LYONS-HHRThe Lyons

By Nicky Silver
Directed by John Vreeke

November 27 – December 22, 2013
Round House Theatre Bethesda

Area Premiere

“A roaring family tussle…lots of laughs…[It demonstrates] the strides producing artistic director Ryan Rilette is making in raising the company’s profile as an essential stop for drama…[Kimberly Gilbert is] splendid…[John] Lescault and [Naomi] Jacobson square off spicily.” – Washington Post

 “4 1/2 stars [out of 5]…An expert cast…a black comedy full of devilishly delivered barbs and unexpected twists and turns.” – Metro Weekly

 “A terrific John Lescault…the reliably funny Naomi Jacobson…Skilled director John Vreeke has assembled an exceedingly agile group of actors.”Washington Blade

 “4 1/2 stars [out of 5]…Director John Vreeke keeps the edgy, caustic – yet humorous – tone afloat…the laughs keep coming in this savage comedy.” — DC Metro Theater Arts

 “Savagely funny…a welcome antidote to holiday familial schmaltz.” – DC Theatre Scene

 “3 1/2 stars [out of 4]…[An] acerbic, funny play…intriguing, sometimes jolting” – Washingtonian

Indomitable matriarch Rita Lyons is at a major crossroads. Her husband is dying, her son is in a dubious relationship, and her daughter is barely holding it together. Tempers flare, words are exchanged, and secrets are revealed. Worst of all, Rita can’t figure out how to redesign her living room.

Nicky Silver, the “strange progeny of a coupling between Neil Simon and Edward Albee” (New York Times), brings another of his deliciously dysfunctional families to the stage in this scathingly funny Broadway smash that earned Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations.

The Lyons contains adult language and subject matter.

Sponsored in part through generous support from  Esthy & Jim Adler and Judy & Leo Zickler
Artwork by Esther Wu

The Lyons Audience Events

From discussions with directors, designers, and actors to audio-described and sign-interpreted performances, each production features fun and informative audience events. For more info, call 240.644.1100.

DESIGNER DISCUSSION

Gain an inside look at the show’s costume, set lighting, and sound designs from the professionals who make it happen
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 6:45 p.m.

DIRECTOR DISCUSSION

Get up close with director John Vreeke in this pre-performance talk
Friday, November 29, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.

POST-SHOW TALKBACKS

Stay afterwards for a lively discussion with members of the cast and special guests
November 27 – December 1, December 8 & 15, 2013

ACCESSIBILITY

RHT offers designated audio-described and sign-interpreted performances of each Bethesda production. More info about those performances may be found below.

Using the services of Maryland Relay, patrons who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind or Speech Disabled can easily communicate through TTY (text telephone) with the Round House box office about performances in our Bethesda and/or Silver Spring theatres. For more information about using Maryland Relay’s TTY service, visit http://www.mdrelay.org/.

AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE

Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 3 p.m.

SIGN-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE

Reservations for sign interpreting services needed at least 2 weeks prior to the performance.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 3 p.m.

IFThe Silver Era

By Brent Stansell, Dramaturg

When The Lyons appeared on Broadway in 2012, the play was Nicky Silver’s first Broadway production after more than twenty years being produced Off-Broadway; hard to believe considering Silver’s unique contribution to the tradition of black comedy and farce in the American theatre. Hard to believe that at one time there was no such thing as a “Nicky Silver” play.

Structurally, his plays seem like realistic conventional comedies before twisting and turning—often abruptly—doling out surprisingly morbid—and often violent— punishments and rewards. His precise—and often vulgar—language alternates between revealing monologue and quick-fire dialogue, playing out the farce through what one critic called “the ferocity of its characters’ needs.”

Substantively, a “Nicky Silver” play is known for its traditional characters: a gay male protagonist, a sister who is high strung, a narcissistic mother with children fighting for her attention. Silver has mined his perspective as an outcast to flesh out his flawed characters, saying that while growing up with his “zeppelin-like” frame, Jewishness in a world of WASPs, and undoubtedly gay persona, “[he] wasn’t even at the bottom of the food chain… [he] was looking up at the bottom.”

Although at first glance The Lyons seems to be the classic dysfunctional family comedy, the play is typical Silver. After writing a play Silver considered to be complicated and idealistic, he just wanted to write something simple, going “back to basics… putting a family in a room and having them talk to each other.” What results is arguably his sharpest critique, yet also his most forgiving play about a family to date.

