Rubicon Theatre Company continues its 2009-2010 Season with a revival of Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize-winning play CRIMES OF THE HEART. Set in Mississippi in 1974 (five years after Hurricane Camille), this sweet, sexy comedy follows the travails of the three Magrath sisters, who come together at the family home in Hazelhurst when the youngest Babe is charged with shooting her husband "'cause she didn't like his looks." Middle sister Meg reconnects with Doc Porter, with whom she had a romantic tryst before heading to L.A. to start a recording career. And Lenny, the eldest, has set her own passions aside in order to take care of Old Grandaddy. Despite their love for each other, sibling rivalries bubble to the surface in a hilarious, heartwarming and familiar way. CRIMES OF THE HEART opens April 24 at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street in Ventura's Downtown Cultural District. Low-priced previews are April 21-23. Specific show times and prices are below. The production continues Wednesdays through Sundays through May 16. For tickets, call (805) 667-2900 or go to www.rubicontheatre.org.
The cast for CRIMES OF THE HEART includes Rubicon newcomer and recent Ovation Award-winner Tasha Ames (Featured Actress for Rabbit Hole), as the vulnerable and troubled Babe, FALINE ENGLAND (Rubicon's Turn of the Screw and All My Sons) as the family rebel Meg, and KARA REVEL (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at Rubicon) as the repressed caretaker Lenny. ROSS HELLWIG makes his Rubicon debut as Barnette Lloyd, the defense attorney with a "vendetta" towards Babe's husband; and JASON CHANOS (Rubicon's Bus Stop and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) plays Doc Porter, who still pines for Meg even though she deserted him in the eye of the hurricane years before. TINA VAN BERCKELAER rounds out the cast as cousin Chick, whose primary concern is how the Magrath sisters' escapades will affect her own social position in the community. Rubicon Artistic Director James O'Neil, whose Rubicon credits include All My Sons, The Diary of Anne Frank and Fiddler on the Roof, helms the production.
Says O'Neil, "This play is full of opposites that surprise us and make us laugh. Beth Henley has an uncanny way of helping us find redeeming virtues in and sympathize with characters whose actions on the surface may seem impossible to understand. And although the plot elements are tragic, the characters themselves and their responses to The Situation are hilariously funny."
Ms. Henley really mines the humanity of the characters," continues O'Neil. "We find ourselves identifying with these characters and rooting for them to overcome the obstacles in their paths. We long for these sisters to have just one moment suspended in time where time stops in all the chaos of their lives. A moment of connection. Of peace. Of family."
More about the Actors and Director
Tasha Ames plays the dreamy and dysfunctional youngest sister who has shot her husband. Tasha grew up in Southern California, left for New York at 18, and spent two years at NYU (Tisch) before transferring to USC, where she graduated with a BFA in Theatre. Tasha won an Ovation Award for her role as Izzy in Malibu Stage Company's production of Rabbit Hole. Other career highlights include Lost Angels' production of Bug at The Coast Playhouse; Vinegar Tom, Fire Eater and Betty's Summer Vacation with Workshop 360; Patricia Cotter's Best/Worst with Apartment A; and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and This is Our Youth at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tasha co-starred in the pilot of Liz Tigelaar's critically-acclaimed series for the CW, "Life Unexpected," and Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz's NBC drama "Quarterlife."
The character of Doc Porter, who was abandoned by Meg and left a cripple in the eye of the hurricane, is played by JASON CHANOS, who has appeared with Rubicon as Nick in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Bo Decker in Bus Stop. Other West Coast credits include Ubu Roi and The Tempest at A Noise Within, The Uneasy Chair at Ensemble Theatre Company, and 1001 at The Theatre @ Boston Court. Regionally, Jason has worked with Kansas City Rep, Denver Center and Utah Shakespearean Festival, in roles ranging from Hamlet to multiple characters in the one-man show Fully Committed. Off-Broadway, he has performed with Playwrights Horizons and the LArk Theatre Company.
