The Malibu Playhouse will open its 2013-2014 season with the West Coast Premiere of The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read, September 6 – October 13, 2013. The play will be directed by Edward Edwards and stars Broadway veteran Jeffrey Hayenga and Tyler Ritter, the youngest son of the late John Ritter.
The Dream of the Burning Boy premiered off-Broadway in 2011 at the Roundabout Underground. It was a 2011 Drama League Award Nominee for Distinguished Production of a Play and was nominated by the Outer Critics Circle for the John Gassner Award for a New American Play.
A mystery unfolds when Dane, a popular high school student, dies unexpectedly following a conference with his English teacher, Larry. As the school’s guidance counselor, Steve, tries to help the students express their grief so that they may all move beyond the tragedy, Larry’s disturbing dreams about Dane intensify. Steve encourages Larry to meet with Dane’s grieving mother, who resents Larry for being the last person to see Dane alive. For Larry, this emotionally charged encounter reveals how choices in life can lead to missed opportunities.
Edward Edwards, who will direct the play, most recently directed and co-produced the West Coast premiere of Tender Napalm, which earned accolades as an LA Weekly ‘Pick of the Week’ and was an Ovation Recommended production. His L.A. theatrical directing credits include the critically acclaimed productions All My Sons and The Collector for The Ruskin Group Theatre and The Idyllic World of Lillian Cortessi for Pacific Resident Theatre. Edwards has also acted in productions for The Ahmanson, The LA Opera, and The Coronet Theatre, and he won an LA Drama Critics Circle Award for his performance in The Hasty Heart at the Cast at the Circle Theatre, which transferred to the Ahmanson Theatre.
Of the play, Edwards says: “this is a poignant and true story about taking responsibility for the choices one makes, not being afraid of life, lost opportunities, regrets, and the renegotiation of relationships after a tragedy. David has written an authentic depiction of high school students and teachers as they all try to process grief in their own way. What impresses me is his ability to use levity and humor as a way to cope with this painful situation. You laugh and cry at the same time. My hope is that the audience will leave with a better understanding of how they might reach out to others and find the strength to move on with life in the face of a similar event.”
David West Read is a Toronto-based playwright and screenwriter whose credits include The Performers, which premiered on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre in fall 2012. He has been commissioned to write plays for the Roundabout Theatre Company, Burnt Umber Productions and South Coast Repertory, as well as screenplays for B-Spoke Entertainment and Bunce Media. Read is a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwrights Program at The Juilliard School and the MFA program in Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
The cast for “The Dream of the Burning Boy” includes Matthias Chrans as “Dane,” Jeffrey Hayenga as “Larry,” Melissa Kite as “Andrea,” Joslyn Kramer as “Chelsea,” Jayne McLendon as “Rachel,” Zach Palmer as “Kyle” and Tyler Ritter as “Steve.”
Actor Jeffrey Hayenga has New York theater credits including title roles in Broadway’s The Elephant Man, and off-Broadway’s Jeffrey, as well as The Man Who Came to Dinner, Ah Wilderness, As Bees In Honey Drown, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Two Rooms, Hamlet, King Lear and the title role in The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby. Hayenga has co-starred in multiple TV shows and films including And the Band Played On, Other People’s Money, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Enterprise.
Tyler Ritter, the youngest son of the late John Ritter, made his acting debut in 1994 on PBS’ Storytime and has acted in the Young Playwright’s Festival for at the Stella Adler Theatre and has also worked in film and television including An Evergreen Christmas, Weekends At Bellevue, and Slice.
Malibu Playhouse Artistic Director, Gene Franklin Smith, and Associate Producing Director, Rick Wasserman, will produce. Malibu Playhouse is dedicated to producing professional productions of dynamic new plays and musicals, contemporary masterpieces and timeless classics and strives to entertain, enrich and engage audiences with theater that reflects lives, ideas, emotions and society in both struggle and triumph.
The Dream of the Burning Boy opens Friday, September 6, 2013 and runs through Sunday, October 13, 2013. Single tickets for regular performances are $30.00. Low priced previews are Wednesday, September 4 and Thursday, September 5 at 8 PM ($20.00). Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets may be purchased through the box office or through Plays411 (www.plays411.com). There may also be tickets available at the box office the day of each performance, however advance reservations are recommended.
2013-2014 Season Subscriptions are also on sale for $110.00, a savings of $45 if all five shows are purchased separately. To purchase, call the box office at 310-589-1998 or reserve online at www.malibuplayhouse.org/purchase-tickets.
The Malibu Playhouse is located at 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265 (near Zuma beach, between Kanan-Dume Road and Morning View Drive, near Heathercliff Road). Phone 310-589-1998. For more information visit the website: www.malibuplayhouse.org.