Called "an intimate portrait of passion, betrayal and international espionage," The English Bride, by New Jersey playwright Lucile Lichtblau, will make its World Premiere* at the professional Centenary Stage Company April 5-21 in the Lackland Center in Hackettstown.
Inspired by a real-life, failed bombing attempt on an El Al flight out of London in the early years of terrorism, The English Bride is a compelling mystery centered around an interrogation of Englishwoman, Eileen Finney and the Arab man with whom she has fallen in love, Ali Said. As the story of their unlikely relationship unfolds, a tangled web of love, lies, and confessions is revealed, causing the viewer to question who was using whom when the dust settles. Theatre critic Toby Zinman stated, "The English Bride requires ...a willingness to face the fact that the truth is only knowable part of the time. A lesson the play will teach us." The CSC production will be directed by Carl Wallnau.
The English Bride is winner of the 2011 Susan Glaspell Award, and it has been nominated for the prestigious Steinberg Award of the American Theatre Critics Association. The play received development in the annual CSC Women Playwrights Series, and is part of the first "Rolling World Premiere*" collaboration initiated by the Centenary Stage Company, an affiliate member of the National New Play Network. In addition to a "partner production" at the Theatre Exile in Philadelphia, The English Bride will be performed at 59E59 Theatre in New York City in October, 2013.
Author Lucile Lichtblau is a graduate of Yale Drama School, where she received an MCA Playwriting Fellowship. In addition to Theatre Exile in Philadelphia, Lichtblau's work has been produced by The Manhattan Theatre Source, The Vital Theatre, and The Hudson Opera House, among others. Her play CAR TALK had its world premiere in 2009 at Stageworks, in Hudson, NY. Her play "Urban Legend" won the Pandora Box Production's New Play Festival, and her new play "Hemings Diary" received development at Luna Stage, and in the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where it was nominated for the Weissberger Award, given annually by the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Lichtblau also adapted the classic Dickens tale titled A CHRISTMAS CAROL, ABRIDGED and RIP, a fun-filled adaptation of Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" for Stageworks.
Centenary Stage Company is an affiliate member of the National New Play Network, a national organization in residence at the Wooly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C. which serves to promote and encourage the development, production and continued life of new plays. The result is a "Rolling World Premiere" through which the playwright develops a new work with multiple creative teams and theatres, for different communities of patrons, ensuring the resulting play is of the highest possible quality. And, with multiple productions in a single year, the play attains the momentum it needs to join the repertoire of frequently-produced new American works.
Centenary Stage Company is also an advocate of the "50/50 in 2020" movement, a national grassroots movement endorsed by The League of Professional Theatre Women dedicated to achieving parity for women in theatre by the hundredth anniversary of American suffrage. The organization exists to encourage and support independent initiatives that promote the acknowledgement of the contribution of women to theatre; research on the status of women in theatre; and awareness, advocacy, empowerment and change. Currently 20% of all works produced on American stages is written by women.
Now in its 21st season, Centenary Stage Company's Women's Playwright Series (WPS) is a developmental program dedicated to providing a working forum for the unique and underserved voice of women writing for the theatre today. Each season 3 new plays are selected from submissions from around the country for a collaborative workshop process, with a professional director and actors. At the end of a rehearsal period, a staged reading of the play is presented at CSC for regional audiences, giving CSC audiences larger exposure to new work, as well as offering the playwright an opportunity to get crucial feedback from the audience during the development process. The WPS program is led by Catherine Rust.
Tickets for the CSC production of The English Bride range from $17.50 to $27.50 with discounts for students and seniors. The production will run from April 5th through April 21st, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays (date night), 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:00 p. m. on Sundays and on Wednesday, April 10th. There is also a school matinee on Wednesday, April 17th at 10 am, which will be followed by a discussion with the playwright and cast. Thursdays are DATE NIGHT at CSC, with a two-for-one discount available as a "rush seat" at the door. CSC's MEET THE PLAYWRIGHT Talk-back series will be offered on Sunday, Apr 7th and Wednesday, Apr 17th. All performances will be in the Edith Bolte Kutz Theatre of the Lackland Center at 715 Grand Avenue.
The Centenary Stage Company is a not-for-profit professional Equity theatre in residence at Centenary College dedicated to serving as a cultural resource for audiences of the Skylands Region, with professional music, theatre and dance events and arts education programs throughout the year
Pictured: (top) Ezra Barnes as "Dov," Amy Griffin as "Eileen," and Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as "Ali". (right) "The English Bride" Playwright, Lucile Lichtblau (Fort Lee, NJ).