Shows & Tickets
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
April 12 - May 13, 2012
A Play by Mark Brown
Based on the novel by Jules Verne
Directed by Marcia MIlgrom Dodge
The heat is on in the original Amazing Race.
The year is 1872 and Phileas Fogg has accepted a bet to travel around the globe in record time in this classic novel brought to theatrical life. With his eccentric French manservant, the unflappable Fogg encounters a monsoon at sea, boards a runaway train, and rescues an Indian princess, among other daring adventures. Five actors play dozens of outrageous characters in this mini-epic frothing with madcap excitement. Around the World in 80 Days promises to be dazzling fun for everyone.
FAMILY FUN PACK - ONLY $100! Share this classic adventure with your family. Includes two student tickets, two adult tickets, a guide to the show, and vouchers for four complimentary soft drinks. Call the box office at 412.316.1600 for details. Valid ID required; recommended for children age 8 or older.
26 or younger? Tickets only $15.75! Use promo code HOTTIX. Valid ID required. Tickets will be held at Box Office. Not valid on previously purchased tickets or in combination with any other offer.
RUNNING TIME: Approximately two hours and ten minutes, including intermission.
RON BOHMER most recently starred as George in the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ critically acclaimed production of Sunday in the Park With George directed by Rob Ruggiero. Broadway credits include Father in the Tony-nominated revival of Ragtime (directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge), the title role in The Scarlet Pimpernel (National Broadway Theatre Awards nomination), Sir Percival Glyde in The Woman in White, Enjolras in Les Miserables, Fyedka in Fiddler on the Roof, and most recently, Frid in A Little Night Music. National Tours: the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard (Jefferson Award nomination), Alex in Aspects of Love (LA Robby Award, Best Actor), and Coach Bolton in Disney’s High School Musical. Recent regional theater credits include: Dr. Givings in In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and El Gallo in The Fantasticks at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Acclaim Award, Best Actor). Television: “Rescue Me,” “Law & Order SVU,” and “One Life to Live.” As a concert soloist and recording artist Ron has sung at Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, with numerous Symphonies and Pops orchestras, and on numerous recordings (including two solo CDs).
TOM BECKETT has appeared at Pittsburgh Public in Time of My Life and at City Theatre in The 39 Steps. He has also played on Broadway in Bobby Boland, Epic Proportions, and The Father (Roundabout), and Off-Broadway in The Temperamentals, Communicating Doors, and Travels With My Aunt (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards). Other theater work includes productions at Yale Rep, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, Arena Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC, Barrington Stage, the Intiman Theatre, South Coast Rep, and many others, including five shows at Westport Country Playhouse. On television Mr. Beckett appeared as Elbridge Gerry in HBO’s “John Adams,” played Mr. Foley in AMC’s “Remember Wenn” for four years (SAG Award nomination), and co-starred as George Gershwin in “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.” This is Mr. Beckett’s fifth time working with Marcia Milgrom Dodge (“Remember Wenn,” the comedy Thumbs!, and two productions of Anything Goes).
JEFFREY KUHN has appeared on Broadway in The 39 Steps, as Zangara in the Tony Award-winning production of Assassins, as Boq in Wicked, as Sir Bedevere in Monty Python’s Spamalot, and in the original company of Ragtime. Most recently, he originated the role of Maxwell in Southern Comfort (CAP21). He has performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Illusion, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and Timon of Athens. Other selected theater work includes Adam in Next Fall (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), The Pavilion and Dirty Blonde (Cincinnati Playhouse), Romeo and Juliet (The Shakespeare Theatre), Sea of Tranquility (The Old Globe), The Fourth Wall (Alliance Theatre), I Am My Own Wife (Stageworks/Hudson), The Story of My Life (CanStage, Dora Award nomination), Cousin Kevin in The Who’s Tommy, Zazu in the Canadian premiere company of The Lion King, and Gregor in Nothing Sacred, a role he later reprised for CBC Television.
MEERA ROHIT KUMBHANI New York City credits include Richard II (The Pearl, u/s), As You Like It, Twelfth Night (Classic Stage Company), Yes We Can (Walkerspace), and Phoenician Women (dir. Karin Coonrod). Film/TV credits include Offliners, “NYC 22,” “The Late Show.” She holds a BA in Neurobiology from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Acting from Columbia University.
