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Matt and Christina Drayton are a progressive couple living in San Francisco. It is 1967 when their daughter Joanna arrives home unexpectedly with her fiancé, Dr. John Prentice, an African American doctor 11 years her senior. They’re in love and they want the Draytons’ blessing for their marriage – today. Blindsided by their daughter’s whirlwind romance and fearful for her future, Matt and Christina quickly come to realize the difference between reading about and supporting a mixed-race couple in your newspaper and welcoming one into your family. It’s not long before a multi-family clash of racial and generational difference erupts. At the end of the day, will love prevail?
Based on the iconic film, (screenplay by William Rose, directed by Timothy Bond), this thought-provoking comedy classic is a witty and insightful reflection on two families confronted by their prejudices.
Featuring Emmy Award winning Gordon Clapp (12 seasons of NYPD Blue).
Our thanks to Overabove for producing the video clip.
Photos courtesy of Jonathan Steele.
Richarda Abrams* (Tillie) two time AUDELCO award-winning perfomer/playwright. Winner of 2018 United Solo Theatre Festival “Best Educational Show” award for First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune www.FirstByFaith.com appearing again this fall. Credits include: Amina Claudine Myers’ Generation IV, 2019 NYC Winter Jazz Festival, Last Days of Judas Iscariot director Estelle Parsons (La Mama). CD SONG FOR ALL with her father the late pianist/composer, Dr. Muhal Richard Abrams. www.RichardaAbrams.com
Cedric Cannon* (John Prentice, Sr.) Credits: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, How to Use a Knife, Sweetee, In Dahomey, Cats, Goddess, Mikado, Carmen Jones, Three Willies, Man of LaMancha, The Pirates of Penzance, Camelot, Porgy and Bess, La Boheme, Madame Butterfly. Houston Grand Opera, Metropolitan Opera, NYC Opera, Frankfurt Opera, New Orleans Opera, Atlanta Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opera Carolina. Concert: Carnegie Hall, Israel Kibbutz Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, Pushkin Festival, Polish Radio Orchestra, Filarmonica De Montevideo, Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh Symphony and Reykjavik Symphomy. TV/film: Law and Order SVU, Law and Order, Blind, The Slap, Good Funk, Right of Way, Moon and Sun, Seven Lovers, Old 37, Know Your Logic, Raw Nerve, Cosby, Oz, All My Children, As the World Turns, Jon Benjamin has a Van and Porgy and Me.
Gordon Clapp* (Matt Drayton) Glengarry, Glen Ross (Broadway–Tony Nomination, Theatre World Award) Blood From a Stone, Early History of Fire (New Group) Trick or Treat, (59E59) Man in the Ring (Huntington Theatre Co) Midvale High School 50th Reunion (Nora Theatre) Robert Frost: This Verse Business (Merrimack Rep and other venues) Doll’s House, A Christmas Carol (Northern Stage) Auld Lang Syne, Measure for Measure (Peterborough Players) Art, Our Town, On Golden Pond (New London Barn), Five Seasons with Canada’s National Arts Centre Theatre Company Film: Return of the Secaucus Seven, Eight Men Out, Flags of Our Fathers, Peter and John, Game Plan. Television: NYPD Blue (12 seasons, Emmy, SAG Award) Damages, Chicago Fire, Grey’s Anatomy, Taking Chance, Deadwood. Website for his one-man Robert Frost: thisversebusiness.com
R. Bruce Connelly* (Monsignor Ryan) in his career has worked in burlesque, vaudeville, television, movies, drama, pantomime and musical comedy. Among the roles he has played are J.M. Barrie, P.T. Barnum, Max Bialystock, Max Prince, Paddy Bell, Felix Unger, Pseudolus, Willie Clark, Sheridan Whiteside, Uncle Vanya, Murray Burns, Dr. Einstein, Dr, John Watson, Andrew Wyke, Finian McLonergan, Harold Hill, Guildenstern, Trinculo, Bottom, Puck, Feste, Scapino, Roger Sherman, Snoopy, Barkley, Barney Cashman, the Stage Manager, the Man Going Back, the Reverend Crisparkle, the Reverend Mother, the Mule of La Mancha, eight roles in The Matchmaker, ten roles in Greater Tuna, the Devil, Adam, Jesus, and the Man who played God, George Burns.
Krista Lucas (Hillary St. George) is delighted to be making her Ivoryton Playhouse debut as Hilary St. George. Ps. 37:4.
Marc D. Lyons (Dr. John Prentice) Graduate of The New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts with a degree in Acting. He also holds a degree in Multimedia studies. Marc is also a writer, director and Filmmaker. Some Past roles include “Mitch” in A Streetcar Named Desire, “Brick” in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, “Mark Antony” in Julius Caesar and the title role of Hamlet. As a multimedia specialist, he travels to schools and various organizations using media to teach vital life skills to children. In hopes of continuing the legacy of his idol Fred Rogers. Marc is represented by BMG, NY.
