Second Stage Theater’s World premiere of Will Eno’s The Underlying Chris opens tonight at the Tony Kiser Theater (305 West 43rd Street). Previews began on October 29, 2019.
Directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, the production features Hannah Cabell, Michael Countryman, Denise Burse, Nicholas Hutchinson, Lenne Klingaman, Lizbeth MacKay, Nidra Sous La Terre, Howard Overshown, Isabella Russo, Charles Turner, And Luis Vega.
Tickets for The Underlying Chris are available by phone at (212) 541-4516, online at 2st.com, or in person at the Tony Kiser Theater at 305 W. 43rd Street. A limited number of $30 Under 30 tickets are available in advance to those ages 30 and under with proper identification. Discounts for groups of 10 or more may be purchased by calling (212) 787-8302 x 130.
Subscriptions to the 2019-2020 Season are available by calling Second Stage Subscriber Services at (212) 246-4422, visiting 2st.com or 305 W. 43rd Street. Packages begin at $193 for 3 plays.
The Underlying Chris, a world premiere play from Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno, is a life-affirming and high-spirited look at how a person comes into their identity, and how sometimes it’s life’s tiniest moments that most profoundly change our lives. In these divided times, THE UNDERLYING CHRIS serves as a celebration of our differences, our individuality, and the many mysterious, difficult, and beautiful things we share simply by being alive.
The full creative team for The Underlying Chris includes Scenic Design By Arnulfo Maldonado, Costume Design By Dede Ayite, Lighting Design By Amith Chandrashaker, Sound Design By Dan Moses Schreier, And Casting By Telsey + Company.
The Underlying Chris is co-commissioned by Center Theatre Group and Second Stage Theater. The commission is supported by a grant from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
WILL ENO (PLAYWRIGHT)
Will Eno is a Residency Five Fellow of the Signature Theatre in New York, which premiered Title and Deed in 2012, The Open House in 2014, and Wakey, Wakey in 2017. Following an acclaimed run at Yale Repertory Theatre, his play The Realistic Joneses appeared on Broadway in 2014, where it won a Drama Desk Award, was named USA Today’s “Best Play on Broadway,” topped the The Guardian’s 2014 list of American plays, and was included in The New York Times’ “Best Theatre of 2014.” The Open House won the 2014 Obie Award, the Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, and a Drama Desk Award, and was included in both the Time Out New York and Time Magazine Top 10 Plays of the Year. The lauded London premiere was directed by Sir Michael Boyd at The Print Room. Title and Deed was on The New York Times’ and The New Yorker’s Top Ten Plays of 2012. His play Gnit, an adaptation of Peer Gynt, premiered at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2013. Middletown, winner of the Horton Foote Award, premiered at the Vineyard Theatre and subsequently at Steppenwolf Theater and many other American theaters and universities. The Canadian premiere, at The Shaw Festival in 2017, received a rapturous response from critics and audiences and was remounted in 2018 in Toronto. His internationally heralded play Thom Pain (based on nothing) ran at the Geffen Playhouse in 2016 and starred Rainn Wilson; this production served as the basis for a film version directed by Oliver Butler and Will, which premiered at the Memphis Film Festival and is available to stream on BroadwayHD. The play was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He was recently awarded the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Award. His plays are published by Samuel French, TCG, Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, and Oberon Books.
KENNY LEON (DIRECTOR)
Kenny Leon is a Tony Award winning Broadway and film director. His Broadway credits include the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington (Tony Award Winner for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival); American Son, starring Kerry Washington; The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett; Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys; August Wilson’s Fences (which garnered ten Tony nominations and won three Tony Awards including Best Revival); the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun, with Sean P. Diddy Combs; Gem of the Ocean; Radio Golf; and the 2014 premiere of Holler if You Hear Me, a new musical created using the music of Tupac Shakur. Leon’s recent film work includes “In My Dreams” for Hallmark Hall of Fame, “The Watsons go to Birmingham” for Walden Media and Hallmark, and the Sony and Lifetime TV adaptation of “Steel Magnolias.” Leon is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2010 Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing by the Drama League of New York. Mr. Leon is the Artistic Director of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to co-founding True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as Artistic Director of the Alliance Theatre, where he produced the premieres of Disney’s Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky, and Alfred Uhry’s The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Other directorial credits include Alicia Keys World Tour, Toni Morrison’s opera, Margaret Garner, the world premiere of Flashdance, The Musical, and the complete August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center. Leon is a sought-after motivational speaker that has done acting and theatre workshops at universities and corporate offices around the country, South Africa and Ireland. He has directed in England, and extensively throughout the US, including Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, Boston’s Huntington Theatre, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group, and New York’s Public Theatre. Leon is a graduate of Clark Atlanta and is an honorary Ph.D. recipient of Clark Atlanta and Roosevelt Universities. He is currently serving as the Denzel Washington Chair at Fordham University.
