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Tony Award-winning comedy "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" begins January 2 at Huntington Theatre Company

TONY AWARD-WINNING BROADWAY COMEDY “VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE” DIRECTED BY JESSICA STONE, BASED ON THE BROADWAY DIRECTION OF NICHOLAS MARTIN, STARTS JANUARY 2 AT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY

(BOSTON) – The 2013 Tony Award-winning production for Best New Play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike kicks off the New Year at the Huntington Theatre Company. Written by “treasured playwright” (The New York Observer) Christopher Durang (Betty’s Summer Vacation), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a wickedly wonderful Chekhovian mashup that Newsday called “one of the funniest comedies Broadway has seen in seasons.” The Huntington’s production is dedicated to former Huntington Artistic Director Nicholas Martin, who passed away on April 30, 2014. Jessica Stone will direct the production based on Martin’s original Tony Award-nominated Broadway direction. Performances at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre begin Friday, January 2 and continue through Sunday, February 1, 2015.

“I’ll never forget the experience of sitting among an audience overcome with the explosive laughter elicited by this hysterical riff on the work of one of the world’s great playwrights,” says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “The brilliant Christopher Durang has written a clever and creative play, and I know our smart, Chekhov-savvy audience will find much to recognize and relish. I look forward to welcoming Christopher back to the Huntington.” 

The show begins as Vanya and Sonia’s quiet, bucolic life is hilariously upended when their glamorous movie star sister arrives for the weekend with her boyfriend Spike in tow. The three siblings, all named after Chekhov characters, are thrown back together for the weekend and must deal with Masha’s ridiculous demands and her desire to sell the family home. This rollicking and touching new comedy pays loving homage to Chekhov’s classic themes of loss and longing.

“In my 20s, I read Chekhov’s plays and loved them. My impetus for Vanya... was the realization that I am now the age of Chekhov’s older characters,” says playwright Christopher Durang. “I found myself wanting to write a comic play — not a parody, but its own thing. So I took themes and characters from Chekhov, and put them into a comic blender.”

The Huntington’s production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike marks the third Christopher Durang play produced by the Huntington; the previous productions, Betty’s Summer Vacation and Laughing Wild, were both directed by Nicholas Martin (and Durang himself appeared in Laughing Wild). Martin served as the Huntington’s Artistic Director from 2000 – 2008, where he directed many notable productions including Dead End, Hedda Gabler and The Cherry Orchard with Kate Burton, Butley with Nathan Lane, Sonia Flew, She Loves Me, and others. He was a champion of playwrights and new plays, and the Huntington inaugurated the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA as its home for new work during his tenure. In addition to dedicating this production to his memory, the Huntington will celebrate Martin’s artistic legacy at its annual Spotlight Spectacular gala on April 27, 2015.

USA Today called Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike “hugely entertaining” and the U-T San Diego called this production, “whip-smart and deliciously funny.”

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is sponsored by Grand Patron Boston University; Season Sponsors J. David Wimberly and Carol G. Deane; Production Sponsors Jill and Mitchell Roberts; and Production Co-Sponsors Bette and John Cohen.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

The cast includes Candy Buckley (Cabaret and Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway) as the glamorous movie star Masha; Marcia DeBonis (That’s What She Said and “Lipstick Jungle”) as the adopted and regretful Sonia; and Martin Moran (Spamalot and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway) as the remorseful, sad sack Vanya. Tyler Lansing Weaks (Macbeth on Broadway) plays Spike, Masha’s sexy, self-absorbed boy toy; Allison Layman (A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Shakespeare Festival) plays star struck next-door neighbor Nina; and Haneefah Wood (Rent and Avenue Q on Broadway) plays the always-prophesying housekeeper Cassandra.

Christopher Durang (Playwright) is the author of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award for Best Play), The Idiots Karamazov, co-authored with Albert Innaurato, A History of the American Film (Tony Award nomination), Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy (Broadway and Off Broadway), Baby with the Bathwater, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Awards for Playwriting, Direction, and Ensemble Performance; Dramatists Guild of America’s Hull-Warriner Award), Laughing Wild, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, Betty’s Summer Vacation (Obie Awards for Playwriting, Direction, and Performance), Miss Witherspoon (2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist), and Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them. His cabaret credits include Das Lusitania Songspiel, co-authored and performed by Sigourney Weaver and Mr. Durang (Drama Desk Award nominations for both performers) and Chris Durang & Dawne (Bistro Award for Mr. Durang and cohorts John Augustine and Sherry Anderson). He has won the Harvard Arts Medal and the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, and he was recently inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. For 18 years he and Marsha Norman have been co-chairs of The Juilliard School’s Playwriting Program. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.

