The Mechanicals Theatre Group presents The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance, directed by Neil Patrick Stewart, assistant directed by Jordan Belfi (Entourage) and produced by company member Monica Raymund (Lie To Me, The Good Wife).
The performances will take place April 14th – May 15th (Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m.) at the Pico Playhouse in West Los Angeles, located at 10508 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064. Tickets go on sale March 19 and are $15 at www.mechanicalstheatregroup.com or $20 at the door.
The cast features Michael Matthys, Johnnie Newman, Cynthia Beckert, Rachael Meyers, Daniel Jimenez, Bonnie Kathleen Ryan and company members Richard Gilbert-Hill and Mouchette van Helsdingen.
The Elephant Man opens the 2012 season Inside the Classics: Outside The Box presented by Co-Artistic Directors Eric Bilitch and Jacob Harvey. Bilitch explains, “Neil’s unique vision for The Elephant Man organically supports our company goal of presenting great ensemble work.” Harvey adds that, “the outsider element of the piece is a perfect crossover with our Outreach Program work providing free arts education in LAUSD schools. The incredible kids we work with understand the feeling of being ostracized, and Pomerance’s themes provide the opportunity for a great conversation with our students and our audience regarding how society reacts to those who are labeled as different.”
Director Neil Patrick Stewart says, “Pomerance’s text is beautiful if told simply and well instead of hiding behind the stagecraft and showmanship often associated with the role of Merrick. I’m challenged by the idea of functional utilitarianism, where the actors have all the tools they need to put on a show and they focus on doing the job rather than giving a performance. If the audience can see the other characters as Merrick sees them, their patronizing efforts to befriend him and change what is unique and beautiful about him begin to mirror modern discussions about American exceptionalism and the attempt by society to make anyone who is different ‘more like us.’”
DIRECTOR NEIL PATRICK STEWART is a writer, actor, teacher, director and producer. Neil holds an M.F.A. in acting from Harvard/A.R.T. and a B.A. in theatre from Wesleyan University. Neil is a co-founder and former creative director of Back House Productions in New York City, where he developed over forty projects, including the Tony-winning smash hitIn the Heights, which he co-directed for its first four years of development. He is the former associate head of the acting department at the Broadway Theatre Project, a founder and an acting department head of the brand new Performing Arts Project, and the head of the Communications program at the Heifetz International Music Institute. Neil is the director of the new musical Volleygirls in partnership with U.S.A. Volleyball Association. Neil directed Feiffer's People and In Pieces in New York, and an installment of The Series at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles.
PRODUCER MONICA RAYMUND is an actress, producer and teacher best known for her work on FOX’s Lie To Me and CBS’s The Good Wife. She is married to director Neil Patrick Stewart. A graduate of Julliard where she won the coveted John Houseman Award for Commitment and Dedication to the Development of Young American Actors, Monica teaches Speech and Acting at The Heifetz Institute, a prestigious summer program for chamber musicians. She is also a co-founder of The Performing Arts Project, a three-week summer intensive program held at Wake Forest University. Monica is the founder and CEO of Sisu Theatrical Productions, LLC which is producing the new musical Volleygirls as well as various independent film projects. She is currently shooting Dick Wolf’s new NBC pilot Chicago Fire.
The production team includes Assistant Directors Jordan Belfi and Morgan Marcell, Assistant Producer Jeni Incontro, Stage Manager Sabba Rahbar, Assistant Stage Manager David Haverty, Scenic Designer Alok Wadhwani, Lighting Designer Hilda Kane and Costume Designers Bethany Richards and Jessie Cohen.
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