O'Toole, Day, Schnetzer and O'Rourke Will Star in DC Premiere of Quality of Life

News   O'Toole, Day, Schnetzer and O'Rourke Will Star in DC Premiere of Quality of Life
Annette O'Toole will appear in the Arena Stage production of the newly rewritten play The Quality of Life by Emmy Award winner Jane Anderson. O'Toole replaces JoBeth Williams, who appeared in earlier West Coast productions of the drama.
Annette O'Toole
Annette O'Toole Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Lisa Peterson directs The Quality of Life, to play Sept. 11-Oct. 18 at Arena's temporary home in Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Opening is Sept. 17. O'Toole is joined by Johanna Day (Broadway's August: Osage County and Proof and Helen Hayes Award-winner for The Rainmaker at Arena Stage), Kevin O'Rourke (Broadway's revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Kathleen Turner) and Stephen Schnetzer (recently Voltaire in Arena's Legacy of Light and Broadway and Arena's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?).

The previously announced JoBeth Williams is no longer available for this production. With the prospect of including an additional new production in the season, Arena Stage made the decision to shorten the run length of The Quality of Life to accommodate this possible addition, Arena announced on July 30.

The Quality of Life is produced by Arena Stage in association with Jonathan Reinis Productions and Stephen Eich.

According to Arena notes, From Emmy Award-winning writer Jane Anderson ("Mad Men," "Normal") comes a play "filled with compassion, honesty and humor. In the wake of devastating personal tragedies, two cousins meet one weekend in an attempt to forge a friendship out of distant familial bonds. Steady, gentle Dinah [O'Toole] and husband Bill [O'Rourke], reeling from the loss of their daughter, find comfort in spirituality. Meanwhile, rebellious, energetic Jeanette [Day] and her ailing husband Neil [Schnetzer] mitigate illness and the destruction of their home through alternative practices. Can these couples from widely different political and religious backgrounds join together to confront their physical and emotional challenges of loss and survival?"

The creative team includes set designer Neil Patel, costume designer Ilona Somogyi, lighting designer Alexander V. Nichols, sound designer John Gromada and stage manager Susan R. White. Anderson's plays have been produced Off-Broadway and in theatres around the country, including A.C.T., Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, McCarter Theatre Center, Long Wharf Theatre, the Geffen Playhouse, and Pasadena Playhouse. Her published plays include Looking for Normal, The Baby Dance, Defying Gravity, Smart Choices for the New Century, Lynette at 3am and The Last Time We Saw Her. Other works include The Pink Studio and Hotel Oubliette (Susan Smith Blackburn Prize). Anderson wrote and directed the film "The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio." She wrote and directed "Normal" for HBO, which garnered six Emmy Award nominations, three Golden Globe Award nominations, and Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America award nominations for outstanding directing and writing. She wrote HBO's "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom," for which she received an Emmy, a Writers Guild Award, and a PEN Center USA Award for Best Teleplay.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.arenastage.org, by phone at (202) 488-3300 or at the Arena Stage Sales Office at 1800 S. Bell Street, Arlington, VA.


With the opening of the new Mead Center for American Theater in 2010, Arena Stage will be a leading center for the production, presentation, development and study of American theatre. For now, it is presenting in borrowed spaces in the DC area. Now in its sixth decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 200,000.

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