Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Production Photos: Jeanne Sakata, Jeremy Guskin, Angela Sauer, Andrew Ross Wynn, Elyse Mirto and More in A Noise Within’s FIGARO through May 10

Jeremy Guskin (Figaro) and Angela Sauer (Suzanne). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015

Jeremy Guskin (Figaro) and Angela Sauer (Suzanne). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015

A Noise Within (ANW), the acclaimed classical repertory theatre company, continues its 2014-2015 REVOLUTIONary season with Figaro, a new production of Beaumarchais’ classic play The Marriage of Figaro freely adapted by Charles Morey, March 1 to May 10 (press opening March 7). Directed by Michael Michetti, this is the West Coast premiere of the Morey adaptation.  A Noise Within is located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107.

The cast includes Jeremy Guskin* as Figaro, Angela Sauer* as Suzanne, Andrew Ross Wynn* as Count Almaviva, Elyse Mirto* as Countess Almaviva, Jeanne Sakata* as Marceline, Joshua Wolf Coleman* as Antonio/Bazile/Bridoison, Alan Blumenfeld* as Dr. Bartholo, Will Bradley* as Cherubin/Doublemain, Natalie De Luna as Fanchette. *Denotes member of Actors’ Equity

Will Bradley (Cherubin), Natalie De Luna (Fanchette), Joshua Wolf Coleman (Antonio), Jeanne Sakata (Marceline), and Alan Blumenfeld (Dr. Bartholo). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015

Will Bradley (Cherubin), Natalie De Luna (Fanchette), Joshua Wolf Coleman (Antonio), Jeanne Sakata (Marceline), and Alan Blumenfeld (Dr. Bartholo). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015

Of his new Figaro, Morey said, “When I was approached by the Pearl Theatre Company about a commission for a new adaptation of Le Mariage de Figaro, I had to admit I hadn’t read it since graduate school. But when I did, I was instantly struck by how startlingly contemporary were its themes of income inequality, class and gender, and, equally important, how potentially funny and sharp was its farce. I became more than intrigued when I read that Danton, the revolutionary leader, was quoted as having said, ‘Le Mariage de Figaro caused the French Revolution.’ I took on the project with pleasure – no, with glee! And I couldn’t be more pleased that a company of A Noise Within’s wonderful reputation for work with the classics is presenting the West Coast premiere.”

Angela Sauer (Suzanne) and Andrew Ross Wynn (Count Almaviva). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015

Angela Sauer (Suzanne) and Andrew Ross Wynn (Count Almaviva). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015

Michael Michetti says of Figaro, “Like so much good farce, the play shines light on the differences between people of privilege and those who serve them—and the foibles of both come into full view.  Charles Morey’s colloquial new adaptation is crisp, light comedy that couldn’t be more apt for today; it shows us the entitlement of a few versus the reversed fortunes of most everyone else.   Our production will be seen through a decidedly modern lens:  we’re staging it in the 18th century, but with a raw, industrial design that will let the audience grasp the play’s modern relevance from the very first line.”

 Angela Sauer (Suzanne) and Elyse Mirto (Countess Almaviva). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015


Angela Sauer (Suzanne) and Elyse Mirto (Countess Almaviva). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015

 Joshua Wolf Coleman (Bridoison) and Jeremy Guskin (Figaro). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015


Joshua Wolf Coleman (Bridoison) and Jeremy Guskin (Figaro). © Photo by Craig Schwartz 2015

This production is a part of Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play, a three-month, citywide exploration (organized by LA Opera) of the revolutionary spirit of the Figaro plays, their authors, and of the operas that were based on these works.

Morey’s Figaro is an adaptation of Le Mariage de Figaro, the second of the three Figaro plays penned by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, a member of the French royal court.  He was also a playwright, watchmaker, inventor, musician, publisher, horticulturalist, satirist, fugitive, spy, diplomat, financier, and revolutionary who played small but incendiary roles in both the American and French Revolutions; lobbied for French support of and covertly supplied arms and monies towards American independence; and participated in the early stages of the French revolution.

The sequel to the playwright’s The Barber of SevilleThe Marriage of Figaro was initially passed by the censor in 1781, but was soon banned from being performed by Louis XVI. Queen Marie-Antoinette lamented the ban. The King finally lifted the ban in 1784 and the play was enormously popular, even with aristocratic audiences. The play’s denunciation of aristocratic privilege foreshadows the French Revolution.  The Marriage of Figaro is best known to modern audiences as a Mozart opera, with a libretto adapted from the Beaumarchais by Lorenzo Da Ponte.

