Asolo Rep Kicks off its Repertory Season with Thornton Wilder’s Our Town
As another ordinary day begins, the inhabitants of a small American town go about their business: newspapers are delivered, people go to work, gardens are tended. And a boy and girl fall in love. But as life’s events unfold, one question remains: “Do any human beings ever realize life as they live it?” Long after it won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, OUR TOWN remains one of the most enduring American plays of all time, reminding us to celebrate love, family, community and the beauty in the ordinary.
OUR TOWN is directed by Asolo Rep newcomer Desdemona Chiang, who is co-founder of the Seattle-based theatre company Azeotrope. Chiang’s directing credits include shows at dozens of theatres across the United States, including the Guthrie Theater, Alley Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, California Shakespeare Theater and Seattle Repertory Theatre, among others.
“It just so happens that OUR TOWN always comes out in moments of great trauma and tragedy, because that's when we realize the meaning of now,” Chiang said. “We don't realize the meaning of now when it's Tuesday and I have work and I’m too busy to pay attention to my spouse or my kids. We don't notice OUR TOWN then. But we notice it when COVID happens. We notice it when 9/11 happens. And it takes great disruption for us to appreciate the now when, in fact, we really should appreciate now all the time.”
The cast of OUR TOWN is led by Kenn E. Head (Stage Manager), who has appeared in roles at such prestigious venues as Steppenwolf Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Greg Watanabe (Dr. Gibbs) made his Broadway debut in Allegiance and has appeared off-Broadway in Ballad of Yachiyo at the Public Theater and Golden Child at Signature Theater.
Summer Dawn Wallace (Mrs. Gibbs) is co-artistic director of Sarasota’s Urbanite Theatre, where she has directed the regional premieres of Scorch, Northside Hollow, Dry Land, and Sam & Lizzie, and is producing director of Urbanite’s Modern Works Festival. Diana Coates (Mrs. Webb) returns for a second season at Asolo Rep after appearing in Murder on The Orient Express and Into the Breeches. Some of her favorite roles have been at theatres including Victory Gardens, the African Continuum Theatre Company of DC, and Michigan Shakespeare Festival.
Alex Benito Rodriguez (George Gibbs) is a graduate of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, where he was seen in The Crucible, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Gruesome Playground Injuries. Caroline Mixon (Emily Webb) appeared in the television show Mare of Easttown and the film The Will. Some of her favorite theatre credits include Sally Bowles in Cabaret and June in Marisol. Gregg Weiner (Mr. Webb) returns to Asolo Rep after appearing in Murder on the Orient Express. His regional theatre credits include The Price, 7 Deadly Sins, The Whale, Red, Speed the Plow and Every Brilliant Thing.
The cast also includes Nydira Adams (Constable Warren/Joe Stoddard), Emily Bohn (Joe Crowell), Charlotte Foster (Professor Willard), Ptah Garvin (Howie Newsome), Paige Klopfenstein (Si Crowell), Bryan Lewis (Sam Craig), Merri Rashoyan (Mrs. Soames), Giovanni Rincón (Mr. Carter), Jamie Saunders (Rebecca Gibbs), Garrick Sigl (Simon Stimson), Derek Sikkema (Baseball Player) and Asher Woomert (Wally Webb).
The understudies for OUR TOWN are Daniel Ajak, Trezure Coles, Falcian Page, Sharon Pearlman, Isáyah Phillips, Jackson Purdy, Jordan Rich, Brielle Rivera, Mikhail Roberts, Brooke Turner, Danielle Vivcharenko, Rueben Wakefield and Rickey Watson Jr.
“The decision to do OUR TOWN this season was one of my first responses to the pandemic,” said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “It’s clear now more than ever that we need to be reminded what community is and that we need to pay attention, because life can go so quickly. Profound, intense engagement in life happens in the ordinariness of it, and this show feels very right for our time. OUR TOWN is one of those pieces that touches you and connects with you wherever you are in life, and it can’t help but reflect America. I hope it helps us reconnect and revitalize our sense of community.”
OUR TOWN is recommended for general audiences.
OUR TOWN runs Jan. 12 – March 26, 2022. Previews are Jan. 12 – 13. Visit asolorep.org for a full performance schedule. Orchestra and Mezzanine seats start at $52 and Balcony seats start at $29. Tickets are available now in person at Asolo Rep's Box Office at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, by phone at 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, or online at asolorep.org.
Rounding out the repertory season are GRAND HORIZONS (Jan. 19 – April 1) and THE GREAT LEAP (Feb. 9 – April 2), which will both run concurrently with OUR TOWN.
Asolo Rep is proud to be a part of #SafeArtsSarasota. Learn more about our Health and Safety Protocols.
Asolo Rep is able to present OUR TOWN because of the generosity of its sponsors. The corporate sponsors for OUR TOWN are Energy Today, Tidewell Foundation, Sarasota Scene, and Morton’s Gourmet Market & Catering, with additional support from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.
Asolo Rep 2021-2022 Major Season Sponsors are Florida State University, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Huisking Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Designing Women Boutique, The Exchange, Sunset Cadillac of Bradenton, and Asolo Rep’s Artistic Excellence Society. Asolo Rep’s artistic programs are paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues.
Now in its 63rd season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season, including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations. Visit asolorep.org to learn more.