Azuka Theatre Presents Philadelphia Premiere of Bob: A Life in Five Acts

* Every man tale across America part of season about masculinity – its perils and pitfalls *

 

Azuka Theatre presents the return of the Virginia & Harvey Kimmel New Professionals Production with the Philadelphia Premiere of Bob: A Life in Five Acts by Peter Sinn Nachrieb. Bob chronicles the highly unusual life of Bob and his lifelong quest to become a “Great Man.” The play is a comedic exploration of American mythology and values, the treacherous pursuit of happiness, and discovering what it means to be truly “great.” This everyman tale is directed by Michael Osinski, who previously directed Azuka’s Moth.  This new professional’s production features the rising talent of Paul Harrold, Sabriaya Shipley, Frank Jimenez, Claris Park and Dan D’Albis. Bob runs from February 27 to March 17, with opening night set for Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 7:00pm. Azuka continues its pay-what-you-decide model for this show where audiences are invited to experience the art on stage and pay what they think it is worth after. For reservations, visit azukatheatre.org. Bob runs 120 minutes, included one intermission, and is recommended for audiences 15+. Azuka thanks production sponsor Harmelin Media.

“Bob: A Life in Five Acts is full of wide-eyed characters that is a perfect fit for a season about outcasts and underdogs – and that also explores the idea of masculinity, said Osinski. “The story is part Forrest Gump and part Candide. The main character is abandoned at birth in a White Castle. As he grows up he travels the country to find out how to be a great man – and how to get his name on a plaque and be ‘truly’ remembered. There is something light and entertaining about the show, but also sentimental too. While I will hope audiences decide for themselves if the show and ending our optimistic, I think there is an optimistic message that runs throughout the story.”

Bob: A Life in Five Acts is a grand tale that spans birth to death, from America to Mexico, with dozens of true American characters along the way – all played by Philadelphia’s up-and-coming theatre stars.

Born and abandoned in the bathroom of a fast food restaurant, Bob energetically embarks on an epic journey across America and encounters inspiring generosity, crushing hardships, blissful happiness, stunning coincidences, wrong turns, lucky breaks, true love and heartbreaking loss. Along the way, Bob meets a myriad of fellow countrymen all struggling to find their own place in the hullaballoo of it all. Will Bob’s real life ever be able to live up to his dream? Audiences are invited to find out.

Bob is part of Azuka’s season that focuses on people on the sidelines and the also-rans – but specially characters that feel alienated, motivated and warped by their concept of masculinity – along with its perils and pitfalls.

“We are focusing the season on this idea of what does it mean to be a man in today’s world,” said Azuka Producing Artistic Director Kevin Glaccum. “The plays this year look at the ideas of masculinity – toxic and other wise – and what qualities add up to being a good man. Bob’s entire journey is based on this idea that he wants to be a ‘great man’, and yet he has no idea what that even means.”

For Bob, Azuka teamed up again with Osinski – who directed Moth in 2016. In fact, Bob found its way to Azuka by way of Osinski, as he had directed a previous student production of the play. The story and characters were a fit for Azuka and what was shaping up for the season.

Glaccum said, “I’ve admired Michael Osinski’s work since he ran Flashpoint Theater and since he directed Moth for us,” added Glaccum. “He did a beautiful job, so it was a no brainer to bring him back again. Both Moth and Bob are New Professional shows and Michael has a special affinity for working with young artists that makes him the ideal choice for this show.”

Bob represents Azuka’s 8th New Professionals Production – shows that spotlight the talents of rising theatre stars in Philadelphia. Paul Harrold will play Bob, and the chorus of dozens of other characters will be played by Sabriaya Shipley, Frank Jimenez, Claris Park and Dan D’Albis.

When asked why this play was a great fit for New Professionals, Osinski said, “The play is definitely a challenge for these young actors as they play nearly a half of dozen characters each. It is a great match for a New Professionals production as it lets them dive in and really show what they can do. There’s tons of rich material to work with.”

Bob was written by Peter Sinn Nachrieb with the support of the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco. The play received its World Premiere in March 2011 at The Humana Festival for New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The play went on to win the 2010 Barrie and Bernice Stavis Award from the National Theatre Conference.

“Peter’s script fits in with what we say about many Azuka shows – they are funny until they aren’t, “added Glaccum. “The first thing that draws me to a play are the characters – and Bob has some of the funniest, quirkiest characters I’ve encountered in a long time.”

