Contact: Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, 318-869-5242, or 
Lynn Stewart or Abbey Broussard, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120 

Centenary College’s Marjorie Lyons Playhouse Announces Dates, Cast for Pulitzer Prize-winning Play Wit

SHREVEPORT, LA -- The theatre department at Centenary College will open its 2001 -02 theatre season with Wit by Margaret Edison, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer for Drama.  Wit also received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Circle Award, the Drama League Award and the Lucille Lortel Award in 1999.

Wit will open at the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse on Sept. 20 for a seven-performance run through Sept. 30. Performances at 8 p.m. will be Sept. 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and at 2 p.m. on Sept. 30. There will be a special preview performance on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m., with tickets priced at $8. 

Director Robert Buseick has assembled a cast of 22 to bring this moving and thought-provoking play to the stage. This production includes set and lights by Don Hooper, costume design by Patric McWilliams and sound design by John Rabenhorst.  Andrew Farrow is the assistant to the director/stage manager and Kate Young will be the medical advisor for the production of Wit.

Local actress, Ruth Rath will play the leading role of Vivian Bearing, professor of 17th century poetry. Ms. Rath has appeared in all the theatres in Shreveport and last season as the middle-aged wife in the musical revue Romantic Notions and as the wife in the musical Nine at MLP. She has created roles in such shows as Li'l Abner, Guys and Dolls, The Pajama Game, South Pacific, Peter Pan, Blood Brothers, The Mikado, Camelot, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Bye, Bye Birdie, The Mikado and The Importance of Being Earnest.

In this extraordinary play, Margaret Edson has created a work that is as intellectually challenging as it is emotionally immediate. At the start of Wit, Vivian Bearing, a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliantly difficult Holy Sonnets of the metaphysical poet John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.  Her approach to her illness is not unlike her approach to the study of Donne: aggressively probing and intensely rational. But during the course of her illness -- and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy program at a major teaching hospital -- Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with a profundity and humor that are transformative both for her and for the audience.

Reece Middleton plays Harvey Kelekian, M.D., the attending physician. Middleton has appeared in productions of all the theatres in Shreveport and was last seen at MLP as Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Last season he appeared in Twelve Angry Men at Eastbank Theatre.

Joshua Porter plays the young research doctor, Jason Posner, M.D., and has appeared in productions of Cabaret, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Pride's Crossing, As Bees in Honey Drown and Gross Indecency: the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde during the past season at MLP. He is a junior theatre major at Centenary.

Dani Garza plays Susie Monahan, R.N.,B.S.N. and has been seen at MLP in productions of Dracula and Angels in America. She was in Eastbank's production of Wait Until Dark and Shreveport Little Theatre's production of Last Night at Ballyhoo. Ms. Garza is a senior theatre major at Centenary.

The role of E.M. Ashford, D. PHIL., will be played by Dot Hall. She was seen last season as Mammy in The Cripple of Inishmaan and as Guido's mother in Nine. Ms. Hall has appeared at Eastbank in productions of Foxfire and Anastasia. She recently completed a small role in the locally filmed movie, Nursie.

Nathan Thomas, speech instructor at Centenary, will play Mr. Bearing, father of Vivian. Thomas was seen at MLP in productions of Cabaret, Pride's Crossing, The Cripple of Inishmaan, As Bees in Honey Drown and Gross Indecency: the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.

Medical technicians in Wit will be played by Josh Talley, senior theatre major; Lindsay Mayo, freshman theatre major; Amber Walson, junior communication major and Jenny Warren, senior performing arts major.  Talley and Warren were seen in Cabaret and Walson and Mayo are making their MLP debut.  Interns in this unnamed hospital, where the play is set, are freshman Ashley Beckham, junior Victoria Tidmore and senior William Wells. Beckham and Wells are theatre majors. Tidmore is an English major. 

Students in Dr. Bearing's class are senior biology major Blane Sessions, senior communication major Abbey Broussard, senior performing arts major Amanda Rundell; freshman theatre major Anysia Manthos; senior dance/theatre major Jenny Warren; and senior French/English major Britt Pitre.

The Code Team will be played by Ryan Reid, Garret Moon, Leah Wingate and Charity Schubert. Moon and Schubert are sophomore theatre majors and Reid and Wingate are freshmen at Centenary making their debut.

The box office for Wit opens on Sept. 13 from noon to 4 p.m. Regular performance tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for senior citizens, $8 for students (over 12) and $6 for children. Tickets may also be reserved for the play by calling 318-869-5242 during those hours.  Performances are free to Centenary faculty, staff and students.

Wit is Margaret Edson's first play. Edson was born in Washington, D.C. in 1961. Between earning degrees in history and literature, she worked in the oncology/AIDS unit of a research hospital, where she had firsthand exposure to patients' struggles. Edson lives in Atlanta, Ga., where she is an elementary school teacher.

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