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ANNOUNCING "MALA"

POWERFUL PERSONAL DRAMA MALA  WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY MELINDA LOPEZ, DIRECTED BY DAVID DOWER BEGINS SATURDAY, JANUARY 6

(BOSTON) – The Huntington Theatre Company is pleased to present the ArtsEmerson production of Mala. This moving drama is written and performed by Huntington Playwright-in-Residence Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew, Becoming Cuba) and directed by David Dower (Mala and Mr. JoyBreath & Imagination at ArtsEmerson). Performances run from January 6 through January 28, 2018 at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion.

Set during the epic winter of 2015, Mala is inspired by text messages frantically typed on an iPhone by Lopez, while she cared for her increasingly frail and consistently fierce mother. These short missives ultimately create a moving and generous portrait of the way taking care of family tests, deepens, and changes our bonds to the ones we love. Lopez, a regular on Boston stages, also performs the play. 

Mala won the 2016 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Script, and it was named one of the best plays of 2016 by The Boston Globe, WBUR’s ARTery, and DigBoston. This return engagement of Mala, back by popular demand, is funny, brutally honest, and ultimately cathartic. Mala puts a sharp focus on what it means to put our loved ones first, right to the very end, and what happens when we strive to be good but don’t always succeed.

“When I saw the sold-out performances of Mala at ArtsEmerson last year, I knew we had to bring this homegrown hit to the Huntington,” says Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “Melinda Lopez has a frank and funny approach to writing about life and family that is a gift to audiences. In Mala, she’s captured something so honest about what it is to be a daughter. This is a show to share with someone you love.”

“I am thrilled to bring Mala back to Boston,” says Melinda Lopez. “The Huntington has provided me the time and space to continue to create new work as their playwright-in-residence, and I am grateful to them for remounting the original production, as this play is extremely close to my heart.”

“It was a true joy collaborating with Melinda on the premiere of her play Mala,” director David Dower says. “The humor, intelligence, and courage that Melinda brought to her writing immediately resonated and provided a great foundation to tell her important story, universal to so many.”

“Piercingly honest and exquisitely moving,” says The Boston Globe and WBUR’s The ARTery says Mala is “Candid, raw, and exhilarating!”

ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Melinda Lopez (Playwright, Performer) is the playwright-in-residence at the Huntington Theatre Company. Mala won the 2017 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Play. The show premiered at ArtsEmerson and recently ran at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Upcoming projects include a translation of Yerma (Lorca) for the American Conservatory Theater. Her award-winning play Sonia Flew (Elliot Norton Award, IRNE Award) has been produced all over the country including at the Huntington Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Contemporary American Theater Festival, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and many others. Other plays include Becoming Cuba (Huntington Theatre Company), Back the Night (Boston Playwrights' Theatre), Caroline in Jersey (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Orchids to Octopi (Central Square Theater, commissioned by the National Institutes of Health for the Darwin bicentennial), Gary (Steppenwolf First Look Repertory, Boston Playwrights' Theatre), Alexandros (Laguna Playhouse), Midnight Sandwich/Medianoche (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, Coconut Grove Playhouse), and multiple short plays. Ms. Lopez is among the first cohort of playwrights to receive a three-year residency grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and she was the first recipient of the Charlotte Woolard Award, given by The Kennedy Center to a “promising new voice in American theatre.” She has served as a panel member for the City of Boston, the National Education Association, and the Cambridge Arts Panel and she has enjoyed residencies with Sundance, the Lark, New York Theatre Workshop, and Harvard University. Ms. Lopez is also an actress and has appeared in regional theatre (Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Guthrie Theater and Portland Stage), film, and radio. She teaches theatre studies at Wellesley College and playwriting at Boston University. Ms. Lopez was mentioned by President Obama in his joint address to the Cuban and American people, and Mayor Marty Walsh declared October 29, 2016 “Melinda Lopez Day” in the City of Boston. She is active in the local Cuban American community and works to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba. For more information, visit friendsofcaritascubana.com and melindalopez.com.

David Dower (Director) is artistic director at ArtsEmerson, where he staged the world premiere of Mala, as well as Guillermo Calderon’s Kiss, Marc Kudisch’s Baritones Unbound, Daniel Beaty’s Breath and ImaginationMr. Joy, and Emergency. He has directed new works at Arena Stage, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, and dozens of world premieres in the San Francisco Bay Area. He spent six seasons as associate artistic director at Arena Stage, leading the artistic development team on over 50 productions, including the Tony Award-winning productions of 33 Variations, Next to Normal (Pulitzer Prize), and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He is a co-founder of HowlRound and a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Mala features dramaturgy by P. Carl (Mala, Claudia Rankine’s The White Card, How to Be a Rock Critic, and The Wholehearted at ArtsEmerson); set design by Kristine Holmes (Prop Master at the Huntington; Kiss at ArtsEmerson and set decorator for “Antiques Roadshow”); lighting design by Scott Pinkney (Torch Song Trilogy on Broadway and The Comedy of Errors with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); projection design by Ari Herzig (Ryan Landry’s M at the Huntington and Sugar with ArtsEmerson); and sound design by Arshan Gailus (Becoming Cuba at the Huntington, Tribes with SpeakEasy Stage Company). Production stage manager is Deborah A. Acquavella; and stage manager is Lizzy Gordon.