The production team for Bob will serve up one tall (tale) order – and bring audiences on a cross-country journey that makes stops across America and into Mexico. The set features a large map of the United States. Actors will use found objects and magically pull props from areas on set the audience didn’t know existed. Osinski said, “It will resemble a live action illustrated story book for adults.”

Bob’s production team includes regional familiar names and Azuka alums, as well as new team members, including Dustin L. Pettegrew (Scenic Design), Nate Hart (Lighting Design), Gina Colacci (Costume Design), Damien Figueras (Sound Design), Alexandra Curth (Properties), Bianca Canosa (Stage Manager), Michael Cosenza (Fight Choreography), Megan Schumacher (Assistant Director), Matthew Hultgren (Voice & Movement Coach), Lauren Tracy (Production Manager), Joe Daniels (Technical Director), Flannel & Hammer (Scenic Construction).

Azuka continues its commitment to the community by extending the innovative pay-what-you-decide box office initiative for the 2018-2019 season. Audience members for Bob: A Life in Five Acts will make a reservation for a show, see the production first and then pay what they decide based on the value of the experience.

No money is exchanged before the show. Tickets will be available to reserve in advance as usual, but there is no obligation to pay until after the show. Patrons can then decide on a price which they think is suitable based on their experience. Ticket payment can be made after the performance by cash, check or credit card. Patrons can also make a payment after the show on the Azuka website. All money collected helps to pay Azuka artists and further support future productions.

As part of this production, Azuka will present pre-show happy hours sponsored by Two Roads Brewing Company on March 8 and 15, 2019, from 7:00pm to 8:00pm.

Azuka will end the 2018-2019 season with a exciting world premiere by a Philadelphia Playwright. Boycott Esther by Emily Acker, and directed by Maura Kause, will run from May 1-19, 2019, at the Proscenium Theatre at The Drake.

For show, special event and reservation information, please visit azukatheatre.org or call (215) 563-1100.

ABOUT AZUKA

Azuka Theatre strengthens the connection and shared humanity among its diverse audiences by giving voice to the people whose stories go unheard.Azuka is committed to producing contemporary plays that reflect and speak to the area’s diverse community. Azuka’s audiences are predominantly under the age of 40, with students and post collegiate professionals making up a large part of Azuka’s audiences; they represent the next generation of theater goers. These new and younger audiences are reached by telling stories relevant to today’s complex society, selecting stories that revolve around people who feel out of sync with the world around them and are unable or unwilling to find their niche in modern society.  By presenting plays that are smart, edgy and exciting, new audiences are drawn to see work that speaks to them in a voice they do not often hear on stage. Azuka is currently at 43 productions, 21 world premieres, 18 Philadelphia premieres. Azuka is a Resident Partner at The Drake and an Associate Member of the National New Play Network.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (Playwright)

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, 6’6”, is a San Francisco-based playwright whose works include The Making of a Great Moment (Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Z Space 2017), A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Family Mansion with Tour Guide Weston Ludlow Londonderry (Z Space 2016), The Totalitarians (NNPN premiere 2014), boom (TCG’s most produced play 2009-10), BOB, (2011 Humana Festival for New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award), T.I.C. (Trenchcoat In Common), Hunter Gatherers (2007 ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, 2007 Will Glickman Prize), Colorado, and Litter: The True Story of the Framingham Dodecutuplets.

His work has been seen off-Broadway and across the country including at Ars Nova, Woolly Mammoth, SPF, Seattle Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Southern Rep, Kitchen Dog, and in the Bay Area at Z Space, A.C.T., Encore Theatre, Killing My Lobster, Marin Theatre Company, Impact Theatre, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Nachtrieb holds a degree in Theater and Biology from Brown and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Nachtrieb is an alumnus of New Dramatists and is Playwright in Residence at Z Space in San Francisco. For more about the playwright, visit: www.peternachtrieb.com .

