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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Midtown Direct Rep (MDR) to present second reading of 2017-18 staged reading series

woodland

Midtown Direct Rep (MDR) is delighted to present its second reading of its 2017-1018 staged reading series, Theater at The Woodland, with a presentation of FEAR, written by Matt Williams and directed by Mark Armstrong. This event will be performed for one night only on Sunday, December 3rd at 7:00pm at The Woodland (60 Woodland Rd. Maplewood, NJ), where MDR is the resident theater company. The reading is $20 (advance purchase), $25 (if purchased at the door) and open to the public.Student/Senior discounts are also available. Tickets can be purchased online through Eventbrite by clicking the link HERE.

Norbert Leo Butz headshotThe cast will feature MDR members Norbert Leo Butz –PHOTO (Broadway: My Fair Lady, Catch Me If You Can (Tony Award), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony Award), Big Fish, Wicked,TV: Netflix’s Bloodline, PBS’s Mercy Street), Maury Ginsberg (Off-Broadway: Laugh It Up, Stare It Down. Regional: The Cherry Orchard, Mother Courage. TV: Elementary, Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, and HBO’s Vinyl) and Lucas Calhoun (Broadway/West End: The Elephant Man. Regional: Improv Olympic-West, The Second City Hollywood. TV: Madam Secretary, I love you but I lied, and Billions. Sawyer Nunes rounds out the cast (Broadway: Matilda, Finding Neverland. Regional: Something Wicked This Way Comes, Because of Winn Dixie. TV: Madam Secretary, Power and Instinct. Film: Breatharians, 37, Wonderstruck. Self-produced: 50/50, Songs I Wrote in my Room.

About the play

A little girl’s disappearance in the woods near Princeton, NJ prompts a tense confrontation among a neighborhood plumber, professor, and teenage boy. In this gripping psychological thriller, three neighbors discover how far they are willing to go to defend the values – and the secrets – that define them.

About the playwright – Matt Williams

Matt Williams began his career with a collection of one-act plays entitled, Bruce Lee Is Dead and I’m Not Feeling Too Good Either. His one-act play, Jason and The Nun, won the Double Image Festival of Short Plays Award and was subsequently published by Samuel French. His first full-length play, Between Daylight and Boonville, premiered in New York to critical acclaim, and was later performed at the Kennedy Center as part of the American College Theater Festival. His comedy Faithful Wives and Healthy Children was included in the 2017 new play reading series at Penguin Rep. Most recently, Matt developed a psychological drama, Fear, at New Harmony, and will be doing further development at Midtown Direct Rep later this year.

Matt has directed over twenty productions in educational, regional and Off-Broadway theatres, working on everything from Neil Simon to Lanford Wilson. He directed the world premiere of Robby Benson’s musical Open Heart at the Cherry Lane Theatre and, along with Daryl Roth Productions and his partners at Wind Dancer, he co-produced the stage production of Camping with Henry and Tom. He and Wind Dancer co-produced The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin at Playwrights Horizons. Matt has received Emmy and Humanitas nominations and is the recipient of a shared Peabody Award.

Mr. Williams started his television career when he joined The Cosby Show during its premiere season and worked as a writer/producer for three subsequent seasons. He served as co-creator of A Different World, and is best known as the creator and Executive Producer of the hit series Roseanne and the co-creator and Executive Producer of Home Improvement. In addition to his many credits, Matt serves on the board of The University of Evansville, where he received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts (he also holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans), and is a founding board member of The New Harmony Project and the Cherry Lane Theatre. Matt is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program, and lives in New York with his wife, actress Angelina Fiordellisi, who is the owner and Artsitic Director at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Matt and Angelina are the proud parents of Matisse and Frederick.

About the Director – Mark Armstrong

Mark Armstrong is a Brooklyn-based theater director and the Executive Director for The 24 Hour Plays. Recent directing credits include Christopher Shinn’s, Falling Away, and The Coming World (Williamstown), Lucas Hnath’s Odile’s Ordeal (Williamstown), Dan O’Brien’s From Kandahar to Canada, Max Posner’s Old Folks, and 30 Million, a new musical with music and lyrics by Max Vernon, and book by Jason Kim (Keen Company).  Other credits include development and directing work at Naked Angels, Primary Stages, New Dramatists, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hartford Stage, Lincoln Center Theater, TheatreSquared, Roots & Branches, The New York Neo-Futurists, and many more. Mark is the former Director of New Work for off-Broadway’s Keen Company, where he created the Keen Playwrights Lab for mid-career playwrights and led Keen Teens, producing new plays with high school actors from the five boroughs of New York City.  Mark is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab.


About Theater at The Woodland

Midtown Direct Rep’s Theater at The Woodland is a series of readings of new plays and musicals in development, presented on Sunday evenings in the Parlor at The Woodland, right in the center of Maplewood Village. The readings include lively post-show discussions with the cast and creative team, fostering a fun and collaborative environment that allows the audience to be a part of the development of vital new works. Many of the plays presented by this reading series have gone on to major productions off-Broadway, in regional theaters, and beyond.

About Midtown Direct Rep

Midtown Direct Rep (MDR), the resident theater company of The Woodland in Maplewood, NJ, is a professional, ensemble-based theater company of over 100 working Broadway actors and theater professionals who call South Orange and Maplewood home. Midtown Direct Rep is dedicated to developing and presenting new plays and musicals focusing on work that reflects our diverse community. Midtown Direct Rep is also the local presenter of the hugely successful event Listen to Your Mother, which showcases local writers and performers each year around Mother’s Day. Company members include two-time Tony Award-winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award-winner Michele Pawk, Tony Award-nominees Stephanie J. Block, Megan Lawrence, and Christiane Noll, plus Sebastian Arcelus, Joel de la Fuente, Bradley Dean, and many others. Guest actors have included James McDonald, Michelle Hurst, Geoffrey Arend, and Academy Award®-winner Olympia Dukakis. Recent projects include work by Matt Schatz, Kate Moira Ryan, Y York, Jack Canfora, Peter Flaherty, Jeremy Desmon, Chad Hardin, James Hindman, Chisa Hutchison, David Johnston, Kait Kerrigan, Kara Lee Korthron, David Myers, Sandy Rustin, John Walch, Douglas J. Cohen, Zoe Samuel, and others. The Company is led by Managing Director Aliza Wassner, Artistic Producer Steven Tabakin, Artistic Associate Marni Raab, and Artistic Advisor Sandy Rustin. For more information, visit http://www.middirrep.org.

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 and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

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