Sunday, March 31, 2013

Persuasion Playing at The Stage


San Jose Stage Company Presents
Jane Austen’s World Premiere
Adapted by Jennifer Le Blanc from the Novel
San Jose, CA --- March 18, 2013  San Jose Stage Company is producing the World Premiere of Persuasion, Jane Austen’s final novel, adapted by local Bay Area playwright, Jennifer Le Blanc. 
The Threepenny Opera, originally slated for this time frame, has been rescheduled to be part of The Stage’s 2013-14 Season.
“The Stage Company is excited to embrace the opportunity to produce the world premiere of Jane Austen's final novel Persuasion,” said Randall King, Artistic Director of the San Jose Stage Company. “The intimate setting of The Stage venue is the perfect environment to revel in Miss Austen's characters, who must negotiate a complex code of conduct in order to survive, much less achieve their ends. The story is indicative of Austen's great talent, razor sharp, laced with irony and wit, and remarkably phrased.”
Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last finished novel, of only six total, and she is considered the greatest of English women novelists. There are numerous contemporary movies based upon her novels, and she has become a book club staple.  
“Miss Austen directed her pen to give voice to a woman finding strength to be persuaded by her own heart. Her final novel is said to be a 'Present to herself,’” added King. “The Stage was founded upon the mission of new works and local talent, and now The Stage offers the gift of Persuasion to the Bay area.”
Persuasion was first published posthumously by her family, along with Northanger Abbey, in December 1817. While the characters reflect Austen’s own maturity, the book is filled with satire and is perceptive of people and their relationships, especially love.
Persuasion is one of Austen’s lesser-known novels, and the characters are old, more mature and have known heartache,” says Jennifer Le Blanc, the author of this world premiere and Bay Area native. She adds that she was drawn to this works because the main character Anne has “developed her own voice.” Ms. Le Blanc continues, “I admire Anne greatly; she is selfless, intelligent, practical and a strong woman to have around in a crisis.”
Persuasion was presented as a staged reading at Portland’s Cerimon House in March of 2012, with Ms. Le Blanc performing the lead role of Anne. This is the twelfth world premiere presented by San Jose Stage Company.
Persuasion begins preview on April 3 and opens April 6. Performances are on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Persuasion runs through April 28.
Tickets range from $20 – $45 and are available at or by calling the box office at 408.283.7142. Visa and MasterCard are accepted, and discounts are available for groups, students and seniors. The theatre is handicapped accessible.
The Stage is located at 490 South First Street at William Street in downtown San Jose’s South First (SoFA) area.
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The Cast of Persuasion:
Maryssa Wanlass (Anne Elliot) is making her debut at The Stage. She has appeared locally Theatre Rhinoceros, The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, PlayGround, TheatreFirst and Center REPertory Company.
Paul Myrvold* (Sir Walter Elliot, Admiral Crofts) returns to San Jose Stage Company, where he has appeared in Urinetown, The Musical and the World Premiere of Tenders in the Fog. He has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-off Broadway, as well as working as guest artist in colleges and universities across the country.
Allison F. Rich* (Elizabeth Elliot, Henrietta Musgrove) returns to The Stage, where she was last seen in the Regional Premiere of Bloody Bloody Andrew JacksonCabaret, Carly in the Regional Premiere of Reasons To Be Pretty and The Great American Trailer Park Musical. She has also appeared at PCPA Theatrefest, Capital Stage Company and 42nd Street Moon. She is an Associate Artist at The Stage.
Will Springhorn Jr.* (Frederick Wentworth) returns to The Stage, where he was last seen inReckless, the Regional Premiere of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Every Christmas Story Ever Told, Cabaret and the Regional Premiere of Reasons To Be Pretty. He recently appear at Ashby Stage in The Fourth Messenger, an original musical by Tanya Shaffer and Vienna Teng. He has appeared with TheatreWorks, The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, SF Playhouse and Theatre Rhinoceros.
Halsey Varady* (Mary Musgrove, Mrs. Smith) returns to San Jose Stage Company, where she played Rachel in Reckless, Rachel Jackson in the Regional Premiere of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Kate Monster in Avenue Q and Steph in the Regional Premiere of Reasons To Be Pretty. She has also appeared locally at Bus Barn Stage Company, The Spare Stage Company, Shady Shakespeare Theatre Company, City Lights Theater Company, Palo Alto Players, Foothill College Saratoga Drama Group. In Washington D.C., she appeared at Ford’s Theatre and Spooky Action Theater. She is an Associate Artist at The Stage.
William J. Brown III (Charles, Benwick) returns to San Jose Stage Company, where he was seen in On The Waterfront.
Donna Federico (Mrs. Musgrove, Lady Diarymaple) is making her debut at The Stage.
Susan Gundunas (Lady Russell, Mrs. Crofts) is making her first appearance at San Jose Stage Company. She was recently seen as Elaine Novazio in Last of the Red Hot Lovers at Novato Theatre Company as Helen Hart in the Retro Dome’s Game Show Show.
Juliet Heller (Mrs. Clay, Louisa Musgrove) returns to The Stage, where she was seen in Rock ‘n’ Roll. She has appeared locally with Berkeley Playhouse, Willows Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, 42nd Street Moon, Pacific Repertory Theatre and Broadway By the Bay.
Paul Stout (Mr. Shepard, Captain Harville, Mr. Elliot) is making his debut at San Jose Stage Company. He has appeared locally with Marin Shakespeare Company, Custom Made Theatre, The Western Stage and Boxcar Theatre.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association
Kenneth Kelleher (Director) has directed over twenty performances for The Stage, including John Logan’s Red, Craig Lucas’ Reckless, Sam Shepard’s Buried Child, the Regional Premiere ofOn The Waterfront and Tom Stoppard’s  Rock ‘n’ Roll. He is currently the Artistic Director of Pacific Repertory Theatre and Resident Director of The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. He has also directed for San Jose Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, California Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Sacramento Theatre Company and B Street Theatre.
Giulio Perrone (Set Designer) returns to San Jose Stage Company, where his previous set designs include Buried Child and the World Premiere of Lolita Roadtrip.
Jean Cardinale (Costume Designer) returns to The Stage, where her designs were seen inRed, RecklessRaceAvenue Q and the Regional Premiere of Reasons To Be Pretty.
David Gotlieb (Light Designer) is making his design debut for San Jose Stage Company.
John Koss (Sound Designer) returns to The Stage, where he designed the sound for Rd, Reckless and Race.
Attn: Media and Calendar Editors:  San Jose Stage Company holds the press opening on Saturday, April 6 at 8:00 PM, with previews beginning Wednesday and Thursday, April 3 and 4 at 7:30 PM and Friday, April 5 at 8:00 PM.
Production photos are available upon request. Visit
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About San Jose Stage Company:
Now in its 30th season, San Jose Stage Company is recognized as The Bay Area's Premiere Off-Broadway Theatre. The Stage is known for its devotion to new and cutting-edge work and for its commitment to showcasing high-quality local talent.
Ranked 3rd largest theatre and 9th largest performance arts organization in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal (May 2012), San Jose Stage Company is a vital force in the community. The Stage has earned a reputation for artistic excellence by providing high-quality, edgy theatrical experiences that engage, educate and provoke audiences. The Stage has produced 143 productions, 44 new works and 13 world premieres.
The Stage also offers five core educational and outreach programs, including National High School Top Honors Awards, and has housed over 200 independent performance groups in its theatre. The Stage is located at 490 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113. For more information:   Box Office: 408.283.7142

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