The Vietnamization of New Jersey
Blanche Baker (Ozzie Ann in The Vietnamization of New Jersey) recently resumed her acting career after taking a break to raise a family. The Vietnamization Of New Jersey is her return to the New York Off-Broadway stage, where she had previously won acclaim for her roles in the original productions of Steel Magnolias and Poor Little Lambs among others. On Broadway she played the title role in Edward Albee’s Lolita. Ms. Baker began her stage career with the Yale Repertory Theatre, where she starred in The Wild Duck directed by Robert Brustein and White Marriage directed by Andrzej Wajda. Her film credits include Sixteen Candles, The Handmaid’s Tale, Shakedown, Raw Deal, Living Large, French Postcards and The Seduction Of Joe Tynan. She recently played lead roles in two independent films: Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door and Jersey Justice and is looking forward to her role in Jackrabbit Sky this February. In television, her numerous credits eventually earned her an Emmy Award for her work in the mini-series Holocaust.
Frank Deal (Harry/Larry in The Vietnamization of New Jersey) most recently completed shooting The Tourist (starring Ewan MacGregor and Hugh Jackman). NYC theatre credits include, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (Minetta Lane), One Neck (Atlantic w/ Alison Janney), Second Hand Smoke (Primary Stages), Culture Project, Triplex, etc. Regionally: Mr. Roberts (Kennedy Center), Sideman (as Gene Glimmer, The Guthrie, dir. Ethan McSweeney), Six Years (06 ATL Humana Festival, dir., Hal Brooks) Black Dahlia (Yale Rep), Virginia Stage, Merrimack Rep, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Adirondack Theatre Festival, etc. Recent Film: Flannel Pajamas (O6 Sundance), The House is Burning (‘06 Cannes). TV: Sopranos, Third Watch, Ed, multiple episodes of Law and Order and Law and Order: SVU (in the recurring role of Don Newvine),etc. Faculty member: The Juilliard School.
(Et in The Vietnamization of New Jersey) The Merchant of Venice (California Shakespeare Theatre; dir. Daniel Fish), Edward II (New York, Chicago, LA; dir. Sam Gold), A Midsummer Nights Dream (New York, Chicago, LA; dir. Joe Dowling), The world premeire of Craig Lucas’ musical The Listener (dir. Mark Wing-Davey). Nick is a 2006 graduate of The Juilliard School’s Drama Division (Group 35!).
James’ (Hazel in The Vietnamization of New Jersey) most recent work was a guest starring role on Law & Order: SVU. Soap opera fans will recognize James from his recurring appearances on As The World Turns, One Life to Live, and Guiding Light. James has traveled the world performing Shakespeare from Nigeria, Africa to Russia to his home state of Ohio. His favorite roles include Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and starring in the award-winning short film Rage.
Corey Sullivan (David in The Vietnamization of New Jersey) is an Associate Artist of Theater Mitu, the Company-in-Residence at New York Theater Workshop. Productions with his company include The Myth Cycle: Ahraihsak; Happy Accident #1; Dhammashok; The Mahabharata; The Ramayana. Other productions include work with Jollyship the Whizbang; RMT/Mark Taper Forum; Chashama/BAM Summer Festival; Hudson River Theater. He studied Film at MassArt, and received a BA in Theater and Theology at Bard College. He is honored to be part of this production, and dedicates his performance to The Bobbies.
Susan Gross is thrilled to be making her Off-Broadway debut with Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan as “Liat” in Christopher Durang’s The Vietnamization of New Jersey. Regional credits include: Cyrano (New Repertory Theatre), A Little Night Music (Lyric Stage), Out at Sea, The Pole (Stoneham Theatre), Almost Asleep, Acts of Futility: Six Samuel Beckett One-Acts (Molasses Tank Productions) and the New England premiere of Popcorn (Zeitgeist Stage). Other regional credits include Improv Asylum (Boston), Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Virginia where she is originally from. She has been a big fan of Durang since performing in Baby with the Bathwater, once in college and again professionally in Boston (in different roles). She’s also a big fan of Robert Saxner since he directed her in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea while in Boston. Film: actor and stand-in for Rebecca Pidgeon on the independent film Advice and Dissent (Eli Wallach, John Pankow). Susan holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Roanoke College. Proud member of AEA.
