Jane Kaczmarek, Gregory Harrison and Diane Cary Star in Indie Chi Productions' THE SNAKE CAN, 1/19-2/24
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by BWW News Desk
Welcome to middle age... proceed with caution! Diane Cary, Jane Kaczmarek and Sharon Sharth star as three successful women who challenge themselves to find love and personal fulfillment in the middle years of life. Steven Robman directs the ensemble cast, which also includes Gregory Harrison, James Lancaster and Joel Polis, in the world premiere of The Snake Can by Kathryn Graf (Hermetically Sealed). Performances run January 19 through February 24, presented by Indie Chi Productions at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles.
Growing older doesn't always mean growing wiser. Harriet (Kaczmarek) is a widow and single mother; Nina (Cary) has left her actor husband to escape the shadow of his celebrity; and twice-divorced Meg (Sharth) has been navigating the single world for ten years. These women, and the men in their lives, take a journey of self-discovery, stopping along the way to examine the gray areas of marriage and divorce, want and need, sexual ambiguity and dating in the age of online matchmaking.
"This play comes very much out of my own personal experience," explains Graf. "I'm a widow who raised two kids, my husband was a successful film and television actor, and I know what it means to be single for a long time. I've often felt the way these characters do—at once free and eager, wild and surprised, unhinged and terrified."
"I was won over by the wit and insight in Kathy's writing," says Robman, a veteran stage and television director who is new to L.A.'s 99-seat theater scene. "I directed the premieres of Wendy Wasserstein's first two plays [Uncommon Women and Others and Isn't It Romantic], and now, with The Snake Can, I feel like I'm coming full circle. The landscape is very different for those of us in middle age than it was for the women in Wendy's plays. The divorce rate is higher, people are living longer, we switch jobs and locales more easily—and then there's the Internet."
Set design for The Snake Can is by Jeffery Eisenmann; lighting design is by Adam Blumenthal; projection design is by Hana S. Kim; sound design is by Cricket S. Myers; costume design is by Miguel Montalvo; props are by Lorely Trinidad; casting is by Helen Geier; production stage manager is Liana Dillaway; and Diane Levine produces for Indie Chi Productions.
Kathryn Graf's first full-length play, Hermetically Sealed, garnered extensive critical praise and award nominations in its recent four-month run at The Skylight Theatre. She began writing when she penned and performed Surviving David, a one-woman play chronicling her first year as a young widow (2100 Square Feet in L.A.; Outstanding Solo Show, NYC Fringe Festival). Her other plays include the one-acts Poor Pretty Birds (Philipstown Depot Theatre, NY) and The Stiff (finalist, 2010 Tennessee Williams One-Act Competition). She is also the author of the award-winning children's book Always My Dad (Mom's Choice Award, gold medal). As an actress, Kathy has guest-starred in dozens of television shows including ER, Courthouse, Presidio Med and in a recurring role on the soap, Passions.
Steven Robman has directed at Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, Chelsea Theatre Center, Phoenix Theatre and Jewish Repertory Theatre, as well as at the Guthrie, Arena Stage, Long Wharf, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Yale Rep. In Fall 2013, he will direct Brian Dennehy in The Steward of Christendom by Sebastian Barry at the Mark Taper Forum, where he previously staged Babbitt; Says I, Says He; Hoagy, Bix and W.B. Bunkhaus; and Made In America. Other theater work includes the world premieres of Moonlight and Magnolias and High Holidays at the Goodman, as well as Rat in the Skull at Wisdom Bridge Theatre and the revival of Lunching for the Apollo Group. Mr. Robman has directed premieres of plays by Wendy Wasserstein, Ron Hutchinson, D.L.Coburn, Fay Weldon, Alan Knee and James Yoshimura. For television, Mr. Robman has directed numerous episodes of dramatic and comedy series, movies-of-the-week, and the ABC miniseries The Audrey Hepburn Story. For three seasons he was co-executive producer of Party of Five for Fox Television.
Diane Cary has performed major roles in countless L.A. stage productions, including the Drama-Logue award-winning Song for a Nisei Fisherman (Taper Too), Standing On My Knees (Zephyr Theatre) and Pineapple White (East-West Players). For TV, she was a series regular on V and the NBC cult series Misfits of Science, and most recently guest-starred on Cold Case, The Starter Wife, Defying Gravity and recurred on Ugly Betty. Feature films include the Academy Award-nominated El Norte and the recently completed psychological thriller/horror movie Kantemir, which reunited Diane with her V co-star, Robert Englund. Diane is the co-founder/executive director of Live Arts Group, a non-profit organization created to bring a free music video/film education workshop to youth in underserved neighborhoods of L.A., with a special focus on LGBTQ and homeless youth.
