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Friday, January 15, 2010

Taproot Theatre opens 2010 Season with CS Lewis' The Great Divorce

David Dorrian
photograph by Erik Stuhaug

Regional premiere opens on January 29

SEATTLE – December 30, 2009 – Three months after the fire that caused severe damage to its Greenwood playhouse, Taproot Theatre is thrilled to reopen the theatre with the regional premiere of The Great Divorce, the first show in its 2010 Season. The theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ fantastical novel opens on January 29, a night full of celebration and new beginnings. The Great Divorce, adapted by George Drance and the Magis Theatre Company (NY) and directed by Scott Nolte, runs through February 27.

“Opening our 34th season would be exciting enough, but this one is extra special,” Nolte said. “After everything that’s happened, everything we’ve been through, these past months, I’m thrilled to be marking this new period in Taproot Theatre’s history with a premiere of C.S. Lewis’ fictional masterpiece.”

In The Great Divorce, one drizzly afternoon our author embarks on a supernatural voyage with a cast of eccentric, humorous characters that bear a remarkable resemblance to us. Theatrical, imaginative and thought provoking, it’s a bus ride through hell to heaven that, in the grand C.S. Lewis tradition, leaves you breathless and wanting more.

“I saw the world premiere of this play Off-Broadway in 2007, and was spellbound at how well the story—so full of imagination and a world beyond our own—translated to the stage,” said Nolte. “We often speak about creating productions that are theatrical and imaginative, and this one will demand the best of our actors and designers to tell this story.”

In this production, ten actors portray 25 characters, including C.S. Lewis himself and author George MacDonald, who is Lewis’ guide through the story.

“When the original co-founders of Taproot Theatre were just getting started, we often staged productions—including Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe—with little more than boxes and chairs—and the audiences' imaginations!” Nolte said. “The artists' ability to capture that imagination is where the magic of theatre is, and I'm excited to be directing such a unique play as The Great Divorce this winter.”

The Great Divorce features David Dorrian as C.S. Lewis and Nolan Palmer as George MacDonald, along with Ryan Childers, Jenny Cross, Nathan Jeffrey, Kim Morris, Pam Nolte, Faith Russell, Candace Vance and Sam Vance. The production team includes scenic and sound designer Mark Lund, costume designer Sarah Burch Gordon and lighting designer Jody Briggs. Anne Hitt serves as stage manager, Kate Forster as dialect coach and Judy Naegeli as dramaturg.

After The Great Divorce, Taproot Theatre’s 2010 Season continues with the regional premiere of Brooklyn Boy by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies (March 17-April 17), Brandon Thomas’s Charley’s Aunt (May 12-June 12), Man of La Mancha (a musical play by Dale Wasserman with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion; original production staged by Albert Marre; originally produced by Albert W. Selden and Hal James; July 7-August 7), and the regional premiere of Wedding Belles by Alan Bailey and Ronnie Claire Edwards (September 22-October 23).