August 13, 2012
Kasi Campbell directs Marans’ comedy-drama that explores the pre-Stonewall gay rights movement in 1950s Hollywood
(Columbia, MD) – Rep Stage, the professional Equity theatre in residence at Howard Community College (HCC), opens its 20th anniversary season with Jon Marans’ award winning comedy-drama “The Temperamentals.” Described as “‘Mad Men’ meets ‘Milk,’” this witty, intelligent and moving play opens the closet doors on lovers Harry Hay and Rudi Gernreich in 1950’s Los Angeles as they build the Mattachine Society, the first gay rights organization in the United States. “The Temperamentals” is directed by Helen Hayes Award winner Kasi Campbell, and stars fellow Helen Hayes Award winner and Rep Stage regular Nigel Reed along with Vaughn Irving, Rick Hammerly, Brandon McCoy and Alexander Strain. “The Temperamentals” opens August 29, 2012, with a limited run through September 16 in the Studio Theatre of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center (HVPA) on the campus of HCC.
For Rep Stage’s Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stebbins, “The Temperamentals” holds a special place in his heart. “In 2009 I purchased tickets to see ‘The Temperamentals’ Off-Broadway. I took my mentor, friend, and ‘gay uncle’ Walt Witcover. Walt just recently entered into a very difficult time in his life. This is a man I've known for over 25 years — he’ll be 88 later this month. Walt's partner of 36 years passed away in 1996. They called me the son they never had. Walt and his partner, Richard, talked about their experiences being gay in the 50's, being entrapped by policemen, finding safe houses for gay men where they could go to be themselves, clubs both social and sexual. What courage and strength it took to be ‘out’ in those days — to fight for rights and/or recognition. After seeing ‘The Temperamentals,’ I thought of it as a dedication to all of those who persevered so that people like me could live the life that I lead today. When the lights came up after the performance, Walt and I sat for a long time and talked about it. It was important to both of us. I've been so fortunate to explore these worlds, meet some of these people. Plays like ‘The Temperamentals’ make me wonder about the oh-so-many men and women who I'll never meet, never know, who helped to make our world a better and more accepting place.”
Stebbins adds, “The playwright, Jon Marans, let me know how thrilled he was that Rep Stage was producing ‘The Temperamentals,’ and he shared that he also felt that ‘this play was a dedication to all those who persevered so that we can live the life we live today.’”
Of the 2010 Drama Desk Award-winning play, Ben Brantley of the New York Times wrote: “Amazing, isn’t it, what could be hidden behind those sober jackets and ties that made American men look all but interchangeable in the early 1950s…Marans’ eminently likable docudrama about gay identity in the age of Eisenhower begins with a classic vision of mid-20th-century uniformity… guys in off-the-peg suits, as anonymous as the standard-issue…Yet it doesn’t make the mistake of letting its characters exchange one set of stereotypical traits (timid, oppressed, self-loathing) for another (confident, assertive, proud). The diversity that’s celebrated here is within each of the individuals portrayed. This awareness of the lively inconsistencies that teem within any personality makes ‘The Temperamentals’ more than just an inspirational history lesson.”
Press performance is Saturday, September 1, at 8 p.m. For photos and reservations, contact Mike Scrivener in the HCC Office of Public Relations and Marketing at 443-518-3133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A post-show reception follows the Saturday, September 1, 8 p.m. evening performance and free post-show discussions follow the Friday, September 7 and 14 performances. There will be a pre-show lecture discussing aspects of the history of the Mattachine Society before the Saturday, September 15 matinee performance beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Monteabaro Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public and is subject to change. No tickets are needed for the lecture. For further information, visit www.repstage.org or call 443-518-1500.
Meet the Playwright:
Meet the Director:
Kasi Campbell has mounted 25 productions for Rep Stage since its inception, including
“The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?,” “God’s Ear,” “In the Heart of America,” “Bach at Leipzig,” “Arcadia,”
“The Violet Hour,” “Translations,” “Faith Healer,” “The Judas Kiss,” “Da,” “Travels With My Aunt,” and last season’s “Yellowman.” Ms. Campbell has directed productions and readings for The Kennedy Center, Theatre J, Theatre Alliance, Washington Stage Guild, Source Theatre, Spooky Action Theatre, WSC Avant Bard, the former National Puppetry Center, Groton Center for the Arts, University of Connecticut, Catholic University and Indiana University. She received a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director in 2004 for Rep Stage’s “The Dazzle.” She is an associate professor of theatre at HCC, serving as the coordinator of theatre performance.
