The Divine SisterOctober 21 -
November 19, 2011
Written by Charles Busch
Directed by Larry Coen
Scenic Design by Cristina Todesco**
Costume Design by Charles Schoonmaker
Lighting Design by Daniel H. Jentzen
Sound Design by Arshan Galius
Production Stage Managed by
The Divine Sister is an inspired homage to every Hollywood film ever made about nuns. Written by Charles Busch, the comic genius behind such classics as Die, Mommie, Die!; Psycho Beach Party; and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, this gleefully twisted tale tells the story of an indomitable Mother Superior trying to cope with a young postulant experiencing “visions,” a sensitive schoolboy in need of mentoring, a mysterious nun visiting from Berlin, and a former suitor intent on luring her away from her vows.
Estimated Run Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes without an intermission
Warning: This show contains adult language and content.
Kathy St. George*…Sister Walburga/Mrs. MacDuffie
Paula Plum*…Sister Acacius
Jeffery Roberson aka Varla Jean Merman*…Mother Superior
Ellen Colton*…Mrs. Levinson/Timothy
Christopher Michael Brophy*…Jeremy/Brother Venerius
Cast & Crew
CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL BROPHY* is pleased to be back at SpeakEasy, where he as appeared in Take Me Out (IRNE Award – Best Supporting Actor); Five by Tenn (Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Production) and the New England premiere of Some Men. Chris has also appeared in productions for New Rep; Boston Theatre Works; Shakespeare Now; Foothills Theatre; Stoneham Theatre; and Theatre Espresso. Last December, he starred in the one man show Santaland Diaries for the Vineyard Playhouse.
CHARLES BUSCH is the author and star of such plays as The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Mr. Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Mr. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch. His latest play The Third Story was produced in 2009 by MCC at the Lortel Theatre
SASHA CASTROVERDE is delighted to be making her SpeakEasy debut. Other credits include Fanny Squeers/Madeline Bray inThe Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby(Lyric Stage Company), Elvira in Blithe Spirit, Ariel in The Tempest, Player in Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, and Andree in Gigi (Winnipesaukee Playhouse), Gertrude/Lord Caversham in An Ideal Husband (Bad Habit Productions), Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story(Emerson Stage), and a variety of roles in Bunbury: A Serious Play for Trivial People and The Monster Tales(Mill 6 Collaborative). Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Sasha received her BA from Emerson College and now calls Boston home.
LARRY COEN received a 2010 Elliot Norton Award for directing Phantom of the Oprah for Gold Dust Orphans. Additional directing credits: The Understudy for Lyric Stage Co; Ruthless! for Speakeasy; Twilight Zone and Willie Wanker and the Hershey Highway (co-directed with James Byrne) for Gold Dust Orphans; Shel Shocked, by the late Shel Silverstein, for Market Theater;MLK: We Are The Dream for American Place Theater; FAX of Life for Manhattan Punchline. With David Crane, he wrote the Broadway comedy Epic Proportions. Larry is Artistic Director of City Stage Co., which provides free arts education programs and performances for low-income kids and families.
ELLEN COLTON* is delighted to return to SpeakEasy having appeared here in The Womenand Brooklyn Boy.Other Credits: Shear Madnesscast member since 1997; Well, Light Up The Sky, Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Kong’s Night Out(New Century Theatre, Northampton); The Porch(Lyric Stage, Stoneham Theatre, City Stage, Majestic Theatre; Over the River and Through the Woods, Kong’s Night Out(Lyric Stage Company); Witness for the Prosecution (Foothills Theatre). She is a two time winner of the IRNE awards. Recent movie credits: Zookeeper, The Company Men, Invention of Lying. For the last 20 years, she has served as secretary of the Screen Actors’ Guild, treasurer of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and vice-president of Actors’ Equity Assn. For the New England area.
