Kim Zimmer, GUIDING LIGHT’s Reva Shayne, Stars in CRT’sOdysseus D.O.A.
The Epic Poem Re-imagined For Today
Storrs: Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will present the regional premiere of Stephen Svoboda’s Odysseus D.O.A. starring Kim Zimmer, February 23 – March 4, 2012 in the Nafe Katter Theatre, Storrs. For tickets and information, call 860-486-4226 or visit www.crt.uconn.edu.
Experience The Odyssey re-imagined: a magical place where the blind see, the sick love and drag queens become goddesses. As the final stages of his disease bend his vivid imagination, Elliot becomes the legendary hero Odysseus determined to bring his crew – his fellow patients on the AIDS ward – home despite all the obstacles the gods throw in his way. This wise, heartfelt drama charts one man's heroic quest for Kleos - to live a life worthy of being remembered. Playwright Stephen Svoboda will direct his work in its regional premiere. Critic Martin Denton calls this a "majestic play . . . poetic, surreal and wonderfully humorous."
"Odysseus D.O.A." will feature daytime TV star Kim Zimmer in the role of Elliot’s mother, Mrs. Hayes. Kim Zimmer is best known for her years as Reva Shayne on GUIDING LIGHT where she earned four Outstanding Lead Actress Emmys. Most recently, Zimmer reprised her role of Echo DiSavoy on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. She started her career in Chicago, appearing in several shows at the Drury Lane and across the city, most notably "The Big Knife," "Accent of Youth" with Ricardo Montalban and "Godspell." Her career in daytime TV started in 1979 when she assumed the role of Nola Dancy on THE DOCTORS. Regional theater highlights include "Curtains," "Lost Boy Found In Whole Foods," "Blood Brothers," "Gypsy," "Dirty Blonde," "Shirley Valentine" and off-Broadway in "Two Dogs and a Bone and Love," "Loss And What I Wore." Film credits include Body Heat and The Big Bowling Ball. Other television credits include Designing Women, Seinfeld and many more. She also is the best-selling author of "I'm Just Sayin!" a memoir of her experiences and lessons learned throughout her 30 year career.
"Odysseus D.O.A." tells the story of Elliot Hayes, a 30 year-old man who got AIDS from his first and only love while an undergraduate at Columbia. When he discovered he was ill, Elliot returned home to seclusion with his mother, shutting out the world. The story begins after 10 years have passed and Mrs. Hayes has admitted Elliot into the hospital because his verbal ability has rapidly deteriorated. Elliot is diagnosed with brain lesions and given just days to live. In his final days at the hospital, Elliot switches between reality and waking dreams in which he becomes the legendary Odysseus and the patients and staff in the AIDS ward become his crew who he strives to lead home from the Trojan War. In his Homeric delusions he encounters monsters, sorceresses and many other colorful and fantastic characters from "The Odyssey" as Elliot faces his fate with courage and meaning.
Artistic Director Vincent J. Cardinal says of the work, “It’s a play full of vitality and humor about all that makes life worth while. I am thrilled to introduce the region to this exciting playwright and his electrifying play.”
Playwright and Director Stephen Svoboda said, “Working with CRT is an unbelievable opportunity to reinvent my play with a first rate design team and a dream cast lead by the incredible Kim Zimmer.”
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Stephen Svoboda (Playwright/Director) is currently the Executive Director for The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake, NY and the Red House Arts Center in Syracuse, NY. Previously, he was the Head of the B.F.A. program in Directing and Playwriting in the Theatre Arts Department at the University of Miami and the Artistic Director of Miami’s Fresco Productions. He was also the director of the University of Miami Summer Theater Academy, an eight-week summer intensive theater program for children in kindergarten through eleventh grade. His play Odysseus Died from AIDS (original title), was developed in Miami and received its world premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival, where the production was awarded “Best Ensemble.” Odysseus Died from AIDS was published in the anthology Plays and Playwrights 2005, by the NY Theatre Experience, and received its international premiere in 2007 in Athens, Greece then in Seoul, South Korea in 2008. Odysseus DOA received a limited engagement run at the Lion Theater in NY in March 2010. His play The Penguin Tango, premiered at the 2006 NY International Fringe Festival in The Actor’s Playhouse. It was extended as part of the Fringe Encore Series in the Lion Theater at Theatre Row. Reconstructing Mama, a new musical he wrote with composer NDavid Williams, premiered Off-Broadway at The Theatre Row Studios in August 2006. He works internationally with The Harambe Project in HIV/AIDS education and prevention and orphan care throughout Africa.
The Design team includes: Allison McGrath, Scenic Designer; Maureen Freedman, Costume Designer; Kwame Tucker, Lighting Designer; Colleen McLaughlin, Projection Designer; and Michael Freyer, Sound Designer.
John Bixler (Elliot) is an Actors’ Equity Association guest artist returning to CRT after appearing in Guys and Dollsand My Fair Lady in the 2011 CRT Nutmeg Summer Series. His credits include sic (Red House), Shining City, Master Harold And The Boys (Gables Stage), The Last Sunday In June, Lying In State (The Caldwell Theatre), and Johnny Guitar: The Musical, House & Garden, (Actor’s Playhouse). Other New York credits include The Penguin Tango, Alex Underground, The Baltimore Waltz, Buddy Building, Hamlet, and Endgame. John can be seen on the weekly YouTube web series “Steve Hayes: Tired Old Queen At The Movies.”
Jan Radcliff (Mrs. Collins) is an Actors’ Equity Association guest artist. Her past credits include Sister Aloysius inDoubt and Vivian Bearing in WIT – both of which garnered Best Actress Awards in the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. Recent credits include Necessary Targets, and the world premiere of Some Couples May at the Purple Rose Theatre. She has also appeared in independent feature films opposite Pierce Brosnan, Ed Harris, Tom Berenger and Aaron Paul. A longtime member of SAG, AFTRA and Equity, Jan had the good fortune to study acting with Uta Hagan. She has been the recipient of acting awards from The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, The Oakland Press and Between The Lines as well as the Birmingham-Bloomfield Arts Council Award in recognition of her contribution to theatre and the arts. Jan will be seen at the Purple Rose Theatre in the 2012 summer production ofOn Golden Pond.
The cast will feature MFA actor Anthony Goes, as well as BFA actors: Will Graziano, Shane Tyler Harris, Darrell Hollens, Briana Maia, Coles Prince, Maggie Sulka, and Desmond Thorne.
Please call 860-486-4226 for tickets or for more information. Please call or visit the box office for specific show dates and times because performance schedules vary and are subject to change. Tickets are available online at www.crt.uconn.edu.
Weeknight evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. Weekend evening performances start at 8 p.m. Matinee performances start at 2 p.m.
February –March 2012
Photo Credit: JPI