Portland, OR. Cast and creative crew raised their glasses to toast the launch of the Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home. Portland Center Stage at The Armory’s 30thanniversary opened with the groundbreaking work described by the New York Times as, “a Beautiful Heartbreaker.” It’s based on the celebrated graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel. The Fun Home opening night party was September 22nd, and the musical will run through October 22nd on The Armory’s U.S. Bank Main Stage. At the party opening night party, “Fun Home” cast members, the three Alisons, Allison Mickelson, Aida Valentine and Sara Masterson, posed for a photo.
“Fun Home” director Chris Coleman with his husband Rodney Hicks (who recently appeared on Broadway in “Come From Away”); actor Merideth Kaye Clark (creator/performer for The Armory’s upcoming production of “Winter Song”); and “Fun Home” Stage Manager Mark Tynan.
Members of the “Fun Home” cast and creative team: Faith Sandberg (Helen Bechdel) with Stage Manager Mark Tynan and Sara Masterson (Medium Alison).
Allison Mickelson, who stars as adult Alison in “Fun Home” with Chris Porras, media director for Artslandia Magazine.
The cast of “Fun Home” with Stage Manager Mark Tynan (center).
“Fun Home” director Chris Coleman with his husband Rodney Hicks.
“The story is an emotional excavation of sorts,” said Chris Coleman of Fun Home. “I think it’s one of the smartest, freshest pieces of writing we’ve seen in the musical theater genre,” he continued. “I had a chance to see the original incarnation at the Public Theater in New York and was just knocked out by how inventive the piece was. It manages to be charming and funny and heartbreaking and haunting all within the same 90 minutes.” Portland Center Stage at The Armory is fortunate to be one of the very first regional theater companies to get the rights to produce its own version of the production, which will be presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
Based on Alison Bechdel’s witty and wistful illustrated autobiography of the same name, the Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home ushers us inside Alison’s head — at three different ages — as she struggles to process the chain of childhood events that made her the adult she is today. Growing up in a funeral home as the closeted lesbian daughter of a father with secrets of his own was complicated. But by looking back on her family life, and remembering all the loving, silly, and even shameful moments, Alison learns to see her parents — and herself — for who they really are.
Theo Curl as John Bechdel, Karsten George as Christian Bechdel, Allison Mickelson as Alison, Faith Sandberg as Helen Bechdel and Aida Valentine as Small Alison in “Fun Home” at The Armory. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv.
The cast of “Fun Home” at The Armory. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv.
Allison Mickelson as Alison, Karsten George as Christian Bechdel, Theo Curl as John Bechdel and Aida Valentine as Small Alison in “Fun Home” at The Armory. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv.
From Portland Center Stage:
Regular tickets for Fun Home start at $25 and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased at www.pcs.org, 503.445.3700, or in-person from the box office (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR). Rush tickets are $20. Students and patrons who are 30 or younger can purchase $30 tickets in premium seating areas. $5 tickets are available for Oregon Trail Card holders through the Arts for All program. Regular tickets are 50% off for active duty or veteran military personnel and their immediate families. Discounts for groups of 10+. General performance times are Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m., and Thursday matinees at noon (special exclusions apply, see below). Fun Home is recommended for ages 16+; it contains adult situations, explicit language and sexual references. More information at www.pcs.org/funhome.