From producing his own plays at the Vortex in New York while supporting himself with a job at Barney’s, to his early days finding success with productions at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in DC, to his years being produced Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre, take a look at the era that is the career of Nicky Silver.

Selected Play History:

1989 Fat Men in Skirts (Vortex Theatre)
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| “I remember getting a rejection letter from The Public Theater. They told me none of the characters were likable enough. I didn’t understand, because I liked all those characters. I don’t think what makes us identify with a character is being likable. It’s whether they are fighting for their survival. I think most of us identify with that in some degree or another.”—Nicky Silver, speaking about one of his earliest plays
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| “All work is autobiographical to some extent, but people assume that if you set a play in Philadelphia and you’re from there that you must be writing about yourself. They asked me that even about Fat Men in Skirts, in which a child and his mother are marooned on a desert island for five years and become incestuous cannibals. I always answer, ‘Of course. I did rape my mother and then eat my father and his mistress, and now I’m out on a work-furlough program.’”—Nicky Silver
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1991 Fat Men in Skirts (Woolly Mammoth) (directed by Howard Shalwitz)
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1993 Pterodactyls (Vineyard Theatre)
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| “For Silver’s world is one in which no one is safe from devouring mouths; in which desire leads to ecstasy, despair or death, or more usually, all of them; in which taboos are made to be violated; and in which a tyrannosaurus skeleton towers over a living room to remind its inhabitants that human beings are an all-too perishable species of carnivore.”—scholar David Savran
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1993 Free Will and Wanton Lust (Woolly Mammoth) (directed by Nicky Silver)
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| “A play may start out as a comedy of manners and become a farce and then a black comedy, then a tragedy. [Free Will and Wanton Lust] should be approached as a conflict of theatrical styles.”—Nicky Silver
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1994 The Food Chain (Woolly Mammoth)
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1995 The Food Chain (Westside Theatre)
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1995 Raised in Captivity (Vineyard Theatre)
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| “Nicky writes scenes in which four characters are on four separate tracks; it’s like honking horns at an intersection.”—David Warren, director of Raised Captivity
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| “There’s no such thing as casual in a Nicky Silver play. The stakes are so high you can’t think about it; you just have to enter and—wheeee!”—Patricia Clarkson, who played Bernadette in Raised in Captivity
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1996 Fit to be Tied (Playwrights Horizons)
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1998 The Maiden’s Prayer (Vineyard Theatre)
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| “I tend to write plays wherein the characters feel isolated, separate from the world and alone.”—Nicky Silver
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1999 The Eros Trilogy (consisting of Claire, Philip, and Roger and Miriam) (Vineyard Theatre)
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2000 The Altruists (Vineyard Theatre)
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| “[Playwriting] is a safe place to vent your spleen, under the guise of literature, and take revenge on those who harmed you.”—Nicky Silver
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2004 Beautiful Child (Vineyard Theatre)
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2006 The Agony and the Agony (Vineyard Theatre)
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| “I feel like all of my writing from the beginning has been a mix of very disparate aesthetics to see how they coexist. Because, in my life, they actually do co-exist, much more happily than they seem to in most plays.”—Nicky Silver
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2008 Three Changes (Playwrights Horizons)
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| “I certainly think loss is one of the most vast of common denominators, and that theatre is a way of staging those feelings of loss.”—Nicky Silver
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2011 The Lyons (Vineyard Theatre)
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| “I’m very different from the person I was when I wrote plays like Fat Men in Skirts. I’m much less angry than I was at that stage in my life. I’ve certainly grown in some ways…You grow, you age, you get tired. It’s exhausting being angry. I think I’ve come to value human beings more than I did.”—Nicky Silver
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2012 The Lyons (Broadway)
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| “I didn’t name them the Lyons by chance, I’ll say that. I think that they are a combative group, which is not to say that they don’t love each other very much. For whatever reason, each of them has been isolated in some way and is fighting pretty ruthlessly to find some kind of completion, some kind of connection that they don’t have naturally.”—Nicky Silver

CAST

JohnJohn Lescault (Ben) Round House Theatre credits: One Shoe Off, Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp, Our Town, Wintertime, Heartbreak House, Diary of Anne Frank, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. NY credits: Le Deserteur Opera Lafayette at Lincoln Center. Recent DC credits: Defiant Requiem at the Kennedy Center; The Music Man at Arena Stage; A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre; Brother RussiaArt, Crave, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore at Signature Theatre; Measure for Measure, Richard II, Edward II, Tamburlaine, Henry V, and The Winter’s Tale at The Shakespeare Theatre; The School for Scandal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Macbeth at Folger Theatre; Yankee Tavern, From Prague at CATF; and The Disputation, Hannah and Martin at Theater J. John has been a narrator of audiobooks for the LOC’s Talking Books Program since 1992. He is a graduate of CUA and a proud member of AEA since 1982.

