After Ashley Plays Philly, Where It Was First Commissioned

News   After Ashley Plays Philly, Where It Was First Commissioned Philadelphia Theatre Company commissioned it, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre staged it, now it's time for After Ashley to roost in the City of Brotherly Love.

PTC presents the Philadelphia premiere of the acclaimed play by Gina Gionfriddo Feb. 8-March 5, following previews that began Feb. 3.

The resident Philly Equity company commissioned After Ashley — a satire about media's obsession with victims — and staged a reading of the play at its STAGES series in Fall 2003. The 2003-04 PTC season was already set, so despite the fact that the troupe loved the work, it could not schedule it before spring 2004, when the Humana Festival of New American Plays had already planned the world premiere. A run by Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre followed, snagging Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations. Denver Center Theatre Company will stage its own production in April. The play is currently being translated into German and Polish.

Directed by Pam MacKinnon, the Philly ensemble features Russ Anderson, Tony Braithwaite, Tracee Chimo, Jonathan Partington, Jennifer Rohn, and Peter Stadlen.

"After Ashley is the blisteringly funny, yet compassionate tale of seventeen-year-old Justin's attempt to deal with a family tragedy that is turned into a media firestorm," according to PTC. "As Justin longs to escape from the public eye while his father pushes him closer to it, the unpredictable events that follow explore pop culture, media exploitation and the yearnings of the human heart."

Gina Gionfriddo wrote U.S. Drag, which was produced at Connecticut Repertory Company and New York's Clubbed Thumb, and Guinevere, which was produced at the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. Currently, she is a writer for "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." In addition to her PTC commission, she has received a playwriting commission from Playwrights Horizons and developmental support form Denver Center Theatre Company, Trinity Repertory Company, ACT, Primary Stages Company, Basic Grammar and Chicago Films. She has held residencies at Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and Hedgebrook. Director Pam MacKinnon returns to PTC where she directed Edward Albee's The Play about the Baby. Her recent production of Bach at Leipzig by Itamar Moses ran at New York Theatre Workshop. She will soon direct David Mamet's Romance at The Goodman Theatre. She has also directed the world premieres of Edward Albee's Peter and Jerry at Hartford Stage, Father Joy by Sheri Wilner at CATF and 3F, 4F by Victor Lodato at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco.

The design team includes Kris Stone (set), Murell Horton (costume), John Ambrosone (lighting) and Jorge Cousineau (sound).

For more information, call (215) 985-0420 or visit www.phillytheatreco.com.