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Monday, October 1, 2018

George Street Playhouse to Open Season with World Premiere of Riveting Courtroom Drama Inspired by Actual Events

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Penned by the former editor and CEO of Parade Magazine, THE TRIAL OF DONNA CAINE spotlights the national discussion on women’s role in the military

George Street Playhouse will launch its 2018-19 season with the world premiere of The Trial of Donna Caine, a gripping courtroom drama by Walter Anderson, who served as the editor-in-chief of Parade magazine for 20 years prior to being named Chairman and CEO of Parade Publications. 

The production will star Margarita Levieva (ABC’s Revenge and HBO’s The Deuce), alongside Flor De Liz Perez (Two River Theater’s Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England) making her Playhouse debut in the titular role of Staff Sgt. Donna Caine. They are joined by Playhouse alums two-time Tony Award nominee Peter Frechette (Broadway’s Our Country’s Good and Eastern Standard), Kally Duling (Broadway’s Fun Home), Julia Brothers (Broadway’s Relatively Speaking), and John Bolger (George Street Playhouse’s American Hero in 2018 and American Son in 2017). The cast is completed by Michael Cullen,  Melissa Maxwell, and Ryan George. Performances run Oct. 16-Nov. 11, 2018 at George Street’s current venue, 103 College Farm Road in New Brunswick, NJ, with Opening Night set for Friday, October 19.

florWhen Marine Staff Sergeant Donna Caine (Perez) is accused of a serious crime, highly respected attorney Emily Zola Ginsberg (Levieva) is convinced to take the case. Fighting for her client’s future, Ginsberg finds herself taking on the military establishment in order to expose the truth.

“The piece reads like a true page-turner,” director David Saint said as he prepares to kickstart his record-breaking 22nd season as George Street’s Artistic Director.  “The Trial of Donna Caine is an incredibly tense and suspenseful courtroom drama that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats, but it is also has a number of strong women at its core. It will remind audiences of stories like A Few Good Men, but I call it A Few Good Women because it’s so female-centric.”

The Trial of Donna Caine is inspired by the real-life events surrounding the so-called “Ribbon Creek Incident,” a 1956 training mishap that resulted in the drowning deaths of six US Marine Corps recruits.

In Anderson’s modern reimagining of these events, three of those recruits have been conceived of as women, in addition to the titular Staff Sergeant Donna Caine, who finds herself on trial for their deaths.

“By adapting these events to the present day, the play puts a spotlight on the national discussion about the recent decision to open military combat positions to women. There are many twists, turns, and surprises along the way, but the backdrop of the play also makes it both relevant and timely ” Saint said. “I’m very excited about it.”

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the George Street Playhouse website at www.GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org, or call the box office at 732-246-7717. 

The Trial of Donna Caine is produced in association with Julian Schlossberg.

The Trial of Donna Caine  is sponsored by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

About George Street Playhouse

Originally located in an abandoned supermarket on the corner of George and Albany Streets, George Street Playhouse was the first professional theatre in New Brunswick and played a major role in the revitalization of the downtown area.  In 1984, the Playhouse moved to a renovated YMCA on Livingston Avenue, and in 2017 took temporary residence in the former Agricultural Museum during construction of its new home.

Beginning with the 2019-20 Season, George Street Playhouse will move to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in downtown New Brunswick.  Featuring two state-of-the-art theatres and myriad amenities, the NBPAC will mark a new era in the esteemed history of George Street Playhouse.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint since 1998, and Kelly Ryman -- Managing Director since 2013, the Playhouse produces groundbreaking new works, inspiring productions of the classics, and hit Broadway plays and musicals that speak to the heart and mind, with an unwavering commitment to producing new work.  As New Brunswick’s first producing theatre, George Street Playhouse became the cornerstone of the City’s arts and cultural landscape. With its 45-year history of producing nationally renowned theatre, the Playhouse continues to fill a unique theatre and arts education role in the city, state and greater metropolitan region.

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 the Playhouse during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays. In 2015, It Shoulda Been You opened on Broadway and Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies opened off-Broadway.  Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse. In 2018, George Street Playhouse was represented on Broadway with Gettin’ the Band Back Together which premiered on the Playhouse mainstage in 2013.  

In addition to the mainstage season, the Playhouse’s education department provides extensive programming for children, youth and adults.  Partnering with administrators and educators throughout New Jersey, the Playhouse provides unique education experiences that both reinforce classroom curriculum and investigate issues such as bullying, diversity, immigration, health and wellness, and the rising epidemic of opioid addiction. 

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.

THE ARTISTIC TEAM

Walter Anderson (Playwright) is a former Marine sergeant and Vietnam veteran.  For 32 years he was with Parade Magazine, serving first as Editor and then Chairman and CEO. Under his leadership Parade had the highest circulation of any magazine in the world. He has written five books including the bestsellers Meant To Be, a memoir, and The Confidence Course. He performed Talkin’ Stuff, a one-man show at Ford’s Theatre.  His last play, Almost Home, was produced by The Directors Company at New York’s Acorn Theatre. He has received the Literacy Volunteers of America’s Stars in Literacy Award, the Napoleon Hill Gold Medal for literary achievement, the Tree of Life Award from The Jewish National Fund, the Marine For Life Award and the Horatio Alger Award, for which he was nominated by the late Norman Vincent Peale.

