THE HUNTINGTON ANNOUNCES THE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM OF TAYLOR MAC WORLD PREMIERE PLAY JOY AND PANDEMIC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gabrielle Jaques, Publicist
PHOTOS available for download here
Members of the press, RSVP here
THE HUNTINGTON ANNOUNCES THE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM OF TAYLOR MAC WORLD PREMIERE PLAY JOY AND PANDEMIC
Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco makes Huntington directorial debut with longtime collaborator Mac’s fascinating new play
(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces the cast and creative team of Joy and Pandemic, a new play by renowned playwright and performance artist Taylor Mac and directed by Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco, making her Huntington directorial debut. The world premiere production runs from April 21 – May 21, 2023 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA at 527 Tremont Street in the South End.
The first half of Joy and Pandemic is set in 1918 Philadelphia, where force-of-nature Joy Eldridge (played by Stacy Fischer) runs an art school for children with the help of her husband and teenage daughter. Amid concerns around a burgeoning health crisis, Joy is confronted by Melanie Plachard (played by Breezy Leigh), the mother of one of her most talented students, who does not share her Christian Science faith.
In the second half of the play, set in 1952, Melanie’s adult daughter Marjory (also played by Leigh) revisits her old art school to find Joy’s daughter Pilly (played by Fischer) who now serves as Joy’s fulltime caregiver. With infinite humor and insight, Mac’s new play explores the complex and ever-evolving relationships between science and faith, art and tradition, and parents and children, questioning how our passions regarding family, art, and war impact the very meaning of our lives.
Celebrated playwright Taylor Mac is a MacArthur Fellow, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and the author of 17 full-length plays and performance pieces including Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus (Tony-nominated for Best Play), A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Kennedy Prize in Drama), Hir (placed on the top ten theatre of 2015 lists of The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out New York), and The Lily’s Revenge (Obie Award winner; produced at the ART). American Theatre magazine says, “Mac is one of this country’s most heroic and disarmingly funny playwrights,” and Time Out New York has called Mac “one of the most exciting theatre artists of our time.”
Mac and Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco are longstanding collaborators and friends, with Greco having produced the 5-hour The Lily’s Revenge and the world premiere of Hir at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, and associate produced the West Coast premiere of the 24-hour A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (with Curran, Pomegranate Arts, and Stanford Live).
“Joy and Pandemic is a consideration of faith, reality, moms, daughters, art, and the joy and infection, which comes from discovery,” says playwright Taylor Mac, who was raised Christian Scientist but left the church long ago. “It explores what it means for someone’s belief to come up against someone else’s reality.”
“It’s a hoot, even in its heartbreak,” Mac continues. “I love it madly and hope you will too. Also, I haven’t been this thrilled about a play’s cast in years. Wait ‘til you see them play.
It wasn’t easy trying to premiere a play set during a different pandemic during our pandemic. So for it to have worked out so blissfully, in the perfect city for this play (home of the Christian Science Mother Church; you’ll have to see it to understand) and to have it helmed by the marvel that is Loretta Greco, who has been part of so much of my artistic development, and in her first year at The Huntington, feels like… the wait, work, and COVID rescheduling limbo, were all a big tease for hitting the jackpot.”
“Taylor Mac is fearless,” says Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco. “Joy and Pandemic is a play about mothers and daughters, resilience and creativity, and all the things we bring as women to the act of being seen and surviving. On a deeper level, the story is an invitation to consider the many different types of armor we wear to protect ourselves from the burden of truth — and I hope offers an opportunity to examine foundational assumptions that keep us from living our most authentic, complicated, curious, connected, and joyful lives.”
Joy and Pandemic was created with funding from the Hewlett Foundation 50 Arts Commissions, and commissioned and developed by the Magic Theatre, San Francisco.
The cast of Joy and Pandemic includes (in alphabetical order):
Ella Dershowitz as Young Pilly, Joy’s earnest and hardworking teenage daughter. Credits include Can You Forgive Her? (Vineyard Theatre) and Intimacy (The New Group).
Stacy Fischer as Joy, a woman of faith and the visionary and strong-willed force behind an art school for children, and then later as Pilly, Joy’s adult daughter whose faith in her mother is tested. Credits include Common Ground Revisited and Our Town (The Huntington) and Photograph 51 (Central Square Theater).
Breezy Leigh as Melanie, the mother of a talented art student, and later as Marjory, Melanie’s adult daughter who is now an artist. Credits include Le Blanc (Peoples Improv Theater) and A Sketch of New York (The Producers’ Club).
Marceline Hugot as Rosemary, Bradford’s overbearing mother, and a no-nonsense skeptic. Credits include Prelude to a Kiss on Broadway and “30 Rock.”
Ryan Winkles as Bradford, Joy’s husband, prone to distraction. Credits include Universe Rushing Apart (Commonwealth Shakespeare) and Mr. Fullerton Between the Sheets (Gloucester Stage).
Understudies include Thomika Bridwell, Rebecca Whitney Klein, Alexander Platt, and Marina Re.