Fun Home premiered Off-Broadway at The Public in 2013 as a sell-out hit with critical acclaim. The New York Times review called it a “beautiful heartbreaker” and the production swept the Off-Broadway awards, including winning the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Lucille Lortel and Obie awards for Best Musical. The following year, Fun Home was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. When it opened on Broadway in 2015, The Huffington Post called it a “grippingly heartwarming story mixed with some of the most smart and joyful musical numbers presently on Broadway. Seekers of provocative, invigorating and entertaining theatre will find it.” Fun Home earned 12 Tony Award nominations and won five, including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. It made history as the first Broadway hit written by an all-female team to win a Tony Award for Best Musical
THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
Allison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was released in 2006 to widespread acclaim. The New York Times book review hailed it as a “pioneering work, pushing two genres (comics and memoir) in multiple new directions” and London’s The Times described it as a “profound and important book.” It was listed as one of the best books of 2006 by numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Times, New York Magazine and Publishers Weekly, and it was a finalist for the National Book Award. Bechdel, who had already gained national prominence for her countercultural comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, won the Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work for Fun Home, along with the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book and the Stonewall Book Award for Best Non-fiction, among others. Fun Home – despite controversial attempts to ban it from libraries and remove it from reading lists at universities – is now regarded as a contemporary literary classic.
Three actors play the central character at various ages: Allison Mickelson (National Tour of Elf: The Musical and Ragtime at Surflight Theater) will play Alison as the adult cartoonist reflecting on memories of her past; Sara Masterson (The Secret Garden at Idaho Shakespeare Festival and A Christmas Carol at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park) will play Medium Alison, the college freshman discovering her sexual identity; and Aida Valentine will play Small Alison, the young daughter living with her family in the house on Maple Avenue. Robert Mammana (Les Misérables on Broadway; The Sound of Music, Show Boat and Les Misérables National Tours) will take on the role of Alison’s father, Bruce Bechdel. Alison’s mother, Helen Bechdel, will be played by Faith Sandberg (The Fourth Messenger for New York Music Festival and The Good Girl for Manhattan Musical Theatre Lab). Alison’s brothers, John and Christian, will be played by Theo Curl (James in Oregon Children’s Theatre’s James and the Giant Peach) and Karsten George (Pugsley in The Addams Family at Broadway Rose Theatre), respectively. Joe Knispel (All The Way and Ah, Wilderness at Asolo Repertory Theater) will play the roles of Roy, Mark, Pete and Bobby Jeremy. Kristen DiMercurio (Murder Ballad at D.C.’s Studio Theatre and Grease at Totem Pole Playhouse) will take on the role of Joan, Medium Allison’s college classmate. Alexa Kelly Shaheen (The Magic Flute at Portland Opera) will be the understudy for Small Alison.
Eric Little (The Last Five Years and Sweeney Todd at The Armory) will serve as pianist; Will Amend (Little Shop of Horrors and Ain’t Misbehavin’ at The Armory) will play bass; Dale Tolliver will play the cello (LIZZIE and Fiddler on the Roof at The Armory); Mitch Wilson (Little Shop of Horrors and One Night with Janis Joplin at The Armory) will play the drums; Eric Toner (Little Shop of Horrors and Dreamgirls at The Armory) will play guitar; Mieke Bruggeman will play reeds (Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Fiddler on the Roof at The Armory); and Tylor Neist (Fiddler/Ensemble in Fiddler on the Roof at The Armory) will play violin/viola.
tHE Creative Team
Director Chris Coleman (recently Constellations and Astoria: Part One at The Armory) leads a creative team that includes Music DirectorRick Lewis (Astoria: Part One and Little Shop of Horrors at The Armory); Scenic DesignerWilliam Bloodgood (Cyrano and Other Desert Cities at The Armory); Costume Designer Alison Heryer (Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Wild and Reckless at The Armory); Lighting DesignerWilliam Kirkham (Constellations and The Oregon Trail at The Armory); Sound DesignerAlex Hawthorn (The Armory debut; Fly By Night and The Great Immensity Off-Broadway); Stage Manager Mark Tynan; Kristen Mun (assistant stage manager) and Jordan Affeldt and Katie Nguyen (production assistants).
Ticket and Performance Information
When: September 16* – October 22, 2017
*Opening night is Friday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Showtimes: General performance times are Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. (excluding Oct. 1, 15, 17 and 22), Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. (excluding Sep. 16, 17, 23 and Oct. 7), and Thursday matinees at noon (excluding Oct. 21).