The sequel to the playwright’s The Barber of SevilleThe Marriage of Figaro was initially passed by the censor in 1781, but was soon banned from being performed by Louis XVI. Queen Marie-Antoinette lamented the ban. The King finally lifted the ban in 1784 and the play was enormously popular, even with aristocratic audiences. The play’s denunciation of aristocratic privilege foreshadows the French Revolution.  The Marriage of Figaro is best known to modern audiences as a Mozart opera, with a libretto adapted from the Beaumarchais by Lorenzo Da Ponte.

Figaro was a “Critic’s Pick” at The New York Times, whose David Rooney said of Morey’s play, “Morey strikes a deft balance between the popular theater in the age of this work’s setting and a more modern sensibility, flavoring the witty dialogue with just the right infusion of contemporary idioms and mannerisms … Morey’s mockery of ruling-class entitlement rekindles (Beaumarchais’) irreverence while also getting in some amusing swipes about the battle of the sexes … tart and funny … the production makes a persuasive case for this frolic, which has long been overshadowed by the Mozart opera it inspired.” Jennifer Farrar for the Associated Press said, “This Figaro is gleeful fun.”

To complement this program, The Barber of Seville by Pierre Beaumarchais will be read as part of the A Noise Within Words Within Resident Artists’ Play Reading Series Directed by Mary Jo Duprey, this special reading will take place Wednesday, April 8 at 7pm.

REVOLUTION and REVOLUTIONRep
A Noise Within’s 2014-2015 Season takes REVOLUTION as its theme, and is informed by the contemporary climate of social and economic upheaval. The spring season also includes The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill (Feingold Version) (February 15 – May 9, 2015), and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (March 22- May 8, 2015); both productions share one creative team that has dramatically and thematically allied the two plays so they act in concert as a sui generis theatrical experience.

Audiences can experience REVOLUTIONRep on three spring dates, April 12, 25 and May 2 – a heady day of theatre when The Threepenny Opera and Julius Caesarcan both be seen. REVOLUTIONRep provides patrons with a unique insider’s look at the theatrical process, including (as options) writing and acting workshops, a behind-the-scenes view of the Company’s unique stagecraft, an onsite dinner, and lively social interaction with other theatergoers between the matinee and evening performances. Tickets to this first-of-its-kind event are available at a cost of $50 per person.

Tickets, special events
Single ticket prices for Figaro and the Company’s other Spring Season plays start at $40. Contact the A Noise Within box office in person, via phone at 626-356-3100, or online at www.ANoiseWithin.org for updated pricing and seat availability. A Noise Within is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107.

This engagement of Figaro includes a pre-performance symposium on Wednesday, March 4 at 6:30 PM with a discussion of the play; and post-performance conversations with the artists on Friday, April 10 at 8 PM, Sunday, April 19 at 2 PM, and Friday, May 1 at 8 PM. The Pay What You Can performance is Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 PM.

Click here to read the bios of the cast.

The company’s 2014-15 season is made possible in part by a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and reaches the public through media sponsorships by 89.3 KPCC FM and Pasadena Weekly.

About Figaro Unbound
This production of Figaro marks A Noise Within’s inaugural collaboration with LA Opera as part of Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play. The lasting legacy of French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais’ (1732-1799) plays about the free thinking barber, one of the most glorious and influential of fictional creations, will be investigated in this three-month-long exploration of the revolutionary spirit organized by L.A. Opera.

With a variety of programming for all ages, Figaro Unbound will examine the ongoing relevance of Figaro from The Barber of Seville (1775), The Marriage of Figaro (1784) and The Guilty Mother (1792); these plays captured the staggering changes in social attitudes of the late 18th century. Figaro Unbound will immerse audiences in the world of a character who created a sensation in the years leading up to the French Revolution.

Figaro is explored with ANW’s performances of Figaro by Charles Morey presented March 1 to May 10, presented in close concurrence with LA Opera’s performances of the “Figaro Trilogy”—John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, based on La Mere Coupable (The Guilty Mother), Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro—presented February 7 through April 12, 2015.

Figaro Unbound also includes performances of alternate musical adaptations of Figaro’s story, and provides opportunities to look at his lasting influence on American political and cultural life. Figaro Unbound partners also include ArcLight Cinemas, the Hammer Museum, Opera UCLA, LA Theatre Works, FIDM Museum, the Huntington Library, LACMA, the Norton Simon Museum, the Getty Museum, and the Opera League of Los Angeles, among others. For more information, visit www.LAOpera.org/FigaroUnbound.

