Maria/Stuart, Grote's Supernatural Schiller-Inspired Tale, Begins World Premiere in DC

News   Maria/Stuart, Grote's Supernatural Schiller-Inspired Tale, Begins World Premiere in DC Naomi Jacobson, Sarah Marshall, Meghan Grady, Eli James, Amy McWilliams and Emily Townley are featured in the world premiere of Jason Grote's Maria/Stuart, an eccentric tale of strong women, opening the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's new season Aug. 18.

The DC company's production is directed by Pam MacKinnon (Off-Broadway's Peter and Jerry and Edward Albee's Occupant).

Opening is Aug. 24. Performances continue to Sept. 14 at Woolly Mammoth's home at 641 D Street, NW (7th & D).

According to Woolly Mammoth, "Just as Stuart (Eli James) approaches his big break as a comic book artist, a German-babbling, soda-guzzling shapeshifter appears to unlock his suburban family's hidden skeletons. Three generations of fierce women surround Stuart — his mother Marnie (Amy McWilliams) and his aunts Lizzie (Emily Townley) and Sylvia (Naomi Jacobson) — and attempt to drive back the long-forgotten past. But these sisters, along with their mother Ruthie (Sarah Marshall) and Stuart's cousin Hannah (Meghan Grady) seem destined to destroy each other. Eccentrically comic and eerily haunting, Grote's latest work, inspired by Friedrich Schiller's classic tale of warring queens with a supernatural twist, shows just how far a family will go to keep the past dead and buried."

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Woolly Mammoth artistic director Howard Shalwitz said in a statement, "Jason Grote's plays combine real and magical elements in imaginative ways, and in Maria/Stuart he has brought a big fresh lens to the contemporary American family. Drawing inspiration from Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart, he blows a breeze of eerie Germanic Romanticism through two suburban kitchens — in the form of a sloppy shapeshifter that demands answers from three generations of repressed women. The results are funny and very moving, and allow us to picture our small American lives on an epic scale. We're thrilled to be premiering this ambitious new work at Woolly…" Grote's plays include 1001 (Denver Center, Page 73, Boston Court, Contemporary American Theater Festival; upcoming, Mixed Blood, University of Wisconsin, Marin Theater), Box Americana, Hamilton Township (Salvage Vanguard; upcoming, Soho Rep), and This Storm Is What We Call Progress, which premiered at Rorschach Theatre in Washington, DC in July.

The design team for Maria/Stuart includes James Kronzer (set design), Deb Sivigny (costume design), Colin K. Bills (lighting design), Matthew M. Nielson (sound design) and Jennifer Sheetz (properties).

For more information call (202) 393-3939 or visit www.woollymammoth.net.

<i>Maria/Stuart</i>'s Emily Townley, Amy McWilliams and Naomi Jacobson
Maria/Stuart's Emily Townley, Amy McWilliams and Naomi Jacobson Photo by Stan Barouh