Shalita Grant and Kristine Nielsen Will Reprise Performances
January 29-March 9, 2014
Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor David Hyde Pierce will return to the hysterically funny and affecting new play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” this time directing the play which earned him his most recent Tony nomination. Christopher Durang’s Tony-winning farce will be performed at the Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum, January 29 through March 9, 2014, and will feature two Tony-nominated members of the Broadway cast.
Pierce will base this production on the work of Nicholas Martin who directed the Broadway production. Martin had been previously announced to direct the Los Angeles production but was forced to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts.
The cast features (in alphabetical order) Mark Blum (Obie Award-winner for “Gus and Al”), Christine Ebersole (Tony Award for “Grey Gardens” and “42nd Street”), Shalita Grant (Tony nomination for “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”), David Hull (“Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon”), Kristine Nielsen (Tony nomination for “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”) and Liesel Allen Yaeger (reprising the role she played on Broadway).
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” features sets by David Korins, costumes by Gabriel Berry, lighting by David Weiner, and original music and sound design by Mark Bennett. The production stage manager is David S. Franklin.
Set in 21st century Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with hints of 19th century Russia, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is a riotous comedy with the Chekhovian set-up of a middle-aged Vanya and his stepsister, Sonia, who live together in their ancestral farmhouse, complete with a pond and a cherry orchard. Their normally quiet existence is thrown into upheaval by the surprise visit from their glamorous, movie-star sibling, Masha, and her 20-something boyfriend, Spike, the unlikely prophecies of their cleaning lady and an all too important costume party.
“The terrifically kooky . . .” new comedy “. . . is entirely, indisputably, oh-no-he-didn’t classic Durang,” said Melissa Rose Bernardo of Entertainment Weekly. Elizabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post said, “Few Chekhov-inspired shows make you laugh out loud, and repeatedly at that. In fact there’s probably just one such rare bird on the planet: Christopher Durang’s riotous ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.’ ”
As a performer, David Hyde Pierce won the 2007 Tony Award (Best Actor in a Musical) for his performance in “Curtains,” a performance he premiered at the CTG / Ahmanson Theatre. Also with CTG, Pierce performed in Terrence McNally’s “It’s Only a Play” presented at the Doolittle Theatre in 1992. David received a Tony nomination for his performance in “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and a special Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award in 2010 for his work with the Alzheimer’s Association. On television, Pierce is best known for his multiple Emmy and SAG Award-winning role as Niles on TV’s iconic comedy “Frasier.” His film credits include “Little Man Tate,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Nixon,” “Down With Love,” and the Sundance Film Festival Selection, “The Perfect Host.” His directing credits include a gangster-themed “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the world premiere of Brian Hargrove and Barbara Anselmi’s new musical “It Shoulda Been You” at the George Street Playhouse.
Christopher Durang’s plays include “The Idiots Karamazov” (co-authored with Albert Innaurato), “A History of the American Film” (Tony Award nomination), “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You” (Obie Award), “Beyond Therapy” (off- and on Broadway), “Baby with the Bathwater,” “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” (Obie Award), “Laughing Wild,” “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls,” “Betty’s Summer Vacation” (Obie Award), “Miss Witherspoon” (2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist), “Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them,” “Cabaret: Das Lusitania Songspiel” co-authored and performed by Sigourney Weaver and Durang (Drama Desk nominations for both performers), “Chris Durang and Dawne” (Bistro Award for Durang and cohorts John Augustine and Sherry Anderson). He won the Harvard Arts Medal, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, and was recently inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. For 18 years he and Marsha Norman have been co-chairs of the Juilliard Playwriting Program. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
Tickets for “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” will go on sale December 2 and are currently by subscription only by calling (213) 972-4444 or visiting online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org. Tickets range from $20 - $70 (ticket prices are subject to change). Individual ticket sales begin in December. The Mark Taper Forum is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.