Rep Stage Continues 20th Anniversary Season with “Mary Rose,” the Haunting, Rarely Produced Story that Became Alfred Hitchcock’s Obsession
October 18, 2012
From the pen of “Peter Pan” playwright J. M. Barrie and directed by Michael Stebbins, Rep Stage’s producing artistic director
(Columbia, MD) – Rep Stage, the professional Equity theatre in residence at Howard Community College (HCC), continues its 20th anniversary season with J.M. Barrie’s stirring, lyrical tale about the tricks of time, loss of innocence and eternal youth. Rep Stage veteran Christine Demuth (“Two by J.M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “Or,”) stars in the title role as the girl who disappears only to return mysteriously with no memory of time passed, setting off a heartbreaking and thrilling course of events. Demuth is joined by fellow Rep veterans Maureen Kerrigan (“Two by J.M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals,” “A Lie of the Mind”) and Bill Largess (“Two by J.M Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals,” “Travels With My Aunt”), as well as Marilyn Bennett (“Two by J.M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals”) and Rep newcomers Eric M. Messner and Adam Downs. Returning actor Tony Tsendeas (“Las Meninas”) rounds out the cast, with Rep Stage’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Stebbins (“Two by J.M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals”) directing. “Mary Rose” opens October 31, 2012, with a limited run through November 18 in the Studio Theatre of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center (HVPA) on the campus of HCC. For tickets and additional information, visit www.repstage.org or call 443-518-1500.
Press performance is Saturday, November 3, at 8 p.m. For photos and reservations, contact Mike Scrivener in the HCC Office of Public Relations and Marketing at 443-518-3133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A post-show reception follows the Saturday, November 3, 8 p.m. evening performance and free post-show discussions follow the Friday, November 9 and 16 performances. There will be a pre-show lecture, “Conversations on Barrie,” featuring Stebbins and Dr. Lisa A. Wilde, Rep Stage dramaturg, before the Saturday, November 17 matinee performance beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Monteabaro Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public and is subject to change. No tickets are needed for the lecture.
About the Play:
“Mary Rose” was first produced in 1920 at the Haymarket Theatre in London following the successes of Barrie’s other offerings: “Dear Brutus,” “The Admiral Crichton,” “What Every Woman Knows” and, of course, “Peter Pan.” From the 1920s to the 1960s these Barrie plays were stalwarts of British repertory theater. “Mary Rose” had two brief Broadway productions in 1921 and again in 1951. In 1972, Mia Farrow played the title role in a London production. It was produced after many years at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City in 2007 and most recently in London at the Riverside Studios last April.
While “Peter Pan” may be Barrie’s most well known play, “Mary Rose,” as Charles Isherwood says in his New York Times review, “…is in many ways a more mature and mournful reworking of themes Barrie explored in the tale of the boy who refused to grow up. Time is seen as a quiet despoiler of happiness and innocence, and the lure of another world unblemished by its passing has an irresistible seduction.”
In his youth, the film director Alfred Hitchcock saw the original Haymarket production in London and could never shake the story from his mind. For years he became obsessed with making the film version and in the 1960s commissioned the only screenplay for “Mary Rose” written by screenwriter Jay Presson Allen. No studio would produce the film. Hitchcock biographer Donald Spoto writes that the failure to bring “Mary Rose” to the screen was “perhaps the single greatest disappointment of his creative life.”
Meet the Playwright:
Dramatist and novelist Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937) was born in Scotland, studied at the University of Edinburgh, and then wrote prolifically for a Nottingham newspaper for two years. Determined to earn his living as a writer, he moved to London. After having some success with fiction, Barrie began writing plays in 1890s. His famous character of Peter Pan first appeared in the 1902 book “The Little White Bird.” Two years later, his play “Peter Pan” premiered on the London stage and became a great success. Barrie also wrote a book based on the play called “Peter and Wendy,” which was published in 1911. The book earned raves from critics. After “Peter Pan,” Barrie continued writing plays primarily aimed at adults. “The Twelve-Pound Look” (1910) and “Half an Hour” (1913) both had themes of love and loss in unhappy marriages. His last major play, “Mary Rose,” was produced in 1920.
Meet the Director:
Michael Stebbins (Director) has been Rep Stage’s producing artistic director since November of 2005. As an actor he has appeared on Rep’s stages in “Fully Committed,” “Stones in His Pockets,” “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” “The Santaland Diaries,” “Wittenberg” and “An Almost Holy Picture.” At Rep Stage he has directed “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” “The Santaland Diaries,” “A Dickens of a Carol,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “Two by J. M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals,” and “Or,”. He is the recipient of a Helen Hayes Tribute award.