PAUL DAIGNEAULT (Producing Artistic Director) was the recipient of the 2014 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence by the Boston Theater Critics Association. Since founding SpeakEasy in 1992, he has produced over 100 Boston premieres. SpeakEasy directing highlights include: The Color Purple; In the Heights; Xanadu; Next to Normal; Nine; Body Awareness; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; [title of show]; The Savannah Disputation; Jerry Springer – The Opera; The New Century; Some Men; Zanna, Don’t!; Parade (2008 Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Director, Midsize Company); Almost, Maine; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out; Company; A Man of No Importance (co-production Súgán); Bat Boy: The Musical (2003 Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Director, Small Company); Passion; A New Brain; Violet; Songs for a New World; Floyd Collins; Jeffrey; and Love! Valour! Compassion! Regional credits: Grand Hotel and Nine (The Boston Conservatory and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music); Rent, City of Angels, Sunday in the Park with George, and Merrily We Roll Along (The Boston Conservatory); and Into the Woods, Urinetown, and Blue Window (Boston College). Paul is also on the faculty at The Boston Conservatory where he teaches musical theatre and directing. He has also been honored with the Boston College Arts Council’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2007, and served as the 2011-2012 Rev. J. Donald Monan S.J. Professor in Theatre Arts. Outside the theatre, Paul serves on the Boards of the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center and the ICU Patient & Family Advisory Council at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
ARSHAN GAILUS (Sound Designer) returns to SpeakEasy after designing sound for Clybourne Park and designing sound and composing original music for The Divine Sister. Other area credits include Lungs (New Repertory Theatre); Chinglish, Avenue Q, The Temperamentals, Superior Donuts, and The Understudy (The Lyric Stage Company); Macbeth and Twelfth Night (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design) (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design), 1001, and Grimm (Company One). Arshan’s other work includes sound design and composition for independent video games in the Boston area and internationally. Arshan holds a B.S. in Music from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
DANIEL H. JENTZEN SpeakEasy: served as Master Electrician since 2009 and designed lighting for The Divine Sister, Striking 12, and The Savannah Disputation. Other recent projects include The Peking Acrobats (Center at Eagle Hill), Steel Magnolias (Stoneham Theatre), and A Christmas Celtic Sojourn (WGBH). Daniel also teaches and conducts research in cognitive neuroscience, studying the psychology of theatre and design.
JULIE JENTZEN SpeakEasy: The Divine Sister, The Drowsy Chaperone, Nine, and Striking 12. New York City props artisan credits: Broadway’s Anything Goes, Playwrights Horizons’Assistance and The Public’s The Total Bent. Julie is training to be a wardrobe substitute on Rent at New World Stages.
JEFFREY ROBERSON AKA VARLA JEAN MERMAN* Broadway: Mary Sunshine, Chicago. Off-Broadway: Lucky Guywith Leslie Jordan. Regional: Christine, Phantom of the OPRAH(Elliott Norton Award), The Mystery of Irma Vep directed by Michael Wilson, (Long Wharf, Hartford Stage). TV: Ugly Betty, Project Runway, All My Children and Improve Your History With Varla Jean for the network launch of Logo. Film: Girls Will Be Girls(Best Actor Awards at Outfest and Aspen HBO Film Festivals), upcoming sequelGirls Will Be Girls 2012 and upcoming feature mockumentary Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads!Solo shows in concert halls and cabarets across the world, from the Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall. New solo show The Book of Merman debuts in Provincetown this August at The Art House. www.VarlaOnLine.com
