Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Centenary Stage Company to present world premiere of 'How to Pray'

A reminder: Winner of the 2010 Susan Glaspell Contest for best new play, “How to Pray” by Michelle Carter will enjoy its World Premiere at the Centenary Stage Company on Friday night April 1, 2011 in Hackettstown, New Jersey.

With a surly house cat, an irrepressible dog that Faith adopted from a local shelter, a social-networking boyfriend,  and a transgender, karaoke-singing friend, “How to Pray” is highly theatrical, and is filled with humor of the divine comedy that Faith’s life   is.  When her brother comes to Faith  for help, she  could not have imagined the complications which would ensue, which ultimately thrust Faith into a life-changing ethical and moral dilemma. 

“It is ultimately a play about choice,” Catherine Rust, Program Director of the CSC Playwright Series states, “ and the unique situation that women and men find themselves in  today’s culture of miraculous technology,  and the redefinition of the nature of  ‘family.’  It is the perfect complement to March’s Women’s History Month celebrations.”
A resident of San Francisco, playwright Michelle Carter  received the PEN USA Literary Award in Drama for her first two plays, Hillary and Soon-Yi Shop  for Ties and Ted Kaczynski Killed People With  Bombs, both of which premiered at San Francisco's Magic Theatre.  She was the first American playwright-in-residence at the Donmar Warehouse in London.   Her  PEN-Award-winning plays are published by Dramatic Publishing  and "Prometheus" appears in Plays for Actresses II (Vintage).   Her first novel was published by Penguin Books.

“How to Pray” received development in the 2010 CSC Women Playwrights Series, as well as in the Mark Taper Forum(a world-class venue for new American plays located in Los Angeles), where Carter was the recipient of the Forum Playwrighting Commission.   The Taper commission put Carter among the elite in contemporary American playwriting. Other writers selected for the honor include the Tony Award-winning David Henry Hwang, Naomi Izuka, Jon Robin Baitz, Lisa Loomer and the Latino performance group, Culture Clash.

Steven Patterson, Colin Ryan and Amanda Duarte   
Theatre Company in Washington, D.C..

The play will be directed by Margo Whitcomb, who shares credits at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, which has also produced Carter’s earlier plays.  Whitcomb was the former Associate Artistic Director of the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and is a founding Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley’s Half Moon Theatre Company.

The cast of “How to Pray” will feature Amanda Duarte, Steven Patterson and Colin Ryan.  Duarte’s credits include theatres from California to New York, where she also directs and is a monologist and storyteller, performing at such venues as  Caroline's and the Upright Citizens Brigade.  Patterson’s credits include Shakespeare festivals from Orlando to Oregon, as well as performances in New York and regionally.  Ryan  returns to CSC where he played David Garrick in the American revival of “A Laughing Matter.  He is a MFA graduate of the Academy for Classical Acting, under the director of Michael Kahn and the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C..

Tickets for “How to Pray” range in price from $ 20 to $25, with special discounts for seniors, students and groups.  A special tradition locally for the economically-minded, Thursday evenings at CSC are “Family Nights” with two-for-one ‘rush’ ticket prices available at the door on the evening of the performance.

Tickets are available online at, and at the CSC box office 908-979-0900, Monday through Friday, from 1-5 PM.    Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2:30 PM, Thursdays at 7:30 PM, with matinee performances on Fri, Apr 1 at 2:30 PM (Preview), Wed, Apr 6  at 2:30 PM and  Wed., Apr 13 at 2:30 PM.  The play will be performed in the Edith Bolte Kutz Theater of the new David and Carol Lackland Center on the campus of Centenary College.

Performances at CSC are made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, Heath Village Retirement Community, Panther Valley Pharmacy, Skylands Community Bank, Helga and Ed Coyne, Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, The Residence Inn- Marriott Mt Olive,  and CSC members and sponsors.

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