The WhaleMarch 7 - April 12, 2014
Written by Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by David R. Gammons
Scenic Design by Cristina Todesco**
Costume Design by Gail Astrid Buckley**
Lighting Design by Jeff Adelberg**
Sound Design by David Remedios**
Production Stage Managed by
Charlie has hidden himself away in his Northern Idaho apartment and is quietly eating himself to death in the wake of a personal tragedy. With his health deteriorating, Charlie makes one last desperate attempt to connect with his estranged daughter Ellie, a sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen whom he has not seen in 15 years. As Charlie embarks on his quest for redemption, he looks to his enabling caregiver Liz, ex-wife Mary, and Mormon missionary Elder Thomas for closure, meaning, and forgiveness.
Ryan O’Connor…Elder Thomas
Cast & Crew
JEFF ADELBERG** (Lighting Design) SpeakEasy: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; The Motherf**ker with the Hat; Next to Normal; Red; reasons to be pretty; Nine; Body Awareness; Adding Machine: A Musical (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design); [title of show]; Blackbird; The New Century; The Little Dog Laughed; Fat Pig. Other recent work: The Last Goodbye (The Old Globe); The Lily’s Revenge(American Repertory Theater); John Kuntz’s The Hotel Nepenthe (Huntington Theatre Company’s Emerging America Festival); Middletown, Medea, The Hotel Nepenthe (IRNE Award)(Actors’ Shakespeare Project); Equally Divided (Merrimack Repertory Theatre); The Company We Keep and John Kuntz’sThe Salt Girl (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); Miracle on 34th Street, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre); A Soft Murder, Noises Off, Oklahoma, Thoroughly Modern Millie (The Boston Conservatory); Boston’s Christmas Revels since 2010. Jeff attended the University of Connecticut and teaches at Boston College. LDJeff.com
JAMES BLASZKO is thrilled to be making his SpeakEasy debut at the tail end of his undergraduate career at Emerson College. A cultural and creative hyphenate, James has directed, performed in, and composed for multiple productions in the Connecticut and Boston area. Most recently seen performing in One Man, Two Guvnors at Lyric Stage, he is now directing Cyclops: A Satyr Play under the auspices of Oberon, the second stage of the American Repertory Theatre, premiering this fall.
GAIL ASTRID BUCKLEY** (Costume Design) SpeakEasy designs include The Motherf**cker with the Hat, Red, Xanadu, andAdding Machine: A Musical (2010 Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Design). Other recent designs include:Death of a Salesman (Lyric Stage); The Cunning Little Vixen (The Boston Conservatory); Spring Awakening, North Shore Fish, This is Our Youth and Driving Miss Daisy(Gloucester Stage); Something’s Afoot, Miracle on 34th Street (Stoneham Theatre); Insignificance (The Nora Theatre); and A Christmas Carol (Hanover Theatre). Gail received the 2002 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Costume Design and the 2002 IRNE Award for Costume Design for Twelfth Night with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, and the 2006 IRNE Award for Costume Design for her work on both Caroline, or Change and The Women for SpeakEasy Stage.
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.
JOSEPHINE ELWOOD is thrilled to be making her SpeakEasy debut. Recent credits include Long Ago and Far Away and The Cherry Orchard at Walking the Dog Theater. Josephine is currently pursuing a B.F.A. in Acting at Emerson College. Love to Daddy and Izzy.
DAVID R. GAMMONS (Director) is a director, designer, visual artist, and theatre educator. He is thrilled to return to SpeakEasy Stage, where in previous seasons he has directed the New England premieres of The Whale; The Motherf**ker with the Hat (2013 Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Actress); Red (2012 Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Actor); and Blackbird (2009 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actress). At the Huntington Theatre, David directed a workshop reading of Necessary Monsters as well as John Kuntz’s The Hotel Nepentheas part of the Emerging America Festival. Other recent directing credits include The Comedy of Errors,Medea, The Hotel Nepenthe, The Duchess of Malfi, and Titus Andronicus (2007 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director) for Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Cherry Docs, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, andMy Name is Rachel Corrie at New Repertory Theatre; the World Premieres of Walt McGough’s The Farmand John Kuntz’s The Salt Girl at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; and The Winter’s Tale as part of the Shakespeare Exploded Festival at the American Repertory Theater. Mr. Gammons has proudly served as the Director of the Theatre Program at Concord Academy for the last fifteen years, where he teaches directing and oversees a company of young performers devoted to developing original experimental work for the stage. Mr. Gammons is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies, and a graduate of the Directing Program of the American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. www.davidrgammons.com.
SAMUEL D. HUNTER (Playwright) Plays include The Whale (2013 Drama Desk Award, 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, 2013 GLAAD Media Award, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play), A Bright New Boise (2011 Obie Award for Playwriting, 2011 Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), and his newest plays, The Few, A Great Wilderness and Rest, all set to premiere in the 13/14 season. His plays have been produced by theaters such as Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Rep, Victory Gardens, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, The Old Globe, Denver Center Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, and Page 73. His work has been developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils, and elsewhere. Sam is the winner of a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, and the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship. He is a member of New Dramatists, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, a Core Member of The Playwrights’ Center, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, and is currently a Resident Playwright at Arena Stage. A native of northern Idaho, Sam lives in NYC. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard.
