Barrington Stage Presents the Bonnie & Terry Burman New Play Award Winner “American Underground”

(Pittsfield, MA) Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, continues its 25th Anniversary Season with the World Premiere of the Bonnie & Terry Burman New Play Award Winner, American Underground by Brent Askari.

 

Directed by Julianne Boyd (BSC’s Gertrude and Claudius), American Underground begins previews October 2 and will open October 6 for a run through October 20.

 

In the not-so-distant future, an interracial couple enjoys a visit from their college-aged son when a young Muslim woman arrives at their back door. She’s looking for safe passage via a new Underground Railroad as Muslims are being detained and imprisoned. Suddenly, a government official knocks on their door, wreaking havoc on the family. They must decide how much to risk to save an innocent woman. This riveting thriller takes us inside a stark vision of an unapologetic America.

 

The cast features Alan H. Green (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) as “Rog,” Natascia Diaz (Signature Theatre’s West Side Story) as “Anna,” Justin Withers (Shakespeare’s Globe As You Like It) as “Jeff,” Rasha Zamamiri (“Madam Secretary”; “Blue Bloods”) as “Sherri” and Kathleen McNenny (BSC’s The Birds) as “Kourtney.”

 

The production is designed by Mariana Sanchez (scenic design), Elivia Bovenzi (costume design), Matthew Richards (lighting design), Fabian Obispo (sound design). David D’Agostino  is production stage manager.

 

Playwright Brent Askari is a Persian-American writer and actor living in Portland, Maine. Brent’s play Hard Cell was part of the 2017 PlayPenn development conference and is being produced as part of Geva Theatre Center’s 2018–2019 Mainstage Season. Some of his other recent plays include: Digby’s Home (Semi-finalist O’Neill Playwriting Conference, produced at Mad Horse Theatre); Cocktails and Travails (Winner of Neil Simon Festival’s National New Play Contest and produced at The Theater Project); Bending Reeds (Semi-Finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Blank Stage Living Room Series). Brent was part of HBO’s New Writers Project and has written screenplays for Paramount Pictures, Marvel Films, MTV and Reveille Entertainment. Brent has acted in numerous theatrical productions across the country and is an ensemble member of Mad Horse Theatre Company. Brent also narrated the nationally syndicated children’s television program Animal Science, which was nominated for a national Daytime Emmy in 2014.

 

American Underground is sponsored by Carla and Ed Slomin, sponsored in part by Philip and Mary Oppenheimer. Student Matinees sponsored in part by The Alpern-Rosenthal Foundation & Central Berkshire Fund & The Dobbins Foundation.

 

A special event will accompany the production of American Underground. “Writing an American Nightmare” with Brent Askari on Saturday, October 5 at 4:00 pm at the Wolfson Theatre Center (122 North Street). Moderated by Julianne Boyd, playwright Brent Askari will answer the question: how do you put a thriller on the stage and make it topical, political and scary? Brent will talk about how he took a popular genre play (the thriller) and made it about the world we live in or the world we could live in. Reservations are strongly recommended by calling the BSC Box Office at 413-236-8888.

 

Performances: Wednesday and Thursday at 7:00pm; Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm, matinees Saturday at 2:00pm and Sunday at 3:00pm. Opening night Sunday, October 6 at 3:00pm. Boyd-Quinson Mainstage (30 Union Street). Tickets: $15-$50. Barrington Stage Box Office: 413- 236-8888 or online at www.barringtonstageco.org.

 

ABOUT BARRINGTON STAGE COMPANY

 

Barrington Stage Company (BSC) is an award-winning regional theatre located in Pittsfield, MA, in the heart of the Berkshires. Co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, BSC has a three-fold mission: to present top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways of bringing new audiences into the theatre—especially young people.

Barrington Stage commissioned and produced the world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s American Son, which also won the Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play by an Emerging Playwright in 2016 and recently concluded a Broadway run, starring Kerry Washington. Barrington Stage first garnered national attention in 2004 when it premiered William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s musical hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which later transferred to Broadway where it won two Tony Awards. In 2009, BSC premiered Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session, which later moved Off Broadway and played for two years. St. Germain’s Becoming Dr. Ruth (which premiered at BSC as Dr. Ruth, All the Way) played Off Broadway at the Westside Theatre. BSC’s all-time record-breaking musical On the Town was originally produced at BSC in 2013 before transferring to Broadway, where it was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival. In 2016, Barrington Stage swept the first annual Berkshire Theatre Awards by winning 20 out of the 25 awards. In 2017, BSC produced the much-lauded revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company, starring Aaron Tveit. In 2018, BSC produced the critically-acclaimed production of West Side Story in honor of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins’ 100th birthdays. BSC has won the Best of the Berkshires Readers’ Choice for Best Live Theatre for the past three years. 2019 marks BSC’s 25th Season Anniversary.

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