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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Theresa Rebeck's 'The Understudy' next at McCarter Center in Princeton

Pulitzer Prize-finalist Theresa Rebeck, creator and producer of the NBC hit Smash, pens a backstage battle royale for the ages. Things are looking grim at the understudy rehearsal for a hit new Broadway play – a “lost masterpiece” from one of the 20thcentury’s most enigmatic writers – Franz Kafka. The set technician is high, the cocky movie star doesn’t understand the script, and the new understudy is surprised to find that the stage manager is his jilted ex-fiancĂ©e. Backstage drama steps into the spotlight in this biting comedy about art, celebrity, and the crazy things we do for the business we love.

The Understudy, which premiered at Roundabout Theatre Company on Broadway in 2009, will be performed in McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. With more than a thousand seats, McCarter’s production marks the largest space in which the work has ever been staged, featuring a scenic design by Tony and Emmy-Award winning designer Eugene Lee. Audiences will witness a production that takes full advantage of the expansive space - with action taking place onstage, at tech tables, in the back of the house, and right in the aisles.

Playwright Theresa Rebeck adds: “I’m really excited about the space at McCarter; that it will be produced in the larger theater [the Matthews]. I have never seen a production of The Understudy on a stage that size, which I think it was meant for. I’m grateful that Emily [Mann] had the vision to say, “Let’s do it.””

This production also marks the main stage directorial debut of Associate Artistic Director, Adam Immerwahr, who began his professional career in McCarter's Intern Program—a season-long educational and artistic training program dedicated to cultivating and mentoring the next generation of theater artists and artistic leaders.

According to McCarter Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann: “Over the last decade I have had the distinct joy of watching Adam, who has always been an exceptional individual, develop his craft as both a director and an institutional leader and I am proud to introduce his work to McCarter audiences.”
The cast is a trio of young talents, with Adam Green as struggling actor (and understudy) Harry; Danielle Skraasdad as stage manager Roxanne; and JD Taylor as film star Jake. Princeton audiences will well-remember Adam Green for his recent tour-de-force turn as Figaro in McCarter’s productions of The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro. JD Taylor will be appearing at McCarter for the first time, having appeared at numerous theatres across the country including Denver Theatre Center and Williamstown Theatre Festival among others. Danielle Skraasdad, also a McCarter newcomer, has been featured in numerous regional theatres across the country; and New York in such productions as All My Sons(Broadway), In the Wake (The Public),  and The Moundbuilders (Signature).

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