Michael Cyril Creighton (Fr. McGillicutty in The Vietnamization of New Jersey) has co-written and starred in the plays Rip Me Open (Dixon Place/Galapagos) and The Hermitage Of An Exiled Chain Smoker (FringeNYC). Other work includes: The Bellhop in Lend Me A Tenor (George Street Playhouse), Sequins for Satan (Galapagos), 365 Days/365 Plays (The Public Theatre) and The Debate Society Presents: The Bathroom (Avant-Garde-Arama @ PS 122). Michael can be seen in the short film Cotton Candy (Finalist for The Akira Kurosawa Competition), on an episode of the web sitcom The Burg, and as a featured commentator for VH1’s Best Night Ever Podcast. Michael is a Resident Artist at Galapagos Art Space. BFA, Emerson College.
Christopher Durang is a playwright whose plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical, 1978), The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie award; off-Bway run 1981-83), Beyond Therapy (on Broadway in 1982, with Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow), Baby with the Bathwater (Playwrights Horizons, 1983), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Public Theatre, 1985; Obie award, Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award), Laughing Wild (Playwrights Horizons, 1987), Durang/Durang (an evening of six plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, 1994, including the Tennessee Williams’ parody, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls), Sex and Longing (Lincoln Center Theatre production at the Cort Theatre, 1996, starring Sigourney Weaver), and Betty’s Summer Vacation (Playwrights Horizons, 1999; Obie award).
His most recent works are Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, which premiered at City Theatre in Pittsburgh in 2002. And the musical Adrift in Macao, with music by Peter Melnick and book and lyrics by Durang, which premiered at New York Stage and Film in summer 2002, and is under option for off-Broadway 2003-04.
Durang is also a performer, and acted with E. Katherine Kerr in the N.Y. premiere of Laughing Wild, and with Jean Smart in the L.A. production. He shared in an acting ensemble Obie for The Marriage of Bette and Boo; and with John Augustine and Sherry Anderson has performed his crackpot cabaret Chris Durang and Dawne at the Criterion Center, Caroline’s Comedy Club, Williamstown Summer Cabaret, and the Triad, winning a 1996 Bistro Award.
In the early 80s, he and Sigourney Weaver co-wrote and performed in their acclaimed Brecht-Weill parody, Das Lusitania Songspiel, and were both nominated for Drama Desk awards for Best Performer in a Musical.
In 1993 he sang in the five person off-Broadway Sondheim revue, Putting It Together, with Julie Andrews at the Manhattan Theatre Club. And he played a singing Congressman in the Encores presentation of Call Me Madam with Tyne Daly at City Center.
In movies, he has appeared in The Secret of My Success, Mr. North, The Butcher’s Wife, Housesitter, and The Cowboy Way, among others.
He has a B.A. from Harvard College, and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama.
In 1995 he won the prestigious three-year Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers Award; as part of his grant, he ran a writing workshop for adult children of alcoholics. In 2000 he won the Sidney Kingsley Playwriting Award.
Grove Press publishes several of his plays. Smith and Kraus recently published two new collections: “Christopher Durang: 27 Short Plays” and “Christopher Durang: Complete Full-Length Plays” (1975-1995). Grove has recently published Betty’s Summer Vacation.
Since 1994 he has been co-chair with Marsha Norman of the Playwriting Program at the Juilliard School in Manhattan.