To Purchase: Regular tickets range from $25 to $85. Rush tickets are $20. Students and patrons who are 30 or younger can purchase $30 tickets in all premium seating areas. $5 tickets are available for Oregon Trail Card holders through the Arts for All program. 50% off regular tickets for active duty or veteran military personnel and their immediate families. Discounts for groups of 10+. Prices vary by date, time, and seating area, and are subject to change.
Portland Center Stage at The Armory is the largest theater company in Portland and among the top 20 regional theaters in the country. Established in 1988 as a branch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the company became independent in 1994 and has been under the leadership of Artistic Director Chris Coleman since 2000. Around 150,000 visitors attend The Armory annually to enjoy a mix of classical, contemporary and world premiere productions, along with a variety of high quality education and community programs. 11 productions are offered each season, in addition to roughly 400 community events created — in partnership with 170+ local organizations and individuals — to serve the diverse populations in the city. As part of its dedication to new play development, the company has produced 23 world premieres and presents an annual new works festival, JAW: A Playwrights Festival. Home to two theaters, The Armory was the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue, to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.
THE 2017-2018 SEASON
The 2017-2018 season is funded in part by Season Superstars Tim and Mary Boyle and Lead Corporate Champion Umpqua Bank. Further support comes from Season Sponsors the Regional Arts and Culture Council, The Wallace Foundation and Oregon Arts Commission, a state agency funded by the state of Oregon and the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for Fun Home comes from Production Sponsors Blue Hour, The Standard, GBD Architects, Drs. Ann Smith Sehdev and Paul Sehdev, Dr. Barbara Hort, and Don and Mary Blair. Mark Spencer Hotel is the official hotel partner for the company. Portland Center Stage at The Armory was selected as a participant of the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative, a four-year effort with a nationwide cohort of 26 performing arts organizations.
Portland, OR. Portland Center Stage at The Armory announced its 30th anniversary that includes the world premiere of Astoria: Part Two and the “heart-gripping and cathartic” musical Fun Home, which swept the 2015 Tony Awards with five wins. The season continues with the funny, hopeful and uniquely theatrical Every Brilliant Thing; a partnership with Oregon Shakespeare Festival for Luis Alfaro’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles; a new holiday offering, A Christmas Memory paired with Winter Song, that will feature Portland-favorite Merideth Kaye Clark; the return of the holiday hit The Second City’s A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens; the world premiere of Astoria: Part Two, which will include reprise performances of the box office record-breaking Astoria: Part One; the world premiere of Kodachrome, which was developed at the company’s 2015 JAW: A Playwrights Festival under the title Colchester; the “engrossing theatrical hybrid” The Magic Play; DeLanna Studi’s deeply personal retracing of her ancestors’ footsteps in And So We Walked; Shaw’s witty and timely appraisal of capitalism, war, religion and politics, Major Barbara; and an exploration of the life of legendary singer Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.
To purchase season tickets, call 503-445-3700 or visit www.pcs.org. Back by popular demand is the Create Your Own Package, starting at $86.25 for three plays. The U.S. Bank Main Stage Series starts at $172.50. The Everything Series starts at $287.50. Students and those 35 and under enjoy special pricing for both series. The eight-admission Flexpass is available for $450. Groups of 10 or more can sign up for the priority seating list today and purchase tickets to the new season starting on July 5, 2017. Groups that book by August 31 receive 30% off regular ticket prices. Groups receive one free ticket for every 20 tickets purchased. To order group tickets call 503-445-3761 or visit www.pcs.org/groups. Find out more about the 2017-2018 season at www.pcs.org/2017-2018-season.
Here’s more detailed information about the season:
PORTLAND CENTER STAGE’S 2017-2018 SEASON
Please Note: Date ranges include preview performances.
Opening nights/press nights are listed separately.
