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The Wilma Theater presents 20th Anniversary of Tony® Award winning epic ANGELS IN AMERICA, PART TWO: PERESTROIKA

July, 2012
Contact: Johnny Van Heest, Public Relations Manager
215.893.9456 ext. 102 | jvanheest@wilmatheater.org

The Wilma Theater presents 20th anniversary of Tony® Award winning epic
ANGELS IN AMERICA, PART TWO: PERESTROIKA
along with the return of the critically-acclaimed ‘Part One’ in marathon performances

September 12 – October 21, 2012

PHILADELPHIA – Following the extraordinary success of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, The Wilma Theater is pleased to announce the continuation of its critically-acclaimed production with the 2012/2013 Season opener Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika, by Tony Kushner, directed by Blanka Zizka. The Wilma’s production will coincide with the 20th anniversary of Perestroika which received its World Premiere in Los Angeles in 1992. Angels in America begins previews on Wednesday, September 12, 2012; opens on Wednesday, September 19, 2012; and closes on Sunday, October 21, 2012. To give audiences the opportunity to see the show in its entirety, Perestroika will play alongside Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches on select dates, with full day and overnight package options available.

Critics and members of the press are invited to attend Press Night on Wednesday, September 19, at 7:30pm. For ticket arrangements, contact Johnny Van Heest at jvanheest@wilmatheater.org or 215.893.9456 x102.

From the wreckage of an Angel’s dramatic descent from heaven which concludes Part One: Millennium Approaches, Angels in America forges ahead in Part Two: Perestroika.  Everything in our world is changing.  The AIDS epidemic is escalating, the ozone layer is under attack, and God has abandoned all of mankind.  Amid this chaos, Tony Kushner creates a cosmic-scale portrait of America through now-legendary characters: ancient rabbis, Mormon housewives, neoconservatives, blind revolutionaries, closeted gay men, imaginary travel agents.  Together, their lives intersect and get blown apart with both profound symbolism and brilliant comedy.

Artistic Director Blanka Zizka remarks, “Kushner’s characters get themselves into deeply messy situations in Perestroika. Everybody seems to be worse off than in Millennium Approaches. However, in critical moments, each character finds some amount of generosity. The play shows that Progress consists of movement and change, not stagnation. Yet in order to change, we have to find generosity and be open to accept others.”

Production History
The world premiere of Perestroika was presented at the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles in November 1992, directed by Oskar Eustis and Tony Taccone. This production followed a May 1991 staged reading, directed by David Esbornjson, at Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco and May 1992 workshop at the Taper, also directed by Eustis and Taccone. Subsequent productions at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, directed by Michael Mayer, and the National Theatre of Great Britain, directed by Declan Donellan, also aided Kushner in further finessing the play. Perestroika opened in New York at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway on November 23, 1993, directed by George C. Wolfe. Signature Theatre in New York presented the first New York revival of Angels in America in October 2010, a production that featured new Kushner rewrites to Perestroika. Further small rewrites have been made following the Signature revival.

About the Playwright
Tony Kushner's
plays include A Bright Room Called Day; Angels in America, Parts One and Two; Slavs!; Homebody/KabulCaroline, or Change, a musical with composer Jeanine Tesori; and The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide To Capitalism And Socialism With A Key To The  Scriptures. He wrote the libretto for the opera A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck, also with Ms. Tesori. He has adapted and translated Pierre Corneille's The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk, Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Sezuan and Mother Courage and Her Children; and the English-language libretto for the opera Brundibár by Hans Krasa.  He wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols' film of Angels in America, and Steven Spielberg's Munich. His books include Brundibar, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Kushner is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony® Awards, three Obie Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, an Olivier Award, an Emmy Award and an Oscar nomination, among other honors.  In 2008, he was the first recipient of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.  He lives in Manhattan with his husband, Mark Harris.