He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
Producing credits include the Off-Broadway premieres of Umbrella by L. Pontius, Harvest by David Wright Crawford and The Vietnamization of New Jersey by Christopher Durang; Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet, The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer, and Zayd Dohrn’s Haymarket, Permanent Whole Life (Alchemy Theatre Company @ The New York International Fringe Festival), and Shameless (Red Friday Productions in Boston). Directorial work for Alchemy includes The Vietnamization of New Jersey, Haymarket, Speed-the-Plow, The Normal Heart, and Ned Campbell’s Ollie Utz is Free; New York: the premiere of PeopleSpeak by John Augustine at 59E59 Theaters (Summer Shorts Festival 2); Boston: Shameless, Martin Jones’ Old Soldiers at Theatre Cooperative; the premieres of Henry Kimmel’s Tainted Window and Paul Mohrbacher’s Samarkand for The Atlantis Playmaker’s Festival; John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, James Christy’s Creep, and Jean Genet’s The Maids at Actor’s Workshop. Additional directing credits include Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe, Play, Act Without Words I and Act Without Words II at the Moscow Art Theatre School; Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine, Elizabeth Egloff’s The Swan, and Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9 at American Repertory Theatre’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. Assistant Director (while playing the role of “Gavrila”) on Yuri Yeremin’s production of Chekhov’s Ivanov, starring Debra Winger and Arliss Howard, and on the world premiere of Adam Rapp’s Nocturne, directed by Marcus Stern, at American Repertory Theatre. He has taught at Boston’s Actors Workshop. Member SSDC.
Amanda Rehbein (Set Designer for The Vietnamization of New Jersey), a recent graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, hails from the Canadian Prairies. She moved to New York to pursue her MFA in Design for Stage and Film. Amanda previously has a BFA in Design for the Theatre from Concordia University in Montreal where she studied scenery costumes and lighting. Recent New York credits include The Fifth of July at NYU’s Shubert Theatre, A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White at NYU’s Loewe Theatre, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt at the Walkerspace and The Marriage of Figaros at The Manhattan School of Music. Amanda works with the Education Department for Roundabout Theatre as a Teaching Artist.
Ku’uipo Curry (Lighting Designer for The Vietnamization of New Jersey) is a New York based Lighting Designer, who has designed lighting for Dance, Theatre, Musicals and Performance Art. Her most recent projects include works for Dog-Run Rep, LaGuardia Show Choir, Shakespeare East, the Kinaesthetics Lab and Dance Theatre Ensemble. She has a BA in Art History from Wellesley College and studied Lighting Design at MIT.
Abby O’Sullivan (Costume Designer for The Vietnamization of New Jersey) has worked with clothing in every imaginable form. Beginning her fashion design career by winning entry to Iceland Fashion Week with her AFID collection, she soon created her current line Vaquero and began assisting with designers including Jameson Earnest (Yellow Fever), Lola Erlich and Lucy Barnes.
Abby’s career took on a new dimension when she turned her eye toward costume design. Her unique knack for exposing a character’s inner personality through a carefully chosen exterior made her a natural. Abby has costume designed for the Atlantic Theater Company repertory’s 2005 season as well as several independent films including 2nd Avenue, Tailor Made, and Out of Place. She has also styled music videos, television shows and off Broadway theater productions.
Abby has assisted on films directed by Frank Whaley, Peter Reigert and Noah Buschel she is currently working with Philip Heckman to costume the Off-Broadway production of Go-Go Beach.
Scott O’Brien (Sound Design for The Vietnamization of New Jersey) has designed and engineered theatre, dance and concert programs at Lincoln Center, Riverside Church, Theatre North Collaborative, American Stage Company, Centenary Stage, The Abingdon Theatre, George Street Playhouse and the World Financial Center. As a composer he has scored films, concert performances and theatrical productions. He is the Resident Composer/Sound Designer for American Globe Theatre and Push Productions. This is his 2nd production with Alchemy, following last season’s Vietnamization of New Jersey. His latest projects include a return as composer & resident sound designer for the Chautauqua Theater Company, and upcoming, The Winter’s Tale for AGT and Missives for Animated Theatreworks at 59E59 Theatre.
(Vocal Coach for The Vietnamization of New Jersey) Along with her work with Alchemy, Christa is a co-founder/co-artistic director of the dirigo group. Off-Broadway acting credits: Harvest (Alchemy Theatre Company); Lipstick on a Pig. Other NY credits: 365 Days/365 Plays (Genesius Theatre Group); Rearview Mirror (manhattantheatresource); Blah, Blah, Blah (Bayou Radio Productions, FringeNYC); The Information She Carried. Selected regional acting: Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; The Seagull; Private Lives; Arcadia; The Man Who Came to Dinner; Winter’s Tale; Antigone in Antigone. For the dirigo group: Hedda Gabler in Hedda; Abbie in desire; Fool for Love; Home Free!; and The Gypsy Chain. Other notable credits include: Elise in The Miser directed by Philip Goodwin; A Midsummer Night’s Dream (dir: Franchelle Stuart Dorn and Lucien Douglas); and Eye of God. Film credits include: Themes and Intermissions, Secondhand Lions, Bloodmask, Worse, Tempting David. Voice-acting credits include major roles Getbackers and Dai Guard, among others. Toured the Southeastern US with Troupe D’Jour (Educational Shakespeare) working with students and playing roles such as Juliet, Lady Macbeth, Beatrice, and Kate. Toured the western half of the US with BRAVVO! Productions, 1940s musical revue USO show, In the Mood.