NaomiNaomi Jacobson (Rita) Round House Theatre: The Talented Mr. Ripley, Wintertime, Smell Of The Kill, Mere Mortals, The Sisterhood; Kennedy Center: The Guardsman; Arena Stage: Mary T & Lizzy K (premiere), A View From The Bridge, The Women; Shakespeare Theatre Company: Measure for Measure, Richard II, Henry V, Pericles, Julius Caesar; Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Company Member): Dead Man’s Cell Phone (premiere), The Unmentionables, Vigils; Signature Theatre: God Of Carnage; Folger Theatre: The Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII; Ford’s Theatre, Wolf Trap Opera, Olney Theatre. Regional: Center Stage, Goodman Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory, Delaware Theatre Company, Berkshire Theatre Festival. Off Broadway: Atlantic Theatre: Scenes From An Execution. Voice Over: NPR, PBS, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian. Film: Her Father’s Eyes, I Fall To Pieces; TV: Homicide; Awards: Lunt Fontanne Fellowship (w/Lynn Redgrave), Helen Hayes Award (2), Helen Hayes Nominations (12), DC Commission Individual Artist Grant. Upcoming: Richard III at Folger Theatre.

KimberlyKimberly Gilbert (Lisa) last appeared at Round House in The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Kimberly has worked in the DC Theatreverse for over ten years where she has been fortunate enough to play on the stages of Ford’s, The Kennedy Center, Folger Theatre, Theater J, Source, Metro Stage, and, most frequently, Woolly Mammoth and Taffety Punk, both of which she is a proud Company Member. Kimberly is a graduate of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy For Classical Acting.

MarcusMarcus Kyd (Curtis) Round House Theatre: The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Chairs, A Sleeping Country, and Alice; Folger Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew, The Gaming Table, 1 Henry IV, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Theater J: The Odd Couple, Lost in Yonkers; Alabama Shakespeare Festival: The Wars of the Roses; Arena Stage: Intimations for Saxophone; Nebraska Shakespeare Festival: Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, Othello, Pericles; Metro Stage: One Good Marriage; Center Stage: The Winter’s Tale; Kennedy Center: Shear Madness, Cyrano; Anti-Social Music/WPAS: The Nitrate Hymnal; and Happenstance Theater: Manifesto. Training: BFA from Emerson College, MFA from the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University. Mr. Kyd is a Taffety Punk.

GabrielaGabriela Fernandez-Coffey (A Nurse) last appeared at Round House Theatre in How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Other DC area credits include Detroit, Gruesome Playground Injuries, and Stunning at Woolly Mammoth; The Motherfucker with the Hat at Studio Theatre; Divorciadas, evangelicas, y vegetarianas and Cita a ciegas at GALA Hispanic Theatre; and After the Fall at Theater J, for which she won a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress. She is a new Woolly Mammoth Company Member and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

BrandonBrandon McCoy (Brian) previously appeared in Pride and Prejudice at Round House. DC area credits include New Jerusalem, The History of Invulnerability, and Apples from the Desert at Theater J; The Glass Menagerie, In the Heart of America (Helen Hayes nomination Best Ensemble), and Hamlet at Rep Stage; Harvey, Apocalyptic Butterflies, and Picnic at the Bay Theatre Company; Touch at No Rules Theatre Company; Dark Play or Stories for Boys and Marisol with Forum Theatre; Reasons to be Pretty at Studio Theatre; Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven at Studio Theatre 2nd Stage; Ambition Facing West with Theater Alliance; Barefoot in the Park at Compass Rose. He holds an MFA in Acting from Catholic University and a BFA in Acting/Directing from Marshall University in his hometown of Huntington, WV. Brandon is also a teacher, musician, and stand-up comedian.

