PRESS RELEASE: Stephen Belber's "Dusk Rings a Bell" at MRT

CONTACT: Kate Brandt,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678


October 23 – November 16

Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s 2014-15 Season continues with “Dusk Rings a Bell” by Stephen Belber which asks, “What’s more powerful – a kiss or a crime?” Molly and Ray find themselves reunited by chance 25 years after a teenage romantic encounter and find that their lives have gone in dramatically different directions since their youth. Molly is now a PR executive with CNN and Ray is a handyman with a criminal record. This bittersweet drama takes a poignant look at redemption and second chances.

The 110-minute play will run from October 23 – November 16, with press performances at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Sunday, October 26, with a reception following the evening perforance.  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 - $20 and are on sale now through or by calling 978-654-4678.

Playwright Stephen Belber’s work will be familiar to Boston-area theater goers. His plays “The Power of Duff,” and “Carol Mulroney” were produced by the Huntington Theatre - in 2013 and 2005, respectively. He is also known for his work as an Associate Writer on “The Laramie Project.”  Belber’s successful plays “Tape” and “Match” were both later adapted for the screen by the writer.

“Dusk Rings a Bell” is making its New England premiere. It was first produced at the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York in 2010, and subsequently at Los Angeles’ Blank Theatre Company in 2012.

“Dusk Rings a Bell” is a play well-suited for Merrimack Repertory Theatre, which focuses on producing contemporary plays, which are often premieres. MRT audiences have come to expect character-driven plays that focus on the complexity of real relationships. Belber commented, “It’s a two-hander, not a huge theatrical extravaganza, but I did want to create an epic journey for (the two characters). I think both characters are going through big emotional changes as we encounter them throughout the play. And that is exciting to me, and exciting to be able to do in a way that doesn’t require a lot of lights and music and bells and whistles, but rather as the emotional equivalent of those things.”

The play was recommended to MRT Artistic Director Charles Towers by Michael Bloom, who was invited to direct the show. Bloom directed a reading of “Dusk Rings a Bell” at Cleveland Play House before its Off-Broadway premiere and was drawn to many aspects of the show, including its sense of surprise. “All too often two character plays are ‘schematic’ because there are seemingly a limited number of directions the story can take. ‘Dusk…’ defies the genre, opening as an insightful character study and blossoming into a wide-ranging, rich, and evocative tale,” Bloom remarked.

Towers agreed and responded to the play immediately, “One thing (among many) I like about this play is that it breaks the conventions of most two-person plays in unique ways.”

Cast and Creative Team
Director Michael Bloom and both cast members are new to Merrimack Repertory Theatre. D’Arcy Dersham (Molly) lived in Massachusetts for most of her life and received her MFA from Trinity Repertory Conservatory. She moved to Philadelphia before being cast by MRT and is delighted to be returning to her home state for this production.

Todd Lawson (Ray) has appeared on Broadway in Summer and Smoke, in addition to roles Off-Broadway, on national tours, and around the country in regional theatres that include Baltimore Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and many others.

Michael Bloom’s extensive directing credits include “Sight Unseen” at the Manhattan Theatre Club, which received a Drama Desk Award nomination, an Elliot Norton Award for “Gross Indecency” at Huntington Theatre Company, and many productions at the Cleveland Play House, where he was Artistic Director from 2004-13.

In addition to director Michael Bloom, the creative team is comprised of Wilson Chin (Scenic Designer), Deborah Newhall (Costume Designer), Jeff Adelburg (Lighting Designer) and Carter Miller (Sound Designer.)

Tickets range from $60 - $20 and are available at or by calling 978-654-4678. Senior discount 10% off adult ticket price. Student tickets $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. $5 Night: Thursday, September 11 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, September 17 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
MRT will host two special events during the run of “Dusk Rings a Bell”. Ladies Night will be held on Thursday, October 30 with a dessert (from Sweety Lydia’s) and wine reception at 6:00 pm, a 7:30 performance of the play, followed by a Post-Show Discussion. The reception, discussion, and performance are included in the regular price of the ticket for that performance.

On Sunday, November 9, MRT will host Military Night, welcoming the service community to the theatre with 50% off tickets for all Active and Reservist Service Members, Veterans, Blue and Gold Star Families and their guests (up to 4 tickets per military ID.). A wine and cheese reception will begin in the lobby at 6:00 pm prior to the 7:00 performance, with a Post-Show Discussion following.

“Dusk Rings a Bell” is supported by Production Sponsor University of Massachusetts Lowell and Media Sponsor Merrimack Valley Magazine. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the 2014-15 Season is sponsored by Sage Bank.

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. Under the artistic direction of Charles Towers since 2001, MRT 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. It is one of the 74 members nationwide of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT.)

MRT 2014-15 SEASON
Year Zero by Michael Golamco
September 11 – October 5, 2014

Dusk Rings a Bell by Stephen Belber
October 23 – November 16, 2014

13 Things About Ed Carpolotti
Book, music and lyrics by Barry Kleinbort, based on a play by Jeffrey Hatcher
November 28 – December 21, 2014

The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor
January 8 – February 1, 2015

Oceanside by Nick Gandiello
February 12 – March 8, 2015

Out of the City by Leslie Ayvazian
March 19 – April 12, 2015

The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham
April 23 – May 17, 2015

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
1. Visit the Dusk Rings a Bell 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.