Producer credits: Some with the dirigo group include: The Middle of the Night, The Mercy Seat, True West, Fool for Love, Cowboy Mouth, The Gypsy Chain, Hedda, bash, desire, and Home Free. With Alchemy: the NY premiere of L. Pontius’ Umbrella; the premiere of David Wright Crawford’s Harvest, and the NY premiere of Christopher Durang’s The Vietnamization of New Jersey. Teaches acting at John Robert Powers and CAP 21, Voice and Speech at Stella Adler; and is a teaching artist with American Globe Theatre. Holds an MFA in Acting from the UT Austin. Certified Voice Specialist and member of VASTA, a member of ‘First Look’ acting company, and a proud AEA member. www.christakimlickojones.com.
(Fight Director for The Vietnamization of New Jersey) Along with his association with Alchemy Theatre Company, Judson is a Founding Member and Co-Producing Artistic Director of the dirigo group. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Texas Dramatists Association, and is an active member of First Look Theatre Company, Hyde Park Theatre Company, and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. His Off-Broadway credits include: Rick Childress in Harvest, and Charles Spierling in Haymarket, both with Alchemy Theatre Company, and Sal in Worth at Urban Stages with Genesius Theatre Company. His other New York credits include Martin in Bayou Radio’s Blah, Blah, Blah; and Mark in The Information She Carried.
His regional credits include: The Soldier Dreams and Bleacher Bums, both for Subterranean Theatre Company; Art Striped Naked for Hyde Park Theatre; Macbeth with The State Theater Company, Austin Shakespeare Festival’s Winter’s Tale; Salvage Vanguard Theatre’s Fugitive Pieces; Mermaid Company production of The Seagull; One Small Step, Oversimplification, both with Bayou Radio; 300 Plays About Vladimir Putin with the Rude Mechanicals; Orange with Refraction Arts; and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Austin Playhouse. His credits for the dirigo group include desire, Fool for Love, The Gypsy Chain, True West, The Middle of the Night and The Mercy Seat. He toured the Southeastern United States with Troup D’Jour performing such roles as Brutus in Julius Caesar, and the title role in Henry V. His film credits include: Fairy Blight, The Messenger, Green Eyes, living, and Yorick. Selected voice acting credits: Samurai X: The Motion Picture, Dai Guard, Getbackers, Nadia, Zaion, The Princess Blade, Steam Detectives, and Soul Hunter.
Producer credits include: the premiere of David Wright Crawford’s Harvest, and the NY premiere of Christopher Durang’s The Vietnamization of New Jersey, both with Alchemy Theatre Company; The Jinn (The American Theatre Critics Award), Hedda, bash, desire, and Home Free, all with the dirigo group. www.judsonjones.com.
