McCarter's Mrs. Packard — with Meisle and Parlato — Begins Performances May 4

News   McCarter's Mrs. Packard — with Meisle and Parlato — Begins Performances May 4
The McCarter Theatre Center's world-premiere production of Mrs. Packard, the true story of a 19th-century wife committed to an asylum because of her liberal views, begins previews May 4.
Kathryn Meisle and Dennis Parlato in Mrs. Packard
Kathryn Meisle and Dennis Parlato in Mrs. Packard Photo by T Charles Erickson

Written and directed by McCarter artistic director Emily Mann, the new play will officially open at the New Jersey resident theatre May 11. Mrs. Packard, produced in association with The Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, will run through June 10 and will then play an engagement at the Kennedy Center June 16-24.

Kathryn Meisle stars in the title role with Dennis Parlato as Dr. McFarland and John C. Vennema as Reverend Theophilus Packard. The cast also features Julie Boyd, Jeff Brooks, Robin Chadwick, Georgine Hall, Molly Regan and Fiana Toibin. Members of the ensemble include Karen Christie-Ward, Beth Dzuricky, Mitchell Michaliszyn, Quinn Warren and Ray Wiederhold.

Mrs. Packard is based on the life of the late Elizabeth Packard. McCarter notes describe Packard's life thusly: "Early in the morning of June 18, 1861, Reverend Theophilus Packard had his wife, Elizabeth, forcibly removed from their home and committed to the state-run Insane Asylum in Jacksonville, Illinois. A conservative Calvinist minister of the Old School, Reverend Packard strongly disagreed with his wife's liberal thinking and feared she endangered the spiritual welfare of their six children. The grounds for Elizabeth's incarceration rested solely on her husband's declaration of her insanity and not on a public hearing – such were the laws in Illinois (and many other states) at that time. Elizabeth remained true to her principles in the face of intense hardship, including separation from her beloved children."

Kathryn Meisle received a Tony nomination for her performance in Tartuffe and has also appeared on Broadway in A Touch of the Poet, The Constant Wife, London Assurance, The Rehearsal and Racing Demon. Dennis Parlato's Broadway credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Graduate, Oscar Wilde's Salome, The Sound of Music, Chess, Annie and A Chorus Line..

Mrs. Packard plays the McCarter's Berlind Theatre Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM with matinees Saturdays at 3 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. Tickets, priced $33-$48, are available by calling (609) 258-ARTS (2787) or by visiting

Kathryn Meisle in <i>Mrs. Packard</i>
Kathryn Meisle in Mrs. Packard Photo by T Charles Erickson
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