LENOX, MA (February 18, 2019) — Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, and the WAM team are proud announce the cast for their spring Main Stage production, the world premiere of Lady Randy by Anne Undeland. After two preview performances, the production opens April 20, 2019, at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, and runs through May 5.
Lady Randy is an historical drama about Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill. The play was first developed by Undeland and director Jim Frangione at the Berkshire Playwrights’ Lab, making this a true collaboration of outstanding regional talent.
Undeland will play the title role, with WAM newcomer Mark Zeisler is playing the roles of Winston Churchill, Leonard Jerome, Randolph Churchill, the Marlborough Family Solicitor, the Duchess of Marlborough, an English Bloke, Mrs. Everest, Count Charles Kinsky, and Bertie, Prince of Wales. Undeland is well known to local audiences for her one-woman shows at Ventfort Hall, and performances at Mixed Company in Great Barrington and Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington, VT. Zeisler has extensive credits on Broadway and in regional theaters across the country. In the Berkshires, he has performed for the last two seasons with Shakespeare & Company.
“We are thrilled to welcome Anne and Mark to our WAMily” said Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director. “I fell in love with this play when seeing the two of them in a reading of it last year so cannot wait to see these incredibly talented artists bring these characters fully to life onstage in this exciting World Premiere.”
In 1875, the American heiress, Jennie Jerome, seemed to have have it all. She had married an English lord; she was young, rich, and beautiful; and she had just given birth to Winston Churchill. Lady Randy takes us on a dizzying ride through the treacherous, kaleidoscopic sexual and political landscape of her marriage. A woman ahead of her time, Jennie kept everyone watching, kept them guessing, and she never, ever surrendered.
“Brilliant, maddening, impossibly seductive, and vaultingly ambitious, I fell headlong in love with this woman who was at once so ahead of her time and yet very much a product of her era,” shared playwright Anne Undeland, who will take on the role of Jennie. “I’m looking forward to channeling Jennie’s vitality; that life force that she was and bringing audiences into the heart, mind soul of a human being who just didn’t give up.
“Helping WAM Theatre launch the world premiere production of Lady Randy – right here in the Berkshires – is among the biggest thrills of my life,” Undeland continued. “I hope that the audiences will connect with the production, the character, the story, the energy so that they themselves feel more human, more alive, more able to go outside and say “Why Not?”
“Berkshire Playwrights Lab (BPL) is proud to have been a part of the development of Lady Randy for the past year and a half,” said BPL Managing Director Tristan Wilson.”We are always thrilled when a play we have nurtured moves on to a production in the Berkshires or another regional theatre. Our mission is to give playwrights a safe and supportive environment so they can do their best work and this is another example of the value of that mission. We love working with our artistic partners in the Berkshires and wish the best of luck to Anne, Jim, WAM Theatre and Lady Randy as their journey continues.”
by Anne Undeland
Directed by Jim Frangione
Presented at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre
70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA
Thursday, April 18 at 7:30p (Preview)
Friday, April 19 at 7:30p (Preview)
Saturday, April 20 at 7:30p (Opening)
Sunday, April 21 at 2p
Thursday, April 25 at 7:30p
Friday, April 26 at 7:30p
Saturday , April 27 at 7:30p
Sunday, April 28 at 2p
Thursday, May 2 at 7:30p
Friday, May 3 at 7:30p
Saturday, May 4 at 7:30p
Sunday, May 5 at 2p (Closing)
This production is sponsored in part by an anonymous donor.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Anne Undeland
WAM Theatre: Facing our Truth. Writing: As a playwright Anne is an active member of Berkshire Voices, Berkshire Playwrights Lab’s writing group, and Howl Playwrights out of Rhinebeck, NY. Her short plays, The Kiss and Another Party of the Wood, were selected for BPL’s Radius Festival in 2018 and 2019. The Kiss won best play at Writer’s Voice Ten Minute Play Festival at the West Side Y in New York in the spring of 2018. She is currently at work on Touch, an evening of sketches that feature, in a quietly revolutionary way, a woman over 45 who drives the action and gets the bulk of the funny lines. Lady Randy is her first full length play. Online: www.anneundeland.com.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: Jim Frangione
WAM Theatre: Debut. Elsewhere: He was founder and co-artistic director of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, directing and developing many new plays, including Lady Randy, which came out of the BPL Writer’s Group. He directed David Mamet’s play Romance at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater; Seriously Funny: An Evening of Short Plays by Mamet, Shel Silverstein and Harold Pinter at the Harvard/ART Institute for Advanced Theater Training; and Private Life at HERE Arts Center in New York City. Playwriting: His play Flight of the Monarch recently received its world premiere at Gloucester Stage Company. Acting: Jim has acted for over 30 years with the Atlantic Theater Company, in National Tours and in many regional theaters such as The Alley Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Festival. Most recently he appeared in David Mamet’s Prairie Du Chien at Atlantic, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Shakespeare & Company and The Delling Shore at the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Film/TV: Joy, Transamerica, Spartan, Heist, State and Main, The Spanish Prisoner, Homicide, Suits, Claire Dolan and Maryam. Recording: Jim is an award-winning audiobook narrator with over 300 titles to his credit.