Gregory Harrison's three-decade career spans television, film and theater, including over 40 movies-of-the-week, multiple mini-series and TV series including Safe Harbor, New York News, Family Man, Falcon Crest, Logan's Run and Trapper John M.D. Gregory debuted on Broadway in 1997 in Steel Pier, followed by the 2001 Broadway revival of Sondheim's Follies, co-starring Blythe Danner, Treat Williams and Judith Ivey. More recently, Gregory played Billy Flynn in Chicago, both on Broadway and in the national, 72-city tour. Regional musical credits include Pump Boys and Dinettes, Of Thee I Sing, Paper Moon: the Musical, Festival, Guys and Dolls and The Music Man. Dramatic theater roles include The Hasty Heart and Picnic (both taped for Showtime on Broadway), as well as Child's Play, Top Secret: The Battle For The Pentagon Papers and the world theatrical premiere of Carnal Knowledge at the Pasadena Playhouse. Gregory's Catalina Productions funded and operated the Coast Playhouse in Los Angeles for fourteen years, during which time its sixty productions garnered more than one hundred L.A. theater awards. Gregory was honored with the Ovation Award for "Outstanding Contribution to LA Theater."
Jane Kaczmarek has performed on Broadway in Lost in Yonkers and at the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public, Second Stage, Long Wharf, New York Stage and Film, and the Berkshire and Williamstown Theatre Festivals. In Los Angeles, she appeared in Awake and Sing and Death of a Salesman at L.A. Theatre Works; Kindertransport (Ovation Award–Best Actress), Dinner With Friends and Raised in Captivity (LA Drama Critics Circle Award–Featured Performance) at South Coast Repertory; House of Blue Leaves at the Mark Taper Forum; and In Mother Words and Good People (Ovation nomination) at the Geffen Playhouse. Kaczmarek starred for seven years in the Emmy Award-winning TV series Malcolm in the Middle (Emmy Award nominations, Golden Globe Award nominations, SAG Award nominations, American Comedy Award–Funniest Female Performer–TV Series, TCA Award–Individual Achievement in Comedy, AFI Actor of the Year Award–Female–Series). Other TV credits include: Raising the Bar, The Simpsons, Felicity, Party of Five, Frasier, Whitney, Wilfred, The Middle and Law and Order: SVU. Kaczmarek is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Yale School of Drama.
James Lancaster was a member of The Abbey Theatre in Ireland and toured extensively with the Irish Theatre Company. He first worked with Steve Robman on Rat in the Skull in Chicago. He has been seen at The Goodman Theatre, Long Wharf, The Old Globe in San Diego and the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. More recently he appeared in The Caretaker, Dancing at Lughnasa (opposite his wife Elizabeth Dennehy) and in The Weir, all at The South Coast Rep. His film credits include Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean II, The Prestige, Spanglish and Gettysburg. His many television credits include CSI NY, King of Queens, Numb3rs and Judging Amy.
Joel Polis has been seen in Odyssey productions of Bach at Leipzig, Pound of Flesh (LADCC nomination for Lead Performance), Three Travelers, Richard III, The Cherry Orchard, After Crystal Night and Fedunn. Off Broadway and regional credits include The Baby Dance directed by Jenny Sullivan, Riga directed by Marshall Mason, Julius Caesar directed by Daniel Sullivan, Names. Dog Logic., A Penny for the Guy, What the Butler Saw, Family Business and Oleanna. Joel has appeared in over 100 guest starring roles on television and a dozen feature films. He is a graduate of USC's School of Theater and Yale Drama School. Joel directed the critically acclaimed world premiere of Kathryn Graf's play Hermetically Sealed at the Skylight Theater last season.
Sharon Sharth was a longtime member and leading actress with Circle Repertory Company where she worked on developing scripts and originated lead roles for playwrights Lanford Wilson, John Bishop, Caroline Kava and Aaron Sorkin, among others. At additional theaters, she originated roles for John Pielmeier, Shirley Lauro, and for Ray Bradbury in the world stage premiere of Farenheit 451. A member of Actors Studio, she has starred in productions at Manhattan Theatre Club, Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, Yale Rep and the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Playwrights Conference, as well as touring internationally. Earlier this year she starred in the critically acclaimed, Los Angeles Times "Critic's Choice" production of Alan Ayckbourn's Woman in Mind at Sierra Madre Playhouse.
Indie Chi Productions is an independent company focused on producing new and original material for the stage and screen. Previous Theater Productions in Los Angeles include the world premiere of von Lutz, directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera; the West Coast premiere of Win/Lose/Draw, directed by Dorothy Lyman; and a revival of Love and Whispers directed by Anthony Caldarelli. Indie Chi has produced two festival short films, Good and Grounded, as well as the soon-to-be released feature Kantemir.
Performances of The Snake Can take place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 8 pm and Sundays @ 2 pm, January 19 through February 24. Tickets are $25 on Thursdays and Fridays and $30 on Saturdays and Sundays; full time students with ID and seniors are $20. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 ext. 2 or go to www.OdysseyTheatre.com.