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The Wilma Theater presents Tom Stoppard’s Tony® Award-winning The Real Thing directed by David Kennedy - Marking the tenth Tom Stoppard play produced by the Wilma May 21 – June 22, 2014

PHILADELPHIA – The Wilma Theater is thrilled to be producing its tenth Tom Stoppard play – Tony® Award-winning The Real Thing directed by David Kennedy. Tom Stoppard has been the most produced playwright at the Wilma beginning with Travesties in 1994. The Real Thing combines Tom Stoppard’s characteristically brilliant wordplay, wit, and insight, illuminating the nature – and the mystery – of love and art. Henry is a brilliant and celebrated playwright. With his wife Charlotte in the starring role, his new play examines the complexity of love and infidelity. But when passions ignite and his own marriage becomes entwined with that of Charlotte's co-star, Henry's reality and fiction blur. As he struggles to write a new work, the players in this game of deceit and lust are all searching, but can any of them find 'the real thing'?

The Real Thing begins previews on Wednesday, May 21, 2014; opens on Wednesday, May 28, 2014; and closes on Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Critics and members of the press are invited to attend Press Night on Wednesday, May 28, at 7:30pm. For ticket arrangements, contact Sara Madden at smadden@wilmatheater.org or 215.893.9456 x102.

The Philadelphia Weekly has stated in the past that “Nobody in Philadelphia does Tom Stoppard better than The Wilma Theater!” When asked why Tom Stoppard is the most produced playwright at the Wilma, Artistic Director Blanka Zizka states, “It’s an enormous pleasure to produce Tom Stoppard’s plays. He is a virtuosic writer. His plays reflect his intellect, craft, inventive ideas, compulsive research, and great wit. In many of his plays he explores the world of thinkers, artists, or philosophers who may be obsessing with ideas and moral dilemmas that Tom wants to understand as well. That’s why he writes a new play, he once told me, to learn about a subject that he is interested in, but may not know enough about. His plays always explore new ideas, new worlds, and new experimentations that continuously surprise his audience.” Zizka will direct Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in the 2014/15 season. Director David Kennedy has a strong affinity towards Stoppard as well stating, “Stoppard can always be relied upon for sparkling language, brilliant plotting, great characters, and a profound commitment to the life of the mind. The Real Thing has all that plus such depth of emotion. It's a triumph of thought and feeling, and for that reason it’s my favorite Stoppard play.”

Regarding the first run of The Real Thing thirty-two years ago Tom Stoppard reminisces, “I received a letter which said, ‘I saw your play with my husband, my lover, and his wife. Now all I and my lover want is to see the play again on our own.’ I think this counts as a good review. I feel fondly towards the play, because it has looked after itself from the second performance: the first performance, the first preview, had a Henry-Debbie scene in act two, followed by (or perhaps preceded by) a Henry-Charlotte scene. I sensed that that was one too many scenes for the good of the act. Overnight I dovetailed them into one scene, and the original version was never staged again, as far as I know. I still worry about it occasionally because the original version got into print before I changed it. Anyway, it’s good to be on the Wilma stage again, and I’m grateful to the company and to an audience which has been generous to my work all these years.”

Production Awards:
The Real Thing received its premiere in 1982 in London. In 1984 it won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play, and the Tony Award for Best Play. In 2000 it won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play and the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

About the Playwright:
Tom Stoppard wrote his first play, Enter A Free Man, while working as a journalist in Bristol. He was introduced to American audiences in 1967 with the Broadway hit Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which was followed by Jumpers, Travesties, Dirty Linen, Newfoundland, Night and Day, The Real Thing, Artist Descending A Staircase, The Real Inspector Hound, Arcadia, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia, Rock ’n’ Roll, and an as-yet untitled work to be staged at the National Theatre in January 2015. His off-Broadway productions include Enter A Free Man and the double bill of Dogg’s Hamlet and Cahoot’s Macbeth. For television, Stoppard’s work includes the highly-acclaimed adaptation of the 1889 British novel by Jerome K. Jerome called Three Men in a Boat, seen on American public television in 1979. Professional Foul, a play he wrote for television, has won awards from BAFTA and the Broadcasting Press Guild. Most recently he won awards for Best Screenplay from Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming and the Writer’s Award from the Broadcasting Press Guild for his work on the five-part BBC/HBO/VRT television miniseries Parade’s End. His radio plays include If You’re Glad I’ll Be Frank, Albert’s Bridge (Italia Prize Winner), ‘M’ Is for Moon Among Other Things, The Dissolution of Dominic Boot, Artist Descending a Staircase, and Darkside. Tom Stoppard has written screenplays for the films Despair, The Romantic Englishwoman, The Human Factor, Brazil, Empire of the Sun, The Russia House, Billy Bathgate, Tulip Fever, The Golden Compass, he is co-screenwriter of Shakespeare in Love for which he received an Academy Award, and most recently he wrote the screenplay for Anna Karenina. He directed and wrote the screenplay for the film version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The Wilma Theater productions of Stoppard’s plays include Arcadia, Travesties, On The Razzle, The Invention of Love, The Real Inspector Hound, Indian Ink, Night and Day, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, Rock ’n’ Roll, and now The Real Thing.