ABOUT THE CAST
ANNE UNDELAND (Jennie Jerome) WAM THEATRE: Facing our Truth. Elsewhere: Oldcastle Theatre (Israel Potter), Ancram Opera House (Performing Olana), Ventfort Hall (Open Marriage, Paris 1890-Unlaced!, The Belle of Amherst, Xingu, Fanny Kemble’s Lenox Address), Mixed Company (Marcus is Walking, Staying Afloat, Ten Minutes in the Berkshires), Stageworks (10 x 10). Radio: WBUR/Boston (Circle Round), BBC Radio (Four Trees Down by Ponte Sisto, The Club, The Loneliest Road), Australian Broadcasting Company (On the Shore Dimly Seen). Training: Shakespeare & Co Intensive, Mop and Bucket Company, Creatively Independent. Online: www.anneundeland.com
MARK ZEISLER: WAM Theatre: Debut. Broadway: A View From the Bridge, Brooklyn Boy, The Big Knife. Off Broadway: Rancho Viejo, Piece of my Heart, eurydice, The Sex Lives of our Parents, The Accomplices. Regional: A View from the Bridge at The Alley Theatre and Seattle Rep, Sherlock’s Last Case at The Huntington, two seasons at American Repertory Theatre, Iago in Othello at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Center Stage,Merrimack Rep, six productions at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, The Goodman, The McCarter, Seattle Rep, Duke Vincentio in Measure for Measure at The Folger Theatre (Helen Hayes nomination), Elm Shakespeare (four seasons), BAM Next Wave Festival, Asolo Rep, Maltz Theatre, two seasons at Shakespeare and Company. Television: The Loudest Voice, Bull, Castle Rock, The Blacklist, House of Cards, Elementary, Blue Bloods, The Americans, all three Law and Order(s), many others. Film: Two Week Notice, Random Hearts, Shaft, Pervertigo. Narrator of GI Jews (PBS). Training: SUNY Purchase.
WAM 10th Anniversary Sponsors
Our 2019 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Annie Selke, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, Blue Spark Financial, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Custom Business Solutions, The Dylandale Foundation, Frankie’s Ristorante Italiano, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Interprint, J.H. Maxymillian, Inc., Lee Bank, Maggie Barry, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Only in My Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, RB Design Co., The Rogovoy Report, The Rookwood Inn, Salisbury Bank, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, and a. von schlegell & co.
WAM Theatre is also supported in part by grants from the Alford-Egremont Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Cultural Council of Northern Berkshires, Hinsdale-Peru Cultural Council, Otis Cultural Council, Richmond Cultural Council, Sheffield Cultural Council, West Stockbridge Cultural Council– local agencies that are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
LADY RANDY is sponsored in part by an anonymous donor and PIPELINE is sponsored in part by Carolyn Butler.
ABOUT WAM THEATRE
Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre is celebrating its 10th anniversary of being a place Where Arts and Activism Meet. The company was co-founded in 2010 by Canadian director, actor, educator, and producer Kristen van Ginhoven. WAM’s vision is to create opportunity for women and girls through the mission of theatre as philanthropy.
Inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls.
Since 2010, WAM Theatre has provided paid work to more than 200 theatre artists and donated more than $56,500 to fifteen local and global organizations taking action for women and girls in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training and more. In addition to the main stage productions and special events, WAM Theatre’s activities include a comprehensive educational outreach program and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. For more information, visit www.WAMTheatre.com