TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, launches its 43rd season with the world premiere of UPRIGHT GRAND, a play with live music by acclaimed playwright Laura Schellhardt (Auctioning the Ainsleys).
A hit at last year's New Works Festival, this tender and intelligent portrait of the complex relationship between a father and daughter will be helmed by TheatreWorks New Works Director Meredith McDonough. Dan Hiatt will star as aging songwriter "Pops," with Renata Friedman as "Kiddo" and Brett Ryback as "The Accompanist."
UPRIGHT GRAND plays tonight, July 11 - August 10, 2011 (press opening July 14) at TheatreWorks at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. For tickets ($24-$73) and information the public may call (650) 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org.
The latest venture by award-winning playwright Laura Schellhardt, UPRIGHT GRAND is at once a poignant drama and a snappy comedy that explores the intricate dynamics of family relationships. An aspiring composer and pianist at the local watering hole, "Pops" spends his days in his rehearsal room with nothing but his music and upright piano for company – until he finds an unexpected kindred spirit in his young daughter. As he nurtures her precocious talent and she grows from a child practicing scales at his side to an internationally sought-after classical pianist, it's hard to say what is more difficult for her father: watching her grow up or watching her surpass him. Complimented by live piano accompaniment and told with Schellhardt's signature wit and wordplay, UPRIGHT GRAND explores the complexity of a father's dedication to his daughter, and questions whether there are some emotions that run too deep to express – through words or through music.
For this stirring family drama, TheatreWorks welcomes back Bay Area stage veteran Dan Hiatt as "Pops." Hiatt's credits include The Pitmen Painters, The 39 Steps, and Twentieth Century at TheatreWorks and roles at American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Pasadena Playhouse. TheatreWorks also welcomes newcomers Renata Friedman as "Kiddo" and Brett Ryback as "Accompanist." Winner of Seattle Magazine's Best Actress of 2011 award, Renata Friedman's credits include The K of D at Illusion Theatre in Minneapolis, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Pistol Cat Productions and ACT in Seattle, and FringeNYC, as well as roles at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and New York's New Victory Theatre. In addition to his television appearances on House, How I Met Your Mother, and Cupid, Brett Ryback's credits include roles at South Coast Repertory Theatre, La Mirada, Theatre @ Boston Court, Center Theatre Group, The Laguna Playhouse, and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
The TheatreWorks production of UPRIGHT GRAND includes musical direction by William Liberatore, set design by Kris Stone, costume design by Jill Bowers, and lighting design by Paul Toben.