Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Press Release

Milwaukee Repertory Theater Presents a Special Anniversary Production of the Classic Comedy Harvey November 18 – December 21, 2014

Featuring Rep Associate Artists Jonathan Gillard Daly, Laura Gordon, James Pickering and Deborah Staples

By - Oct 16th, 2014 12:41 pm

October 16, 2014 – [Milwaukee] – In celebration of its 70th Anniversary, Milwaukee Repertory Theater mounts a new production of Mary Chase’s Harvey, the classic American comedy that won the Pulitzer Prize, played for 1,775 performances on Broadway and was immortalized by Jimmy Stewart’s iconic 1950 film. Directed by KJ Sanchez, who returns to The Rep after last year’s hilarious and sold-out production of Noises Off, Harvey will welcome back to the Quadracci Powerhouse stage Rep Associate Artists Jonathan Gillard Daly, Laura Gordon, James Pickering, and Deborah Staples. A perfect offering for the whole family just in time for the holidays, Harvey is sure to fill the theater with laughter and delight with its timeless tale of finding one’s place in the world.

Described as having “real charm . . . guileless simplicity . . .  cast(s) a satisfying spell,” by The New York Times, Harvey tells the amazing story of Elwood P. Dowd, a sweet, somewhat eccentric man, who just happens to have a six-foot-tall rabbit “pooka”, visible only to him. Elwood’s behavior relating to his invisible friend is a constant source of frustration for his long-suffering family. When his social-climbing sister attempts to have him committed to an asylum, she learns she’d rather have Elwood just as he is – kind, caring, genial, at peace with the world and his place in it – than turn him into something he’s not.

The cast for Harvey also includes guest artists Laurie Birmingham, Justin Brill, Kelley Faulkner, Richard Halverson, and Gabriel Ruiz, as well as2014/15 Artistic Intern Ensemble Members Kristina Joy, Chris O’Reilly, and Leeanna Rubin.

“On the surface, Harvey is a gentle comedy, but it’s really about the right to exist and the right to individuality: great values in this country, but ones which don’t necessarily fit with a lot of people’s perceptions,” says Artistic Director Mark Clements. “We all feel like we’re free and have the right to be who we are, to live the American Dream, but we often don’t. Harvey features several of our Associate Artistsand will be directed by KJ Sanchez. She has been very successful at staging beautiful grand-scale productions of classic American dramas while giving them a fresh feel.”

Director KJ Sanchez added: “This play is as charming, funny and profound as ever. I’m delighted to return to Milwaukee, thrilled to work on Harvey, which has been on my bucket list for years, and honored to work with Jon Daly again, an actor with so much soul and heart who was born to play Elwood P. Dowd.”

The Executive Producer for Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of Harvey is Judy Hansen. The Media Sponsor for this production is OnMilwaukee.com. The Quadracci Powerhouse Season is sponsored by H. Richard Quadracci Ewens and Emilio Cabrera in memory of Harry and Betty Quadracci.

Harvey Tickets

Tickets for Harvey begin at $20.00. Single Tickets for all of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 2014/15 productions are now on sale and can be purchased online 24/7 at www.MilwaukeeRep.com, through The Rep’s Ticket Office by calling 414-224-9490 or in person at 108 E. Wells Street. Group tickets are also available for purchase by calling Group Sales Manager Joy Surber at 414-290-5340.

To learn more about The Rep or its productions, please visit www.MilwaukeeRep.com.

CAST

Laura Birmingham(Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet) returns to The Rep after spending the last fours years in New York City, Connecticut, Cleveland, and Boise, Idaho. She appeared in two Off-Broadway shows, became one of the many Reverend Mothers in the Nunsense franchise, and recorded nine titles for Recorded Book, Inc. She then did two full years with Great Lakes Theatre Company in conjunction with Idaho Shakespeare Festival, rotating between Cleveland and Boise for ten months each year. Some recent roles include Paulina in A Winter’s Tale, Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and last spring at Next Act Theatre, Laurie portrayed Jessie in the new play, Three Views of the Same Object.