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Michael Osinski (Director)
Osinski is a Philadelphia-based director, deviser, and educator. He was a co-founder and former Producing Artistic Director of Flashpoint Theatre Company, where he directed six Philadelphia premieres, including Far Away and Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake). Other directing credits include Moth (Azuka), Wolves (Quince Productions), The Italian Market Project (Bicycle Thief Productions), Great Again (The Antidote Philadelphia), Homo Andronicus (The Antidote Chicago), as well as productions for Arcadia University and Penn Players at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former Drama League Directing Fellow, and he has worked with the Wilma Theater, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, The Old Globe, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Applied Mechanics. He teaches at Rowan University and Temple University, and he has spent the past five summers teaching for the Cherubs program at Northwestern University. He is currently developing a piece inspired by the film and TV work of David Lynch for the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

ABOUT THE CAST

Paul Harrold (Bob)
Harrold’s favorite credits include Once (Bank Manager u/s) at Arden, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Valentine), Measure for Measure (Angelo), Love and Information and The Underpants at Temple University. He is currently a senior acting major at Temple, and a proud native of Lancaster County. When he’s not onstage you can catch him pickin’ strings in his folk band, Paul Harrold and the Winston Churchills.

Dan D’Albis (Chorus)
D’Albis is a recent graduate of Arcadia University’s theatre program. There he played Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey, The Nasty Interesting Man in Eurydice and Solomon in Speech and Debate! Professionally, he has worked as an understudy at the Walnut Street Theater and as CB in Dog Sees God with Raw Street Productions.

Frank Jimenez (Chorus)
Jimenez is a rising senior Acting major at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, on track to graduate in the Spring of 2019. Past UArts Credits include Pocatello, Mr. Marmalade, Sonnets for an Old Century and Acedia.

Claris Park (Chorus)
Park is a Philadelphia based actor and theater maker. Recent credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Delaware Shakespeare), Close Your Legs, Honey (2018 Philly Fringe), and Monster in the Hall (Inis Nua Theatre). They have also performed with White Box Theater, the ReVamp Collective, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights. She was recently a part of the inaugural cohort of the Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists collective and the Asian Arts Initiative Mini Residency Program to develop the interactive piece, The DJZ. They are a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Sabriaya Shipley (Chorus)
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Shipley is a Philadelphia based actress, poet, playwright, and teaching artist.  Shipley is currently the Administrative Apprentice for Norristown’s Theatre Horizon. She also serves as a teaching artist with both Philadelphia Young Playwrights/The Colored Girls Museum’s project, Performing Identity, and Germantown’s Yes! And Collaborative Arts Program. She recently made her playwright debut, directing and producing her original choreopoem Dancing Again in Love. Theatre credits include the Philadelphia Premiere of Ike Holter’s Hit the Wall – Roberta (Temple Theaters), Mother Emmanuel: An American Musical (the New Freedom Theatre), Liberi Tutti: Secret Showcase- Pam (Painted Bride), For Colored Girls Who…. – Lady in Brown (Temple Theaters), Trade and Generations (Inis Nua Theatre). Shipley holds her BA in Theatre (Acting Concentration) from Temple University. Shipley is a citizen artist determined to represent the intersections of her community. She is forever committed to the writing, doing, and creating of Black and Brown art.

Dustin L. Pettegrew (Scenic Designer)
Pettegrew’s Philadelphia area credits include Trigger Warning (Prime Theatre Syndicate), Seventy IV Seconds.. to Judgment, V to X (GoKash Productions), two Summer Seasons with the Bucks County Center for the Performing Arts, Dishman Springs (Hedgerow Theatre) and a remount of Seventy IV Seconds.. to Judgment with the Arden Theatre Company. Pettegrew’s work has also been seen in Florida, Chicago and Maine. Pettegrew has an MFA from Temple University.

Nate Hart (Lighting Designer)
Hart is a recent graduate from West Chester University where he majored in Theatre, concentrating on design, and has found a passion in lighting. He was involved in several productions at West Chester, and designed lighting for a handful of main stage productions including: Romeo and Juliet, Never Have I Ever, Blithe Spirit, and the University Theatre Annual BCEFA AIDS Benefit.

Gina Colacci (Costume Designer)
Colacci is a Senior Theatre Design and Technology Major with a focus in Costume Design. UArts: Acedia, Cowboy Bob, American Idiot, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocatello, Red 40: And the Last Groovement, The Elementary Spacetime Show (Assistant), A Haunted Fringe Wedding, and Normativity. Regional: The Elementary Spacetime Show (New York City), Dream Girls (South Philadelphia High School).

