Kate Hamill’s Hit Sense & Sensibility Brings Jane Austen’s Classic To Life

Portland Center Stage at The Armory brings Kate Hamill’s hit adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility to Portland in a vivacious production originally created by renowned New York theater company Bedlam. Hamill’s fresh take on female-centered classics made her one of the most-produced playwrights across the country for the past two season.

In keeping with that spirit of re-invention, Bedlam’s production combines a traditional regency setting with a fast-paced, kinetic, theatrical staging that fills Austen’s iconic romance with warmth, wheels, and one or two surprises, leading The New York Times to call it an “enchanting romp of a play … furniture is being constantly rearranged (often at dizzying speed) to denote not only changes of place but also of emotional temperature.” As The Boston Globe put it, “Jane Austen is alive and well and rolling on casters.”

Danea C. Osseni as Elinor Dashwood

Eric Tucker, who directed the award-winning world premiere of Hamill’s Sense and Sensibility at Bedlamdirects a cast that includes Portland favorites Danea C. Osseni (The Color Purple) as Elinor Dashwood and Quinlan Fitzgerald (The Humans at Artists Repertory Theatre) as Marianne Dashwood. They are joined by Lisa Birnbaum, Kelly Godell, Lauren Modica, Chris Murray, Violeta Picayo, Darius Pierce, Ryan Quinn, and Jamie Smithson.

“I wrote Sense and Sensibility because I believe so deeply that the classics belong to everyone,” Hamill said. “I think its popularity is a testament to how many people — like me — are hungering for female-centered stories.”

ABOUT THE PLAY

Bursting with humor and bold theatricality, this charming and wildly inventive staging of Jane Austen’s classic romance follows the adventures of the Dashwood sisters — and a whirlwind of snippy town gossips — after their sudden loss of fortune. Playwright Kate Hamill and director Eric Tucker of New York’s acclaimed theater company Bedlam took audiences by storm in New York and Boston. Their celebrated production will be revived in Portland. As Theater Mirror wrote, “Kate Hamill’s spirited and very funny adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, puts it on wheels (quite literally), and produces a rollicking version of the romantic classic that is as intricately choreographed as any musical.”

PLAYWRIGHT KATE HAMILL

Kate Hamill is a New York City-based actor/playwright who writes stories that center around complicated women. Her work celebrates theatricality, often features absurdity, and closely examines social and gender issues — as well as the timeless struggle to reconcile conscience and identity with social pressures. Hamill was named 2017’s Playwright of the Year by the Wall Street Journal. Her Sense and Sensibility won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award. Ben Brantley deemed it among the “Top Ten Theater of 2014,” and the HuffPost called it “the greatest stage adaptation of this novel in history.” Other plays include Pride and Prejudice (“Best Theater of 2017”, HuffPostWall Street Journal Critic’s Pick), Little WomenMansfield Park, Vanity Fair(Wall Street Journal Critic’s Pick), In the MinesEm, and Little Fellow. Her plays have been produced Off-Broadway, at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Guthrie Theatre, Folger Theatre, and others. Her Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice were among the top 10 most-produced plays nationally in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, respectively.

Quinlan Fitzgerald as 
Marianne Dashwood

THE CAST

Four cast members from previous productions ofBedlam’s Sense and Sensibility come to Portland: Lisa Birnbaum who appeared in the Bedlam production at American Reparatory Theater and Folger Theatre; Violeta Picayo who appeared in the world premiere at Bedlam and at American Repertory Theater; and Ryan Quinn and Jamie Smithson who appeared in the Bedlam production at American Repertory Theater. Birnbaum will play Mrs. Dashwood/Anne Steele/Mrs. Ferrars; Picayo will play Margaret Dashwood; Quinn will play Colonel Brandon/Thomas/Lady Middleton; and Smithson will play Edward/Robert Ferrars/Lady Middleton. Quinlan Fitzgerald (The Humans at Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Ordinary Days at Broadway Rose Theatre Company) will make her debut at The Armory as Marianne Dashwood. Returning to The Armory are Lauren Modica (Twist Your Dickens, Our Town) as Mrs. Jennings, Chris Murray (Major BarbaraAstoria: Part One and Two) as John Willoughby/John Dashwood, Danea C. Osseni (The Color Purple) as Elinor Dashwood, and Darius Pierce (Twist Your DickensThe Santaland Diaries) as Sir John Middleton/Servant/Doctor.

