Blessing's Great Falls, With Nelis and Gross, Will Kick Off 2008 Humana Fest

News   Blessing's Great Falls, With Nelis and Gross, Will Kick Off 2008 Humana Fest
The 2008 Humana Festival of New American Plays will launch Feb. 24 at Actors Theatre of Louisville with the first preview of Lee Blessing's Great Falls.

The world premiere "drama about familial fallout," from the author of A Walk in the Woods, will play the Bingham Theatre, one of three venues in the ATL complex. Performances continue to March 30 at the internationally recognized festival in Louisville, KY.

Tom Nelis (Off-Broadway's Iphigenia 2.0, Doris to Darlene) plays "Monkey Man, in the middle of his life," and Halley Wegryn Gross (Off-Broadway's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Hurlyburly) plays "Bitch, at the start of hers."

"This new drama is the story of a stepfather and stepdaughter on a road trip across the American West," according to ATL. "As the story unfolds, Blessing reveals the strained nature of their relationship: the man and the girl's mother have recently divorced. Attempting to make sense of who they are to one another now, the realities of their shattered connection unfold."

Blessing stated, "I love the image of striking west, the whole concept that somehow going west is going toward one's future."

In addition to Great Falls, the Humana Festival will feature five other full-length world premieres, a bill of four ten-minute plays and a dramatic anthology — all performed over five weeks in rotating repertory. Blessing began writing Great Falls after director Lucy Tiberghien (who stages the production) asked him to contribute a scene for an evening of dramatic pieces set in motel rooms.

Official opening is Feb. 27.

The creative team includes scenic designer Paul Owen, costume designer Lorraine Venberg, lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal, sound designer Matt Callahan and properties designer Doc Manning.

Blessing's career began 26 years ago with the Humana Festival premiere of Oldtimers Game. Since then he has had several full-length plays featured in the festival, including Independence (1984), Riches (1985) and Down the Road (1991).

For information call the Actors Theatre box office at (502) 584-1205 or visit


The five remaining full-length plays in this year's Humana Festival are Becky Shaw (Feb. 29-March 30) by Gina Gionfriddo, This Beautiful City (March 6-29) by Steve Cosson and Jim Lewis, the break/s (March 8-29) by Marc Bamuthi-Joseph, All Hail Hurricane Gordo (March 13-30) by Carly Mensch, and Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (March 18-30) by Jennifer Haley.

The Humana Festival is underwritten by The Humana Foundation.

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