Damien Figueras (Sound Designer)
Select previous credits include: Party Face (Off-Broadway, New York City Center), warplay (Azuka Theatre), Moth (Azuka Theatre, Barrymore-nominated), Antihero (Tribe of Fools, Barrymore-nominated), Three Sisters (Curio Theatre Company), Oleanna (Walnut Street Theatre), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in Clark Park). In addition to his regional work, Figueras is a founding resident of Apartment 20 Theatre and is the Resident Sound Designer at Arcadia University.

Alexandra Curth (Properties)
Curth is a writer, dramaturg, and props and scenic artist based in Philadelphia. She has served as the scenic charge for EgoPo’s production of A Human Being Died That Night, UPenn’s Beckett Shorts and Villanova’s workshop production of The Gambler. She was the props designer for Tribe of Fools’ Fly Eagles Fly, and is currently working on UPenn’s upcoming production Of Government, and Villanova Theatre’s Importance of Being Earnest. Curth has worked in Chicago, Portland, and Lancaster as a teaching artist and theatre administrator.

Bianca Canosa (Stage Manager)
Canosa is a recent graduate from Arcadia University with a degree focusing on design and technical theatre. She is delighted to rejoin the Azuka team after being the Assistant Stage Manager for The Arsonists at The Drake. One of her favorite most recent work is Stage Manager for The Great American Trailer Park Musical at Arcadia University.

Michael Cosenza (Fight Choreography)
Canosa ‘s work has been seen on the stages of the Wilma Theater, Theater Exile, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater, InterAct Theater, Theater Horizon, Delaware Theater Company, Simpatico Theater Company, The Philadelphia Artists Collective, and others. Last year, his family welcomed their amazing daughter to the world. He was also lucky enough to be honored with a Barrymore Award for his fight choreography in Antihero, for Tribe of Fools. He has taught and choreographed productions at local universities including his alma mater, Temple University, Arcadia University, UARTs, Swarthmore College, Lehigh University, and Lasalle.

Matthew Hultgren (Voice & Movement Coach)
Hultgren is delighted to return to Azuka, where he last coached How We Got On in 2016. Other recent coaching: Oliver! (QTC); Fly Eagles Fly (Tribe of Fools); Living News (National Constitution Center); Newsies (SJP); Great Again (The Antidote); The Quadroon and the Dove (Madison Square Productions); and Ironbound (Simpatico). As an actor, he performed with 11th Hour, Amaryllis, EgoPo, Flashpoint, People’s Light, PGLTF, Prince Music Theatre, Media, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and Walnut Street Theatre. Hultgren is the Founder of AViD Coaching, and has taught Acting, Voice, Dialects, and Dance to students of all ages and skill levels, across 7 states and in 4 countries: UArts, Seton Hall, Muhlenberg College, Northwestern University, VASTA (Montreal), Harvard University, PWST Krakow, Moscow Art Theater School, Tufts, Dancing With The Students, Music Training Center, and WST. MFA in Voice & Speech Pedagogy from Harvard, ART/MXAT. Proud member of VASTA.

Megan Schumacher (Assistant Director)
Schumacher is a Philly based director, dramaturg, playwright, and educator.  Most recently she had her play Superlosers produced by Juniper Productions at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and served as a dramaturg for Inis Nua Theatre’s Reading Series play Cuttin’ It.  She also performed education outreach for Villanova Theatre’s 2017/2018 season.  She has a M.A. in Theatre from Villanova University.   Currently, she serves as an Education Dramaturg Consultant at Villanova University and teaches ballroom dancing to Philadelphia area students.

Lauren Tracy (Production Manager)
Tracy has served as Azuka’s Production Manager and Stage Manager on and off since 2010. She also serves as the Production Manager for Flannel & Hammer, Inis Nua Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Revolution Shakespeare and Cheltenham High School. She holds a B.F.A. in Stage Management from Syracuse University.

Joe Daniels (Technical Director)
Bio and background coming soon.

Flannel & Hammer (Scenic Construction)
Flannel & Hammer Scene Shop is a Philadelphia based business. The company was founded by Lauren Tracy (Flannel) and Joe Daniels (Hammer). With over 10 years’ experience and 100 productions under their (tool) belts they have the knowledge and skills to bring any scenic construction to life. Their work can be seen onstage here along with Simpatico, Theatre Exile, and Inis Nua Theatre Company.

SHOW WEBSITE:
http://azukatheatre.org/Bob-A-Life-In-Five-Acts

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