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The Wilma Theater continues its 2013/2014 Season with The World Premiere of Cherokee by Lisa D’Amour, directed by Anne Kauffman

November, 2013
Contact: James Haskins, Managing Director
215-893-9456 ext. 110 | jhaskins@wilmatheater.org

The Wilma Theater continues its 2013/2014 Season with
The World Premiere of Cherokee by Lisa D’Amour, directed by Anne Kauffman

A comedy about getting lost…or found…in the woods

January 8 – February 8, 2014


PHILADELPHIA
– The Wilma Theater is pleased to produce the World Premiere of Cherokee, written by Obie Award-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour, directed by Anne Kauffman, who directed the Wilma’s critically-acclaimed and Barrymore Award-winning Body Awareness and Becky Shaw. A follow-up to D’Amour’s popular play Detroit, Cherokee is a camping play – a return to nature – where characters see what one may learn about oneself. Cherokee is the first of two World Premieres to be produced by The Wilma Theater during the 2013/2014 Season; in March, 2014, the theater will present Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel, directed by Blanka Zizka. Blanka Zizka worked with Paula Vogel for two years to develop Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq, and they have collaborated with a company of local actors and designers for the production’s World Premiere. Cherokee begins previews on Wednesday, January 8, 2014; opens on Wednesday, January 15, 2014; and closes on Saturday, February 8, 2014.

Critics and members of the press are invited to attend Press Night on Wednesday, January 15, at 7:30pm.

As a companion piece to Detroit, which has become one of the most produced plays of the 2013/2014 season, Lisa D’Amour has crafted a new comedy in which two couples from Houston embark on a camping trip, not realizing how ripe they all are for transformation. Escaping their humdrum routine in an economically uncertain world, things quickly go awry when one of the four campers goes missing and a mysterious half-Cherokee enters their campground. The three remaining campers begin to question what they find valuable in their lives, and whether or not it is possible to commit to a different kind of life.

About the production, director Anne Kauffman states, “I'm thrilled to be returning to The Wilma Theater, my home away from home, and I am especially delighted to bring a very dear and long-standing collaborator and friend, Lisa D'Amour, into the fold.  I have felt from the beginning that Lisa and the Wilma are a match made in heaven, and to be able to premiere her new play about the creation of fresh alliances and new paradigms at this theater seems especially synergetic.”

Cherokee is the first of two World Premieres during the 2013/2014 Season, immediately followed by the World Premiere of Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel. Both productions emphasize the Wilma’s renewed commitment to bring new work to Philadelphia by collaborating directly with theater artists, playwrights, and nationally-renowned directors.

Production History
Cherokee was workshopped at the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2011, directed by Anne Kauffman. Its production at The Wilma Theater will mark the play’s World Premiere.

About the Playwright
Lisa D’Amour
 is a playwright and co-artistic director of PearlDamour, an Obie-award winning interdisciplinary performance company.  Most recently, Lisa’s plays have been produced by Playwrights Horizons (NYC), ArtSpot Productions (New Orleans), The National Theater (London), and Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago). Her play Detroit was a finalist for both the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is a past recipient of the Alpert Award for the Arts, the Steinberg Playwright Award, and is a 2013 Doris Duke Artist. Lisa is a core alumna of the Playwrights’ Center and a past resident playwright at New Dramatists. She lives with her husband, composer Brendan Connelly, in Brooklyn and New Orleans.

About the Director
At The Wilma Theater, Anne Kauffman directed Becky Shaw (Barrymore for Best Direction and Best Overall Production) and Body Awareness (Barrymore for Best Direction and Best Overall Production). Most recently she directed Smokefall at the Goodman Theater and South Coast Rep; Somewhere Fun at the Vineyard Theater; Belleville (Lucille Lortel nomination) at New York Theatre Workshop, Steppenwolf, and Yale Rep; Detroit at Playwrights Horizons; Slowgirl at LCT3; You Better Sit Down: tales from my parents' divorce at Williamstown Theater Festival and the Flea Theater; and Maple and Vine at Playwrights Horizons. Additional credits include God's Ear by Jenny Schwartz at the Vineyard and New Georges, Stunning by David Adjmi with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and LCT3, This Wide Night at Naked Angels (Lucille Lortel nomination), The Flea and The Professor at Arden Theater Company (Barrymore for Best Overall Production of a Musical), Communist Dracula Pageant at American Repertory Theater, Have You Seen Steve Steven with 13P, and The Ladies by Anne Washburn with The Civilians at Dixon Place and Cherry Lane Theater. Other plays with Lisa D'Amour are 16 Spells to Charm the Beast and The Red Death, both with Clubbed Thumb. She won the Obie Award for The Thugs by Adam Bock at SoHo Rep, is a recipient of the Lilly Award, the Alan Schneider Director Award, Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity, and several Barrymore Awards. She is a Program associate with the Sundance Institute, a Usual Suspect at NY Theatre Workshop, an alumna of the Soho Rep Lab, a current member of Soho Rep’s Artistic Council, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, The Drama League, a founding member of The Civilians, and Associate Artist with Clubbed Thumb and New Georges.

Cast and Design Team
Actors from Philadelphia, New York, and LA star in Cherokee. Cherokee features Ashley Everage (Resident of NYC) as Traci, David Ingram (Resident of Ardmore, PA) as John, Kevin Jackson (Resident of Los Angeles) as Mike, Kalani Queypo (Resident of Los Angeles) as Josh, Marcia Saunders (Resident of Chester County, PA) as Janine.

Director Anne Kauffman will once again work with Set Designer Mimi Lien; the duo worked on two previous Wilma productions, Body Awareness (2011) and Becky Shaw (2010). Costumes are designed by Maiko Matsushima, who designed for The Understudy (2011); Lighting is designed by Drew Billiau, who designed lighting for Bootycandy (2013); and Sound is designed by Brendan Connelly.


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 at the Wilma.

Onstage Conversation
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stay after the performance to discuss the play with a member of the Wilma’s artistic staff.

Onstage Conversation
Thursday, January 23, 2014

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

Young Friends Evening
Friday, January 24, 2014

Join us for a complimentary pre-show reception for audience members age 35 and under.

Onstage Conversation
Wednesday, February 5, 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, February 7, 2014

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

Tickets

Tickets range from $35 - $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, seniors, groups, rush, or anyone in their 20s.  Information on discounts is available at wilmatheater.org.

The Doubletree Hotel and The Sporting Club at The Bellevue are the Season Sponsors for The Wilma Theater’s 2013/2014 Season.

About the Founding Artistic Director

Blanka Zizka has been Founding Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater since 1981. In the fall of 2011, 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. Blanka has directed over 60 plays and musicals at the Wilma, and she is currently working with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel and a full company of actors, theater artists, and local veterans of the war in Iraq to develop Don Juan Comes Back from Iraq (working title), which will have its World Premiere on the Wilma’s stage in spring 2014. 

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.