Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Stage and Screen Luminaries SUZZANNE DOUGLAS and JOHN BOLGER Return to George Street Playhouse for Award-Winning AMERICAN SON

Suzzanne Douglas
New Brunswick, NJ -- George Street Playhouse today announced the cast of American Son, an award-winning, ripped-from-the-headlines drama, on stage February 7-26, 2017, at the New Brunswick theatre. Written by Christopher Demos-Brown, the emotionally charged play stars George Street favorites John Bolger (GSP’s Good People, Outside Mullingar, Twelve Angry Men) and Suzzanne Douglas (GSP’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Wit). Mark Junek (Broadway’s The Performers) and Mark Kenneth Smaltz (Law & Order: SVU) complete the cast.

American Son, which earned the 2016 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for a new play by an emerging playwright, had its world premiere at Barrington Stage last summer. Helming George Street Playhouse’s production will be Artistic Director David Saint, celebrating his 20th anniversary at the Playhouse.

“I knew the minute I read this play, I had to bring it to George Street,” said Mr. Saint. “This is an extraordinary page-turner and an important, timely play.”

Jamal’s car has been pulled over in the middle of the night. His mother (Douglas) and her estranged husband (Bolger) rush to the police station seeking answers and their son’s whereabouts. With no explanation forthcoming and emotions building, this highly charged drama twists and turns to an explosive conclusion.

George Street Playhouse has also planned additional audience engagement opportunities related to American Son. David Dante Troutt, a professor of law at Rutgers University and author who has written extensively legal and political commentary on race, law and equality, will be the featured speaker during a free event – “American Sons: A Conversation” – to be held at the Playhouse on Thursday, January 19, at 7 p.m. Those attending performances of American Son are invited to visit the Playhouse Cabaret before or after the show to see a special exhibit depicting our American sons.

Individual tickets, starting at $20, and discount ticket packages are also available. Contact the George Street Playhouse Box Office at 732-246-7717 or visit www.GSPonline.org for tickets and information. George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick’s vibrant downtown dining and entertainment district, steps away from plentiful parking and dining options for every palate and pocketbook.


John Bolger
John Bolger (Scott Connor) returns to George Street Playhouse for a fifth time, most recently appearing opposite Ellen McLaughlin two seasons ago in Outside Mullingar. He has also appeared in Good People (again with McLaughlin), Twelve Angry Men and Lips Together, Teeth Apart at GSP. His film and television credits include Parting Glances, The Black Donnellys, General Hospital and One Life to Live.

Suzzanne Douglas (Kendra Ellis-Connor) is returning to George Street Playhouse for a sixth time. She previously appeared in GSP’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Wit, Agnes of God, Hallelujah, Baby! and Night in Tunisia. She became the first African-American to perform the role of Dr. Bearing in Wit. An award-winning actor, singer, and producer, her film credits include Tap and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Her television credits include starring in the long-running family sitcom The Parent ‘Hood. She is a two-time NAACP Image Award winner. 


Mark Junek (Paul Larkin) has appeared in Broadway’s The Performers. Other stage credits include the world premiere of A. Rey Pamatmat’s after all the terrible things I do at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play at Syracuse Stage, Galileo and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at New York’s Classic Stage Company, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. His television credits include the second season of The Outs, as well as Blindspot, Forever, Smash and Law and Order: SVU. He is also the founder of Makehouse (www.makehouse.org), a non-profit providing artists with free space and time to create in rural New Jersey.

Mark Kenneth Smaltz (Lt. John Stokes) has appeared in Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Other television credits include Spin City and Now and Again. He has also appeared in the films See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Weekend at Bernie’s.


Christopher Demos-Brown (Playwright) is the author Fear Up Harsh, which received The American Theatre Critics Association’s Steinberg Award Citation (2014). Other plays include Captiva, When The Sun Shone Brighter and Stripped. He is also a recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award (2016), two Carbonell Awards (South Florida) and three Silver Palm Awards (South Florida) for playwriting. A graduate of Dartmouth College and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Chris and his wife, Stephanie, are co-founders of Zoetic Stage, an award-winning theatre in residence at The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.

David Saint (Artistic Director/Director) is celebrating his 20th anniversary as Artistic Director of George Street Playhouse. American Son marks his 36th mainstage production at GSP, which includes Mama’s Boy, Sex With Strangers, Buyer & Cellar, Outside Mullingar, Clever Little Lies, Good People, Twelve Angry Men, God of Carnage, Creating Claire and Sylvia. His time here has been marked by collaborations with such artists as Keith Carradine, Tyne Daly, Rachel Dratch, Sandy Duncan, Boyd Gaines, A.R. Gurney, Uta Hagen, Jack Klugman, Dan Lauria, Kathleen Marshall, Elaine May, Anne Meara, David Hyde Pierce, Chita Rivera, Paul Rudd, Stephen Sondheim, Marlo Thomas, Eli Wallach and many others, including a remarkable partnership with Arthur Laurents. In addition, many new award-winning works have begun their life here during his tenure, such as The Toxic Avenger, Proof, The Spitfire Grill, Clever Little Lies and It Shoulda Been You. He has also directed Clever Little Lies at Guild Hall in East Hampton, N.Y. in 2014 and Off-Broadway at NYC’s Westside Theatre in late 2015/early 2016, and the National Tour of West Side Story. In July 2016, he directed a special two-night concert presentation of West Side Story staged at the historic Hollywood Bowl. He also has directed on Broadway, off-Broadway and regionally at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages, McCarter, Williamstown, Seattle Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public, Long Wharf and many others, working on premieres by writers such as Aaron Sorkin, Wendy Wasserstein, Peter Parnell, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Joe Di Pietro and Jonathan Larson. He is the recipient of the Alan Schneider Award, Helen Hayes Award, L.A. Drama Critics Award, several Drama-Logue Awards and is the President of The Laurents/Hatcher Foundation.

The set is designed by Jason Simms (GSP’s Sex With Strangers, The Whipping Man, Venus in Fur), with costumes by David Murin (GSP’s My Name is Asher Lev, Outside Mullingar). The creative team also includes award-winning lighting designer Tyler Micoleau (MTC’s The World of Extreme Happiness, New York Theatre Workshop’s The Invisible Hand) and sound designer Christopher J. Bailey (GSP’s One Slight Hitch, God of Carnage and many others). The production stage manager is Thomas Clewell (GSP’s Mama’s Boy, My Name is Asher Lev and many others). Casting is by McCorkle Casting, Ltd.

American Son is sponsored by The Karma Foundation and The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund. This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“American Sons: A Conversation” and the special exhibit were made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

About George Street Playhouse
George Street Playhouse is a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists. Its leadership consists of Artistic Director David Saint, Resident Artistic Director Michael Mastro and Managing Director Kelly Ryman. Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway, including the Outer Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger; the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill; and the Broadway hit and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays. In 2015, George Street Playhouse was represented by two productions in New York with the Broadway production of It Shoulda Been You and Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies, which opened off-Broadway that same year. Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse. In addition to its mainstage season, GSP’s Touring Educational Theatre features three issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 40,000 students annually. George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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