CHARLES SCHOONMAKER** (Costume Design) is happy to be back at the SpeakEasy. Previous work here includes The Light in the Piazza, Nine, and Other Desert Cities. He is the recipient of four Daytime Emmy Awards for his work in television. Boston-area theatre credits include Venus in Fur, God of Carnage, and A Long and Winding Road (Huntington Theatre Company); Tarzan (North Shore Music Theatre); Race, The Clean House (New Rep); Grey Gardens, The Legacy of Light, and 33 Variations (The Lyric). Credits in the Berkshires include the Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Dorset Theatre Festival, The Chester Theatre Company, and seven seasons as the resident costume designer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Television credits include Another World, All My Children, and As the World Turns. He teaches costume design at Bennington College. Charles-Schoonmaker.com
KATHY ST. GEORGE* (Old Lady / HotelHooker / Bus Passenger) returns to SpeakEasy having appeared in The Divine Sister; Xanadu; Johnny Guitar; All About Election Eve; and Ruthless! Recent credits include Light Up the Sky (Lyric Stage), Closer Than Ever, and King of Second Avenue (New Rep), Dear Miss Garland, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham), 9 to 5 (NSMT), and End of the Rainbow in FL. Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Jerome Robbins (Tony Award ’91); Off-Broadway: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and five national tours. Kathy is the recipient of the 2012 Elliot Norton Award, and two IRNE Awards. BS, M.Ed. Salem State University. kathystgeorge.com
ALIX STRASNICK (Technical Director) Alix is excited to be back at SpeakEasy for her third season as the company’s Technical Director. Past SpeakEasy credits include Tribes; In the Heights, The Whale, and Next to Normal. Alix also served as Master Electrician for SpeakEasy’s productions of Next Fall and The Divine Sister. She is the Assistant Technical Director at the Groton School and worked on their productions of HairSpray and Romeo and Juliet. Other credits include Good Person, The Land (Fort Point Theatre Channel), Rock ‘n’ Roll, Lend Me a Tenor (Longwood Players), Much Ado About Nothing (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company: Apprentice Showcase) and She Kills Monsters (Company One).
MICHELE TEEVAN Previous SpeakEasy credits include Tribes (PA), What Lips My Lips Have Kissed (SM), Clybourne Park (PA), Other Desert Cities (PA), All About Election Eve (SM), Next to Normal (PA), Red (PA), Sorry, Wrong Number (ASM), The Divine Sister (PA) and The Blue Room (SM). Boston credits include Henry VIII (ASM) with Actors Shakespeare Project; Amadeus(PA)and Little Shop of Horrors (PA)withNew Repertory Theatre; The Nutcracker (ASM) with Northeast Youth Ballet; The Death of Tintagiles (SM) and Cruel Botany (SM) with imaginary beasts; The Fakus: A Noir (SM) with Centastage; and Romeo and Juliet (SM) with the Happy Medium Theatre Company. Michele is the Associate Production Manager at Speakeasy, the Production Manager at the Boston Opera Collaborative and is a graduate of Emerson College with her BFA in Stage and Production Management. .
CRISTINA TODESCO** (Set Design) is pleased to be working with Speakeasy again after designing last season’s Tribes and The Whale. Previous Speakeasy credits: Red, The Divine Sister, Body Awareness, The New Century, Reckless. Other theaters include: Lyric Stage Company, NewRep, Harbor Stage, Boston Playwright’s, Boston Conservatory, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Olney Theater Center, ART Institute, Actor’s Shakespeare Project, Huntington Theatre, Orfeo Group, Williamstown Theater Festival, Opera Boston, Stoneham Theater, Suffolk University, Boston University, and Boston College. A four time winner of the Eliot Norton Award for Best Design, she is on the faculty at Boston University’s School of Theater Arts and a member of USA 829.
JAMES WILKINSON SpeakEasy: Next to Normal; Red; The Divine Sister; Next Fall. James is a 2010 alum of Trinity College, where he graduated with degrees in Theatre and Dance (with honors) and English. He served as prop master for Gloucester Stage Company’s 2011 season. Other recent shows include Long Day’s Journey into Night (New Rep), Art (New Rep), and Archangels Don’t Play Pinball (Trinity College). He has worked at other New England theaters including The North Shore Music Theatre, Apollinaire Theatre, Salem Theatre Company, and the Judy Dworin Performance Ensemble.