Abingdon Theatre Company (Tony Speciale, Artistic Director; Denise Dickens, Producing Director) is presenting The Gentleman Caller, a new play by Philip Dawkins (Charm, Le Switch, The Homosexuals) as the first production of its 25th Anniversary main stage season.
Daniel K. Isaac (Showtime’s “Billions”) will play William Inge and Juan Francisco Villa (Oedipus El Rey) will play Tennessee Williams in the New York premiere production. Directed by Tony Speciale (Unnatural Acts, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey), the limited engagement runs May 5 – 26 at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street, NYC) in Greenwich Village. The official opening night is May 10 at 7PM. Tickets are currently on sale at abingdontheatre.org or by calling Ovationtix at 212-352-3101.
Although now regarded as two of history’s finest American Playwrights, back in 1944, William Inge and Tennessee Williams hadn’t yet experienced anything close to success. The Gentleman Caller takes us back in time, before the Chicago premiere of The Glass Menagerie. Inge, a dissatisfied newspaper critic, invites Williams to his St. Louis apartment for an interview. This sexy, fraught rendezvous sparks a relationship, which radically alters the course of their lives and the American Theatre.
The Gentleman Caller features a scenic design by Sara C. Walsh (Queen of the Night), costume design by Hunter Kaczorowski (The Dork Knight), lighting design by Zach Blane (Too Much, Too Much, Too Many), and sound design and original music by Christian Frederickson (Antigone, Trojan Women).
“The struggle to create while not also destroying the self in the process is one that is, I feel, as vital today as it was in the smack-middle of the last century,” says playwright Philip Dawkins. “Tennessee Williams and William Inge have both been such major influences not only to me but to so many others who I count as my mentors and theater-heroes. As a Midwestern playwright myself, I take the responsibility of holding these powerful queer voices from the middle of America as a great and powerful honor. Delving into their lives has been a wonderful and terrifying adventure, and I’m thrilled to continue this adventure with Tony Speciale and Abingdon.”
“It is an honor to be able to include Philip Dawkins’ searing new memory play, The Gentleman Caller, in Abingdon’s 25th Anniversary Season,” says Speciale. “Tennessee Williams has long been one of my favorite playwrights. His manifesto on ‘plastic theatre’ continues to be a guiding principle in my own work as a theatre-maker. In true Williams fashion, Dawkins has written a mythic boxing match between these two great artists, as well as a love letter to the genre they both adored: the theatre.”
Daniel K. Isaac (William Inge) is an actor and writer based in New York City. You can currently see him on the small screen as ‘Ben Kim’ in Showtime’s “Billions.” Select NYC: Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO), Underland (59E59), La Divina Caricatura (La MaMa, Under the Radar & St. Ann’s Warehouse), Anna Nicole the Opera (BAM). Select Regional: The Ballad of Little Jo (Two River Theater), Miss Electricity (La Jolla Playhouse). Film/TV: MONEY MONSTER (dir. Jodie Foster), “The Jim Gaffigan Show” (TV LAND), “Search Party” (TBS), “Crashing” (HBO), “The Following” (FOX), “Person of Interest” (CBS), “Believe” (NBC, pilot), TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO), and “According To My Mother” (NYTVF Best Drama & Best Actor, Inaugural Sundance New Voices Lab, www.AccordingToMyMother.com). Daniel is a member of Page 73’s 2018 Interstate 73 Writers Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, and a Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow. Training: UCSD, BADA. www.DanielKIsaac.com
Juan Francisco Villa (Tennessee Williams)recently completed an Off-Broadway run of The New York Times Critics Pick Oedipus El Rey by Luis Alfaro, Directed by Chay Yew at The Public Theater (NYC). Other recent credits include Citizens Market at City Theatre (Pittsburgh). Off-Broadway: The Play About My Dad (Collaboration Town/59E59); Nature of Captivity (Mabou Mines); One Night in The Valley (INTAR). Chicago credits: Twelfth Night (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Hillary and Clinton, Mojada. (Victory Gardens Theater); 2666, El Grito del Bronx, (Goodman Theatre); Our Lady of 121st Street (Steppenwolf Theatre); Elliot: A Soldiers Fugue, (Steppenwolf Theatre/Teatro Vista); Empanada for a Dream, Gun Show (16th Street Theater); Take Me Out (Steppenwolf Theare/About Face Theatre). TV credits: “Madame Secretary” (CBS), “Chicago PD” (NBC), “Blacklist: Redemption” and “Betrayal” (ABC). Juanfranciscovilla.com
Philip Dawkins (Playwright) plays include Charm (Northlight Theatre-Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work, MCC Theatre), Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens Theater), Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre-Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work), The Homosexuals (About Face Theater), Le Switch (About Face Theatre, The Jungle), and The Happiest Place on Earth (Greenhouse Theater/Side Show-Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Solo Performance), as well as the book and lyrics for Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches, the Musical with composer David Mallamud at Children’s Theater Company, Minneapolis. His plays, The Burn and The Gentleman Caller (commissioned by Raven Theatre Company) will premier this winter in Chicago at Steppenwolf and Raven Theater Company respectively. Dawkins teaches playwriting at Northwest University, Loyola University Chicago, and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program.
Tony Speciale (Director) joined Abingdon Theatre Company as its Artistic Director in October 2015. Abingdon: The Boy Who Danced on Air, music by Tim Rosser, book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne; The Mother of Invention by James Lecesne; Jason O’Connell’s The Dork Knight; and Stet by Kim Davies. Other: Unnatural Acts (Classic Stage Company, Drama Desk Award and GLAAD Media Award nominations); Barry Manilow’s Harmony (ALLIANCE THEATRE/Ahmanson Theatre); The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Off Broadway/National Tour); A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (Classic Stage Company); Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Tony has developed new work at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, Sundance Theatre Lab at Mass MoCA and Public Theatre’s Under the Radar Festival. Upcoming: the world premiere of David Cale’s We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time (Goodman Theatre).