Justin Brill (Duane Wilson) is making his Rep debut with Harvey. He recently spent over three years on the tour of Wicked (Boq). New York credits include: Rent, All Shook Up and High Fidelity on Broadway, A Christmas Carol (Ghost of Christmas Past) at Madison Square Garden and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck) at the Met. Vegas credits include: Spamalot (Patsy) and Mamma Mia. He has also appeared in Fiddler on the Roof, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and Little Shop of Horrors at the Fireside Theatre. He recently co-produced Methtacular! with About Face Theatre in Chicago and is a founding member of the FWD Theatre Project.

Jonathan Gillard Daly (Elwood P. Dowd), a Rep Associate Artist, first appeared at Milwaukee Rep as Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol back in 1995. He joined the Resident Acting Company in 1998 and has been in at least three productions at The Rep each year since then. He opened last season as Grandfather and J.P. Morgan in  Ragtime and was also seen in the holiday hit Noises Off. Other roles at The Rep include: Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, The Proprietor in Assassins, Herr Schulz in Cabaret, Nicky Giblin in The Seafarer, Arkady in A Month in the Country, Donald in Half Life, Jimmy in The Weir, and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Daly is also a founding member of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, where his roles include the title role in Lear, Prospero in The Tempest, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Falstaff in Henry IV, Part One, and, most recently, Feste in Twelfth Night, in which he co-composed his own songs with longtime associate Jack Forbes Wilson. Daly is also a published playwright. His plays The Daly News and To The Promised Land have enjoyed both local and national productions. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Gale Childs Daly; they are proud parents of Samuel, a doctoral student at Columbia University, and Emily, a third-year theater major at the University of Evansville.

Kelley Faulkner (Ruth Kelly, R.N.) has appeared at Milwaukee Repertory Theater as Brook in Noises Off, Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime, Miep Gies in The Diary of Anne Frank, Sally Bowles in CabaretPatsy Cline in Always . . . Patsy Cline, Chorus in Assassins and Belle/Lucy in A Christmas Carol. Regional credits include: Claire in Proof(TheatreFest); Nancy in Oliver! and Emily Arden in State Fair (Walnut Street Theatre); Roxie in Chicago (New Candlelight Theater); Woman 2 in Give My Regards to Broadway (Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts) and The Music Man and Street Scene (New York City Opera). National Tour: Miss Watson in Big. She received her BFA in Acting from Montclair State University.

Laura Gordon (Betty Chumley) was most recently seen acting in Good People (Forward Theater) and Noises OffSense and Sensibility and The Diary of Anne Frank (Milwaukee Rep). At The Rep, Gordan has appeared in over 76 productions including Death of a SalesmanThe Lady with All the AnswersPride and PrejudiceEnchanted AprilThe CrucibleDoubtThe Clean HouseThe Beauty Queen of LeenaneMary Stuart, Endgame, and  Copenhagen. As a director, her credits at The Rep include Venus in FurGutenberg! The Musical!In the Next Room or the vibrator play; Speaking in TonguesLaurel and HardyAlmost, MaineEdward Albee’s Seascape; and I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda. Other directing credits include The Royal Family and Old Times (American Players Theatre); Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Winter’s Tale (Utah Shakespeare Festival); Richard III (Notre Dame Shakespeare); Skin TightMemory House and Full Gallop  (Renaissance Theaterworks); and Going to St. Ives (Forward Theater Company). Gordon is a Lunt-Fontanne Fellow and a Milwaukee Rep Associate Artist.

Richard Halverson (Judge Omar Gaffney)is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA and MA in Music and Theatre Arts. He acted with The Cleveland Play House for 30 years and also with Missouri Repertory Theatre and Kansas City Lyric Opera. A member of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s acting company for seven years, he retired on Christmas 1994. Since then, he has worked occasionally with Skylight Opera Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Next Act Theatre and First Stage Children’s Theater. Among his favorite Rep productions are: The Mystery of Irma Vep, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Norman Conquests, Greater Tuna, The General from America, Twelfth Night, Noises Off, The Hollow, The Sunshine Boys, The Crucible, Laughing Stock, Trouble in Mind and The Cherry Orchard.