Stage: Dot in Dot (Billie Holiday Theatre), Dotty in Dot (Southwest Arts Center), Lena in Brownsville Song (Seattle Repertory), Quilly in The Old Settler (Billie Holiday Theatre), Viola in Dance of the Holy Ghost (Baltimore Center Stage), Mame in Radio Golf (Taper, Seattle, Center Stage), Peggy Clark in Blue (Cinncinati Playhouse/Geva), Rose in Fences (True Colors Theatre Company), Ms. Louise in Waiting to be Invited (Illusion Theatre), Judith B. Kaufman in An American Daughter (Long Wharf), Judith B. Kaufman u/s in An American Daughter (Cort/Lincoln Center), Vera in Seven Guitars (Alliance Theatre), Sarah in African Company Presents… (Cleveland Playhouse), Harriet Tubman in Harriet Returns (National Tour), Fannie Mae Dove in Flying West (Kennedy Center), Rose in Fences (Baltimore Center Stage), Bernice in Piano Lesson (Seattle Rep), Georgia Mayberry in Robert Johnson (New Federal Theatre), Annaetta in Eden (Alliance), Eunice Evers in Miss Evers’ Boys (Illusion), Holly Day in Ground People (American Place Theatre), Isabella in Don Juan of Seville (Classic Stage Company), Heidi in Hannah Davis (Negro Ensemble Company). Film and Television: “New Amsterdam,” “Greenleaf,” “Black Mirror,” the CBS All Access series “One Dollar,” “Manifest,” “House of Payne” (series regular), Preaching to the Choir, Basquiat, The Juror, Annihilators, ‘Third Watch,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Law and Order,” Funny Valentines, “Cosby,” “The Sopranos,” Simple Justice, Resting Place, The Boy King, A Time to Triumph, “One Life to Live,” “The Guiding Light,” “New York Undercover,” “TriBeCa,” “H.E.L.P.” Colman Domino’s Dot directed by Kenny Leon at True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, transferred as a co-production with the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn. The co-production is the recipient of 6 Audelco nominations and one Suzi nomination in Atlanta. Burse is an Emmy winner for the ensemble performance of “San Junipero” an episode of the Netflix series “Black Mirror,” a 1990 Theatre World Award and numerous Audelcos. Train: Baldwin Burroughs, Spelman College
Broadway: The Father, A Man for All Seasons. Off-Broadway credits include: Fairview (2019 Pulitzer Prize), Venus, The Moors (Lucille Lortel nom.), Men on Boats, Grounded (Drama Desk nom.), 3C, Compulsion, Pumpgirl. Regional: World premieres of The Moors, Marie Antoinette, Compulsion, Sarah Ruhl’s Three Sisters, and In the Next Room, or the vibrator play. TV: “Madam Secretary,” “The Good Fight,” “The Path,” “Mr. Robot,” “Happyish,” “The Leftovers,” “Law & Order: CI.” Film: The Surrogate, Luce (upcoming). Training: MFA, NYU.
Broadway: M. Butterfly, Six Degrees of Separation, Wit, Mary Stuart, Night Must Fall, Holiday, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, A Few Good Men and Face Value. Recent Off-Broadway: A Man for All Seasons, Privacy, The Open House (Drama Desk Award), Bluebird, Equivocation, Shipwrecked! Film: Spotlight, True Story, Burn After Reading, P.S. I Love You, Che, The Namesake, among others. Television includes: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Path,” “Boardwalk Empire” (SAG Nomination), “The Americans,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” “Elementary,” “Billions,” “The Sopranos.”
Nicholas is thrilled to be making his Off Broadway debut. He has recently appeared in such films as Seeking Equanimity, Lockdown and the upcoming film Clifford. TV credits include “Money Moves,” “The Deuce,” “FBI” and “High Maintenance.” Nicholas can also be seen in various commercials. He is extremely thankful for his amazingly supportive family and his agents at Eris Talent for believing and supporting his dream.
Lenne Klingaman is thrilled to make her Second Stage debut. Broadway: Waitress (Dawn). 1st National Tour: Waitress (Dawn – original cast). Selected regional: record-breaking run of Hamlet (as Hamlet, Colorado Shakes), A.R.T., Berkeley Rep, Denver Center, Shakespeare Theatre, South Coast Rep. TV/Web: “Chicago Med,” “Cold Case,” “Welcome to Sanditon.” MFA in Acting – University of Washington. You can find her on Instagram (@lenne03) and her debut album on iTunes.
Broadway: The Humans, All My Sons, Doubt, The Price, Picnic, The Heiress, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Crimes of the Heart (Theatre World, Outer Circle Critics, and Hollywood Drama-logue Awards). Off-Broadway: The Wayside Motor Inn (Drama Desk Award), Bull In a China Shop, Domesticated, Sons of the Prophet, Durang Durang, Tales of the Lost Formicans, Kate’s Diary.
Broadway: Saint Joan, Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington, A Free Man of Color, Richard III with Sam Mendes. Off-Broadway: Passage, YellowMan, Never the Sinner, Beauty On The Vine, Cost of Living. Most Recent: King John (Folger Theatre), Evanston Salt Costs Climbing (White Heron Theatre), View From the Bridge (CTG, Kennedy Center), King Lear (The Guthrie). Film: You Were Never Here, Pride and Glory, Body Of Lies, Lost Cat Corona, Grand Street. TV: “Fosse/Verdon,” “Blue Bloods,” “Bull,” “The Affair,” “Elementary,” “White Collar,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent and SVU,” “Kings.” 2018 Lunt Fontanne Fellow.