Kaia Monroe* (Christina Drayton) is an Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre at SCSU. Regional credits: Yale Institute of Music Theatre, Music Theatre of Connecticut, Missouri Rep, Weston Playhouse, Hope Repertory Theatre, Fulton, Geva, American Stage Festival, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Theatre 4, Valley Shakespeare, ArtFarm, Kennedy Center. Directing and choreographing credits include Goodspeed New Works Fest, Capital Shakespeare, and Elm Shakespeare. MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and post-graduate study at the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre.
Kimberlee Monroe* (Mary Prentice). Kimberlee Monroe is honored to back at Ivoryton Playhouse. She has performed in many productions in the New York City area. She has performed at St Michael Playhouse (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner). Forestburgh Playhouse (To Kill a Mockingbird). Greenbrier Theatre. (The Member of the Wedding). Winner of two Audelco Awards. Best Solo Performance and Best Actress. Ms. Monroe thanks God for his Loving Blessings and her wonderful husband for his love and support.
Katelyn Nichols (Joanna Drayton) No stranger to the stage, Katelyn has been seen in award-winning performances for her roles in Becky Shaw, Time Stands Still, South Pacific, The Miracle Worker, and more. She graduated magna cum laude from the U of Memphis and later completed her 2-year conservatory training in NYC at the Maggie Flanigan Studio. She’s been seen on ABC, NBC, Lifetime Movie Network, and in multiple Off-Broadway festival productions. An accomplished voiceover actor, she’s voiced commercials played around the world for Chase, DKNY, Apple, Toyota, Kohl’s, and many more. When she’s not performing, she’s busy coaching kids and teens through FaceTime/Skype and in person in NYC through her studio, K. Nichols Studio, a business dedicated to giving young artists performance training and mentorship for the entertainment business. Keep up with her online at @K. NicholsStudio or check out her website www.knicholsstudio.com
Director: Kathryn Markey
Stage Manager: James Joseph Clark*
Scenic Designer: Daniel Nischan
Lighting Designer: Marcus Abbott
Sound Designer: Tate R. Burmeister
Costume Designer: Liz Saylor
* member of Actors Equity
The film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, is a 1967 American comedy-drama film starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Hepburn, and features Hepburn’s niece Katharine Houghton.
The film was one of the few to depict an interracial marriage in a positive light, as interracial marriage historically had been illegal in most states of the US, and still was illegal in 17 states until 12 June 1967, six months before the film was released. The film’s Oscar-nominated score was composed by Frank De Vol.
The film is notable for being the ninth and final on-screen pairing of Tracy and Hepburn, with filming ending just 17 days before Tracy’s death. Hepburn never saw the completed film, saying the memories of Tracy were too painful. The film was released in December 1967, six months after his death. In 2017, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Join us for an opening night reception following the 8:00pm performance on Friday, April 26th. Light refreshments will be served.
Check back here for press releases, photos and video clips!
The story that broke all the rules –
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner by Todd Kriedler
at the Ivoryton Playhouse
April 24 – May 12, 2019
Ivoryton – When the movie, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, began filming in March 1967, it was still illegal for interracial couples to marry in fourteen states, mostly in the South. Changing attitudes in the country and the landmark case Loving v. Virginia coincided with the production of the movie and by the end of the year, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. and Mrs. Loving, ruling that marriage is a fundamental human right and effectively ending all anti-miscegenation marriage laws in America.
The Ivoryton Playhouse is thrilled to present this adaptation of the movie by Todd Kriedler, opening on April 24. Set in San Francisco in 1967, the play focuses on Matt and Christina Drayton, a progressive couple whose daughter, Joanna arrives home unexpectedly with her fiancé, Dr. John Prentice, an African American doctor 11 years her senior. They’re in love and they want the Draytons’ blessing for their marriage – today. Blindsided by their daughter’s whirlwind romance and fearful for her future, Matt and Christina quickly come to realize the difference between reading about and supporting a mixed-race couple in your newspaper and welcoming one into your family. It’s not long before a multi-family clash of racial and generational difference erupts. At the end of the day, will love prevail?
This thought-provoking comedy classic is a witty and insightful reflection on two families confronted by their prejudices.
Taking on the iconic role of Matt Drayton, made famous by Spencer Tracy, is Gordon Clapp*, best known as the Emmy-winning, Tony-nominated actor who charmed audiences as Det. Greg Medavoy on NYPD Blue (1993) and as loudmouth instigator Dave Moss in the 2005 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). Kaia Monroe*, who is an Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre at SCSU will play his wife, Christina and the rest of the cast include Richarda Abrams*, Cedric Cannon*, R. Bruce Connelly*, Krista Lucas, Marc D. Lyons, Kimberlee Monroe* and Katelyn Nichols.
The play is directed by Kathryn Markey, set design by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Elizabeth Saylor.
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 24 and runs through May 12, 2019. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There will be one Thursday matinee on April 25th.
Tickets are $55 adult / $50 senior / $25 student / $20 children 12 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates and subscriptions are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
Photos courtesy of Jonathan Steele
*denotes member of Actors Equity
Members of the press are welcome at any performance after April 25th. Please call ahead for tickets.
Looking for something to do? Ivoryton Playhouse has been voted best place to see live theatre by readers of The Shoreline Times for three years in a row. Come to Essex and visit our historic, professional theatre – a Connecticut treasure!