Philadelphia Premiere of Jen Silverman’s Comedy The Roommate starring Grace Gonglewski and Jennifer Childs

Philadelphia Premiere
The Roommate
by Jen Silverman
Starring Grace Gonglewski and Jennifer Childs  •  Directed by Harriet Power
September 26- October 20, 2019
Opening Night Wednesday, October 2 at 7:00pm

 

1812 Productions is pleased to present the Philadelphia Premiere of Jen Silverman’s acclaimed dark comedy The Roommate. Directed by Harriet Power, The Roommate stars renowned Philadelphia performers Grace Gonglewski and Jennifer Childs. Longtime friends and artistic collaborators, Gonglewski and Childs have been fixtures on Philadelphia stages for over 20 years, The Roommate will be their first appearance onstage together since 2006. The Roommate will play September 26 thru October 20, 2019. Opening Night will be Wednesday, October 2nd at 7:00pm. Tickets and information are available at www.1812productions.org or at 215-592-9560.

The Roommate is the story of Sharon and Robyn, two women in their mid-fifties, sharing a house in Iowa City. Sharon, played by Childs, is recently divorced and, facing an empty nest, takes in a roommate to help make ends meet. Robyn, played by Gonglewski, is on the run from a wild past—some of which may just show up on Sharon’s doorstep.  PartOdd Couple, part Breaking Bad,The Roommate is a crafty and funny dive into what it takes to reroute your life from the point of view of two women who have had enough of being set aside.

The Roommate was originally produced at The Humana Theatre Festival  in 2015 and has gone on to great commercial and critical success, playing stages across the country. Jen Silverman, a bold new voice in American theatre says of writing The Roommate, “When I go to the theatre, I rarely see any roles for women of that age range that are not supporting roles. When I do see older women onstage, or women in their 50s or 60s onstage, those women are generally just there; the play’s actually about younger people but those women are there to, you know, have a couple of jokes or have a couple of jokes made about them. So I really wanted to write a play for badass women in their 50s… there is a kind of energy, a kind of concentration that happens when they are the two players on that stage and they have all that agency and all that power.”

Harriet Power, who has previously directed 1812 Productions’ world premiere shows Why I’m Scared of Dance and I Will Not Go Gently, both one-woman solo comedies created by Jennifer Childs, says of joining the creative team, “I’m thrilled to work with this Performer-and-Designer Dream Team, and to share this story of how oil-and-water strangers can wake each other up in ways both dangerous and delightful. And, in our current cultural moment, it feels both poignant and powerful to celebrate an unlikely (and ultimately important) friendship between really, really different people.”

The Roommate welcomes Scenic Designer Lance Kniskern, Sound Designer Christopher Colucci (2019 Barrymore Award nominee), and Lighting Designer Lily Fossner. Flora Vassar joins the production as Properties Designer with costumes designed by Marla Jurglanis.

When asked about the themes of unexpected change or the mid-life crises that unfold throughout The Roommate, Silverman said, “I’m really interested in this question of how do you transform and can we transform and what does it take to become the thing that we want to become and can we? Can we ever become something other than what we are? And how do people make us different even without our realizing it?” She continues, “This play was a very specific lens on that question because it’s happening in the mid-50s for this woman. But the drive to be different, the drive to transform and the hunger that happens when she realizes that she can be living an entirely different life than the one she is living. That feels very relatable to me even if I’m not yet in my mid-50s.”

The Philadelphia Premiere of The Roommate will be performed at at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place in Center City Philadelphia. Opening Night will be Wednesday, October 2nd at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $28-$46 and can be found atwww.1812productions.org or 215-592-9560.

The Roommate is part of the Kim & David Adler Series.

