Hudson Stage's Pursuit Has Bessette, Lawson, McDonald, Saunders, Stone

News   Hudson Stage's Pursuit Has Bessette, Lawson, McDonald, Saunders, Stone
The cast for the Hudson Stage Company's new production of Richard Dresser's comedy The Pursuit of Happiness, a story of middle-class college ambitions, will include Denise Bessette, Todd Lawson, David McDonald, Sarah Saunders and Danton Stone, playing April 17-May 2 in Westchester County, NY.

The creative team is led by director Sheryl Kaller, who staged Off-Broadway's Christopher Durang musical, Adrift in Macao at Primary Stages.

Dresser's plays include Off-Broadway's Rounding Third. The Pursuit of Happiness is the second part of a trilogy of plays by Dresser about happiness in America. Each of the three plays is set in a different social class. Pursuit is the middle-class play. In the play, according to Hudson Stage, "parents Annie and Neil have given daughter Jodi everything she needs to compete and achieve acceptance to the best college. But what if she doesn’t want to go?"

Dresser states, "The play deals with parents who have deferred their own happiness and live through their 18 year-old daughter."

Bessette, who plays Annie is a co-founder/producer of Hudson Stage, and appeared in the company's productions of Kimberly Akimbo and Full Bloom. She has been seen Off-Broadway at the Abingdon Theatre, at Long Wharf Theatre, the Huntington Theatre in Boston, and the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival.

Stone, who plays Neil, appeared on Broadway in the Steppenwolf production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as well as Fifth of July. Off-Broadway credits include Balm in Gilead, Extremities, and David Ives' Mere Mortals. McDonald, who plays Spud, has performed on Broadway in Les Miserables, Side Show and most recently as Sam Carmichael in Mamma Mia! Off-Broadway credits include Forbidden Broadway and Perfect Crime.

Lawson, who plays Tucker, appeared in the Broadway production of Summer and Smoke as well as Off-Broadway at The Cherry Lane and Henry Street Settlement. He was also seen in the national tour of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He appeared in a new 2009 production of Stones in His Pockets, launching a fledgling resident Equity initiative at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University.

Saunders, who plays Jodi, is a recent graduate of the Acting Conservatory at SUNY Purchase College. She has appeared in Silent Heroes with the Roundtable Ensemble, and regional productions of The Shape of Things, suburbia and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The creative team includes Andreea Mincic (set design), Andrew Gmoser (lighting design), Meredith Neal (costume design) and Bart Fasbender (sound design).

Dan Foster and Olivia Sklar serve as executive producers for the production. They co-founded Hudson Stage with Bessette. In addition to being known as an Equity resident theatre, the troupe hosts the annual fundraiser Divas on the Hudson, featuring Broadway ladies of song.

The Pursuit of Happiness will be presented for nine performances only at Woodward Hall Theatre, Pace University, 235 Elm Road, Briarcliff Manor, NY.

The performance schedule is Fridays & Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets are $30 general admission, $25 for seniors/students. Ask about group and Pace discounts.

Tickets are available through Smarttix at (877) 238-5596 or contact For group sales contact Olivia Sklar at (914) 271-2811.

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