FALINE ENGLAND returns to Rubicon in the role of Meg, who has suffered a breakdown after a failed singing career. Faline previously played The Governess in Turn of the Screw, (Ovation Nomination for Best Play in a Large Theatre), and Ann in All My Sons, (Ovation Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress/Ovation Award for Best Play in a Large Theatre). Faline graduated from UCSB with a BFA in Theatre. Stage credits include Viola in Twelfth Night, Angelica in The Rover (Santa Barbara Indie Awards for both), and work with Theatre Artist's Group, Santa Barbara Dance Theatre, James Donlon & Co., Western Stage and the Taper Youth Conservatory. Faline co-wrote, produced and starred in Flayjennnie Eroticus: A Documentary (Independent Award). TV and film credits include "Nip/Tuck," "Numb3rs," "Medium," "Without A Trace," "The Handler," "C.S.I.," "The Agency," "Roswell," "Any Day Now," "The Pretender," "Martial Law," "V.I.P," "The Least of These" (with Isaiah Washington), and "Midnight Clear" (with Stephen Baldwin).
ROSS HELLWIG plays Barnette Lloyd, the quirky young attorney who takes on Babe's case and is determined to win it for personal reasons. Ross recently appeared in the L.A. Theatre Works National Tour of RFK: The Journey to Justice. His L.A. credits include multiple productions with The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company; Photograph 51 at The Fountain Theatre; Troilus and Cressida and The Rover with The Antaeus Company; and The Rainmaker at A Noise Within. Ross has performed in seven shows at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre, including the title role in Vincent in Brixton. Other regional credits include work with Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Mill Mountain Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, The Studio Theatre and TheatreworksUSA. Film and TV credits include episodes of "Law & Order: SVU," "Numb3rs," and "The Guiding Light."
The role of Lenny, whose 30th birthday is all but forgotten in the Magrath mayhem, is played by KARA REVEL. Kara returns to Rubicon after playing Candy Starr in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Other stage credits include the World Premiere of Sit and Shiver (written and directed by Steven Berkoff), the West Coast premiere of Caryl Churchill's Far Away, the West Coast premiere of Jane Martin's Flags, the 10th anniversary production of Dracula at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Rosalind in As You Like It with Shakespeare Orange County, and Othello for L.A. Women's Shakespeare Company's co-production with The Theatre @ Boston Court. Film and TV credits include "Criminal Minds," "The Legend of Simon Conjurer" with Jon Voight, "Diary of a Serial Killer" and the Emmy Award-winning TV movie "The Movement."
Belgian-born TINA VAN BERCKELAER, a Stanford University graduate, plays the annoying social climbing cousin Chick. Tina has appeared in several award-winning films and as a company member of The Pain and the Itch with The Theatre @ Boston Court.
Director James O'Neil co-founded Rubicon Theatre Company in 1998 with his wife Karyl Lynn Burns. He received his BFA from California Institute of the Arts. Jim's Rubicon directing credits include Fiddler on the Roof (Indie Award), A Delicate Balance, The Diary of Anne Frank, Man of La Mancha, The Night of the Iguana, A Streetcar Named Desire (Indie Award), Driving Miss Daisy (NAACP Award), All My Sons (2004 Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play), Sylvia, The Glass Menagerie, Jesus Christ Superstar and numerous others. While on staff at Landmark Entertainment Group, Jim directed a multi-million dollar animatronics/special effects show in Japan, supervising all aspects of production and creative direction for themed attractions in Sanrio's Harmonyland. As Associate Producer/Artistic Associate for Santa Barbara Repertory Theatre, Jim helmed a new works program.
History of the Production
Playwright Beth Henley had just moved to Los Angeles in 1978 when she completed CRIMES OF THE HEART. It was her first full-length play. Unbeknownst to Henley, a friend submitted the play to the Great American Play Contest sponsored by Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the co-winner, and the play was produced as part of the prestigious theatre's 1978-1979 New American Play Festival and directed by Jon Jory. Several other regional theatres quickly announced productions.
In 1979, Ms. Henley was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award for her work on CRIMES OF THE HEART. She then made theatre history, becoming the first writer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for a play before it had been produced on Broadway. At age 29, she was also the first woman playwright to win the award in 23 years.