COMMUNITY ENSEMBLE AUGMENTS PROFESSIONAL CAST IN UNIQUE COLLABORATION
AT BRISTOL RIVERSIDE THEATRE APRIL 30 – MAY 19
Community, collaboration and challenging questions capture the mood at Bristol Riverside Theatre’s production of The Christians by Lucas Hnath, running April 30 – May 19. The winner of the 2016 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play, The Christians tells the story of Pastor Paul, a man about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundation of his congregation’s beliefs. The shocking revelation of his sermon has powerful consequences.
Directed by Matt Pfeiffer, the cast features an ensemble of professional actors: Akeem Davis as Joshua, Dan Kern as Elder Jay, Anthony Lawton as Pastor Paul, Susan McKey as Elizabeth, K. O’Rourke as Jenny, Miriam Grace Payne as Soprano Section Leader, Christopher J. Perugini as Bass Section Leader, Stephanie Rubeo as Alto Section Leader, and Dominick Sannelli as Tenor Section Leader. In the tradition of past BRT’s productions Inherit the Wind, An Enemy of the People, and A Witness for the Prosecution, The Christians will feature local community members acting alongside the professional actors.
For believers and non-believers alike, The Christians is a “terrific play about the mystery of faith, and how religion can tear people apart just as it can bring them together” (The New York Times). The Obie Award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath received a 2017 Tony nomination for A Doll’s House: Part 2.
With musical direction by Michael Kiley, the production brings together the creative team of Scenic Designer Paige Hathaway, Costume Designer Linda Bee Stockton, Lighting Designer Maria Shaplin, and Sound Designer Michael Kiley.
Performances of The Christians run Wednesday through Sunday until May 19 with one evening performance on Tuesday, April 30. Tickets start at $33, with discounts for students, groups and military personnel. Tickets are available by visiting brtstage.org or calling the BRT Box Office at 215-785-0100. Bristol Riverside Theatre is located at 120 Radcliffe Street in Bristol, PA.
Since 1986, BRT has continued to bring critically acclaimed professional theatre to Bucks County. The theatre is the recipient of over 71 Barrymore Award nominations for Excellence in Theatre, given annually by Theatre Philadelphia. Under the direction of Artistic Director Keith Baker, Founding Director Susan D. Atkinson, and Managing Director Kevin Maroney, the theatre serves as a cultural hub for the community. In addition to its Mainstage productions, BRT offers four concerts including the holiday tradition An American Christmas Songbook, the new play development series America Rising, and the summer theater arts camp ArtRageous. For information, visit
BRT’s Summer Music Fest 2019 kicks-off June 13 with Love Is Here To Stay (June 13 – 23, 2019), followed by Woodstock at 50: A Celebration (July 18 – 28, 2019) and concludes in August with Broadway Summer Spectacular(August 15 – 25, 2019).
Matt Pfeiffer (Director) is a Philly born actor and director. His credits include: Arden Theatre, InterAct, Walnut St., 1812, Lantern Theatre, Delaware Theatre Co. The Gulfshore Playhouse, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The University of the Arts, and Villanova University, and 20 seasons with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Matt is a twelve-time Barrymore nominee and winner, for his direction of The Whale and The Invisible Hand both with Theatre Exile. He’s also a recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award and a proud grad DeSales University.
Susan D. Atkinson (Assistant Director) Susan’s theatrical career spans 40 years of directing and producing on both the east and west coasts. She has directed well over 150 plays and musicals in her career, including world and area premieres from such playwrights and composers as Doug Katsoras, Mark St. Germain, Jon Marans, Alan Knee and Larry Gatlin. For BRT, Ms. Atkinson has directed such shows as The Good Earth, Wintertime, Irma La Douce, Alive and Well, The Price, 110 in the Shade, A Sunbeam, Inspecting Carol, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Arsenic and Old Lace, A Little Night Music, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Holiday, Talley’s Folly, Proof, Little Women, Steel Magnolias, What A Glorious Feeling, Inherit The Wind, Tuesdays With Morrie, Little Shop of Horrors, Always…Patsy Cline, Bus Stop, Mountain: The Journey of Justice Douglas, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, Witness for the Prosecution, Quartet, Time Stands Still, and this season’s On Golden Pond. In 1998, Ms. Atkinson directed Larry Gatlin’s Texas Flyer both here at BRT and at Theatre Under The Stars in Houston, Texas.