THE CAST:

John_Bolger_LoResJohn Bolger (Roy Gill) returns to George Street Playhouse for a seventh time, having previously appeared here in American Hero, American Son, Outside Mulling; Good People; Twelve Angry Men and Lips Together, Teeth Apart. National Tours: South Pacific and Dirty Dancing; Regional: Five Presidents at Bay Street, cover for That Face at MTC; staged concert of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Richard III at Hartford Stage; The Real Thing and Antony and Cleopatra at The Old Globe; Light Up The Sky at The Roundabout; The Lady From Maxim’s at The Huntington; Safe Sex at La Mama; Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Sea Plays and Ages of Man, with The Willow Cabin Theatre Co. TV: Taken, Bull, Homeland, The Blacklist, Orange is the New Black, The Black Donnelly’s, Sex and the City, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, General Hospital, One Life to Live and Another World. Film: Patriots Day, The Only Living Boy in New York, Just Looking, Parting Glances and Black and White.

JuliaBrothers_72dpiJulia Brothers (Colonel Sandra Eden) last appeared at GSP as Carla in Roger Is Dead, written and directed by Elaine May. Recently, Julia appeared as Arthur Miller in Jeremy Tiang’s Salesman in the Rough Cut Festival at LPAC and will be reprising her role as God in the Kilbanes’ rock opera Weightless at The Public Theatre’s Under The Radar in January, directed by Becca Wolff. Regionally, she has worked at Merrimack Repertory Theatre (where she is an Artistic Associate), TheatreWorks (CA), ACT, SF Playhouse, Gulfshore Playhouse, Z Space, Arizona Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, GEVA, Aurora Theatre, Magic Theatre (SF), The Cape Playhouse, B Street Theatre (company member) and SF Playground (company member) among others. Broadway: Relatively Speaking.  Off Broadway:  Clever Little Lies.

cullenMichael Cullen (Sergeant Major Clayton Williams) NY Stage: King Liz (Second Stage Theater); Finks (Ensemble Studio Theater); Bug (Barrow St. Theater-OBIE AWARD); Len, Asleep In Vinyl (Second Stage Theater); Cobb (Lucille Lortel Theater- Drama Desk Award, Best Ensemble); Dark Matters (Rattlestick Theater); One Shot, One Kill (Primary Stages); The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Atlantic Theater); Bus Stop (Circle In The Square); Regional Theatres: Actors Theater of Louisville- Humana Festival, Denver Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Penguin Theater, Buffalo Studio Arena, The English Theater of Frankfurt- Germany. TV: Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU, Life On Mars, A Gifted Man, Ed, Third Watch, NY Undercover, Flesh and Bone, The Blacklist, CLAWS. Film: The Place Beyond The Pines, Margot At The Wedding, Dead Man Walking, Clockers, Malcolm X and the Coen Bros’. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

KallyDuling_72dpiKally Duling (Private First Class Ellen Colessio) is thrilled to be back at George Street! Broadway and National Tour: Fun Home. Regional: American Hero (George Street Playhouse), Into the Woods (TUTS), The Tall Girls (Alliance Theatre), Next to Normal (Baltimore Center Stage), Fifth of July (Williamstown Theatre Festival/Bay Street), Bus Stop (Fulton Theatre) Little Women (John Engeman Theatre). TV/Film: The Good Wife, One Bad Choic” Voiceover: Nickelodeon, Scholastic, Fischer Price.

peter fPeter Frechette (Vincent Stone) previously appeared at George Street Playhouse in Arthur Laurents’ New Years Eve, directed by David Saint. New York credits include productions on and off-Broadway. Regional credits include work at South Coast Rep, Seattle Rep, Berkeley Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Old Globe, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater and the Cape Playhouse among others. He has received the Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Theater World and LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, as well as two Tony nominations (Our Country’s Good, Eastern Standard), two Lortel nominations (The Dazzle, Valhalla) and an Emmy nomination (thirtysomething). He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.

RyanGeorge_72dpiRyan George (Gunnery Sergeant Jacob Jasper Walker) is a Miami raised, NYC based actor, with a BFA from the University of Florida. His NYC credits include the title role of Othello (Alchemical Theater Laboratory) and Jeb in Rush (Paradise Factory Theater). His regional credits include Oshoosi Size in The Brothers Size (Gablestage), Fish in The Royale (Gablestage), Spike in Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike (Florida Rep), Caliban in The Tempest (Hippodrome Theater), Associte in The Christians (Riverside Theater) and Monk in Fault (TheatreSquared). He's excited to be here at George Street for the first time and to be part of this wonderful premiere.

MargaritaLevieva_72dpiMargarita Levieva (Emily Zola Ginsberg) is currently one of the leads in David Simon’s critically acclaimed HBO drama The Deuce, starring opposite James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Margarita can next be seen in the independent feature Inherit the Viper opposite Josh Hartnett and Bruce Dern. She made her Broadway debut in 2009 with the play Impressionism at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre opposite Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen. She has completed the Meisner Training Program at the William Esper Studio in New York. Margarita's past film credits include Diary of a Teenage Girl


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