Press Release: Trying
MEDIA ALERT FOR THEATRE EDITORS AND REVIEWERS
AND CALENDAR LISTINGS
THE SECOND PRODUCTION OF THEIR 2007-2008 SEASON…
THE LOS ANGELES PREMIERE OF
Written by Joanna McClelland Glass
"A masterpiece of theatrical portraiture. Don't miss it!" - Chicago Sun-Times
July 20, 2007…Burbank…The Colony Theatre Company presents the second production of its 2007 – 2008 season, TRYING, written by Joanna McClelland Glass, directed by Cameron Watson and starring Alan Mandell and Rebecca Mozo. TRYING will preview on Wednesday, August 8; Thursday, August 9 and Friday, August 10 at 8:00pm and will open on Saturday, August 11 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, September 9 at the Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street (at Cypress) adjacent to the Burbank Town Center.
The boss is an aging legend, cantankerous but charismatic. The new assistant is young and vulnerable, but full of grit. And then the fun begins. Based on the playwright's own real-life experience, the play is a hopeful and humorous tale of friendship amidst life's most inevitable adventure -- growing old. By the author of The Colony's smash hit To Grandmother's House We Go.
ABOUT THE PLAY
In 1967, young Joanna McClelland Glass moved with her new husband from the plains of Saskatchewan in western Canada to Washington DC. Energetic and ambitious, she accepted a position as secretary to Francis Biddle, an aging legend.
Biddle was as close to aristocracy as we get in America. His mother was descended from William Randolph, who settled in Virginia in 1673, and whose grandson was married to the granddaughter of Pocahontas. His father descended from William Biddle, who came to America in 1681. Another ancestor was Edmund Jennings Randolph, who was aide-de-camp to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, the first Attorney General of the United States, and succeeded Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State. Yet another ancestor, Samuel Wardell, was burned as a wizard in Salem in 1691.
Biddle, himself, was from a wealthy Philadelphia family, had graduated from Harvard with honors, clerked for Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, served as Attorney General under Franklin Roosevelt, and was Chief Judge at the Nuremberg Trial of Hitler’s top aides.
But by 1967, Biddle was 81 years old and resisting it mightily, which made him cantankerous, demanding, and extremely difficult to please. What Joanna didn’t know until she arrived for work was that she was one in a long line of secretaries, all of whom had left abruptly in emotional states ranging from humiliation to terror. But unlike her predecessors, she was strong, brave, and determined to tame the beast.
And she did. Over the ensuing months, these two headstrong people developed a warm and affectionate relationship that lasted until Biddle’s death a year later. Joanna went on to become a successful novelist and playwright, but she never forgot that remarkable year and the difficult old legend who became her closest friend.
TRYING is the story of that year and that friendship.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
Joanna McClelland Glass (Playwright) has had plays produced in many North American regional theatres, as well as in England, Ireland, Australia, and Germany. Trying was first presented by Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago in 2004 and won Chicago's prestigious Jefferson Award for Best New Play. Trying was then produced at The Promenade Theatre, NYC, in the fall/winter of 2004-2005. Trying has now received 36 productions in the United States, Canada, and Australia, and at least 5 productions are planned for the 2007-08 season at theatres in the United States and Canada. Regional: Canadian Gothic and American Modern (both one-act plays) were first produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, NYC, in 1972; Artichoke (starring Colleen Dewhurst) first produced at Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT, in 1974; To Grandmother’s House We Go (starring Eva LeGallienne) first produced at Alley Theatre, Houston, TX, moving to Broadway in 1980; Play Memory (directed by Harold Prince) first produced at McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ, moving to Broadway in 1984, and nominated for a Tony Award that year; If We Are Women premiered in 1993 at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, MA, and premiered as a co-production between Vancouver Playhouse and Canadian Stage Company, Toronto, 1994, also premiered in London (directed by Richard Olivier). Yesteryear was originally produced by the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto in 1989. Film/Novels: Ms. Glass wrote two novels, Reflections on a Mountain Summer (published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1975), and Woman Wanted (published by St. Martin’s Press in 1984). She has adapted both novels into screenplays, for Lorimar Studios and Warner Bros. Woman Wanted was filmed in 1998, starring and directed by Kiefer Sutherland, also starring Holly Hunter and Michael Moriarty. Awards: In 1984-85, Ms. Glass was awarded a Rockefeller grant. Other grants: the National Endowment for the Arts, 1980, and the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981. Ms. Glass won the Francesca Primus Award in 1994, and the Berrilla Kerr Award in 2000. Ms. Glass was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and presently resides in suburban Chicago.
Cameron Watson (Director) began his professional career in New York studying acting with the legendary Herbert Berghof at HB Studio. He soon landed the starring role in the original production of Horton Foote’s The Widow Claire at Circle in the Square, replacing Matthew Broderick.
Watson’s debut feature film as a writer/director/producer, “Our Very Own,” stars Allison Janney, Jason Ritter, Cheryl Hines, Mary Badham, Autumn Reeser, Faith Prince, Beth Grant and Keith Carradine, and was recently picked up by Miramax Films. Ms. Janney received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her work in the film. The movie won numerous awards at prestigious film festivals around the country and was released nationwide on DVD this July.