Music by Jeanine Tesori; Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron
Based on the Graphic Novel by Alison Bechdel
Directed by Chris Coleman
September 16 – October 22, 2017 | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Opening Night/Press Night: September 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Based on Alison Bechdel’s witty and wistful illustrated autobiography of the same name, the Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home ushers us inside Alison’s head — at three different ages — as she struggles to process the chain of childhood events that made her the adult she is today. Growing up in a funeral home as the closeted lesbian daughter of a father with secrets of his own was complicated. But by looking back on her family life, and remembering all the loving, silly, and even shameful moments, she learns to see her parents — and herself — for who they really are.
Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Musical of 2015!
“Heart-gripping and cathartic, Fun Home occupies the place where we all grew up.”
-The New York Times
Every Brilliant Thing
By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe
Directed by George Perrin
September 23 – November 5, 2017 | Ellyn Bye Studio
Opening Night/Press Night: September 29 at 7:30 p.m.
A kid makes a list for his mom. A list of everything worth living for in the world. He needs her to read the list so she doesn’t try to leave the world again. As the kid grows up and experiences more life, more love, and more loss, his list of every brilliant thing gets longer and more vital with each addition. Duncan Macmillan’s play shines hilarious and compassionate light in dark corners of the human condition, and the way in which the creators have constructed the performance is refreshingly theatrical. A reminder that hope is never truly lost, and a testament to the healing power of storytelling.
“Heart-wrenching, hilarious … possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop.” ★★★★–The Guardian
Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles
By Luis Alfaro; Directed by Juliette Carrillo
November 4 – November 26, 2017 | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Opening Night/Press Night: November 10 at 7:30 p.m.
In this retelling of Medea, playwright Luis Alfaro blends tragedy, wry humor, Mexican folklore and a bracingly modern setting to unleash the power of Euripides’ ancient tale, seen through the lens of immigrants in the United States.
The Armory partners with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to bring this production to Portland.
“Mojada is unpretentious and entertaining … Alfaro understands that humor can act as a kind of escape valve. Alfaro knows how to walk that line between thunderous naturalism and absurdist pulp, being as our lives often seem composed of both.” -Chicago Tribune
A Christmas Memory paired with Winter Song
An Evening of Holiday Story and Song
November 18 – December 31, 2017 | Ellyn Bye Studio
Opening Night/Press Night: November 24 at 7:30 p.m.
A Christmas Memory
By Truman Capote; Directed by Brandon Woolley
An autobiographical recollection of Truman Capote’s rural Alabama boyhood, A Christmas Memory is a tiny gem of a holiday story, offering an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship between two innocent souls — one young and one old — and the memories they share of beloved holiday rituals.
-A World Premiere-
Created by Merideth Kaye Clark and Brandon Woolley; Directed by Brandon Woolley
The brilliant singer Merideth Kaye Clark (Fiddler on the Roof and The Last Five Years at The Armory, Wicked national tour) and The Armory’s Producing Associate Brandon Woolley are creating an original presentation of songs that celebrate winter holidays and all they represent: love, loss, family, solitude, renewal and friendship.
The Second City’s A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens
By Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort; Directed by Ron West
December 5 – December 31, 2017 | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Opening Night/Press Night: December 8 at 7:30 p.m.
A complete send-up of the holiday classic, this adult comedy is adorned with the improvisational genius of the legendary comedy troupe The Second City, and includes zany holiday sketches, an ever-changing list of drop-in local celebrities and uproarious improv based on audience participation — it’s never the same show twice! It has become a Portland holiday favorite, and will return in 2017 after runs at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Goodman Theatre in Chicago this past season.
“Twist comes at humor from so many angles, with such irreverence and zeal, your amusement is practically guaranteed.” -Oregon ArtsWatch
Astoria: Part Two
-A World Premiere-
Adapted and Directed by Chris Coleman; Based on “ASTORIA: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire, A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival” by Peter Stark
January 20 – February 18, 2018 | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Opening Night/Press Night: January 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Continuing the adventure of Part One, which told the stories of the expeditions by land and sea to establish trade routes to the Pacific Northwest, Part Two is about the extraordinary and ambitious endeavors leading to the establishment of Astoria, the first permanent United States settlement on the West Coast. For those who missed it, a few reprise performances of Astoria:Part One will be offered, including opportunities to experience the full story in a one-day marathon.