Jessica Stone (Director) has worked as an actress on Broadway and Off Broadway, and in television and film, for the last 20 years. She performed in the Huntington’s productions of She Loves Me, Betty’s Summer Vacation, and Springtime for Henry. Her Broadway credits include Anything Goes with Sutton Foster, Butley with Nathan Lane, The Odd Couple with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, The Smell of the Kill with Claudia Shear, Design for Living with Alan Cumming and Dominic West, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with John Stamos, and Grease with Rosie O’Donnell. Her Off Broadway credits include Crimes of the Heart directed by Kathleen Turner, Krisit, The Country Club, June Moon, Tenderloin, and Babes in Arms. She has performed in regional theatres across the country including Mark Taper Forum, Geva Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, and six seasons at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her favorite productions include She Stoops to Conquer, She Loves Me, Springtime for Henry, Betty’s Summer Vacation, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Cherry Orchard. Concurrently, she was an assistant/associate director on and Off Broadway to Nicholas Martin, Joe Mantello, David Warren, and Christopher Ashley. Ms. Stone’s directing career began in earnest with her 2010 production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for Williamstown Theatre Festival, which was met with critical acclaim. Her directing credits include Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers and June Moon (Williamstown Theatre Festival) and Charlotte’s Web (TheatreworksUSA). Her workshops and readings include the Huntington’s Breaking Ground Festival, Hourglass Group Ltd.’s Hot Buttons: A Political Vaudeville, and collaborations with artists such as Joy Behar and Claudia Shear. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.

The Huntington’s production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will feature scenic design by David Korins (The Sisters Rosensweig, Falsettos, and Persephone at the Huntington), costume design by Gabriel Berry (Best of Both Worlds at American Repertory Theater), lighting design by David Weiner (Becky Shaw, Butley, and Springtime for Henry at the Huntington), and sound design and original music by Mark Bennett (The Seagull, Dead End, The Rose Tattoo, and Persephone at the Huntington). Casting is by Elaine Alldaffer and Caparelliotis Casting. Production stage manager is Emily McMullen, and the assistant stage manager is Kevin Schlagle.

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY

Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 and 2014 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premiere cultural assets 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 to create 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. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

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PHOTO DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS

To download high-resolution (or smaller) photos of the artists involved with Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike:
1. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/news/photo-library and select the production.
2. Click on the thumbnail and let the image load in your browser on the Flickr site.
3. Click the " ↓ " button in the lower right-hand corner of the window and select View All Sizes.
4. Select the size you wish to download from the choices listed across the top of the image.
5. Click the "Download the ___ size of this photo..." link at the top. The image will download to your computer.

PRODUCTION INFORMATION & CALENDAR

WHEN

January 2 – February 1, 2015
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 below.

Press Opening: Wednesday, January 7, 7pm. RSVP online.

WHERE
Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston

TICKETS
Single tickets starting at $25 and FlexPasses are on sale:
• online at huntingtontheatre.org;
• by phone at 617 266 0800; or
• in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston's South End.

Select discounts apply:
• $5 off: seniors
• $10 off: subscribers and BU community (faculty/staff/alumni)
• $25 "35 Below" tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required)
• $15 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, Christopher Durang's smash-hit Broadway comedy and 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play, directed by Nicholas Martin. Jan. 2 — Feb. 1, 2015 at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre.

Post-Show Audience Conversations: 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.

35 Below Wrap Party: A post-show party for the region's culturally curious ages 21 to 35 featuring backstage access, free refreshments, and live entertainment. 35 Below tickets are available at all performances to patrons 35 and under for just $25.

Actors Forum: Participating cast members answer questions from the audience.

Humanities Forum: A conversation with a local scholar about the historic or literary context of the production.

Community Membership Reception: A pre-show reception for participants in the Huntington’s Community Membership program.

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