Jeffrey Essmann’s Artificial Reality

Text and Performance Jeffrey Essmann
Direction David Warren
Original Music Michael John LaChiusa

March 21, 1991—May 4, 1991

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Jeffrey Essmann’s Artificial Reality marks his return to character comedy, and includes favorite pieces from the original show- his on-the-skids Barbie doll, his Serbo-Croatian poetess, and, of course, his geriatric fourth grade school teacher, Sister Bernice.  Essmann has also created a host of new characters from his delightfully split personality.  There’s Jean-Louis DeBris, a French Existentialist cabaret singer who finds that it is difficult to get to the point when you don’t believe there is one; Raye, a woman whose lover is- literally- out of this world; and members of a revue celebrating “The Strum and Drang Songbook”.  As always, Mr. Essmann will be accompanied by composer/sidekick Michael John LaChiusa.

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

Text Caryl Churchill
Direction Lisa Peterson

February 1, 1991—March 10, 1991

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The year is 1647; the place, England.  It looked, for a moment, as if the common people held their future in their own hands.  The king had been defeated and the new Puritan powers of Oliver Cromwell were still unsure of their control.  Spurred on by an excited population, the Levellers and Ranters pressed for fuller freedoms.  But the new Puritan autocracy withstood the people and finally destroyed them.  Churchill’s exceptionally well-written play asks, what happens to a society when all the rules have been thrown out and everything has to be made anew.

Scenic Design Bill Clarke
Costume Design Michael Krass
Lighting Design Brian MacDevitt
Dialect Coach Elizabeth Smith
Original Music and Sound Design Mark Bennett
Production Manager George Xenos
Stage Manager Liz Small
Casting Wendy Ettinger

with Bill Camp, Philip Goodwin, Steve Hofvendahl, Cherry Jones, Shona Tucker and Gregory Wallace

Love and Anger

Text George F. Walker
Direction James C. Nicola and Christopher Grabowski

November 23, 1990—December 30, 1990

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Is Peter Maxwell really a fearless revolutionary or just another scheming con man; an enlightened visionary or a deluded crackpot; a prophet or a quack? When a near-fatal stroke slices a hole in Maxwell’s brain, he forsakes his life as a successful and ruthless lawyer and sets out to save his soul by changing the world.  His holy crusade against the powerful and corrupt leads him to two greedy and egotistical men: John “Babe” Connor, gutter-press tabloid publisher, real estate developer and thug; and Sean Harris, aspiring politician, legal hack, and the snake who stole Petie’s wife and kids. By taking on these reputed pillars of society, Maxwell pits himself against the establishment and its dominant institutions- the government, the law, and the press.  His consuming anger at how the powerful have corrupted society gives Petie the strength to confront and ridicule the “truths” we’ve come to accept.  In this final act of love, Maxwell gives his forgotten and outcast followers the self-respect to change their lives and their world.

Scenic Design James Schuette
Costume Design Gabriel Berry
Lighting Design Christopher Akerland
Fight Direction David Leong
Music and Sound Design Adam Guettel & Mark Bennett
Production Manager George Xenos
Stage Manager Liz Small
Casting Wendy Ettinger

with Arthur Hanket, Kristine Nielson, Deirdre O’Connell, Tonia Row, Saul Rubinek and Steve Ryan