The creative team for Joy and Pandemic includes scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado (A Strange Loop on Broadway), costume design by Sarita Fellows (Our Daughters, Like Pillars at The Huntington), lighting design by Jen Schriever (Hurricane Diane at The Huntington), sound design and original music by Fan Zhang (At the Wedding at Lincoln Center Theater), and wig and hair design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt (Moby-Dick at ART). The associate director is Lyndsay Allyn Cox, and the assistant director is Frances Hellums. The dramaturg is Shirley Fishman. The production stage manager is Kevin Schlagle, and the stage manager is Ashley Pitchford.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Taylor Mac (Playwright) is a MacArthur Fellow, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, a Tony Award nominee (for Best Play), and the recipient of the Kennedy Prize (with Matt Ray), the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim, a Drama League Award, a NY Drama Critics Circle Award, two Obies, two Bessies, and the first American to receive the International Ibsen Award. Mac is the author of The Hang (with Matt Ray); Gary, A Sequel to Titus Andronicus; A 24-Decade History of Popular Music; Hir; The Fre, The Walk Across America For Mother Earth, The Lily’s Revenge; The Young Ladies Of; and The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac. Boston area audiences last saw Mac performing in the two-man show The Last Two People On Earth: an Apocalyptic Vaudeville performed with Mandy Patinkin and directed by Susan Stroman.
Loretta Greco (Director) is The Huntington’s Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director, the first woman leader in the company’s 40-year history. She is a producer and director whose passion for championing groundbreaking artists and fostering nurturing, rigorous artistic homes for theatre-makers, has made a significant impact on the field. In her 12 years as artistic director at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, she is proud to have developed and premiered some of the theatre’s most visionary writers including Taylor Mac, Mfoniso Udofia, Lloyd Suh, Barbara Hammond, Luis Alfaro, Octavio Solis, and Linda McLean. Under her leadership, 21 of the 26 world premieres produced went on to receive between two and 72 subsequent productions. In addition, she worked closely with Sam Shepard on a five-year Bay Area wide legacy series and directed the critically acclaimed revivals of Buried Child and Fool for Love. Outside of Joy and Pandemic, she has a longstanding relationship with Taylor Mac, producing the 5-hour The Lily’s Revenge, the world premiere of Hir, and associate producing the West Coast premiere of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (with Curran, Pomegranate Arts, and Stanford Live). Her New York directing credits include the premieres of runboyrun and A Park in Our House at New York Theatre Workshop, and The Story, Lackawanna Blues, and Two Sisters and a Piano at The Public Theater. Her regional directing credits include Sweat, The Realistic Joneses, Speed-the-Plow, and Blackbird at American Conservatory Theater, and productions for California Shakespeare, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Long Wharf, La Jolla Playhouse, and Williamstown Theatre Festival, among others. Prior to Magic, she served as producing artistic director of New York’s WP Theater and associate director and staff producer of the McCarter Theatre. She is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect and the recipient of Bay Area Critic’s Association Awards, a Drama League fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, a Sundance/Luma Director’s fellowship, and the 2018 Zelda Fichandler Award.
In-person performances: April 21 – May 21, 2023
Select Evenings: Tues – Thurs at 7:30pm; Fri – Sat at 8pm; select Sun at 7pm
Matinees: Select Wed, Sat, and Sun at 2pm
Days and times vary; see complete schedule above.
Digital: Available May 15 – June 4, 2023
Running time: Approx. 2 hours including one intermission
Press Opening: Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 7pm (RSVP here)
Calderwood Pavilion / BCA
527 Tremont Street, Boston (South End)
Tickets to in-person performances start at $25. Season ticket packages and FlexPasses are also now on sale:
- online at huntingtontheatre.org
- by phone at 617-266-0800;
- or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion / BCA, 527 Tremont St, Boston
Select discounts apply:
- $10 off: season ticket holders
- $30 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required)
- $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required)
ACCESS PERFORMANCES FOR JOY AND PANDEMIC
Tickets are $20 for each patron and their guests. To reserve tickets please email email@example.com, call ticketing services at 617-266-0800, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion / BCA, 527 Tremont St, Boston. Accessible performances are supported in part by the Liberty Mutual Foundation.
ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, May 12 at 8pm. The Huntington offers American Sign Language interpretation at designated performances for patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, May 16 at 7:30pm. The Huntington offers open captioning at designated performances for any patron who benefits from having the text of spoken dialogue visible in time with the play.
AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, May 20 at 2pm. The Huntington offers audio description for patrons who are blind or low-vision at designated performances. Please visit huntingtontheatre.org/visit/accessibility for information.
Large Print and Braille Programs will also be available for patrons at performances.
If patrons ever feel as if they would rather not see Joy and Pandemic in person – for any reason – they can easily exchange their in-person tickets for a home viewing opportunity of a specially recorded version of this play. OR, they can purchase tickets to the digital version of Joy and Pandemic in advance.
The digital recording of Joy and Pandemic will be available May 15 – June 4, 2023.
JOY AND PANDEMIC COVID POLICY
Patrons are encouraged to wear masks at the Calderwood Pavilion / BCA, though mask wearing may not be required. COVID protocols will be announced to ticket holders in advance of the performance.
The Huntington asks that any patron experiencing COVID symptoms stay home and contact ticketing services for more information about exchanges.
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA
Any members of the media who are interested in speaking with the artists of Joy and Pandemic, please contact Publicist Gabrielle Jaques at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-273-1520.
Press night for critics is Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 7pm. Please RSVP here for press night or other available performances.
Production photos will be available for download online, and b-roll footage can be requested.
PHOTOS available for download here
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
Celebrating 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, The Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Managing Director Michael Maso, The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre this fall after its transformational renovation. A storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
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