NEW HAVEN – Long Wharf Theatre, under the leadership of Managing Director Joshua Borenstein, begins its 2018-19 season with The Roommate, by Jen Silverman, directed by Mike Donahue.
The play will take place October 10 to November 4, 2018 on the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre. Tickets start at $30 and are available at longwharf.org or by calling 203-787-4282.
The press opening takes place Wednesday, October 17 at 7:30 pm.
The cast includes Linda Powell (Sharon) and Tasha Lawrence (Robyn). The creative team includes Dane Laffrey (set design), Anita Yavich (costume design), Reza Bejhat (lighting design), Stowe Nelson (sound design), and Alex Hajjar (stage manager.)
Sharon, in her mid-fifties, is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn, also in her mid-fifties, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets, encouraging her own deep-seated desire to transform her life completely. A comedy about what it takes to re-route your life—and what happens when the wheels come off.
“With humor and heart, Silverman has written a play that explores, with great empathy, relationships with self and with others. The Roommate tugs at the heartstrings as much as it tickles the funny bone,” according to Louisville.com.
Long Wharf Theatre Literary Manager Christine Scarfuto has long been drawn to Silverman’s theatricality and versatility as a writer. “She’s able to create these vibrant, rich worlds in her work that always have a touch of comedy and absurdity. The two women at the heart of this story are navigating territory usually reserved for college freshman and twentysomethings, and their lives take an unexpected turn,” Scarfuto said.
When Silverman went to the theatre, she was not seeing roles for women over the age 50 that were not supporting roles. That inspired her to start the play that would end up becoming The Roommate, which debuted at the Humana Festival in 2015. “I really wanted to write a play for badassed women in their 50s. I sort of thought that there is a kind of energy, a kind of concentration that happens when they are the two players on that stage and they have all that agency and power,” she said in a 2015 interview with American Theatre magazine.
Silverman’s work is infused with themes of transformation. “What it takes to get to a point in your life, whatever that point is, where you look at your life and you realize, I cannot do this anymore, I can’t live this life, I can’t wear these clothes and walk through my day in the way I’ve been doing … I’m really interested in this question of how do you transform and can we transform and what does it take to become the thing that we want to become and can we?” Silverman said in her interview with American Theatre.
Director Mike Donahue is a longtime collaborator of Silverman’s, working the world premieres of her plays Phoebe in Winter, The Hunters, and The Roommate.
Tasha Lawrence is making her Long Wharf Theatre debut. She’s appeared on Broadway in Good People, Proof, and Wilder, Wilder, Wilder. Her additional theatre credits include roles at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Lincoln Center Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Denver Center Theater, Rattlestick Theatre, Huntington Theatre, among others. She has appeared on screen in “The Looming Tower,” “”Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Third Watch,” “Royal Pains,” “Third Watch,” Romance and Cigarettes, Pooka, and Desolation Angels, among others.
Linda Powell has previously appeared at Long Wharf Theatre in Our Town and A Doll’s House. Her Broadway credits include On Golden Pond and Wilder, Wilder, Wilder. She has also appeared on stage at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Roundabout, American Repertory Theater, Cleveland Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, and Arena Stage, among many others. Her film and television credits include “Chicago Fire,” “The Good Wife,” various iterations of “Law and Order,” “Sex & the City,” Morning Glory, The Best Man, American Gangster, among others.
For more information, visit longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.
CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
Jen Silverman (Playwright) is a New York-based writer. Born in the U.S., she was raised across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her theatre work includes THE MOORS (Yale Repertory Theatre premiere, off-Broadway with The Playwrights Realm, Susan Smith Blackburn finalist); THE ROOMMATE (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville Humana world premiere, multiple regional productions including South Coast Rep, SF Playhouse and Williamstown Theatre Festival, upcoming at Steppenwolf); PHOEBE IN WINTER (Off-off Broadway with Clubbed Thumb); COLLECTIVE RAGE: A PLAY IN 5 BETTIES (Woolly Mammoth premiere); and ALL THE ROADS HOME, a play with songs (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park premiere).
Jen is a member of New Dramatists, a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, an affiliated artist with SPACE on Ryder Farm, and has developed work with the O’Neill, New York Theatre Workshop, Playpenn, Portland Center Stage, The Ground Floor Residency at Berkeley Rep, and the Royal Court in London among other places. She’s a two-time MacDowell fellow, recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, the Helen Merrill Award, an LMCC Fellowship, and the Yale Drama Series Award. She was the 2016-2017 Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark. Jen has a two-book deal with Random House for a collection of stories (THE ISLAND DWELLERS, pub date May 1, 2018) and a novel. Education: Brown, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard. More info: www.jensilverman.com
MIKE DONAHUE (Director) NYC: world premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC and Denver Center); Jen Silverman’s Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb) and The Hunters (Cherry Lane Mentor Project); Ethan Lipton’s Red-Handed Otter (Playwrights Realm). Regionally: world premiere of Jen Silverman’s The Roommate (Humana); world premiere of Rachel Bonds’ The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre D.C.); world premiere of Lauren Feldman’s Grace, or The Art of Climbing (Denver Center); Annie Baker’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya (Weston); Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki with new libretto by Meg Miroshnik (Chicago Opera Theatre); Antony & Cleopatra (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis); and Assassins, Henry IV & V (co-director) and A Number (Playmakers Rep, 2011/12 Distinguished Guest Artist). Readings/workshops: MCC, Roundabout Underground, NYTW, Soho Rep (Writer/Director Lab), Williamstown, McCarter, The O’Neill, Clubbed Thumb, Labyrinth, Denver Center, The Lark, Ars Nova, Dramatists Guild, The York, Chautauqua, Cape Cod Theatre Project and Studio 42. Mike is recipient of a Fulbright to Berlin, the Dramaleague Fall Fellowship, The Boris Sagal Fellowship at Williamstown, an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, winner of the Inaugural Opera America Director-Designer Showcase Award, winner of the Joe A. Callaway Award from the SDC Foundation for Georgia McBride, and was the artistic director of the Yale Summer Cabaret for two seasons. Mike is a graduate of Harvard University and the Yale School of Drama.