Philly's Wilma Opens Season With East Coast Debut of Miller's Resurrection Blues, Sept. 24

News   Philly's Wilma Opens Season With East Coast Debut of Miller's Resurrection Blues, Sept. 24 Wilma Theater in Philadelphia opens the East Coast premiere of Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues Sept. 24, following previews from Sept. 17.

Jiri Zizka, the Wilma's co-artistic director, stages the play, about an unnamed South American country rocked by social, political and environmental woes. When an apparent Messiah emerges in a village, an American ad company arrives to broadcast the planned public crucifixion.

The play, Miller has said, "examines the commercialization of everything." Resurrection Blues had its world premiere at The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.

The company includes Patricia Ageheim (as Jeanine), Jennifer Ann Brown (ensemble), David Dallas (ensemble), Patrick Doran (ensemble), Ralph Edmonds (ensemble), Gretchen Egolf (as Emily Shapiro), Munson Hicks (as Gen. Felix Barriaux), Patrick Husted (as Henri Schultz), Miriam Ameena Hyman (as Sarah), Karen McArthur (ensemble), Douglas Rees (as Stanley), Lindsay Smiling (as Police Captain), Michael Speer (ensemble), Doug Wert (as Skip L. Cheeseboro) and William Zielinski (as Phil).

Performances continue to Oct. 26. Wilma Theater is at 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. For information, call (215) 546-7824 or visit wilmatheater.org.

* Wilma Theater's 2003-04 season includes the previously reported world premiere of Polly Pen and Laurence Klavan's musical, Embarrassments.

Marking 25 years of Blanka Zizka and Jiri Zizka's involvement with the resident company, the new season includes the new Wilma-commissioned Embarrassments, by the composer of The Night Governess and bed and sofa, Nov. 26 Jan. 4, 2004; Charles L. Mee's Wintertime (directed by Jiri Zizka) March 10-April 18, 2004; followed by Stephen Adly Guirgis' Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (directed by Blanka Zizka), May 19-June 27, 2004. Sept. 17-Oct. 26. DanceBoom! returns for a third season Jan. 21-Feb. 8. 2004.

In order to meet demand for subscribers, a sixth week has been added for mainstage shows in 2003-04.

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Embarrassments has book and lyrics by Laurence Klavan and music and lyrics by Pen. The new work is set in 1895 and focuses on writer and lover Henry James.

According to the Wilma's website,"The creators of the delightful Wilma smash hit bed and sofa take a spirited musical look into the mind of a Victorian genius. The date: January 5, 1895. The place: the St. James Theater in London's West End. Tonight, the brilliant novelist Henry James hopes to change his life with the opening of his new venture: a play, into which he has poured his vulnerable heart. Meanwhile, deep in his imagination, a parallel story unfolds: the revealing tale of a playwright struggling with conflicted loyalties to art, love and life. With comic invention, haunting music and increasing speed, these two stories, one real and one imaginary, drive toward their very different confrontations with destiny. The Wilma proudly presents an artistic landmark: this will be the first of our commissioned works to premiere on the Wilma stage."

Pen penned The Night Governess, inspired by a story by Louisa May Alcott, seen at the McCarter Theatre in New Jersey. Other works include Goblin Market and Christina Alberta's Father.

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The Wilma has named Lynn Landis the company's new managing director, replacing Naomi Grabel, who left the theatre in November 2002. Landis was recently senior vice president and executive producer for the theatrical division of Clear Channel Entertainment, where she developed and scouted new work.

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