Kristina Loy (Myrtle May Simons), a native of Skokie, IL, is a member of The Rep’s 2014/15 Artistic Intern Ensemble. She just received her BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois and her theater credits there include O Beautiful9 Parts of DesireNo Child44 Plays for 44 PresidentsKabuki Lady Macbeth, and Cabaret. She spent the summer of 2013 studying at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, England.

Chris O’Reilly (E.J. Lofgren)is also a member of Milwaukee Rep’s 2014/15 Artistic Intern Ensemble. He is from Naperville, IL, and is a proud graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee with a degree in English. He was part of two main stage productions there – The Foreigner (Charlie Baker) and Urinetown (Officer Lockstock) – as well as various student-directed one-act plays and Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune (Johnny). He also produced and performed in a two-man benefit improv comedy show, and performed in the campus improv comedy group.

James Pickering (William R. Chumley, M.D.) recently concluded his 40th season at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Among notable roles performed there include Richard Harkin in The Seafarer, Niels Bohr in Copenhagen, Dave Moss in Glengarry Glen Ross, and Hugh in Translations. Among roles in Shakespeare’s works he has portrayed Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, King Henry and Owen Glendower in Henry IV, pt. 1, and Malvolio (1987) and Sir Toby Belch (1999) in Twelfth Night. He was recently seen performing in Milwaukee in Next Act Theatre’s production Three Views of the Same Object and also as King Duncan, The Porter, and The Doctor in Macbeth for Optimist Theatre in Shakespeare in the Park, a troupe he helped to found. He has been proud to be a part of The Rep’s international projects which have taken him to Russia and Japan. He and his late wife, Rose, were named Outstanding Artists by the Milwaukee Arts Board in 2001, and were given Alumni Achievement Awards by Penn State University in 2000. He is a voice-over talent as well, his most notable work being the narration of the Emmy Award winning The Making of Milwaukee for PBS. Jim is an Artistic Associate at The Rep. He currently lives in Bay View with his beautiful wife, Tami Workentin, and his stepsons, Jonah and Edan.

Gabriel Ruiz (Lyman Sanderson, M.D.)will be making his Rep debut with Harvey.Chicago credits include: The Way West and How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence (Steppenwolf Theatre Company);  White Tie Ball and Our Lady of the Underpass (Teatro Vista); Creditors (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company); Sita Ram (Harris Theater); After (Profiles Theatre); Working: The Musical (Broadway Playhouse) and Richard III and Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). His understudy credits include The Arabian Nights at Lookingglass Theatre Company and The Motherf**ker with the Hat at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Regionally, he has appeared in Why Torture is Wrong, and The People Who Love Them with Forward Theater Company in Madison. In New York, he appeared in Blood and Gifts at Lincoln Center Theater. Ruiz’s television credits include the role of Dilip Singh in both seasons of Boss on Starz and Chicago Fire. He is an ensemble member of Teatro Vista.

Leeanna Rubin (Miss Johnson) isfinishing her MFA in Acting from the University of South Carolina as an intern at Milwaukee Rep. USC credits include: Ruth in Cosi, Barb in Swimming in the Shallows, Hannah Jarvis in Arcadia, Natasha in The Three Sisters, Berthe in Boeing, Boeing, Goneril in King Lear, Nell Gwynn in Stage Beauty, several roles in Twelfth Night and Rosencrantz in Hamlet. She also wrote a one-woman show about a brilliant homeless woman and created a clown named Marsha Mellow. Rubin has worked at Walnut Street Theatre, Montgomery Theater, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, The Jewish Ensemble Theatre, and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center.