Meet the Cast:
Christine Demuth (Mary Rose) has appeared at Rep Stage in “Or,” “Two by J.M.Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “A Dickens of a Carol,” and “Intelligence.” Other credits include “The Wild Duck,” “The Other Shore” and “La Muneca” for Single Carrot Theatre; “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Macbeth” and “Antigone” for the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival; as well as “Hamlet” for the Virginia Shakespeare Festival in Williamsburg, VA. She has also performed at The Folger Theatre, Stanislavsky Theatre Studio, Frances Merrick Performing Arts Center, Maryland Arts Festival, NYC’s “Shakespeare IN THE RAW” and Chicago’s Promethean Theatre Ensemble in “Our Country’s Good.”
Bill Largess (Mr. Morland) has appeared at Rep Stage in “Translations,” “Da,” “The Dazzle,” “The Seagull,” “St. Nicholas,” “Two By Pinter: The Collection and The Lover,” “Mrs. Warren's Profession,” “Bach at Leipzig,” “Two by J.M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals” and both the 1997 and 2010 version of “Travels With My Aunt.” He is a founding company member and the artistic director of The Washington Stage Guild. He has been nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards, received the Theatre Lobby's Mary Goldwater Award twice, and is a longtime member of the Washington/Baltimore Liaison Committee of Actors' Equity.
Maureen Kerrigan (Mrs. Morland) was last seen in Rep Stage’s “Two by J.M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals,” "A Lie of the Mind,” Baltimore's "Menopause the Musical," and DC's "Shear Madness.” New York credits include "The Gingerbread Lady,” "Night,” "Miss Lonely Hearts” and the Public Theatre's reading of "Monster.” Regionally, she has appeared at Arena Stage, American Century Theatre, Signature Theater and Fords Theatre. She earned a Helen Hayes Award nomination for "Lady in the Dark." Screen credits include "The Accidental Tourist,” "Homicide,” MTV's "House of Cards," "Audrey's View" and "Mary/Mary.” Ms. Kerrigan was honored with an Emmy for her performance in KYW TV's "Shattered Dreams.”
Eric M. Messner (Harry/Simon Blake) is making his Rep Stage debut. He was last seen in “Time Stands Still” at Everyman Theatre, and at the HUB Theatre in “John and Beatrice.” Other notable Washington appearances include his Helen Hayes-nominated performance in “Birds of a Feather,” as well as “The Book Club Play” at Arena Stage, “Junie B. Jones,” “ Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” at Imagination Stage and “Is He Dead?” with Olney Theatre Center. He has toured nationally in “Much Ado About Nothing” with the National Players and internationally in the Keegan Theatre’s Ireland tour of ”Death of A Salesman.” Eric can be seen on television on “The Wire,” ” West Wing” and in the upcoming History Channel series “The Men Who Built America”.
Adam Downs (Cameron) is making his Rep Stage debut. Local credits include ”Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers” and “Suicide, Incorporated” with No Rules Theatre Company . Other local credits include ”Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde”; “The Importance of Being Earnest”; “ Lady Windermere’s Fan”; “The Violet Hour”; ” Farragut North” ; ”Frozen”; and “Noises Off.” Adam has a B.A. in Theater from UCLA.
Tony Tsendeas (Mr. Amy) has brought his critically acclaimed one man “The Poe Show” twice to Rep Stage. Other credits at Rep Stage include directing “Wittenberg” (Helen Hayes nomination for Best Director) and “An Almost Holy Picture” and appearing in “Las Meninas.” Formerly the artistic director of Action Theater, his work as an actor and director has been seen nationally and internationally. With Action Theater, Mr. Tsendeas directed and performed in “Beckettland,” for which he was nominated as best actor by London’s Stage Magazine. Directing credits include “The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari,” “The Madman and The Nun,” “Othello” and “Macbeth.” His play “The Adventures of Felix” was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Playwriting Award.
Marilyn Bennett (Mrs. Otery) Marilyn returns to Rep Stage where she was last seen as Mrs. Twymley in “Two by J. M. Barrie: The New Word and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals.”J.M. Barrie’s “The Old Lady Shows Her Medals.” Marilyn has appeared in many area theatres including The Shakespeare Theatre’s “Strange Interlude”; Bay Theatre Company’s “Picnic”; Maryland Ensemble Theatre’s “Betty the Yeti,” “Wonder of the World,” “Independence” and “Arms and the Man”; Journeymen Theater Company’s “Manicures” and “Monuments”; The Source Theatre Festival’s “Language Monkey,” ”Sasquatch and the Man,” “Then and Again” and “The Shore”; Didactic Theatre Company’s “The Waverly Gallery”; and American Century Theatre’s “A Delicate Balance.” She has studied at The Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory and The Shakespeare Theatre.
Rep Stage, a professional Equity theatre in residence at Howard Community College, is celebrating its 20th anniversary season. The company is a member of the League of Washington Theatres, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and Theatre Communications Group. Rep Stage is recognized by Theatre Washington as a professional DC Metro area theater company and is eligible to be nominated for the Helen Hayes Awards. Performances are made possible by Howard County Arts Council, Howard County Government, and the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and National Endowment for the Arts, as well as through generous individual contributions. Howard Bank is the Rep Stage 2012-13 season partner. Rep Stage is proud to be a partner of Howard County Tourism and Promotion.