THE CREATIVE TEAM

Eric Tucker directed Bedlam’s Sense and Sensibility (Off-Broadway Alliance Award; four Helen Hayes awards, including Best Director and Best Production) and was named “director of the year” by the Wall Street Journal in 2014. Tucker leads a creative team that includes Scenic Designer John McDermott and Choreographer Alexandra Beller from the original Bedlam production, as well as the Off-Broadway, American Repertory Theater, and Folger Theatre productions. They’re joined by Costume Designer Alison Heryer (Fun HomeWild and Reckless); Lighting Designer Sarah Hughey (A Christmas Memory/Winter SongMajor Barbara); Sound Designer Alex Neumann (current national tours of Fiddler on the Roof and The King and I); Stage Manager Kristen Mun, and Production Assistant Molly Shevaun Reed.

TICKET AND PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

When:               Jan. 12 – Feb. 10, 2019*

*Opening Night/Press Night: Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Preview Performances: Jan 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Where:               On the U.S. Bank Main Stage at The Armory

                           128 NW Eleventh Ave., Portland, Ore., 97209

To Purchase:  Regular tickets range from $25 to $87 and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased at www.pcs.org, 503.445.3700, or in-person from the box office (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR). Rush tickets are $20. Active duty or veteran military personnel and their families; students; and patrons who are 30 or younger get 50% off tickets in seating areas 1-3. $5 tickets are available for Oregon Trail Card holders through the Arts for All program. Prices vary by date and time, and are subject to change.

Online: www.pcs.org

By Phone: 503.445.3700, 12–6 p.m.

In Person: The Armory box office     

12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on performance days

                           12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on non-performance days

Groups: Discounts available for groups of 10+ by calling 503.445.3794.

More Info:          www.pcs.org/sense

Show times:   Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. (excluding Jan. 27 and Feb. 10); Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. (excluding Jan. 12, 13, 19, and Feb. 2); and Thursday matinees at noon (excluding Jan 17). 

Please Note:   Recommended for ages 12 and up. Children under 6 are not permitted at any production at The Armory.

Accessibility: The Armoryoffers open captioned, audio description, and sign interpreted performances for most productions. Both theaters are wheelchair and walker accessible. Large print playbills are available by request at the concierge desk. Learn about our accessibility options at www.pcs.org/access.

PORTLAND CENTER STAGE AT THE ARMORY

Portland Center Stage at The Armory is the largest theater company in Portland and among the top 20 regional theaters in the country. Established in 1988 as a branch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the company became independent in 1994, and is under the leadership of Artistic Director Marissa Wolf and Managing Director Cynthia Fuhrman. Around 150,000 visitors attend The Armory annually to enjoy a mix of classic, contemporary, and world premiere productions, along with a variety of high quality education and community programs. Eleven productions are offered each season, in addition to roughly 400 community events created — in partnership with 170+ local organizations and individuals — to serve the diverse populations in the city. As part of its dedication to new play development, the company has produced 26 world premieres and presents an annual new works festival, JAW: A Playwrights Festival. Home to two theaters, The Armory (originally built in 1891) opened its doors in 2006 as the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue in the country, to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.

THE 2018-2019 SEASON

The 2018-2019 season is funded in part by Season Superstars Tim and Mary Boyle, and Lead Corporate Champion Umpqua Bank. Further support comes from: Women’s Series Sponsors Ronni Lacroute, Brigid Flanigan, Diana Gerding, and Mary Boyle; Studio Season Sponsors Mary and Don Blair; and the Regional Arts and Culture Council and Oregon Arts Commission, a state agency funded by the state of Oregon and the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for Sense and Sensibility comes from Nancy and Andy Bryant, AHA, Gerding Edlen, and Glenn Dahl and Linda Illig Fund. The Mark Spencer Hotel is the official hotel partner. Portland Center Stage at The Armory was selected as a participant of the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative, an effort with a nationwide cohort of 26 performing arts organizations.

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