Deborah Staples (Veta Louise Simmons) was most recently seen at The Rep playing Belinda in Noises Off, Susan in How The World Began, Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, Emilia in Othello, and Jean Louise in To Kill a Mockingbird. Other recent credits include work on the independent film Pilot Error, season eight with American Players Theatre as Victoria (Too Many Husbands) and Gertrude (Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead), and her Jeff Award-Nominated performance at Writers’ Theatre for The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead. Staples is a commercial (yes, that was her as Glinda the Good Witch with Packer Jordy Nelson!) and voiceover talent, is teaching Acting Fundamentals at Marquette University and is the mother of two fabulous girls. She is an Associate Artist with The Rep and enjoys this extraordinary community to live, work and play in.

CREATIVE TEAM

KJ Sanchez (Director) is the founder and CEO of American Records, devoted to making theater that chronicles our time. She returns to Milwaukee Rep after directing last year’s hilarious production of Noises Off and the luminous production of The Diary of Anne Frank during the 2011/12 Season. As playwright, KJ Sanchez’s work has been produced at Asolo Rep Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Two River Theater Company, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Round House Theatre, Cornerstone Theater Company, Chicago’s Yo Solo Festival, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Hopkins Center for the Arts, HERE Arts Center and Off-Broadway at Urban Stages Theater. Directing credits include: Venus in Fur and Martin Zimmerman’s Seven Spots on the Sun at Cincinnati Playhouse,  26 Miles at Round House Theatre and Two River Theater Company, The Giver at Asolo Rep Theatre, 9 Parts of Desire and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Actors Theatre of Louisville and Private Lives and Mere Mortals at Two River Theater Company. Sanchez is the voice of many characters on the Nickelodeon cartoons Go, Diego, Go!, and Dora the Explorer. She is a Fox Fellow, Douglass Wallop Fellow, Albert Award Nominee, an NEA CDP recipient, and a TCG Doris Duke/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Generations Future Leaders Recipient.

Dan Conway (Scenic Designer) returns to Milwaukee Rep where his previous scenic designs include: End of the Rainbow, Noises Off and The Diary of Anne Frank. Recent projects include: The Tempest for American Repertory Theatre and South Coast Repertory theatres; the premiere of Love in Afghanistan, for Arena Stage; the premiere of Ken Ludwig’s new play, The Games Afoot for Cleveland Play House; the American premiere of Sucker Punch for Studio Theatre; Company, Hairspray, Chess, and Sunset Boulevard for Signature Theatre; Sabrina Fair for Ford’s Theatre; The Merry Wives of Windsor for The Shakespeare Theater; The Aliens for The Studio Theatre and August Osage County for Arden Theatre Company. Current and upcoming productions include: Sunday in the Park with George for Signature Theatre; By the Way Meet Vera Stark for The Juilliard School; Vanya, Sonya, Masha, and Spike for Arena Stage; and the premiere of Penny for Washington National Opera.He has beennominated for Washington, D.C’s Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Set Design 12 times, he received the award in 2000 and most recently in 2009 for Stunning, at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, directed by Anne Kaufmann.

Rachel Anne Healy (Costume Designer) returns to The Rep where her previous costume designs have included: To Kill a Mockingbird, Ten Chimneys, Death of a Salesman, The Seafarer, The Cherry Orchard, State of the Union, Endgame, Translations and Inventing Van Gogh. Based in Chicago, Healy’s  costume designs have been seen at  the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, American Theatre Company, The Next Theatre, Timeline Theatre and Remy Bumppo Theatre. Regionally, she has designed with American Players Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Co, First Stage Children’s Theater, Delaware Theatre Company and Long Wharf Theatre.  Recent designs were seen in American Players Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet, Steppenwolf Theatre’s The Night Alive and The Goodman Theatre’s premiere of The Upstairs Concierge. Healy is also a professor at Loyola University teaching costume design and rendering techniques to theatre designers.