About the Director:
David Kennedy has served as Associate Artistic Director of Connecticut’s Westport Country Playhouse since 2009. For the Playhouse, he has directed Loot, Tartuffe, Suddenly Last Summer, Beyond Therapy, and Dinner With Friends. Upcoming projects for the Playhouse include Nora, Ingmar Bergman’s adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Prior to Westport, he was on the artistic staff of Dallas Theater Center, first as Associate Director (2004-2007) and then as Acting Artistic Director (2007-2008). For DTC he directed The Misanthrope, Glengarry Glen Ross, Moonlight and Magnolias, Thom Pain (based on nothing), I Am My Own Wife, and The Violet Hour, as well as readings of new plays by Denis Johnson, Peter Morris, and Marcus Gardley. David was a founding Artistic Director for Milkman Theatre Group of Halifax, Nova Scotia (1992-1999), with whom he directed the original theatre works Oedipus: The Medium is the Message, Extract, and FAUST/Perpetual Motion Machine. In 2005 he wrote and directed Brighter Than the Light of the Sun, a co-production with Nova Scotia’s Ship’s Company Theatre and Toronto’s The Lunar Society. In addition, his directing work has been seen at The Wilma Theater (The Understudy and Assistance), Clarence Brown Theatre Company, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Hangar Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theater, Prospect Theater Company, 78th Street Theatre Lab, and The Summer Cabaret in New Haven (1998 artistic director). David is a former Phil Killian Fellow at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a Drama League Directing Fellow, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, and a faculty member at the University of Alberta.

Cast and Design Team:
The cast features Kevin Collins as Henry, Hannah Gold (Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq) as Debbie, Dan Hodge (Our Class) as Max, Suzy Jane Hunt as Annie, Karen Peakes as Charlotte, Brian Ratcliffe (Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq, Under the Whaleback) as Billy, and Harry Smith as Brodie.
The artistic team includes Set Designer Marsha Ginsberg (Our Class), Sound Designer Nick Kourtides (Assistance), Costume Designer Emily Rebholz (Becky Shaw), and Lighting Designer Thom Weaver (Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq, Assistance, Body Awareness, Our Class, Becky Shaw).

Special Events and Opportunities:

Lobby Display
May 21 through June 22, 2014
Twenty Years of Stoppard is an exhibit showcasing marketing materials, production photos, and press from the past nine Tom Stoppard plays the Wilma has produced beginning with Travesties from the 1993/94 season.

Pay What You Can
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 7:30pm
Pay what you can on the first preview performance (cash only the day of show in person).

Beer Tasting
Friday, May 23, 2014 - 7:00pm
Join us from 7-8pm in our lobby for a complimentary beer tasting!

Onstage Conversation
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Stay after the performance to discuss the play with a member of the Wilma's artistic staff.

Onstage Conversation
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Stay after the performance to discuss the play with the cast.

Young Friends Night
Friday, June 6, 2014
The Young Friends pre-show event features a complimentary food and drink reception at the Wilma from 7-8pm for audience members 35 and under.

Onstage Conversation
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Stay after the matinee performance to discuss the play with a member of the Wilma's artistic staff in the lobby with complimentary coffee from Starbucks.

Tria Wine Tasting
Friday, June 20, 2014
Join us for a pre-show wine tasting courtesy of TRIA in our lobby from 7-8pm, complimentary for ticket-holders.

Open Captioning
Saturday, June 21, 2014 - 2:00pm

Tickets:
Tickets range from $35 - $68, and are available at the Wilma’s Box Office by calling 215.546.7824, visiting wilmatheater.org, or coming to the theater, located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia. Discounted ticket options are available for students, seniors, groups, rush, or anyone in their 20s. Information on discounts is available at wilmatheater.org.
The Real Thing is made possible through the generous support of Honorary Producer Dan Berger, Esq. with additional support from the Charlotte Cushman Foundation. The Doubletree Hotel and The Sporting Club at The Bellevue are the Season Sponsors for The Wilma Theater’s 2013/2014 Season.

Mission:
The Wilma Theater creates living, adventurous art. We engage artists and audiences in imaginative reflection on the complexities of contemporary life. We present bold, original, well-crafted productions that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and styles.

What:
The Real Thing
by Tom Stoppard
directed by David Kennedy

Where:
The Wilma Theater
265 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

When:
May 21 – June 22, 2014
Preview Performances: May 21 – May 27, 2014
Opening Night: May 28, 2014
Reviewing members of the press are invited to attend opening night and may reserve tickets by contacting Sara Madden, Community Relations Manager, at smadden@wilmatheater.org

Summary: A Tony® Award-winner for Best Play, The Real Thing combines Tom Stoppard’s characteristically brilliant wordplay, wit, and insight, illuminating the nature – and the mystery – of love and art. Henry is a brilliant and celebrated playwright. With his wife Charlotte in the starring role, his new play examines the complexity of love and infidelity. But when passions ignite and his own marriage becomes entwined with that of Charlotte's co-star, Henry's reality and fiction blur. As he struggles to write a new work, the players in this game of deceit and lust are all searching, but can any of them find 'the real thing'? This will mark the Wilma’s 10th production of Stoppard’s work (ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, THE INVENTION OF LOVE). “Nobody in Philadelphia does Tom Stoppard better than The Wilma Theater!” (PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY)

Tickets:
Tickets range from $35 - $68, and are available at the Wilma’s Box Office by calling 215.546.7824, visiting wilmatheater.org, or coming to the theater, located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia. Discounted ticket options are available for students, seniors, groups, rush, or anyone in their 20s. Information on discounts is available at wilmatheater.org.

Cast:
Kevin Collins as Henry
Hannah Gold as Debbie
Dan Hodge as Max
Suzy Jane Hunt as Annie
Karen Peakes as Charlotte
Brian Ratcliffe as Billy
Harry Smith as Brodie

Artistic Team:
Director: David Kennedy
Set Design: Marsha Ginsberg
Costume Design: Emily Rebholz
Lighting Design: Thom Weaver
Sound Design: Nick Kourtides
Resident Stage Manager - Patreshettarlini Adams

Press Contact:
Sara Madden, Community Relations Manager
215-893-9456 x102
smadden@wilmatheater.org
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Season Sponsor
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