Watson directed the award-winning production at the Actor’s Co-Op in Hollywood of Horton Foote’s The Habitation of Dragons. Last year at the El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles was Watson’s American stage premiere of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, which received six Ovation nominations. He recently directed a unique one-woman play by Natasha Wood called Rolling with Laughter also at the El Portal. Natasha’s solo show, based on her life in a wheelchair since birth, is currently playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will be in London next year.
Watson’s lengthy acting career includes leading roles at the Pasadena Playhouse, Laguna Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Lost World, and on many LA stages. His numerous appearances in television and film range from “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Six Feet Under” to “Cheers” and “Dynasty.”
ABOUT THE CAST
ALAN MANDELL (Francis Biddle) is known for his roles in the works of Shakespeare, Beckett, and others, as well as productions on and off Broadway, throughout California and in Europe. He acted, directed, and was General Manager at both the San Francisco Actor's Workshop and the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center. After co-founding the San Quentin Drama Workshop, he toured France and Germany with the original productions of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Endgame, directed by the playwright, and then performed Endgame at Dublin's Abbey Theatre, and in London and Italy. He subsequently re-created Beckett’s direction for the filming of Endgame, in which he played the role of Nagg. He was Consulting Director for Los Angeles Actors' Theatre where he directed and acted in Beckett’s Company, as well as Rockaby, Ohio Impromptu, Footfalls, Charles Marowitz's Artaud at Rodez, and Harold Lieberman’s The Throne of Straw.
He also served as Consulting Director for Los Angeles Theater Center, directing A Rich Full Life, The Birthday Party, Happy Days, The Caretaker, and Strindberg's The Dance of Death, and appearing in The Film Society, Antony and Cleopatra, Sarcophagus, and The Illusion. While at LATC, he inaugurated a major Poetry Literary Series featuring such poets as Allen Ginsberg, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, W.S. Merwin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Adrienne Rich, and Nobel Prize-winner Czeslaw Milosz, among others.
He co-produced a major revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Rosemary Harris at Lincoln Center, and Lois Nettleton on Broadway and at the Kennedy Center, as well as the Off-Broadway production of I am Woman starring Viveca Lindfors. Among his countless stage appearances are Prospero in The Tempest and Shylock The Merchant of Venice at The Grove Shakespeare Festival, Denial at the Long Wharf, The Road to Mecca and The Cherry Orchard at South Coast Repertory, the title role in King Lear at Orange County Shakespeare Festival, The Cherry Orchard at the Mark Taper Forum, The Royal Family and 12 Angry Men at the Ahmanson Theatre, and He Hunts at the Geffen Playhouse. His film roles include Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Marrying Man, Endgame, Midnight Witness, and Shortbus. He appeared on television in Blind Ambition, Dark Victory, Enemies, 79 Park Avenue, and Eight is Enough. He is the recipient of LA Weekly’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.
REBECCA MOZO (Sarah Schorr) - The Colony Theatre: debut. With Center Theatre Group: Anya in The Cherry Orchard opposite Annette Bening and Alfred Molina at the Mark Taper Forum. Hollywood Food Chain Productions: I Capture the Castle (Ovation nomination for Best Lead Actress) with director Cameron Watson. With Antaeus Theatre Company: the award winning Pera Palas at the Theatre @ Boston Court, the audio production of The Charles Dickens Project with LA Theatreworks and Classicsfest's The Dresser and A Month in the Country. Film: “Zerophilia,” an award winning independent film; “Headless Horseman,” a Sci-Fi Channel Movie to be released this Halloween. Education: BFA in Acting at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University; Shakespeare's Globe in London.
TRYING has assembled an award-winning design team. The set design is by Victoria Profitt (I Capture the Castle, Times Like These). The costume design is by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg (The Devils, Elizabeth Rex). The lighting design is by Jared Sayeg (I Capture The Castle, The Woman In White). The sound design is by Cricket Myers (Come Back, Little Sheba, The Marvelous Wonderettes).
TRYING will open on Saturday, August 11 and perform through Sunday, September 9, 2007. Performances for TRYING will be Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. Ticket prices range from $37.00 - $42.00 (student, senior and group discounts are available). Preview performances will be Wednesday, August 8 at 8pm; Thursday, August 9 at 8pm and Friday, August 10 at 8:00pm. There will be additional performances on Saturday August 18 & 25 at 3pm and Thursday, August 30 and September 6 at 8pm. Preview Tickets are $20.00 - $25.00. Opening night performance with reception - all tickets $50.00. For tickets, call the Colony Theatre Box Office at 818/558-7000 ext. 15.
award-winning Colony Theatre Company is Burbank's premiere professional
theatre. It was voted "Best Live Theatre in L.A." in The Daily News
2006 Readers' Choice poll, and was named one of "25 Notable U.S.
Theatre Companies" by Encyclopedia Britannica's 2006 Almanac.
Theatre Company is a 32-year old organization dedicated to
bringing the finest-quality theatrical productions to Los Angeles. The
theatre is located at 555 North Third Street, at the corner of Cypress,
in the heart of Downtown Burbank. For further information, call (818)
558-7000. Fax: (818) 558-7110. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or visit our website at www.colonytheatre.org.