MAUREEN KEILLER* SpeakEasy shows: Nine, The Little Dog Laughed, Almost, Maine, The Women (IRNE Award, best play), The Wild Party. Other credits include 33 Variations, Big River, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Elliot Norton Award and IRNE Award, Best Play), Speech and Debate (Elliot Norton Award, best play), Epic Proportions, Inspecting Carol (Lyric Stage of Boston); Oh God (Israeli Stage);Car Talk, The Musical!!! (Central Square Theatre); The Sweetest Swing in Baseball (Boston Theatre Works); A Streetcar Named Desire (New Repertory Theatre): Anne of Green Gables (Wheelock Family Theatre); Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Lyric West). Maureen is a two-time recipient of the IRNE Award for best supporting actress (for The Women and The Wild Party). Film and television credits include Olive Kitteridge (HBO series), The Makeover (Hallmark/ ABC Family), Fever Pitch, We Pedal Uphill, My Best Friend’s Girl, Brotherhood (Showtime series). Maureen is a member of Actor’s Equity and SAG/AFTRA. Thanks to David and Paul for this wonderful opportunity.
JOHN KUNTZ* (Roy, Clint, Moderator, Officiant, White Man) is so excited to be back at SpeakEasy, where he was most recently seen as Charlie in The Whale and as Stephen/Theo in Necessary Monsters. John is a founding company member of Actors’ Shakespeare Project where he most recently appeared as Iago in Othello and as GI Joe/The Flight Attendant in God’s Ear. John is the author of over 15 full-length plays, including Necessary Monsters, The Hotel Nepenthe, and The Salt Girl. He is the recipient of four Elliot Norton Awards, two IRNE Awards, a New York International Fringe Festival Award, a 2015 MCC Fellowship Award in Dramatic Writing, and both the Michael Kanin & Paula Vogel National Playwriting Awards. He is on the theatre faculty of The Boston Conservatory.
GEORGIA LYMAN* returns to SpeakEasy after appearing as Liz in The Whale last season and as Crystal Allen in The Women. Locally she has appeared at New Repertory Theatre (Chesapeake, afterlife: a ghost story, White People); Lyric Stage (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Scene); and the Publick Theatre (The Real Inspector Hound). She is excited to be taking another journey with John Kuntz, having starred in the original production of his play The Hotel Nepenthe for Actors’ Shakespeare Project. Georgia was also a founding member of the critically acclaimed Orfeo Group (Love Song, Look Back in Anger). She has been nominated for an Elliot Norton Award four times and won for Outstanding Solo Performance last year. Her film & TV work includes the upcoming The Forger with John Travolta, plus The Makeover with Julia Stiles, RIPD, The Town, Brotherhood, and Law & Order: SVU.
RYAN O’CONNOR is making his SpeakEasy and professional debut. He last performed at Suffolk University as Mephistophilis in Doctor Faustus, also under the helm of director David Gammons. He would like to thank everyone involved in this production as well as his family and friends for all of their support.
AMANDA OSTROW (Wardrobe Supervisor) Amanda is thrilled to return to SpeakEasy after working on: Far From Heaven,CARRIE the musical, The Whale, The Color Purple, Kurt Vonnegut’s Make Up Your Mind, Tribes, In the Heights,Clybourne Park, Other Desert Cities, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, and Xanadu. International touring credit: The Aluminum Show. Local credits include work at: Gloucester Stage Company, Hanover Theatre, Bad Habit Productions, Lyric Stage, Reagle Music Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, The Nora Theatre Company, and the Publick Theatre. Amanda received her BA in Media Studies and Business at the University of Southern Maine and is an EMC in Stage Management.
DAVID REMEDIOS** (Sound Design) has designed sound for SpeakEasy’s Kurt Vonnegut’s Make Up Your Mind and The Motherf**ker with the Hat. Recent credits include A View from the Bridge (Brandeis University); Welcome to Arroyo’s (Tufts University); The Other Place and Distracted (Central Square Theater); Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah and Modern Terrorism… (Contemporary American Theater Festival); These Shining Lives (Stoneham Theatre); Amadeus (New Rep); Ryan Landry’s ‘M’and Now or Later (Huntington Theatre Company); Invisible Man (Huntington Theatre and Studio Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination); and The Last Will (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company). Awards: IRNE, Connecticut Critics’ Circle, Elliot Norton. remediossound.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.
The Independent Reviewers of New England have announced their nominations for the 2015 IRNE Awards, and SpeakEasy is proud to have earned 20 nominations for our productions and artists. The ceremony will be held April 13, at 7:30 pm (doors at 7 p.m.), at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, […]read more
Anatomy of THE WHALE THE WHALE is full of striking elements: its colorful characters, its setting in small-town Idaho, and of course, its six-hundred pound protagonist Charlie. But playwright Samuel D. Hunter didn’t find his initial inspiration in any of those things. Instead, it was a job teaching expository writing at Rutgers that sparked what […]read more
Production History Written by Samuel D. Hunter and first produced by Playwright’s Horizons in 2012, THE WHALE has earned a 2013 Drama Desk Award, a 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, and Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play. Director David R. Gammons David is thrilled to return to the SpeakEasy […]read more