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Pulitzer Prize Finalist Gina Gionfriddo's New Comedy Rapture Blister Burn Begins at Huntington Theatre Company May 24

(BOSTON) – Huntington Theatre Company concludes its 31st season with the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo (Becky Shaw). Hailed by The New York Times as "an intensely smart, immensely funny new play," the searing comedy examines the psyches of two women in midlife as they reconsider the differing choices they have made. Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois (Sons of the Prophet) reunites with Gionfriddo and helms a cast featuring Kate Shindle as academic rock-star Catherine Croll and Annie McNamara as her friend Gwen Harper, local favorites Timothy John Smith (Candide) and Nancy E. Carroll (Good People, Luck of the Irish), and Huntington newcomer Shannon Esper.

"Gina Gionfriddo crafts plays of ideas in such a way that you feel incredibly happy to be in the theatre and engaging with them," says DuBois of his longtime artistic partner. "This sharp, smart comedy, set in a small New England college town will connect deeply with our audiences here in Boston. What the play has to say about marriage, feminism, and parenthood – from the 20-something, 40-something and 70-something perspective – is savagely funny and deeply human." Hear more from DuBois about the production.

In Rapture, Blister, Burn, scholar and favorite on the television pundits circuit Catherine (Shindle) returns to her hometown to care for her aging mother, the outspoken Alice (Carroll). Reuniting with graduate school friend Gwen (McNamara) and Gwen's husband Don (also Catherine's former flame) as she also begins facing life alone, Catherine begins to doubt her decision to put her career before a personal life, just as Gwen is simultaneously questioning her decisions, as well. When Catherine begins teaching a course in Alice's home on feminist theory to Gwen and a student from the local college (Esper), the three generations of women consider the choices they have and the ones they have made.

"My play, Becky Shaw, feels to me a play about years 30-35," Gionfriddo reflects. "It's still possible to launch a career or start a family, but you need to hurry up. Rapture, Blister, Burn feels like a play about years 40-45. Big, unfulfilled dreams are still possible, but they're statistically less likely. If you're going to take a big leap and remake yourself, you have to do it now."

Rapture, Blister, Burn debuted at Playwrights Horizon in May 2012 where NY Daily News called it, "a smart, funny, and lighting-paced look at feminism."

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

The ensemble cast includes:

  • Nancy E. Carroll (Good People and Luck of the Irish at the Huntington, Present Laughter on Broadway) as Alice Croll;
  • Shannon Esper (The Talls Off Broadway) as Avery Willard;
  • Annie McNamara (Gatz and A Map of Virtue Off Broadway) as Gwen Harper;
  • Kate Shindle (Wonderland and Legally Blonde on Broadway) as Catherine; and
  • Timothy John Smith (Candide and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at the Huntington, The Receptionist at Trinity Repertory Company) as Don Harper.

Peter DuBois (Director) is in his fifth season as Artistic Director at the Huntington where his directing credits include the world premieres of Evan M. Wiener's Captors, Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet, Bob Glaudini's Vengeance is the Lord's, and David Grimm's The Miracle at Naples, the regional premiere of Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw, and Craig Lucas' Prelude to a Kiss. His West End/London credits include All New People with Zach Braff (Duke of York's Theatre) and Becky Shaw (Almeida Theatre). His New York credits include Rapture, Blister, Burn (Playwrights Horizons); Sons of the Prophet (Roundabout Theatre Company); Modern Terrorism, Becky Shaw, Trust with Sutton Foster, and All New People (Second Stage Theatre); Measure for Pleasure, Richard III with Peter Dinklage, Morn, How Did You Meet the Beatles?, and Biro (The Public Theater/NYSF); Jack Goes Boating with Philip Seymour Hoffman and The View From 151st Street (LAByrinth Theater Company/The Public Theater); and The Power of Duff with Greg Kinnear (New York Stage and Film). Regional US and UK credits include productions at American Conservatory Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, Humana Festival of New Plays, Manchester Opera House, and Kings Theater Glasgow. Before arriving at the Huntington, he served for five years as associate producer and resident director at The Public Theater, preceded by five as artistic director of the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. Prior to his work at Perseverance, Mr. DuBois lived and worked in the Czech Republic where he co-founded Asylum, a multi-national squat theatre in Prague. His productions have been on the annual top ten lists of The New York Times, Time Out, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsday, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, The Evening Standard, and Improper Bostonian.

Gina Gionfriddo (Playwright) was a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Rapture, Blister, Burn (commissioned by and premiered at Playwrights Horizons) and a 2009 finalist for Becky Shaw, which the Huntington produced in 2010. Becky Shaw had its world premiere at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival of New American Plays and its New York premiere Off Broadway at Second Stage Theatre. Ms. Gionfriddo's other plays include After Ashley (Humana Festival and Off Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre) and US Drag (produced Off Broadway by Clubbed Thumb and the stageFARM). She has received an Obie Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, an Outer Critics Circle Award, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, and an American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg citation. She has written for the television dramas "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Cold Case," "Borgia," and "House of Cards." Ms. Gionfriddo has contributed essays on rock music to the literary journal The Believer and short fiction to Canteen. She attended the MFA playwriting program at Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel and began her long, happy collaboration with Mr. DuBois. She is currently working on a new play commission from Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

Scenic design by Alexander Dodge (Good People at the Huntington and Present Laughter at the Huntington and on Broadway); costume design by Mimi O'Donnell (Vengeance is the Lord's at the Huntington, Pumpgirl at Manhattan Theatre Club); lighting design by Jeff Croiter (Brendan, and Streamers at the Huntington, Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway – Tony Award); sound design by M.L. Dogg (Captors and Sons of the Prophet at the Huntington, The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway). Production stage manager is Marti McIntosh. Stage manager is Kathryn Most.

 

SPONSORS

  • Grand Patron: Boston University
  • Season Sponsors: Carol G. Deane, J. David Wimberly
  • Production Sponsor: Cassandra H. Henderson

 

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

The recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading theatre company since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

 

Production Calendar and Related Events

Huntington Theatre Company presents the biting new comedy RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN by Gina Gionfriddo, directed by Peter DuBois, playing May 24 — June 22, 2013 at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Learn more at huntingtontheatre.org/raptureblisterburn“Gina Gionfriddo is some kind of genius!” — VarietyAfter grad school, Catherine pursued a career as a rockstar feminist academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later, each friends covets the other's life. With searing insight and trademark wit, this new comedy takes a deep look at family, career, romance, and the decisions that define a life.

    Post-Show Audience Conversations

  • Ongoing
    Led by members of the Huntington staff. After most Tuesday — Friday, Saturday matinee, and Sunday matinee performances throughout the season. Free with a ticket to the performance.

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