The Yale Repertory production of filmmaker Preston Sturges' play, A Cup of Coffee will open Nov. 26 and run through Dec. 18 at Yale Rep.
Directed by Joe Grifasi, A Cup of Coffee is a romantic comedy centering on the professional aspirations of Jimmy McDonald, a sales rep for a coffee company in the Depression. When McDonald's ideas are ignored, he enters a rival java firm's slogan contest and sets off a chain of events. The play was adapted by Sturges into his 1940 film "Christmas in July."
The cast of Coffee features Michael Gross ("Family Ties"), John Rothman, Brian Mysliwy and Kellie Overbey (Betty's Summer Vacation, Buried Child), as well as Clement Fowler, Vanessa David, James Greene, George Hall, and Michael Potts.
"It's a rare opportunity for audiences to see a production of a Preston Sturges play," said Yale rep's artistic director and dean of the Yale School of Drama, Stan Wojewodski, Jr. "Although rightly lauded for his brilliant work in film, Sturges...understood very well the different demands and strengths of the two media."
Sturges was responsible for such film classics as "The Lady Eve," "The Palm Beach Story," "The Great McGinty" and "Unfaithfully Yours." He wrote A Cup of Coffee in 1931, and it was slated to premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse, but the production was sidelined by the author's Hollywood success. Director Grifasi, also an actor, has staged Nobody's Fools at New York's Chelsea Theatre, The Group of Seven and the Case of the Glowing Pine at Tarragon Theatre and Between Two Stools at Pears Cabaret, both in Toronto. As an actor, Grifasi appeared in the Broadway productions of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Play's the Thing, The Boys Next Door and other productions.
The production staff of the show includes David Swayze, scenic designer; Jacqueline Firkins, costume designer; Stephen Strawbridge, lighting designer; David Budries, sound designer; and Anne T. Davison and Wendy A. Weckwerth, production dramaturgs.
A Cup of Coffee plays at Yale Rep, located at Chapel and York Streets in New Haven. Tickets range from $10 - $34. For information, call the Yale Repertory Theatre box office at (203) 432-1234 or visit http://www.yale.edu/yalerep.
-- By Murdoch McBride