Artistic Personnel for Figaro
Charles Morey is the author of eleven produced plays. Figaro was commissioned and produced off-Broadway by the Pearl Theatre Company in 2012 and was named a “Critic’s Pick” by The New York Times. The Granite State was premiered by the Peterborough Players in the summer of 2014. In addition he has written adaptations of the 19th century classic novels, The Count Of Monte Cristo, A Tale Of Two Cities, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Dracula and The Three Musketeers, an adaptation of Georges Feydeau’s The Ladies Man and his original plays Laughing Stock (which has received over 100 productions around the world), DumasCamille, and The Yellow Leaf. His plays have been produced at numerous professional theatres including: Denver Center Theatre Company, Pioneer Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare and Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Asolo Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Meadow Brook Theatre, PCPA Theaterfest, L.A. Theatreworks, Peterborough Players, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Elm Shakespeare Co., Centenary Stage Co., Creede Rep., Arvada Center, Shadowland Theatre, Sierra Rep., Theatre in the Square, Cortland Rep. and many more as well as hundreds of amateur, university and international productions as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Austria, Singapore and Israel.

Laughing Stock has been playing for the past eighteen months in the repertory of the Arcadia Theatre in Moscow in Russian translation and for the past year in the repertory of the Variant Drama Theatre in Pervouralsk as well. He served as Artistic Director of the Pioneer Theatre Company from 1984 to 2012; of the Peterborough Players from 1977 to 1988 and has guest directed in major regional theatres around the country. He began his career as an actor working with many New York and regional theatres. He has served as both a panelist and on-site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and on the Board of Trustees of the National Theatre Conference. He received a BA from Dartmouth College and a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University. He is a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony. www.charlesmorey.com

Director Michael Michetti’s rich résumé includes many productions at A Noise Within, where he has directed The Importance of Being EarnestThe Guardsman, The Grapes of Wrath, The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, Don Juan, and As You Like It. With other theatres, he is Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre @Boston Court in Pasadena, where he directed Stupid F**king Bird; American Misfit; Creation; The Dinosaur Within; The Twentieth-Century Way; God Save Gertrude; 1001; Dark Play or Stories for Boys; Paradise Lost: Shadows & Wings; his own adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Gray; Pera Palas; Summertime; and Romeo and Juliet.
Elsewhere, he directed A Life in the Theatre starring Hal Holbrook, at The Pasadena Playhouse; Kiss Me, Kate (Ovation Award, Best Musical), Carousel, Man of La Mancha and Li’l Abner with Reprise Theatre Company; Noises Off at PlayMakers; House of the Rising Son at EST-LA; Ouroboros at Road Theatre; Brecht’s Edward IIand Aphra Behn’s The Rover at Circle X; plus productions of A Midsummer Night’s DreamTitanic, and Sweeney Todd. Mr. Michetti is the recipient of two Ovation Awards and five L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards for his work.

A Noise Within, founded in 1991, is among the country’s pre-eminent presenters of classical theatre and is the leading presenter of these plays in Southern California. The company’s mission is to produce world-class performances of the great works of drama in rotating repertory with a resident company; to educate and inspire the public through programs that foster an understanding and appreciation of history’s great plays and playwrights; and to train the next generation of classical theatre artists.

Originally based in a former Masonic Temple in Glendale, the company moved to its present home—a building of architectural distinction designed by Edward Durrell Stone of Kennedy Center fame—in 2011. Helmed by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who hold MFAs from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within delivers a seven-show repertory season and a wide range of educational programs to diverse audiences from Los Angeles County and well beyond. Voted “Best Theatre” by readers of Time Out Los Angeles and Reader Recommended by Pasadena Weekly, A Noise Within is indeed “California’s Home for the Classics.”

Performances:
Sunday Mar 1 at 2pm

Wednesday Mar 4 at 7:30 pm (Symposia, 6:30 PM)
Thursday Mar 5 at 7:30 pm (Pay What You Can)
Friday Mar 6 at 8 pm
Saturday Mar 7 at 8 pm
Sunday Mar 8 at 2 pm
Saturday Mar 14 at 2 and 8 pm
Saturday April 4 at 2 and 8 pm
Sunday April 5 at 4 pm
Thursday April 9 at 7:30 pm
Friday April 10 at 8 pm (Conversations)
Sunday April 19 at 2 and 7 pm
(Conversations after 2 pm)
Thursday April 30 at 7:30 pm
Friday May 1 at 8 pm (Conversations)
Sunday May 10 at 2 and 7 pm

Tickets and information:
Website: www.anoisewithin.org; Phone: 626-356-3100 ex 1
Prices: Single Tickets from $40; Student Rush
with ID an hour before performance $20.00
Groups (10 or more): Adults from $25.00; Students from $18.00
Pay What You Can Performance: Thursday March 5 at 7:30 PM. Pay What You Can tickets go on sale at the box office window the day of the performance, starting at 2pm, and are sold on a cash-only basis based on availability; limit of two tickets per person.

Related Articles
Jeanne Sakata, Jeremy Guskin, Angela Sauer, Andrew Ross Wynn, Elyse Mirto and More Set for A Noise Within’s FIGARO, March 1-May 10 
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Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS Featuring Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim, Jeanne Sakata, Jennifer Ikeda and Matthew Kim, Screens at 2015 Sundance Film Festival, January 26-31 
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Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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