|Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents
Samuel Beckett’s Classic Happy Days
Featuring Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub
Directed by Andrei Belgrader
November 18 – 23, 2014
At Carling-Sorenson Theater at Babson College
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) will present its first indoor production as Theatre Company in Residence at Babson College, Samuel Beckett’s classic Happy Days featuring Brooke Adams* (Lend Me A Tenor, CSC’s The Last Will) and Tony Shalhoub* (Act One, Monk) November 18 – 23 at the Carling-Sorenson Theater at Babson College. Directed by Andrei Belgrader, performances are Tuesday, November 18, through Saturday, November 22 at 8 p.m and Sunday November 23 at 3pm (pre-performance talk with CSC’s Associate Artistic Director Adam Sanders 2-2:30pm; FREE) at Carling-Sorenson Theater, 231 Forest Drive, Wellesley, MA. (Press performance will be Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 8pm). Tickets $15-80 A limited number of tickets to Opening Night on November 19th are available for $125 and include post-performance reception with the cast. For tickets go online at commshakes.org or call OvationTix at 866-811-4111. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Please call (617) 426-0863.
CSC Founding Artistic Director and Director of the Sorenson Center for the Arts, Steven Maler says, “This will be an unforgettable night of theater, and for the history of CSC in its partnership with Babson College. Happy Days was one of the first Samuel Beckett plays I read years ago, and its tender humanity and provocative world view have remained with me throughout the years since that first reading. It is the ideal play for Commonwealth Shakespeare to begin this exciting new era in its history.”
Renowned director Andrei Belgrader will direct the re-examination of this classic, bringing forward its emerging relevance to new generations experiencing it in the context of the burden of climate change, and looming environmental catastrophes. Brooke Adams plays Winnie, a woman buried up to her bosom in a mound of dirt with nothing to pass the time but the ragged contents of her bag, her nimble wit, and her husband Willie, (Tony Shalhoub), lurking somewhere behind her. What could easily be a droll, existential allegory manages to vibrantly demonstrate the vitality of the human spirit in the face of a deteriorating world.
“More than 50 years later, the play resonates just as forcefully with audiences and performers as the day it was written, and CSC has many reasons to be proud of this extraordinary production”, says Maler. “Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub are the perfect duo to take on the delicate balance of humor and pathos, and “Andrei Belgrader, known locally for his brilliant work with the American Repertory Theater, remains one of the most acclaimed interpreters of Beckett’s work. This work demands much, and we have the perfect team to bring it to life.” Beyond the work’s popularity and contemporary relevance, its place of esteem among the canon of Beckett’s other works is also established among critics and literary experts. Writing for the New York Times in 1961 when the play first premiered, Howard Taubman said that Beckett “composed a song of rue that will haunt the inner ear long after you have heard it,” and “in its muted, tremulous way, it shimmers with beauty.”
Samuel Beckett (1906 -1989) is widely recognized as one of the greatest dramatists of the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Mr. Beckett is most renowned for his play Waiting for Godot, which launched his career in theatre. He then went on to write numerous successful full—length plays, including Endgame in 1957, Krapp’s Last Tape in 1958, and Happy Days in 1960. Mr. Beckett received his first commission for radio from the BBC in 1956 for All That Fall. This was followed by a further five plays for radio including Embers, Words and Music, and Cascando. Like no other dramatist before him, Mr. Beckett’s works capture the pathos and ironies of modern life yet still maintain his faith in man’s capacity for compassion and survival no matter how absurd his environment may have become.
Brooke Adams* (Winnie) Film/TV credits include: Days of Heaven, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Monk, Law & Order SVU, Family, Lace, and Moonlighting. Theatre credits include: The Old Neighborhood (American Repertory Theatre), Lost in Yonkers (Ahmanson Theatre), The Heidi Chronicles (Plymouth Theatre), The Cherry Orchard (Atlantic Theatre Company), Lend Me a Tenor (Music Box Theatre), Key Exchange (Orpheum), and If Memory Serves (The Pasadena Playhouse). She also produced and performed in the film, Made-‐Up, written by her sister Lynne Adams, and directed by Tony Shalhoub.
Tony Shalhoub* (Willie) most recently performed in the five-time Tony-nominated play Act One on Broadway. Film/TV credits include: Men in Black, Cars, Frasier, Too Big to Fail, Addams Family Values, and Wings. Theatre credits include: The Odd Couple (Ahmanson Theatre), Conversations with my Father (Royale Theatre), The Scene (Second Stage Theatre), Golden Boy (Belasco Theatre), and Waiting for Godot (Classic Stage Company Theatre). He has been nominated for 3 Tonys for his work on Broadway and won 3 Emmys, 2 Screen Actors Guild awards, and a Golden Globe for the title role in the television series, Monk.
Andrei Belgrader is a theatre and television director. He has also been a master teacher at the Yale School of Drama, a professor at UCSD, Head of the Directing Department at Juilliard and he currently teaches at USC School of Dramatic Arts. On television, he has directed numerous episodes of Monk as well as Law & Order: Criminal Intent and the sitcom Coach. He directed extensively at major regional theatres such as the American Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory, the Goodman and Seattle Repertory, as well as in New York City. His recent projects in New York: Beckett’s Endgame at BAM, with John Turturro and Elaine Stritch, and The Cherry Orchard at Classic Stage Company, with Dianne Wiest, John Turturro and Michael Urie and the 2013 production of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder also with John Turturro. All three productions were named among the 10 best productions of the year in major publications such as The New York Times and New York magazine and The Cherry Orchard was awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival in 2012.
This production originated at The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena, CA. Their team included Takeshi Kata**, Scenic Design; Tom Ontiveros, Lighting Design; Melanie Watnick, Costume Design; Madison Orgill, Prop Design & Scenic Artist; Emma Fasler, Casting; Kate Jopson, Assistant Director; Matthew Quinlan, Dramaturg; Alyssa Escalante, Stage Manager; Ed Krieger, Production Photography.
*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
**Represented by United Scenic Artists
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, best known for its annual free performances on Boston Common, is a non-profit organization founded in 1996, and dedicated to bringing the works of William Shakespeare in vital and contemporary productions to the people of Boston and to exploring Shakespeare’s works with Greater Boston’s youth in innovative and creative ways. In addition to the annual Boston Common productions, CSC presents several free play-reading events during the year: Theatre in the Rough, Shakespeare and Law as well as Shakespeare and Leadership. CSC fulfills its educational mission with actor-training programs for both high school students and pre-professional actors with its Summer Academy. Throughout the year, CSC partners with area high schools and Boys and Girls Clubs to provide in and after-school theater activities to inner-city youth. Recent productions include Twelfth Night, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, All’s Well That Ends Well (2012 Elliot Norton Award-winner for Best Production, Large Theater), Othello and The Comedy of Errors. CSC is the Resident Theatre of Babson College. CSC just kicked off its 20th Anniversary season with the first-ever Shakespeare At Fenway. Special thanks CSC’s 20th Anniversary Season sponsors Babson College and Massachusettes Cultural Council. For more information, visit commshakes.org.
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