ARTISTIC TEAM

Nicky Silver (Playwright) The Lyons was Nicky Silver’s first play to be produced on Broadway, where it received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding New Broadway Play and a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Play. His other plays include Pterodactyls (Oppenheimer Award, Kesselring Award, Drama Desk nomination, Outer Critics Circle nomination), The Eros Trilogy, The Food Chain (Outer Critics Circle nomination), Fat Men in Skirts, Fit to Be Tied, The Maiden’s Prayer, Free Will and Wanton Lust (Helen Hayes Award), My Marriage to Ernest Borgnine, The Altruists, Beautiful Child, and Raised in Captivity (Drama Desk nomination, Outer Critics Circle nomination). He also wrote the new book for the Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hart musical, The Boys from Syracuse, produced by the Roundabout Theater Company in 2002.

John Vreeke (Director) is a Company Member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. His directing credits include Detroit by Lisa D’Amour, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz, a production which received nine Helen Hayes nominations for design, direction, and performance; A Bright New Boise by Sam Hunter which received five nominations, again for design, direction, and performance; Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph, Boom by Peter Sinn-Nachtrieb, Homebody/Kabul by Tony Kushner, Our Lady of 121st Street by Stephen Adley Guirgis, Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis by Charlotte Jones, and The K of D by Laura Schellhardt. In the DC area he has worked at Theater J, Washington Shakespeare Company, MetroStage, Everyman Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Forum Theatre, H Street Theatre, Source Theatre Festival, Charter Theatre, Theater Alliance, Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences, Imagination Stage, and the Helen Hayes Awards Society. He has received six Helen Hayes Awards nominations for Best Director. Other regional theatre credits include the Alley Theatre in Houston, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Attic Theatre in LA, Salt Lake Acting Company, and First Stage in Milwaukee. Seattle-area credits include Book-It Repertory Theatre, Annex Theatre, Alice B. Theatre, Arts West Playhouse, Seattle Public Theatre, Balagan Theatre, Center Stage, and Stone Soup Theatre. His television credits include Associate Producer and Casting Associate for the CBS TV Series Northern Exposure.

Misha Kachman (Scenic Designer) returns to Round House after previously having designed Young Robin Hood, I Love to Eat, Crown of Shadows: The Wake of Odysseus, A Wrinkle in Time, and Around the World in 80 Days. He has worked for The Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, Maryland Opera Studio, Studio Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Opera Lafayette, Theater J, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, and Centerstage, among many other companies in the United States and abroad. He is a Company Member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and a recipient of the 2012 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Set Design for his work on The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Woolly Mammoth. Mr. Kachman is a graduate of the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy. He serves as an Associate Professor of Scene and Costume Design and heads the MFA Program in Design at University of Maryland. Prior to moving to the United States Misha had worked as a staff museum designer at The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg from 1994 to 1998; he is also a renowned painter and printmaker.

Rosemary Pardee (Costume Designer) is one of the region’s busiest costume designers and theatre educators. A member of United Scenic Artists, Ms. Pardee’s career has spanned over 39 years (30 with Round House Theatre) and more than 500 productions, and has included associations with dozens of theatre and film companies. In the Washington, DC region, her work has been seen at Arena Stage, The National Theatre, Folger Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the Smithsonian Institution, and The Kennedy Center, where she was a member of the artistic team for the award-winning Sondheim Celebration. Ms. Pardee was a Round House Theatre Associate Artist and former member of the Board of Trustees. A nine-time nominee and recipient of the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Costume Design, Ms. Pardee has served on the Washington Theatre Society’s Board of Directors and was recently recognized as one of the outstanding women in American Theatre by Stage Directions Magazine.

Colin K. Bills (Lighting Designer) returns to Round House, where his most recent designs include How to Write a New Book for the Bible, Around the World in 80 Days, and Eurydice.  As a Company Member at Woolly Mammoth, he has designed over thirty productions including The Elaborate Entrance of Chad DeityClybourne Park, and Dead Man’s Cell Phone. He is a conspirator with dog & pony dc, creating and directing A Killing Game, and designing sets and lighting for Beertown, Courage, and Punch. His designs have been seen at The Berkshire Theater Festival, Centerstage, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Everyman Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Forum Theatre, Imagination Stage, Intiman Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Metro Stage, Olney Theatre Center, Opera Lafayette, Portland Center Stage, The Smithsonian Institution, Signature Theatre, The Studio Theatre, Synetic Theater, Theatre for the First Amendment, Theater J, the Washington Revels, and The Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Mr. Bills has won three Helen Hayes Awards and is a 2009 recipient of a Princess Grace Fellowship in Theater. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