About the Director
Blanka Zizka has been Founding Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater since 1981. Blanka most recently directed Kushner’s Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, Tadeusz Słobodzianek's Our Class, Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, which received eight Barrymore awards, and Macbeth, which included an original score by Czech composer and percussionist Pavel Fajt. Blanka has directed over 60 plays and musicals at the Wilma. In October 2012 Blanka received the Zelda Fichandler Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, which recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer transforming the regional arts landscape. Her recent favorite productions are Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched, Tom Stoppard’s Rock ’n’ Roll, Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice (which featured an original score by composer Toby Twining, available from Cantaloupe Records), Brecht's The Life of Galileo, Athol Fugard’s Coming Home and My Children! My Africa!, and Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9.  She collaborated closely with Dael Orlandersmith on her plays Raw Boys and Yellowman, which was co-produced by McCarter Theatre and the Wilma and also performed at ACT Seattle, Long Wharf, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Blanka was also privileged to direct Rosemary Harris and John Cullum in Ariel Dorfman’s The Other Side at MTC. For the Academy of Vocal Arts, she directed the opera Kát’a Kabanová by Leoš Janáček. She has collaborated with many playwrights, including Yussef El Guindi, Doug Wright, Sarah Ruhl, Tom Stoppard, Linda Griffiths, Polly Pen, Dael Orlandersmith, Laurence Klavan, Lillian Groag, Jason Sherman, Amy Freed, Robert Sherwood, and Chay Yew. Her favorite productions are, even after all these years, Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love and Jim Cartwright's Road.

About the Cast and Production Team
The entire cast and design team from Angels in America, Part One will return for Perestroika. As Blanka Zizka comments, “I’m very much looking forward to the actors’ return, and to getting back to rehearsals. All the actors from Millennium Approaches are returning in Perestroika. The actors have created an extraordinary company but that didn’t happen by chance. The entire cast participated in a vocal workshop, led by Jean-René Toussaint, that challenged them to let go of their certainties and habits,  place their voices into their bodies, express memories and emotions through sound, discover that listening is the beginning step in creativity, be present at every moment, and dare to transform themselves. I’m incorporating Jean-René’s methods into my rehearsal process and hope that we will succeed in making the world of Perestroika resonant and vibrantly alive.”

The cast of Perestroika includes Kate Czajkowski (Barrymore nomination for the Wilma’s In The Next Room, or the vibrator play) as Harper, Aubrey Deeker as Prior, Maia DeSanti as Angel, James Ijames (2011 recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist)as Belize, Stephen Novelli (Eurydice) as Roy, Benjamin Pelteson as Louis, Mary Elizabeth Scallen as Hannah, and Luigi Sottile (Barrymore nomination for the Wilma’s In the Next Room, or the vibrator play) as Joe.  

The set is designed by Matt Saunders (Curse of the Starving Class, Rock ‘n’ Roll My Children My Africa, Age of Arousal), costumes are designed by Oana Botez (Our Class, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play), lighting designed by Russell Champa (Barrymore Awards for The Invention of Love, Red, and Quills; other Wilma productions include The Threepenny Opera, Bed and Sofa, and Perfect Pie), and sound designed by Christopher Colucci (Curse of the Starving Class, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play). Matt Saunders, Oana Botez, and Christopher Colucci all received Barrymore Awards for their work with In the Next Room, or the vibrator play.

Special Events
A number of special, behind-the-scenes Onstage Conversations will accompany the production and provide audiences with the opportunity to engage with the artistic staff of the Wilma.

Onstage Conversation
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Stay after the performance to discuss the play with a member of the Wilma's artistic staff.

Onstage Conversation ­
Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stay after the performance to discuss the play with the cast.

Young Friends Evening
Friday, October 5, 2012

Complimentary pre-show reception for audience members age 35 and under.

Onstage Conversation
Wednesday, October 10, 2012, immediately following the matinee

Stay after the matinee performance to discuss the play with a member of the Wilma's artistic staff in the lobby with complimentary coffee.                          

Tria Pre-Show Wine Tasting    
Friday, October 12, 2012

Join us for a complimentary, pre-show wine tasting in our lobby from 7 8pm sponsored by Tria.

Tickets

Tickets range from $39 to $66, 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, groups, or anyone in their 20s. Information on discounts is available at wilmatheater.org

The Doubletree Hotel, FISH Restaurant, and The Sporting Club at The Bellevue are the Season Sponsors for The Wilma Theater’s 2012/2013 Season.

Daniel Berger is the Honorary Producer for Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika.

 

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