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington 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 has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert the Huntington Avenue Theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

ABOUT ARTSEMERSON
ArtsEmerson is Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre. It is dedicated to engaging all communities through stories that reveal and deepen connections to each other. By cultivating diversity in the art and in the audience, ArtsEmerson ignites public conversation around the most vexing societal challenges as a catalyst for overcoming them. ArtsEmerson is committed to welcoming everyone into its landmark venues, located in Boston’s downtown Theatre District, for a diverse program of contemporary theatre, film, and music from around the city and around the world. In addition, ArtsEmerson engages in a range of community partnerships and produces a series of initiatives that make visible the rich diversity of cultural activity in the region. These programs are core to ArtsEmerson’s mission and expresses commitment to civic responsibility to create a more cohesive society. ArtsEmerson is the professional presenting and producing organization of the Office of the Arts at Emerson College and is led by Artistic Director David Dower and Executive Director David Howse. For more information, visit ArtsEmerson.org.

PHOTO DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS
To download high-resolution (or smaller) photos of Mala:

  1. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/news/photo-library/2017-2018/mala/ 
  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 AND CALENDAR
WHEN
January 6 – January 28, 2018
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. 

Press Opening: Wednesday, January 10, 6:30pm. RSVP online.

WHERE
South End / Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., 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 Huntington 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
  • $30 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required)
  • $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

SPECIAL EVENTS IN CONJUNCTION WITH MALA 
POST-SHOW AUDIENCE CONVERSATIONS
After select Fri. – Sun. evening, Wed. matinee, Sat. matinee, and Sun. matinee performances throughout the season. This is an opportunity for audience members to discuss what they have seen in a conversation led by members of the Huntington staff.

POST-SHOW CONVERSATION WITH HARRISON BLUM FROM EMERSON COLLEGE
Sunday, January 7 after the 2pm performance 
Learn more about what it means to live mindfully of yourself and others with Emerson Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Harrison Blum following the 2pm performance on January 7.

Harrison Blum is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and a board-certified chaplain and community dharma leader in the insight meditation tradition of Western Buddhism. He previously worked as Buddhist spiritual advisor and mindfulness program director at Northeastern University, and as a staff chaplain on Franciscan Children's acute adolescent psychiatric unit. His book Dancing with Dharma features 27 contributors from six countries writing on the intersections of movement and dance with Western Buddhist practice.

HUNTINGTON COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP INITIATIVE RECEPTION
Thursday, January 11 at 6pm
Huntington Community Members are invited to a free pre-show reception on Thursday, January 11. There will be complimentary food and drinks, and attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the Huntington season as well as meet other interested theatregoers. Tickets to the 7:30pm performance of Mala should be purchased separately.

The Huntington Community Membership Initiative is a program designed to reduce the cost barrier of attending live theatre for those with limited income. The program’s goal is to diversify audiences to better represent the city of Boston. Community Members can purchase tickets to any available seat at any performance without restriction for just $20.

STUDENT MATINEES
Thursday, January 18 at 10am
Thursday, January 25 at 10am
For students in grades 9–12. Tickets: $15.
Student matinees include a pre-show in-school visit, a curriculum guide, a post-show Actors Forum, and a Dramatic Returns card for each student. Call 617 273 1558 for more information.

AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCES 
Thursday, January 18 at 10am (student matinee) 
Friday, January 19 at 8pm
 
The Huntington Theatre Company offers ASL interpretation for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing at designated performances.

Seating for each ASL-interpreted performance is located in the orchestra, house left. Tickets are $20 for each Deaf patron and an additional $20 ticket can be purchased for a guest. To reserve tickets, please contact Access Coordinator Meg O’Brien at mobrien@huntingtontheatre.org.

POST-SHOW CONVERSATION WITH REVEREND ROSEMARY LLOYD FROM THE INSTITUTE OF HEALTHCARE IMPROVEMENT
Saturday, January 20, after the 2pm performance 
Open the dialogue about end-of-life care with Reverend Rosemary Lloyd, advisor for The Conversation Project at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, following the 2pm performance on January 20.

Rev. Rosemary Lloyd, BSN, MDiv, is advisor to faith communities for The Conversation Project at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rev. Lloyd organizes, educates, and supports clergy and congregations in having values-centered conversations with loved ones and healthcare providers about crucial end-of-life matters. Rev. Lloyd is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Divinity School. Her life-long interest in end-of-life care and ethics is fueled by her experience as a registered nurse and hospice volunteer. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, she served The First Church in Boston and has spoken in a variety of congregational and healthcare settings on end-of-life issues for more than a decade. She is a graduate of the Metta Institute for Compassionate End of Life Care and an advocate for deepening the spiritual practice of embracing the reality of our mortality for the sake of having more joy in life.

HUMANITIES FORUM
Sunday, January 21 after the 2pm performance

Explore the development and significance of Mala with a guest expert following the 2pm performance on January 21.

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Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA: 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116
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