (SyFy), “Blood Brothers” (LMN), “Cut” (MBC), “Dirty Laundry” (Chrysalis Pictures).
(Elizabeth) Julia is so happy to be working at MRT again (even if it is virtual!), where she has appeared in Women In Jeopardy and Silent Sky, both directed by Sean Daniels.Recent credits include playing Leece in A Peregrine Falls with Loading Dock Theatre (dir. Padraic Lillis); Arthur Miller in Jeremey Tiang’s Salesman (dir. Michael Leibenluft) in The Rough Draft Festival at LPAC; Maeve in Dance Nation at SF Playhouse (dir. Becca Wolff); God in the Kilbane rock opera, Weightless, at Z Space; ACT’s The Strand and The Public Theatre’s Under The Radar (dir. Becca Wolff); Frances in The Breath Of Life (dir. Ken Russ Schmoll) at Portland Center Stage; Col. Sandra Eden in The Trial Of Donna Caine (dir. David Saint) at George Street Playhouse; and Vera in Harvey (dir. Desdemona Chiang) at Heritage Theatre Festival. Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Relatively Speaking, three one acts by Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen (dir. John Turturro) and Joe Di Pietro’s Clever Little Lies (dir. David Saint).
(Sgt. Rough) Gavin has acted at Steppenwolf, Woolly Mammoth, the Goodman, Arena Stage, Baltimore Centerstage, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Mixed Blood, the Guthrie, Children’s Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Kansas City Rep, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, First Stage, Skylight, and Milwaukee Rep. Film and TV work include, Joe Somebody, Justice, and “Chicago PD.” His plays have been produced in Minneapolis, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Houston, San Marcos, and Chicago. His musicals for young audiences have been produced at high schools and universities around the country as well as in Toronto and China. Directing and composing credits include plays at the Kennedy Center, Mixed Blood Theatre, and Penumbra Theatre. AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in Pure Confidence Off-Broadway; TCG/Fox Resident Actor Fellowship at Baltimore Center Stage. Gavin is a member of the core acting company at American Players Theatre and a graduate of Howard University.
(Mrs. Manningham) is a Core Company actor at American Players Theatre, where favorite roles include Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Emmy in Doll’s House Part 2, Alice in Book of Will, Rosalind in As You Like It, Isabella in Measure for Measure, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Catherine in A View from the Bridge, Little Stone in Eurydice, among others. Regionally, she has worked on productions with the Dallas Theater Center, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Sacramento Theatre Company, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. She is the voice and likeness of Artificial Intelligence, Gabriela Castaneda, in the real-world Halo experience, Halo: Outpost Discovery. Her play Lines was commissioned by Theatre LILA, where she made her directing debut. Melisa’s writing has also been featured on Huffpost and Howlround Theatre Commons. She holds a B.F.A. from Utah State University, an M.F.A. from Illinois State University, and trained in the UK at Shakespeare’s Globe and with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
(Jack Manningham) Broadway: Bernhardt/Hamlet (Roundabout). Off-Broadway: Greater Clements (Lincoln Center Theater), Pride and Prejudice (Primary Stages), Twelfth Night (Pig Iron), Miss Lily Gets Boned (Studio 42), as well as plays with Ma-Yi, EST, New York Shakespeare Exchange, and La MaMa. Regional: Hartford Stage, The Guthrie Theater, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (two seasons), Contemporary American Theater Festival (two seasons), Barrington Stage Company, Delaware Theater Company, The Fulton Theatre Company, TheaterWorks Hartford, Boston Playwright’s, and The Acting Company (four seasons). Film/TV: “Madam Secretary,” Still on the Road, Sonnet Project. Training: Boston University, LAMDA. He is a native of South Berwick, ME.
Courtney Sale (Director) joined MRT as the Nancy L. Donahue Artistic Director this year after serving as the Artistic Director of Seattle Children's Theatre (SCT), the nation’s leading generator of new work for young audiences. At SCT, she directed Black Beauty, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and The Little Prince. Commissioned writers under her tenure include Idris Goodwin, Cheryl West, Allison Gregory, Karen Hartman, Trista Baldwin, Ramon Esquivel, and James Still. Recent directing projects: Tiny Beautiful Things at Seattle Rep, the world premiere of Steven Dietz’s The Ghost of Splinter Cove at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, and Ellen Fairey’s Support Group for Men at Contemporary American Theatre Festival (CATF). Other credits include The Cake; Wild Horses; Not Medea (CATF); Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play; On Clover Road (The Phoenix Theater); Twelfth Night and The Tempest (Indy Shakes); and Zen Prayers & Songs (Fusebox), written and performed by Kirk Lynn.