Kevin P. McAnarney (Press Representative for The Vietnamization of New Jersey) has a varied background in public relations, casting and management. Kevin has handled major concerts on Broadway; international dance attractions and special events at the Metropolitan Opera House, NY State Theater, Carnegie Hall and others including two Katharine Hepburn tributes as well as the first NYC Academy Awards benefit. He did national press for Cirque du Soleil for four years and helped to open Mystere, in Las Vegas; tours of the Bolshoi Ballet, Red Army Song and Dance Ensemble to only name a few. For six years, he represented the Drama Desk Awards. He was honored to be the B’way press rep for Love! Valour! Compassion! (the first show ever to win the 5 top New York Theatre Awards in one season including the Tony, Outer Critics Circle, New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Obie Awards). KPM Associates (Grant Lindsey, associate) was the Broadway press agent for Dame Edna: The Royal Tour; Some other NYC clients include: A R Gurney’s Sylvia; Children’s Defense League; Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Alisa Alonzo); Theater Hall of Fame, Julio Bocca and Ballet Argentino, National Dance Week; Madrid’s Ballet Ullate; the musical john and jen; Moiseyev Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, Les Ballets Grandiva; and Moisés Kaufman and the award-winning hits Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and The Laramie Project. They continue to represent Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College, Career Transitions for Dancers and others. Mr. McAnarney managed a 13-city tour of the musical Camelot starring Rock Hudson; Cape Cod Melody Tent and Beacon Theatre. He was also a union treasurer and box office manager. Kevin was a member of the organizing of Broadway Cares and helped write the mission statement; an organizing member of B’WAY (Better Wellness And You), the Wellness Committee for the theatre industry. He is serving his tenth term on the Board of Governors of ATPAM.
Television: Naked Brothers Band for Nickelodeon. Film: Puccini for Beginners with Todd Thaler and Philip Huffman. Theater/Off Broadway: Sive, Defender of the Faith, The Field, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, She Stoops to Conquer, The Vietnamization of New Jersey.
Jan. 8-23, 2007
New York Premiere at
Beckett Theater, Theatre Row
“A bracingly entertaining production… A revival of Christopher Durang’s satire of war, family life and Bicentennial fever, on the 30th Anniversary of its debut at the Yale Repertory Theatre, swishes along at the speed of a Nascar race. Blanche Baker is a gem as an out-of-it 1970s matron who just can’t dust off the Eisenhower era… played with a perfect honed dopiness by Blanche Baker, an actress who, it seems, would make you laugh if she asked you how to make soup… a terrifically droll performance by James Duane Polk.”
— New York Times (Critic’s Pick)
“An eerie topicality… [an] effective production by The Alchemy Theatre Company… a piece of comical anarchy from a smart playwright whose impish tone scarcely conceals the darkness of his social satire… it certainly holds up very well as a testament to America’s collective amnesia on military interventions… The company performs the comedy with high spirits, brightly animating Durang’s all-too-true satire of our messy imperialistic tendencies back then — and now.”
— Newark Star Ledger
“Remarkably relevant… When David (Corey Sullivan) shows up at the front door, blind and with a Vietnamese wife named Liat (Susan Gross), the absurd, comical quotient is cranked up until it threatens to explode through the cardboard walls (an inspired set choice by Amanda Rehbein)… the cast handles the story with ease and excellent timing… Alchemy’s production is noteworthy for its ability to make us nostalgic for a time when neurotics were on stage, not in power.”
“Christopher Durang’s The Vietnamization of New Jersey is suddenly and sadly topical again, with its parallels to the Iraq War. When I watched the performer who played Hazel, the Sabina-like maid (who’s surely no Shirley Booth), I thought, ‘This kind of crazy part should be played by a guy in drag.’ And then I thought I’d better check my program. Yup, James Duane Polk is so marvelous and natural as Hazel that I really did think he was a she…”
“Eerily relevant… twisted laughs… it’s a pleasure to share in Durang’s delightfully warped perspective.'”
— Metro New York
“It is disturbing but impressive to see how powerfully Durang’s message still resonates today in the Alchemy Theatre Company’s revival. The absurdist satire forces reconsideration of the nature of the American family and the efficacy of American politics… Blanche Baker plumbs the depths of neurosis… Frank Deal’s transition from pathetic Harry to macho Larry is astounding… James Duane Polk lights up the stage as Hazel… Vietnamization is a strong show, one whose incendiary statements cannot be ignored.”
— Show Business Weekly
“[A] romping new production… holds no punches… a talented and energetic cast… one feels grateful to Alchemy Theatre Company for reintroducing this timely work… From the outrageous cardboard walls to the eating of cornflakes from an unzipped pair of pants, this Vietnamization for all seasons finds us laughing when we really want to cry.”
— United Stages
Read the January 11th BACKSTAGE interview with Artistic Director Robert Saxner discussing Vietnamization in the column “Now Playing” by Leonard Jacobs.
Read the February 19th interview with Christopher Durang by Adrienne Onofri at broadwayworld.com.