-A World Premiere-
By Adam Szymkowicz; Directed by Rose Riordan
February 3 – March 18, 2018 | Ellyn Bye Studio
Opening Night/Press Night: February 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Welcome to Colchester, a small town where everybody knows each other and the pace of life allows the pursuit of love to take up as much space as it needs. Our tour guide is Suzanne, the town photographer, who lets us peek into her neighbors’ lives to catch glimpses of romance in all its stages of development. A play about love, nostalgia, the seasons and how we learn to say goodbye.
A world premiere from the 2015 JAW festival (previously titled Colchester).
The Magic Play
By Andrew Hinderaker; Directed by Halena Kays
March 3 – April 1, 2018 | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Opening Night/Press Night: March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
A theater is a realm of illusion. So is a magic show. Playwright Andrew Hinderaker mashes these traditions together with alluring results. The Magic Play follows a young magician trying to get through a live show just hours after his partner has left him. As the performance progresses, he confronts the fact that the spectacular tricks that impress people on stage don’t serve him as well when it comes to building truthful personal relationships. This mesmerizing new play questions the extent to which we must be honest with ourselves in order to be so with those we love.
“The real magic in this engrossing theatrical hybrid … involves a very different bag of tricks altogether.”
And So We Walked
Written and Performed by DeLanna Studi; Directed by Corey B. Madden
March 31 – May 13, 2018 | Ellyn Bye Studio
Opening Night/Press Night: April 6 at 7:30 p.m.
A frank, funny and sometimes misguided story of a contemporary Cherokee woman who goes on a six-week, 900-mile journey with her father along the Trail of Tears in search of her heroic self. Through this personal odyssey, her sense of identity — both as a contemporary Cherokee and as a woman — is tested by the people and places she encounters.
DeLanna Studi plays Marie Dorion in Astoria, and then moves to the Ellyn Bye Studio to star in her own very personal play.
By George Bernard Shaw; Directed by Chris Coleman
April 14 – May 13, 2018 | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Opening Night/Press Night: April 20 at 7:30 p.m.
When her daughters Sarah and Barbara are both engaged to be married, Lady Britomart decides to ask her estranged industrialist husband, Andrew Undershaft, for support. Barbara, a Major in the Salvation Army, agrees to let her father visit her mission in the East End of London. In exchange, she promises to visit his munitions factory. The clash between Barbara’s philanthropic idealism and her father’s hard-headed capitalism are at the heart of Shaw’s witty and timely appraisal of capitalism, war, religion and politics.
“Shaw’s masterpiece.” -The Irish Times
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
By Lanie Robertson; Directed by Bill Fennelly
May 26 – July 1, 2018 | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Opening Night/Press Night: June 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Featuring iconic songs like “Strange Fruit,” “God Bless the Child” and “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” Lady Dayat Emerson’s Bar and Grill is an all-access pass to Billie Holiday’s final concert. With humor and hopefulness, the legendary singer takes us on a journey through the highs and lows of her tumultuous life, interspersed with exuberant renditions of her beloved repertoire.
Portland Center Stage at The Armory
Portland Center Stage at The Armory is the largest theater company in Portland and among the top 20 regional theaters in the country. Established in 1988 as a branch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the company became independent in 1994 and has been under the leadership of Artistic Director Chris Coleman since 2000. Around 160,000 visitors attend The Armory annually to enjoy a mix of classical, contemporary and world premiere productions, along with a variety of high quality education and community programs. 11 productions are offered each season, in addition to roughly 400 community events created — in partnership with 170+ local organizations and individuals — to serve the diverse populations in the city. As part of its dedication to new play development, the company has produced 21 world premieres and presents an annual new works festival, JAW: A Playwrights Festival. Home to two theaters, The Armory was the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue, to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.
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