Andrew Cisnna (Lighting Designer) returns to The Rep after designing Noises Off last season. Other credits include: Washington, D.C.: 1984 (Catalyst Theatre Company, Helen Hayes nomination); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Round House Theatre); One Destiny (Ford’s Theatre); After the Revolution, Yentl (Theater J); Sexwith Strangers (Signature Theatre); Passion for Justice (Olney Theatre Center); Blues JourneyAmerican Scrapbook (Kennedy Center TYA); Alexander, The Happy Elf and Holes (Adventure Theatre); Blue/Orange, In On It, and Gross Indecency (Theatre Alliance). Juneau, AK: Noises Off (Perseverance Theatre Company). Assistant Designer:  The Mountaintop and A Raisin in the Sun (Broadway); Chinglish (Broadway and Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Bullet for Adolf (Off-Broadway); and Peer Gynt (Guthrie Theater). BFA, North Carolina School of the Arts; MFA, University of Maryland.

Josh Schmidt (Sound Designer) returns to Milwaukee Rep after previously designing An Iliad, Yankee Tavern, I Am My Own Wife, State Of The Union, Tuesdays with Morrie and Carolin’ Carolynne Rides Again. New York credits include: House of Blue Leaves, The Neil Simon Plays On Broadway, A Minister’s Wife and When The Rain Stops Falling at Lincoln Center Theater, Add1ng Mach1ne at Minetta Lane Theatre (four Lortel Awards including Best Musical, OCC – Best Musical Off-Broadway, Best Score 2008, nine Drama Desk Nominations including Best Musical, Drama League Nomination for Best Musical and four Obie Awards), Fifty Words at MCC Theater and Crime And Punishment (59E59). Recent Regional credits include: Merry Wives of Windsor (Stratford Shakespeare Festival); A Streetcar Named Desire (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Ten Chimneys and The Glass Menagerie (Arizona Theatre Company); Cure at Troy (Seattle Repertory Theatre); The Glass Menagerie (Kansas City Repertory Theatre), Pygmalion, Harvey, Eurydice, Mauritius, The Farnsworth Invention and  The Clean House (Alley Theatre – Associate Artist);Tribes, The Tempest and Love-Lies-Bleeding (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Heaven’s My Destination at Cleveland Play House; A Christmas Carol and The Grapes Of Wrath (Ford’s Theatre, D.C.) among others. His work in Chicago has been seen at: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers’ Theatre (Associate Artist), Northlight Theatre, Next Theatre and Seanachai Theatre Company, among others. There he’s received seven Jeff nominations and three Awards. In Wisconsin, he’s designed 11 seasons at American Players Theatre, most recently designing Romeo and Juliet and Alcestis, and the world premiere of  his most recent musical Gift Of The Magi (with James DeVita), in addition to work with virtually every professional theater and dance company in the Milwaukee and Madison area.

Claire Diedrich (Stage Manager) is making her Rep debut with Harvey. She is currently based in Chicago but she recently stage managed for Optimist Theatre’s A Winter’s Tale at Kadish Park.  Some of her credits include: Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Three Oaks Theatre Festival, Emerald City Theatre Company, and Opera Australia, Sydney. She received her BA in Stage Management at Indiana University.

Anne M. Jude (Assistant Stage Manager) recently relocated to Milwaukee after spending three years on the road with the national tours of Mary Poppins and Elf. Previous credits include five seasons at the Fulton Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, Walnut Street Theatre and First Stage Children’s Theater. Originally from Minnesota, Anne received her BFA in Arts Administration from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI.

Marguerite Frey is the Stage Management Intern for this production.

PLAYWRIGHT BIOGRAPHY

Mary Chase (Playwright) was an award-winning author and playwright, her most famous works being the book Loretta Mason Potts and the play Harvey, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1945 and was later adapted for a film starring Jimmy Stewart. She wrote 14 plays, two children’s novels and one screenplay. In addition to writing plays and books, Chase had a career as a news journalist and was a member of the Dramatists’ Guild.

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