Matthew M. Nielson (Sound Designer/Composer) is the Resident Sound Designer at Round House, where his sound design & composition credits include Young Robin Hood, Double Indemnity, Crown of Shadows, Next FallAmadeus, Around the World in 80 Days, My Name is Asher Lev, Eurydice, The Book Club Play, and A Prayer for Owen Meany (Helen Hayes Award). Other credits: Cincinnati Playhouse, Forum Theatre (Helen Hayes Award, The Illusion), Catalyst Theatre (Helen Hayes Award, 1984), Woolly Mammoth, Signature Theatre, Olney Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Rorschach, Delaware Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Barrington Stage Company, CATF, the Smithsonian Institution, Ford’s Theatre, Arena Stage, and Adventure Theatre. Off-Broadway sound design credits include the Joseph Papp Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival. Film & TV credits include Elbow Grease, From Hell to Here, Epix Drive-In, A Sleepover Story, and The Long Road. He is a founding member of audio theatre company The Audible Group and creator of the series Troublesome Gap.  He runs Sound Lab Studios, a premiere recording studio and production house in North Carolina. Samples can be heard online at matthewnielson.com.

Andrea Moore (Props Designer) has made theatrical properties her career for over 10 years. She has designed properties at Round House for several productions (This, Young Robin Hood, Crown of Shadows), and her work has graced the stages of Adventure Theatre (Good Night Moon, The Cat In The Hat, Big Nate, Three Little Birds), Flying V (The Best of Craigslist, The Pirate Laureate of Port Town), Theater J (The History of Invulnerability), and Rorschach Theatre (Neverwhere).  Previous designs also include Imagination Stage, The Kennedy Center, Rep Stage, and Olney Theatre. She also assists in the education of our future theater designers and craftspeople in the Properties Shop at the University of Maryland College Park, at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Joe Isenberg (Fight Choreographer) His work as a Fight Director has been seen at The Washington National Opera, Kennedy Center/Theatre for Young Audiences, Signature Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co., Arena Stage, No Rules Theatre Co., Studio Theatre 2nd Stage, Studio Theatre, Theater J, Humana Festival 2011/2012, Florida Stage, and InterAct Theatre Co. He has served as Assistant Fight Director at The Metropolitan Opera, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and Folger Theatre. He received the Outstanding Swashbuckler Award in 2010 from the Society of American Fight Directors. He was the Kennedy Center/Kenan Fund for the Arts Fight Choreographer in residence from 2010/2011. He recently received the 2012 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Choreography for his work on The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Adi Stein (Assistant Director) is a local director, actor, and writer whose previous directing credits include Folger Theatre: Romeo and Juliet (assistant to Aaron Posner), Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Detroit (assistant to John Vreeke), Adventure Theatre MTC: Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat (assistant to Karin Abromaitis), and Three Little Birds (assistant to Nick Olcott), Theater J: Race (assistant to John Vreeke), Boged (Traitor): An Enemy of the People (assistant to Joseph Megel), and New Jerusalem (assistant to Jeremy Skidmore), Flying V Theatre: The Pirate Laureate of Port Town (assistant to Jason Schalfstein), Capital Fringe Festival: Jesus le Momo, and DC Playwright Forum: The Longest Night of the Year.

Bekah Wachenfeld (Production Stage Manager) is thrilled to return to the Round House team after stage managing Becky Shaw and This. Select DC area stage management credits include An Iliad at Studio Theatre; The Religion Thing, New Jerusalem, The Whipping Man at Theater J; If You Give A Moose A Muffin at Adventure Theatre; Mad Forest at Forum Theatre. Select regional credits include Miss Saigon, White Christmas, Amadeus at Walnut Street Theatre; Bad Dates, The Musical of Musicals… The Light in the Piazza, Les Misérables at Weston Playhouse; Morini Strad with Primary Stages; Boy Wonders with Second Stage. International credits include The Time of Your Life, Cradle Me at Finborough Theatre in London, UK. Ms. Wachenfeld also freelances in corporate event planning. She is a proud member of AEA and graduate of James Madison University. Love to DSKMAT.