Walnut Street Theatre continues its landmark 204th season with the Philadelphia premiere of Broadway's sensational new play GOOD PEOPLE. Directed by Walnut's Artistic Producing Director Bernard Havard, this smart, funny production begins previews on March 12th, opens on March 20th and runs through April 28th on the Walnut's Mainstage.
GOOD PEOPLE takes audiences to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where a night on the town means a few rounds of bingo, where this month's paycheck covers last month's bills and where Margie Walsh has just been let go from yet another job. Facing eviction and scrambling to catch a break, Margie thinks an old fling who made it out of Southie might be her ticket to a fresh new start. But is this apparently self-made man secure enough to face his humble beginnings? Margie is about to risk what little she has left to find out.
Written by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, GOOD PEOPLE premiered on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in February, 2011. The production received a Tony nomination for Best Play and Frances McDormand won the Tony Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Margie. The play was also awarded the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of the 2010-2011 Season. The Walnut's production of GOOD PEOPLE is produced in association with Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, PA.
GOOD PEOPLE is personal for Lindsay-Abaire. He grew up in the working class section of Southie in Boston's inner city, not much unlike many areas of Philadelphia. Drawing from his own experiences as a poor kid in a prep school, his writing was shaped by his childhood memories. He believed if he drew from his personal experiences, the play would bravely delve into social class using a real tone. He was successful, as Ben Brantley of the New York Times noted of the Broadway production, "...discovering how Margie operates - and where she's coming from - is one of the more subtly surprising treats of this theater season...This makes them among the most fully human residents of Broadway these days."
In addition to an award-winning playwright, having won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for his play Rabbit Hole, Lindsay-Abaire is a lyricist, librettist and screenwriter. His Broadway credits include High Fidelity (Book) and Shrek The Musical (Book and Lyrics), which earned him two Tony Award nominations and a Grammy Award nomination. Lindsay-Abaire's screen credits include his film adaptation of Rabbit Hole (20th Century Fox) starring Nicole Kidman, Guardians of Childhood (DreamWorks) and Oz: The Great and Powerful (Disney) which comes to theatres this March.
Directing GOOD PEOPLE is Walnut's President and Producing Artistic Director Bernard Havard. His directorial credits include Walnut Street Theatre's 2012 production of God of Carnage as well as ART, Someone to Watch Over Me, Skylight and A Life in the Theatre. He has spent his life in theatre as an actor, stage manager, director, managing director and producer and is proud to be celebrating his 30th Anniversary with the Walnut. Havard is recognized as one of America's leading theatre producers. Under his leadership, the Walnut became a not-for-profit, self-producing theatre and has gained international recognition as one of America's premier regional theatres. Philadelphia local, and Walnut's resident Stage Manager, Debi Marcucci is Assistant Director of the production.
From the casual comfort of a church basement's bingo hall, to the sophisticated living room of a Southie success story, Walnut veterans Scenic Designer Robert Klingelhoefer (The Eclectic Society), Costume Designer Colleen Grady (Barrymore Award-winner - Fiddler on the Roof, An Ideal Husband) and Lighting Designer Shon Causer (Love Story, God of Carnage) set the stage for this production. Rounding up the creative team is Sound Designer, and Walnut new-comer, Jacob Mishler.
The complex reality of each character will be will be brought to life by a cast of both familiar faces to Walnut audiences and a Walnut newcomer. Julie Czarniecki plays Margaret, or Margie with a hard "g," as her friends call her. Czarnecki was last seen at the Walnut as Veronica in God of Carnage. Dan Olmstead plays Mike, an old fling of Margie's who made it out of Southie. Olmstead returns to the Walnut having most recently played Salieri in Amadeus. Mike's tolerant wife Kate is played by Danielle Herbert (Love Story, Buddy - the Buddy Holly Story). Margie's brassy buddies Jean and Dottie are played by Denise Whelan (The Music Man) and Sharon Alexander (The Producers), respectively. Philadelphia actor Jered McLenigan (Stevie) makes his Walnut debut in this production.