Kansas City Repertory Theatre continues its 2018/19 season with the emotionally-intimate Broadway sensation, INDECENT, by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel. Running January 18 through February 10, 2019 at Spencer Theatre, INDECENT is a co-production with Arena Stage and Baltimore Center Stage, and is directed by former KCRep artistic director, Eric Rosen, with choreography by Erika Chong Shuch, and music direction and original music by Alexander Sovronsky.
Inspired by the 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s Yiddish drama GOD OF VENGEANCE and the controversy swirling around its themes and censorship, Vogel explores timely topics such as immigration, anti-Semitism as well as the behind-the-scenes story of the courageous artists who risked not only their careers, but their lives in bringing the play to the stage. Infused with traditional Yiddish folk music of the early 20th century including klezmer, INDECENT is the kind of story that demonstrates the power theatre can have on our lives.
The cast for the three-theatre coproduction features Ben Cherry (Broadway’s INDECENT and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) as the stage manager Lemml, the role he held in The Guthrie production as well; Susan Lynskey (NOISES OFF) as The Middle: Halina/Ensemble; Susan Rome (THE GREAT SOCIETY, ALL THE WAY) as The Elder: Vera/Ensemble; Victor Raider-Wexler (Broadway’s GYPSY, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM as The Elder: Otto/Ensemble; Emily Shackelford (Off-Broadway’s LUCKY DUCK) as The Ingénue: Chana/Ensemble; Ethan Watermeier (LES MISERABLES National Tour) as The Middle: Mendel/Ensemble and Max Wolkowitz (Long Wharf’s THE CHOSEN) as The Ingénue: Avram/Ensemble round out the cast. The three actor/musicians are John Milosich (WAR HORSE National Tour) as Moriz Godowsky/Musician/Ensemble; Maryn Shaw (Studio Theatre’s THE WOLVES) as Nelly Friedman/Musician/Ensemble and Alexander Sovronsky (Broadway’s CYRANO de BERGERAC as Mayer Balsam/Musician/Ensemble.
“Paula Vogel isn’t just one of America’s greatest female playwrights, says KCRep interim artistic director Jason Chanos, she is one of America’s greatest treasures, period. We’re thrilled to welcome Eric Rosen back to Kansas City to direct and excited to bring this beautiful, important play to life that will speak to audiences of all backgrounds and all ages.”
Director Eric Rosen has a unique perspective as the outgoing Artistic Director of Kansas City Repertory Theatre, “Over 20 years ago, I encountered and became fascinated by the masterpiece of Yiddish drama GOD OF VENGEANCE and its extraordinary place in the history of both Jewish and LGBT theatre history. I followed the development of Paula Vogel’s INDECENT which chronicles the history of that play, and the ways in which it changed the world. As a proud member of Kansas City’s vibrant LGBTQ, Jewish, and theater communities for ten years, I can think of no better play to say goodbye, for now, to our incredible audiences and artists. Creating this production has been a high point in my career, and to be able to share it with KC audiences and audiences in Washington and Baltimore, is a great end to a thrilling tenure at the helm of KCRep.”
Joining Rosen as the creative team for this production of INDECENT are choreographer Erika Chong Shuch (Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s JULIUS CAESAR, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) and Alexander Sovronsky, as well as set designer Jack Magaw, costume designer Linda Roethke, lighting designer Josh Epstein, sound designer Andre Pluess, production designer Jeffrey Cady, wig designer Anne Nesmith, voice and dialect coach Zach Campion, casting directors Victor Vazquez and Geoff Josselson, stage manager Kurt Hall, assistant stage manager, Marne Anderson, and production assistant Emily Ann Mellon. For the Kansas City run, Mary Honour will serve as assistant stage manager.
Paula Vogel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose plays are produced throughout the world. INDECENT opened on Broadway in April 2017 and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE received the Pulitzer Prize, Lortel Prize, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and the NY Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Play, and her second OBIE Award. Other plays include THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME, THE MINEOLA TWINS, THE BALTIMORE WALTZ, HOT ‘N’ THROBBING, DESDEMONA, AND BABY MAKES SEVEN, THE OLDEST PROFESSION, A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS and DON JUAN COMES HOME FROM IRAQ. Her plays are published in six volumes by TCG press and she teaches playwriting workshops throughout the United States and abroad.
KCRep is underwritten in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Founded in 1964 by Dr. Patricia McIlrath, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the professional theatre in residence at UMKC, is led by interim artistic director, Jason Chanos and executive director, Angela Lee Gieras. KCRep is nationally known as an incubator of new plays and producer of innovative musicals and reimagined classics. Together with an active board of directors, a year-round, part-time, and seasonal staff of 210, and over 300 volunteers, KCRep serves patrons from more than 40 states on their two stages, the Spencer Theatre and Copaken Stage in downtown Kansas City. More than 12,000 school students and educators see live theatre productions at KCRep annually, many of whom are experiencing the genre for the first time. The company dedicates itself to producing works which are compelling, passionate, and entertaining. Visit www.kcrep.org.
Tickets for INDECENT start at $38 and may be purchased by visiting http://kcrep.org/show/Indecent or by calling the KCRep box office at 816-235-2700. Groups of nine or more receive discounted tickets by calling Andrew at 816-235-6122.
Above: Ben Cherry and the cast of Indecent. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.