Michael Kiley (Musical Director) is a sound designer, composer, music director, performer and educator working in dance, theatre and public installation. Theatrical collaborations: Mr. Burns – A Post-Electric Play (The Wilma Theatre), The Gap (Azuka Theatre, Barrymore Award Winner), Completeness, The Invisible Hand (Theatre Exile, Barrymore Award Winner), Ludic Proxy (The Play Co.), Saint Joan, Heisenberg (Delaware Theatre Company), Doctor Atomic(Curtis Institute of Music), As You Like It, Hamlet, R&G Are Dead (The Acting Company), John, Stinky Cheese Man(Arden Theatre Company, Barrymore Nomination), Rizzo (Philadelphia Theatre Company). Michael’s work has been presented at The Walker Arts Center (MN), The Wexner (OH), ICA Boston, MCA Chicago, Festival d’Atumn (Paris), 3LD (NYC), The Guthrie Theater (MN), MANCC (FL), American Philosophical Society (PA), The Yard (MA), The MAC (Belfast), ArtsHouse (Melbourne), Centro Cultural Le Parc (Mendoza), Centro de Arte Experimental (Buenos Aires), Croatian National Theatre (Zagreb), Venice Biennale, Clarice Center for the Performing Arts, Fischer Center (NY), Onassis Cultural Center (Athens), DanSpace (NYC) and been supported by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, The Wyncote Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Hacktory, Swim Pony, Artists U, Independence Foundation, FringeArts.
Akeem Davis (Joshua) Regional: Citizen Barlow in Gem of the Ocean, Krogstad in A Doll’s House (Barrymore Award for Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play) (Arden Theatre); Chorus in The Arsonists (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); Dauhpin in King John, Lancelot in District Merchants (The Folger Shakespeare Library); Jackson in Buzzer (Theatre Exile); Alex in Shitheads (Azuka Theatre Company); Marcus Garvey in Marcus/Emma (InterAct Theatre Company); George in All My Sons (People’s Light); William in Lobby Hero, Jabbar/Chili in In the Blood(Theatre Horizon); Oshoosi in The Brother’s Size (Simpatico Theatre Project). Florida State University, 2009 Bachelor’s in Humanities. Barrymore and Helen Hayes nominated actor. Recipient of the 2015 F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist.
Dan Kern (Elder Jay) is delighted to be working at BRT for the first time – he has been honored with the Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle Award for his performance of “Leontes” in The Winter’s Tale at A Noise Within and another for his direction of Juno and the Paycock at InterAct Theatre in Los Angeles. He’s appeared in leading roles at the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep, The American Conservatory Theatre, and locally he’s been seen at the Arden, the Wilma, and Interact where he teamed up with Matt Pfeiffer in Straight White Men. Dan is an emeritus professor at Temple University where he served for fifteen years as a member of the Acting and Directing faculty. Film and TV appearances include – The Lovely Bones, Me and the Big Guy, Frasier, Star Trek, Melrose Place, etc.
Anthony Lawton (Pastor Paul) has acted in Philadelphia for twenty-seven years. Favorite roles include George in Of Mice and Men (Walnut); “man” in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1812); Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet(Arden); and Austin in True West, Coleman in The Lonesome West, and Storyteller in A Christmas Carol (Lantern). In 2005, Lawton, in partnership with the Lantern, wrote and developed The Foocy, which garnered five Barrymore nominations (including Best New Play). In 2016, his adaptation of The Light Princess (with music by Alex Bechtel) was nominated for 8 Barrymores, winning for Best Original Music. The Philadelphia City Paper named him the city’s “Best One-Man Theatre” for his solo productions of The Devil and Billy Markham, The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters.
Susan McKey (Elizabeth) Susan is a long-time member of the Philadelphia Theatre Community. She is proud to debut at BRT. She has been a Company Member at People’s Light since 1989 and has also worked at The Arden, Act II Playhouse, Delaware Theatre Co, The Lantern, among others in the Philadelphia region. Susan won the first ever Barrymore for Supporting Actress.
K. O’Rourke (Jenny) MFA Acting, Temple University. MA, Theater Villanova University. Bicoastal actor, choreographer, teaching artist, yoga instructor. This is K.O.’s 11th season as Director of Programming & Lead Teacher for the nonprofit ballroom dance company Dancing With The Students. Barrymore nominations for Outstanding Choreography, Emma(Lantern Theater Company) It Girl (Simpatico Theater Company), Anna (EgoPo Classic Theater). Barrymore nominations for Best Supporting Actress, Detroit (Philadelphia Theater Company) & Taming of the Shrew (Lantern Theater Company).