Broadway: School of Rock (OBC, Summer Hathaway). Off-Broadway: Mother of Invention(Ryder), School of Rock (Summer Hathaway). TV/Film: HBO’s “Crashing” (Kimberly), Lucy In The Sky (Annabelle), co-starred with John Legend & Chrissy Teigen in “The Toycracker” (Clara), TONY Awards 2016, “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2015,” “The View,” “Good Morning America.” Proud SAG/AEA member. Twitter: @IsabellaKRusso. Instagram: Iamisabellarusso. www.officialisabellarusso.com
NIDRA SOUS LA TERRE
Second Stage debut. TV: “Orange is The New Black,” “Instinct,” “Random Acts of Flyness,” “Elementary,” “Bull,” “Jessica Jones,” “Law and Order: CI,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “30 Rock”. Broadway: Marvin’s Room (Roundabout), The Book of Mormon (Eugene O’Neill Theatre). New York: A Life (Playwrights Horizons), Mr. Burns (Playwrights Horizons), Lost Lake (MTC). Regional: The Old Globe, Cleveland Playhouse. Nedra holds an MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School and is on faculty at Pace School of Performing Arts. nidrasouslaterre.com @nidrasouslaterre
Broadway: The Little Foxes, The Gin Game, You Can’t Take It With You, The Trip to Bountiful, Dividing the Estate and On Golden Pond. Off-Broadway: The Orphans’ Home Cycle (Signature Theatre), The Play About the Baby (with Marian Seldes). Regional: King Lear, Fences, The Oedipus Plays (D.C. Shakespeare & Athens Festival). Awards: Recently honored with Broadway Salutes Medal for 35 years of Broadway Credits. Drama Desk, AUDELCO. Film/TV: The Village, “Madam Secretary,” “Chappelle’s Show.”
Theater: The Humans (National Tour), Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic Theater Company), Where Storms Are Born and A Streetcar Named Desire (Williamstown), The Underpants (Old Globe), Seize the King (La Jolla Playhouse), As You Like It (The Guthrie), i thought i would die but i didn’t (New Georges/The Tank), Romeo and Juliet (Back Room Shakespeare Project). Film/TV: “Jack Ryan” (Amazon), “Madam Secretary” (CBS), Another Earth (Fox Searchlight), Chinese Puzzle (dir. Cédric Klapisch). MFA from UC San Diego.
ARNULFO MALDONADO (SCENIC DESIGN)
Off-Broadway: Fireflies (Atlantic); Power Strip, The Rolling Stone (Lincoln Center Theater); Sugar in Our Wounds (MTC, Lucille Lortel Award); School Girls…, Charm(MCC); A Strange Loop, Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizons); Usual Girls (Roundabout); Fires In The Mirror (Signature). Regional: Alley Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Guthrie Theater, Humana Festival, Long Wharf Theatre, Old Globe. Mr. Maldonado is a Clubbed Thumb Affiliated Artist, a recipient of a Princess Grace Fabergé Theater Award, and a multiple Henry Hewes Design nominee. Training: NYU Tisch. http://www.arnulfomaldonado.com
DEDE AYITE (COSTUME DESIGN)
Slave Play, American Son, Children of a Lesser God. Select Off-Broadway: By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, (Signature); Secret Life of Bees, Marie and Rosetta (Atlantic); The Rolling Stone, The Royale (Lincoln Center); School Girls… (MCC); Toni Stone (Roundabout); Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons). Worked regionally at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf, Arena Stage and more. Television: Netflix, Comedy Central; FOX Shortcoms. Awards: Obie, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Theatre Bay Area, Jeff Awards, including four Drama Desk Nominations.
AMITH CHANDRASHAKER (LIGHTING DESIGN)
Theatre credits include, Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown, Ars Nova, The Signature, The Atlantic, Second Stage, The Public, Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep, TFANA, LCT3, Rattlestick, PlayCo. Opera: Houston Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Colorado, The Atlanta Opera. Dance: Premieres by Alexander Ekman, Liz Gerring, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Rennie Harris, Aalto Ballett Theatre Essen, Staatstheater Nürnberg, The National Dance Company of Wales, and The Royal New Zealand Ballet. Drama Desk and Hewes award winner.
DAN MOSES SCHREIER (SOUND DESIGN)
Broadway: The Iceman Cometh, Falsettos, American Psycho, The Visit, Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Sondheim on Sondheim, A Little Night Music, Gypsy (Patti Lupone), Radio Golf, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, Assassins, Into The Woods, Topdog/Underdog, Noise/Funk. He has composed scores for the Broadway productions of Merchant of Venice (Al Pacino), Julius Caesar (Denzel Washington), The Tempest(Patrick Stewart). Recent Off-Broadway include: Fiddler at the Yiddish Theatre and Carmen Jones at CSC. 5 TONY Awards nominations.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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