Opus playwright Michael Hollinger knows his subject better than anyone. As Charles Isherwood wrote in The New York Times: “Mr. Hollinger, a former violist who moved on to theater after studying music at Oberlin, generates plenty of subtle heat in his play about the unstrung lives of the members of a string quartet.”
Opus, which runs from Nov. 2-18 on Stage West at the Herberger Theater Center, 222. E. Monroe, is the story of a world-class string quartet whose musical genius goes off his medication and becomes completely erratic.
When he’s fired, the group takes a chance on a gifted but relatively inexperienced young woman who must guide the quartet in preparing for a performance of a grueling Beethoven masterpiece to be televised in a White House ceremony. Their rehearsal room becomes a pressure-cooker as passions rise, personalities clash and The Players are forced to confront the ephemeral nature of their life’s work.
Actors Theatre alum Robert Kolby Harper, who performed in last season’s Next Fall, goes behind the scenes to direct Opus. He’ll work with first-time Actors Theatre performers Spencer Dooley (Elliot), Kate Haas (Grace) and Pasha Yamotahari (Alan) and Actors Theatre alumni Ian Christiansen (Dorian) and David Dickinson (Carl).
Among the crew is a position not commonly seen, but one that is essential for this production: String Consultant. Jim Apperson is concertmaster of the Phoenix Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, a member of the Phoenix College adjunct faculty and a teacher at the Arizona School for the Arts.
Single tickets are $31 to $47 (additional fees may apply) and are available online at www.atphx.org or at the Herberger Theater Center Box Office.
Opus, the second of Actors Theatre’s five regular-season productions, will be followed by Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway, the newest play from the acclaimed author of Lend Me a Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo. The Fox on the Fairway (Jan. 15-Feb. 10) takes audiences on a hilarious romp filled with mistaken identities, slamming doors and over-the-top romantic shenanigans in a madcap adventure about love, life and one man’s eternal love affair with golf.
Mad Men alum Keith Huff earned the 2008 Jeff Award for Best New Work for the original Chicago production of A Steady Rain (March 22- April 6) that featured Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig on Broadway. The play follows Chicago police officers, longtime partners and best friends Joey and Denny who have always had each other’s backs until an unfortunate decision tests their loyalty and pits them against one another in a harrowing tale of guilt, fear and corruption.
The season will close with Good People (May 3-19) by David Lindsay-Abaire, a critical and audience hit when it debuted on Broadway last year. The story focuses on Margie Walsh, a single mother with a special-needs daughter laid off from her job in a dollar store in a tough economy. Margie leaves the familiar surroundings of South Boston to find opportunity in the suburbs, but finds herself wildly out of her element and facing the question: is opportunity granted or earned? Nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for Best Play, a review in Variety included the comment: “If Good People isn’t a hit…there is no justice in the land.”
For more information, visit www.actorstheatrephx.org.
Actors Theatre presents passionate, thought-provoking theatre designed to add to the social dialogue of the community. Our mission is to create contemporary professional theatre that amplifies the cultural conversation of our communities with powerful and innovative programming. The ideas and themes embedded in the work we produce are the framework for civic dialogue within our community. We have built a reputation as the company that takes the most risks and consistently delivers thought-provoking theatre. Actors Theatre performs exclusively at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. Actors Theatre has been named Producing Theatre Company of the Year by the Arizona Theatre Alliance and Arts Organization of the Year by the Arts and Business Council of Greater Phoenix.
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