Professional Nonprofit Theater on Martha's Vineyard
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24 Church Street, Box 2452, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 | 508-696-6300
Patricia Neal Stage

Dear Elizabeth

by Sarah Ruhl
directed by Joann Green Breuer
Opening Night: Saturday, June 22
Stage Manager Timothy Toothman
Lighting & Sound Design by Ernest W. Iannaccone
Costumes by Cynthia Bermudes
Poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell shared a deep, thirty-year friendship. A love story told through their brilliant, witty, revealing correspondence.

Sarah Ruhl (Playwright)

Her plays include Stage Kiss, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee for best new play), The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, (Pen American award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes award); Melancholy Play (a musical with Todd Almond); Eurydice; Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP nomination), Late: a cowboy song, Three Sisters, Dear Elizabeth, The Oldest Boy and most recently, and For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday and How To Transcend a Happy Marriage. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, Off-Broadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, with premieres often at Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater,  and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. Her plays have also been produced internationally and have been translated into over twelve languages.  Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. An alum of 13P and of New Dramatists, she won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 and most recently, the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.. She was the recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright, the Whiting Writers award, the Feminist Press’ Forty under Forty award, and a Lilly Award. She proudly served on the executive council of the Dramatist’s Guild for three years, and she is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama. Her book of essays on the theater and motherhood, 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, was a Times Notable Book of the Year. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Joann Green Breuer (Director)

Joann is a longtime Artistic Associate at Martha's Vineyard Playhouse where she has directed over twenty productions, including Tennessee Williams: Original Acts, Faith Healer and many more. She was co-founder and Artistic Director of the annually multi-award winning Cambridge Ensemble. Joann taught acting at Harvard University where she was faculty adviser to the student Experimental Theatre. She has been a contributing writer to artsfuse.org, and an Associate of the North American Actors’ Association (London). Joann is author of THE SMALL THEATRE HANDBOOK. She is a recipient of the Boston critics’ Eliot Norton Award for Continuous Excellence in Directing.

Jeannie Affelder (Elizabeth Bishop)

Jeannie is delighted to return to the Playhouse where she appeared last summer in a Monday Night Special of Nuclear Family directed by Joann Green Breuer, her college acting teacher and long-time friend. Jeannie is a Chicago based actress where she has appeared on stage at many theatres including TimeLine, Steppenwolf, Writers, FirstFolio, and Court. She originated roles in two premiere productions: Lucy in Lynda Barry's The Good Times Are Killing Me, and Simone Beck in William Brown and Doug Frew's To Master The Art. Jeannie has appeared on Chicago PD, Sirens, and in the forthcoming film, Bird of Paradise. She thanks her family, always.

Raymond Fox (Robert Lowell)

THEATER Broadway and Off-Broadway: Metamorphoses (Second Stage Theater; Circle in the Square Theatre); Regional: Guthrie Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre; Seattle Repertory Theatre; Arena Stage, Arden Theatre Company; South Coast Repertory; Remy Bumppo Theatre Company; Route 66 Theatre Company; Hartford Stage; American Repertory Theater; Indiana Repertory Theatre; Alliance Theatre; Meadow Brook Theatre; The House Theatre of Chicago; Mark Taper Forum; Court Theatre; McCarter Theatre Center; Kansas City Repertory Theatre; First Folio Theatre; Stratford Festival; TimeLine Theatre; Lookingglass Theatre Company (ensemble member). AWARDS 2013 Jeff Award (Blood and Gifts). TRAINING Northwestern University; The A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University

Cynthia Bermudes (Costume Design)

B.A. Fashion Merchandising; B.A. Fashion Design Oregon State University. She spent several summers working at Shakespeare festivals. For years she was proprietress of a design and alteration studio. Love of theater and design brought her full circle to Martha's Vineyard Playhouse where she is in her sixth season as Resident Costume Designer.

Ernest W. Iannaccone (Lighting & Sound Design)

He has designed lights and sets for numerous productions on Martha’s Vineyard at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse including CHILMARK, PASSIONATA, RED, THE SECOND GIRL and at The Yard for choreographers Gus Solomons Jr, Shapiro and Smith, Doug Elkins and others. For eight years he was the technical director at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA where he designed lights and or sets for AVENUE Q, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS, THE PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, THE MAGIC FLUTE, CABARET, and SWEENEY TODD. Ernie has a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from New York University in Lighting Design and a BA in Music Education from New Jersey City University. He plays bassoon, performs comedy improv and is a Project manager in the System Sales Department for High Output/Boston.

Timothy Toothman (Stage Manager)

Timothy is pleased to return to the Playhouse after a two-year absence. He has stage managed over 20 Playhouse productions since 2003. Mr. Toothman recently retired after 15 years as a Company Stage Manager and Artistic Associate for Arizona Theatre Company in Tucson and Phoenix. He has stage managed at numerous regional theatres including Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York; Kansas City Repertory Theatre; and San Jose Repertory theatre.  a member of Actors’ Equity association since 1974, he has been a summer Island resident since 1992 and an annual Vineyard visitor for 15 years prior to that. Mr. Toothman’s late father-in-law, Basil Langton, ran the Rice Playhouse for two seasons in the early 1950’s and, following that, spent many summers up-island. 

Read the MV Times review.

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