Meet the Cast:
Rick Hammerly (Bob Hull/George Shibley/Others) has performed Off Broadway, regionally and locally, receiving a 2003 Helen Hayes Award for his turn as Hedwig in Signature Theatre’s production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” as well as nominations for his work as Prior Walter in “Angels in America” and “Me and Jezebel,” as a post-stroke Bette Davis. In 2009, he became a founding company member of Factory 449: a theatre collective and has since produced their productions of “4.48 Psychosis,” “The Saint Plays,” “Magnificent Waste” and “The Ice Child.” He currently serves as the producing artistic director for Factory 449, a 2011 Helen Hayes Award recipient of the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company. A Washington area native, Mr. Hammerly received his master’s degree in Film and Video Production from American University in 2006. His debut film, “signage,” which he wrote, directed and produced, has screened in over 60 film festivals world wide, garnered six festival awards and was licensed by MTV for their LOGO Channel. He is currently completing his second master’s degree, in Arts Management, at American University and is a member of Actors’ Equity.
Vaughn Irving (Chuck Rowland/Vincente/Others) is making his Rep Stage debut. New to the DC area, local credits include: “Disney’s Mulan,” and “Wind in the Willows” at Imagination Stage, “Rock Bottom: A Rock Opus” with Landless Theatre Co., and most recently “Superhero Celebrity Rehab: the Musical” (Winner of the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival Audience Choice Award for Best Musical). Mr. Irving's regional theatre credits include Wayside Theatre in VA, Totem Pole Playhouse in PA, Cumberland Theatre in MD, Drury Lane in IL, The Old Creamery Theatre Co. in IA, Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse in IL, and Post Playhouse in NE. Originally from Santa Fe, NM, he holds a BFA in Music Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University, is on the faculty of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, and is a member of Actors’ Equity.
Brandon McCoy (Dale/Nigel/Others) returns to Rep Stage having previously been seen in “The Glass Menagerie,” “In the Heart of America” and “Hamlet.” Recent DC area credits include “New Jerusalem” and “The History of Invulnerability” at Theatre J; “Pride and Prejudice” at Round House Theatre; “Touch” with No Rules Theatre Company; “Harvey,” “Apocalyptic Butterflies,” and “Picnic” with The Bay Theatre Company; and “Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven” at Studio Theatre 2nd Stage. Mr. McCoy received his BFA in Acting/Directing from Marshall University in his hometown of Huntington, WV, and his MFA in Acting from The Catholic University of America. He is an adjunct of Acting and Voice at HCC and The Catholic University of America, as well as the Resident Teaching Artist with the Compass Rose Studio Theater in Annapolis. Next, he will be directing “To Kill A Mockingbird” for the Compass Rose Studio Theater and acting in Theatre J’s production of “Apples from the Desert.”
Rep Stage stalwart Nigel Reed (Harry Hay) returns to Rep Stage where, in 2002, he received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Oscar Wilde in “The Judas Kiss.” Other Rep Stage roles include John Barrymore in “Barrymore,” Aunt Augusta in “Travels With My Aunt,” Dalton Trumbo in “Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted,” Claudius in “Hamlet,” Trigorin in “The Seagull,” Frank Hardy in “Faith Healer,” Dexter Haven in “The Philadelphia Story,” Ambrosio in “Ambrosio,” Sterling in “Jeffery,” and Baron Van Swieten in “Amadeus.” Mr. Reed has appeared at various Baltimore/Washington area theatres including Everyman Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Signature Theatre, Forum Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, Bay Theatre Co., Potomac Theatre Project, Theater Alliance, and The Washington Stage Guild. Off Broadway, Mr. Reed appeared with Philip Bosco in “Misalliance.” Mr. Reed adds several productions of Deathtrap to his credits; opposite George Grizzard and Robert Reed in separate stock productions, and the National Tour with Brian Bedford. Daytime drama fans may remember him as Wally McFadden on “All My Children,” and as Tim Werner on “Guiding Light.” Mr. Reed is a member of Actors’ Equity.
Alexander Strain (Rudi Gernreich/Woman #4) is no stranger to Rep Stage, having appeared in “In the Heart of America” and “Bach at Leipzig.” Mr. Strain is well known to DC/Baltimore audiences, having acted in numerous productions at The Everyman, The Washington Shakespeare Company, The Roundhouse Theatre, Theatre Alliance, Forum Theatre (company member) and most recently at Theatre J, where he reprised his 2010 role of Baruch Spinoza in “New Jerusalem” and appeared as Caleb DeLeon in “The Whipping Man.” He is also a Boomerang Fund for Artists Grant Award Recipient and a member of Actors’ Equity.
Meet the Design Team:
“The Temperamentals” design team includes Denise Umland (costume designer), J.D. Madsen (set designer), Dan Covey (lighting designer), Natalia Leimkuhler (properties designer), and Neil McFadden (sound designer).