Prior to SCT, she spent three years as Associate Artistic Director at Indiana Repertory Theatre, where directing credits include the world premiere of April 4, 1968: Before We Forgot How to Dream, The Mountaintop, The Mousetrap, Jackie & Me, And Then They Came for Me, The Giver, and two iterations of A Christmas Carol. With the Duplicates, she co-created The Fictional Life of Historical Oddities, September Play, The Man with the Dancing Eyes, and The Poison Squad (Austin Critics Award). She has developed new work at Denver Center Theatre Company’s Summit New Play Festival, The New Harmony Project, Write Now, Dorset Theatre Festival, TheatreWorks (Palo Alto), New Plays for Young Audiences at NYU/Provincetown Playhouse, and The Orchard Project.
Other distinctions included Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under Forty designation, Cornish College of the Arts Distinguished Alumni Award, and the keynote speaker at the 2017 International Council of Fine Arts Deans. She has taught at Summer at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle Children’s Museum, Temple College, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Ms. Sale is a proud member of the National Theatre Conference and the theatrical union the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She is represented by Abrams Artists NYC. BFA, Cornish College of the Arts. MFA, The University of Texas at Austin.
(Playwright) Steven Dietz's thirty-plus plays and adaptations have been seen at over one hundred regional theatres in the United States, as well as Off-Broadway. International productions have been seen in over twenty countries, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. In 2019, Dietz was one again named one of the 20 Mos t-Produced Playwrights in America by American Theatre Magazine. Recent world premieres include How a Boy Falls (Northlight Theatre, Chicago, 2020 “Jeff” nomination for Best New Work); Dracula: Mina's Quest (ACT Theatre, Seattle); and two interlocking plays for adult and youth audiences, The Great Beyond and The Ghost of Splinter Cove (Actor's Theatre of Charlotte, Charlotte Children's Theatre). Dietz was awarded the American Theatre Critics Association’s Steinberg New Play Citation for Bloomsday; the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award for both Fiction and Still Life with Iris; the PEN USA Award in Drama for Lonely Planet; and the Edgar Award® from the Mystery Writers of America for Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. Dietz is currently a Dramatists Guild "Traveling Master" – teaching workshops in playwriting, story-making, andcollaboration across the U.S.
(Production Stage Manager) Maegan is thrilled to be collaborating with MRT again on this project! Selected previous credits include Nina Simone: Four Women, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, Tiny Beautiful Things, Cry It Out, The Heath, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Native Gardens, The Royale (Merrimack Repertory Theatre); Creditors, Ugly Lies the Bone, DibbleDance: Shoes On, Shoes Off, Private Lives, Julius Caesar (Shakespeare & Company); The Legend of Georgia McBride (Greater Boston Stage Company); Guards at the Taj (Central Square Theatre); and The Effect, A Measure of Normalcy (Gloucester Stage Company). Maegan received her BFA in Stage Management from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. She and her husband live with their dog in Lowell, MA. Maegan is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
(Executive Director) Bonnie most recently served as the Senior Director of Foundation Relations at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she led the university’s strategic efforts to secure funding from private and family foundations. During her tenure, RIT secured its first significant gifts from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Henry Luce Foundation. Prior to RIT, she was the Director of Development at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY overseeing five years of unprecedented growth in the company’s contributed income and playing a key role in a successful $10 million capital campaign to renovate the building and grow the theatre’s endowment. In New York City, she served as the Director of External Relations at the York Theatre Company, the Director of Development and Communications at TADA! Youth Theatre, Directing Assistant on The Lion King on Broadway, and the co-founder of Lexington Dance Collective. Prior to NYC, she was the Managing Director of Bristol Valley Theater in Naples, NY. Butkas was raised in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York and holds degrees in Journalism and Dance from the University at Buffalo. She volunteered with the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Genesee Valley, Girl Scouts of Western New York, and the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County. In Fall 2016, she co-founded Action Together Rochester. She serves on the MCC's Academic Arts Center Advisory Board and lives in Westford.