The Yale Repertory Theatre production of Canadian playwright George F. Walker’s Heaven opens Nov. 24 for a run through Dec. 16 in New Haven, CT. An erroneous press release had indicated the play would be staged at the University Theatre at 222 York St., but Yale spokespersons have corrected this and now say the show will be presented at the Rep’s home venue, the Yale Repertory Theatre at the corner of Chapel and York Streets in New Haven.
As reported earlier, Evan Yionoulis helms Walker’s “exploration of race, religion, and cultural identity,” which will be presented at the University Theatre. An Obie and DramaLogue award winner, Yionoulis has been a resident director at Yale Rep and chair of the acting program at Yale School of Drama since 1998.
The cast for Heaven includes Michael O'Keefe (television’s “Roseanne,” and Long Wharf’s Streamers) as Jimmy; Kate Levy (OB’s Halfway Home, An Empty Place at the Café de Grand Boeuf, The Normal Heart, and Five Women Waiting) as Judy; Robert Clohessey (various Hartford Stage Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Ensemble Studio Theatre productions) as Karl; Joseph Urla (Yale Rep’s Henry IV, Part I) as David; as well as Yale Drama students Leslie Elliard (Derek) and Jane Cho (Sissy).
In a prepared statement, dean of the Yale School of Drama and Yale Rep artistic director Stan Wojewodski, Jr. described Heaven as having “all the urgency, passion and raw humor that always drive a Walker play.” The play had its world premiere at the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto earlier this year.
In Heaven, a human rights lawyer turned cynic “launches a one-man crusade against the hypocrisies of racism, religion, and the politically correct...leaving him confronting an afterlife that further defies his expectations.” Playwright Walker’s Escape from Happiness was produced during Yale Rep's 1992-93 season. With over 25 plays and several awards to his credit, Walker’s works include the six-play cycle Suburban Motel Plays, Love and Anger, Nothing Sacred, Better Living, Criminals in Love, Theatre of the Film Noir, and Zastrozzi.
The production team for Heaven comprises scenic designer Takeshi Kata, costume designer Junghyun Georgia Lee, lighting designer Robert Wierzel, sound designer David Budries, fight coordinator Rick Sordelet, special skills consultant Michael Kennard, and production dramaturg Kate Bredeson.
Tickets range from $20-$36. Yale Repertory Theatre is located at the corner of Chapel and York Streets in New Haven. For more information, call (203) 432-1234.
-- By Murdoch McBride