Steve Martin’s Comedy Takes Ashland University Stage with Guest Director

3/21/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University Department of Theatre opens the final main stage production of its 2010-2011 “award-winning” season with “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” by funny-man Steve Martin, winner of the 2003 Mark Twain Humorist Award. Ashland University Theatre welcomes guest director Alexander Yannis Stephano for this production in Hugo Young Theatre on April 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and April 17 at 2 p.m.

Pitting Picasso’s talent against Einstein’s genius, this clever comedy with rapier-sharp wit and one-liners sets up a hilarious meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein in a 1904 Parisian bar. Both men are on the verge of an amazing idea (Einstein will publish his special theory of relativity and Picasso will paint Les Demoiselles d’Avignon) when they have a lengthy debate about the value of genius and talent while interacting with a host of other characters.

Matthew Goldsmith, an Ashland native and junior political science and English major, portrays 23-year-old “Pablo Picasso” while Mansfield resident and junior theatre major Drew Rothhaar portrays 25-year-old “Albert Einstein.” Other cast members include senior Natasha Cline as “The Countess,” and juniors Michael Cook as “Charles Dabemow Schmendiman,” and Tara Kodosky as “a female admirer.”

Sophomore cast members are Austin Arnold as “Gaston,” an older man; Jensen Glick as “Sagot,” Picasso’s art dealer; and Aaron Arnold as “a visitor.” Freshmen actors include Christian Neely as “Freddy,” the Lapin Agile’s owner and bartender; Emily Jeppesen as “Germaine,” Freddy’s girlfriend; and Rebecca Ribley as “Suzanne.”

Selected from a nationwide search as the guest director, Stephano arrived in Ashland at the end of February to conduct auditions and begin rehearsal for the production. His theatre credits include being a part of the largest theatrical event in United States history by directing seven new plays in “365 Days/365 Plays,” written by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan Lori Parks. He was also the assistant director on the West Coast Premiere of “Doubt” by John Patrick Shanley starring Linda Hunt at The Pasadena Playhouse. Other Los Angeles directing credits include: “Midnight Brainwash Revival” nominated for a LA WEEKLY Award; The Drama Dept.’s “Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” nominated for 3 NAACP awards; Want's “Unwished Work or a Birthday Play” by the award-winning playwright Kirk Wood Bromley nominated for three LA WEEKLY awards including Best Comedy Direction. Mr. Stephano has directed in New York, regionally and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Stephano also is an executive producer on an award winning short film starring Kathy Bates.

Scene design for the production is created by Assistant Professor of Theatre Scott Chapman with costumes designed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Angelina Herin.  Senior Mark Maruschak created the lighting design and fifth-year transfer student Chelsea Nicholls serves as the sound designer.

Audiences are advised that this production contains adult language and situations.

Reserved seating tickets for “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” are now on sale at the Ashland University Box Office. Single tickets are: $10 for adults; $9 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students, University faculty/staff; $8 for groups of 10 or more; and $2 for Ashland University students.

To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Central Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12 noon to 6 p.m. For more information, visit the Web site at www.ashland.edu/theatre<http://www.ashland.edu/theatre>, find us on Facebook or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu<mailto:tapplega@ashland.edu>.