Grace Gonglewski (Robyn): Off-Broadway: The Flea Theatre, The Guys with Tom Wopat, directed by Tommy Kail. Regional: Arden Theatre Company (28 roles including Emma inStupid Fucking Bird, Desiree in A Little Night Music, Barbara in August: Osage County,Hedda GablerCandida, Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Josie in Moon for the Misbegotten), Arena Stage, Walnut Street Theatre (The HeiressThree Tall Women,Vohsey InheritanceThe RivalsThe Last FlapperHigh SocietyStreet Car Named Desireamong others), Cape Cod Playhouse (The Beard Of Avon with Juliet Mills, directed by Russ Treyz), Cape May Stage (Owl and the PussycatLast of the Red Hot LoversPrivate LivesGoing to St Ives among others), Delaware Theatre Company (As You Like ItDesign For LivingInspecting Carol), Folger Shakespeare Theatre, 1812 Productions (Daughters of GeniusBoston Marriage), Mt Gretna Theatre (Gaslight), Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (11 seasons- Portia in Julius Caesar (twice), Kate in Taming of the Shrew (twice), Josie in Moon For The Misbegotten, Titania, Adrianna, Lady Anne, Elvira in Blythe Spirit, Mistress Ford and Mistress Page in separate Merry Wives), Orlando Shakespeare Festival (Rosalind in As You Like It, Lady Capulet), Philadelphia Theatre Company (Masha in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeThe Laramie Project – Barrymore Award for Best Ensemble), Wilma Theatre (TravestiesGalileoBody Awareness (Barrymore Award for Best Ensemble), Theatre Exile (BugAn Oak Tree), and a tour of Ireland with Interact Theatre Company. Five Barrymore Awards, F Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist, Dorothy Haas Fellowship, Independence Foundation Recipient, BFA North Carolina School of the Arts. Grace is the voice of Bayer, Longwood Garden’s Fountain Show, and many banks, casinos, hospitals and politicians around the country including Hillary Clinton during the last presidential election.

Jennifer Childs (Sharon): Jennifer Childs is the Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director for 1812 Productions.  For 1812 she has created over 20 original works of comedic theater including The Carols, To the Moon, Broads, It’s My Party: The Women and Comedy Project and the annual political humor show This is the Week That Is.  Her most recent solo show, I Will Not Go Gently, has been performed at Act 2 Playhouse and People’s Light and won her the 2016 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.

Harriet Power (Director): Harriet is thrilled to return to 1812 Productions, where she had the delicious honor of directing the world premieres of Jen Child’s Why I’m Scared of Dance and I Will Not Go Gently. A nationally-recognized director & dramaturg, other recent directing includes Hedgerow Theatre Co. (Three Sisters), Peoples Light (I Will Not Go Gently), InterAct (Human Rites, 2018 Virginia Brown Martin Award winner), Orbiter 3/FringeArts (The Brownings – 6 Barrymore Award nominations including Outstanding Production), Juniper Productions (Splinter and Crack), Simpatico (Ironbound; In a Dark Dark House), & Act II Playhouse, where she was Associate Artistic Director 2008-12. She’s directed new plays at RADA (London), New Dramatists, PlayPenn, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, West Coast Playwrights, Iowa Playwrights Festival, & International Women Playwrights Festival. Artistic Director of Venture Theatre, Philadelphia’s multiracial theatre, 1994-98. Awards include three Barrymore Award nominations for Outstanding Direction, winning for Angels in American: Perestroika. Upcoming: In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play at Hedgerow, April/May 2020.

Jen Silverman (Playwright): Jen Silverman is a New York-based writer. Her work includesWitch (Writers Theatre), The Roommate (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Steppenwolf), Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Southwark Playhouse, MCC Theater), Dangerous House (InterAct Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival) and The Moors (Yale Repertory Theatre, The Playwrights Realm). Jen is a member of New Dramatists, an affiliated artist with The Playwrights Center in Minneapolis and SPACE on Ryder Farm. She’s a two-time MacDowell Colony fellow, a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, the Helen Merrill Award, an LMCC Fellowship, and the Yale Drama Series Award. She was the 2016-2017 Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark. Silverman has a two-book deal with Random House for a collection of interlinked stories (The Island Dwellers) and a novel. She also writes for TV and film, most recently on Netflix’s Tales of the City. Education: Brown, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard. More info: www.jensilverman.com

Company History
1812 Productions was founded in 1997 and is the only professional theatre company in the country dedicated to comedy. To date, they have produced more than 30 world premiere scripted works and cabarets. Their education program, 1812 Outreach, has been awarded the Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service and The Victory Foundation Award. 1812 Productions is the recipient of an honorary citation from the City of Philadelphia for outstanding work and commitment to the Philadelphia arts community. 1812 Productions has been recognized multiple times by The American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, most recently with a documentary commission for the original work This Is The Week That Is, created by company co-founder and Producing Artistic Director Jennifer Childs. The resulting Emmy Award nominated documentary is now part of The Wing’s digital archive for their Working In The Field series and is available for public viewing. With a focus on devised and original works, 1812 Productions’ mission is to produce theatrical works of comedy and comedic works of theatre that explore and celebrate our sense of community, our history, and our humanity.

Philadelphia Premiere
The Roommate
Written by Jen Silverman
Starring Jennifer Childs and Grace Gonglewski
Directed by Harriet Power
September 26 thru October 20, 2019
Opens Wednesday, October 2 at 7pm

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