RICHARD B. WATSON is very happy to be working again with Marcia Milgrom Dodge in his debut at Pittsburgh Public Theater. He was born and raised in Wilmington, NC, and now lives in New York City. Richard was Henry Higgins with Kate Baldwin in My Fair Lady at Sacramento Music Circus and Sherlock in Sherlock Holmes & the West End Horror at the Asolo and Pioneer theaters. He performed recently Off-Broadway in Venus Flytrap and as John Adams in 1776 at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Richard can be seen in PS, I Love You; “Law & Order CI;” “Delocated;” “Onion Sports Network;” has just shot Art=(Love)²; and a pilot, “Powerless,” for FX. Most recently, Richard played George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Richard is an inaugural company member at American Stage Theater in St. Petersburg, FL, where he won the first ever Jeff Norton Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He was awarded his MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at the George Washington University/Shakespeare Theatre Company and is a proud union member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.
MARCIA MILGROM DODGE (Director) directed and choreographed the acclaimed Broadway revival of Ragtime after its sold-out run at The Kennedy Center (2010 Tony® Award nomination, two Drama Desk Award nominations, Astaire Award nomination, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction). New York productions include Venus Flytrap by Anthony Dodge (Active Theater), Seussical (Theatreworks USA, Lortel Award nomination), Cookin’, Radio Gals, the award-winning Closer Than Ever, and William Finn’s Romance in Hard Times (The Public Theater). Regional: Pittsburgh Public Theater (The World Goes ’Round, Ain’t Misbehavin’), Reprise Theatre Company (Cabaret and How To Succeed, two Garland Awards), many shows at Music Circus, Maltz Jupiter (Hello, Dolly; Anything Goes, Carbonell Award; Master Class), Bay Street Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lyric Stage, Goodspeed, Huntington, and Arena Stage. Collaborations: Julie Andrews (Simeon’s Gift), Stephen Sondheim (Merrily We Roll Along at Arena Stage), Rupert Holmes (Thumbs!), Robert Falls & John Logan (Riverview at the Goodman Theatre), and Des McAnuff (Elmer Gantry at La Jolla Playhouse). Television: “Sesame Street” and “Remember WENN.” A published and produced playwright, Marcia’s play, Sherlock Holmes & The West End Horror, was co-written with her husband Anthony Dodge (Edgar Award nomination). Upcoming: The Music Man for the Glimmerglass Festival.
MARK BROWN (Playwright) is an award-winning writer and actor. His plays include Around the World in 80 Days; The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge; China, the Whole Enchilada; Poe: Deep Into That Darkness Peering (co-written with Mark Rector); and The Little Prince (co-written with Paul Kiernan). As an actor he has appeared on stage, screen and TV and worked with such people as Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Dick Van Dyke, Jeff Goldblum, and the Rally Monkey. Mark lives in New York City with his wife, daughter and dog, and dreams of living in a chateau in France.
JULES VERNE (Novelist) was born in Amiens, France is 1828. He worked as a playwright, short story writer, and stockbroker before finding immense success as a science fiction novelist. Some of his most acclaimed titles are Five Weeks in a Balloon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in 80 Days. After a career that included nearly 80 books, he died in 1905.
MICHAEL SCHWEIKARDT (Scenic Design) recent Pittsburgh Public Theater credits include Red, Superior Donuts, and Talley’s Folly. Mr. Schweikardt has created sets for the world premiere of Duncan Sheik’s Whisper House for The Old Globe and for several musicals by Joe Iconis, including Bloodsong of Love at Ars Nova, ReWrite at Urban Stages, The Black Suits at The Public Theater, and Things To Ruin at both The Zipper Factory and Second Stage Theatre. Other recent credits include the critically acclaimed productions of Showboat, Annie Get Your Gun, 1776, Big River, and Camelot for Goodspeed Musicals; Ella, appearing in cities all across the country; Barnum for Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 50th anniversary season; Oklahoma! starring Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase (Oklahoma State Centennial); the American premieres of Frank McGuinness’ Gates of Gold and The Bird Sanctuary; and national and international tours of James Taylor’s One Man Band. Mr. Schweikardt’s online portfolio can be seen at www.msportfolio.com.
MARTHA BROMELMEIER (Costume Designer) returns to The Public where she designed Harry’s Friendly Service, The World Goes ’Round, The Odd Couple, The Gin Game, Sweeney Todd, and RolePlay. Other design credits include: The Kennedy Center Honors, Barbara Cook Tribute; The Kaufman Center NYC – Nole and Cole in Love; Playhouse 91 – Menopause: The Musical; The Century Theatre – The Gorey Details; LaMama – God, the Devil, and the Crackhouse; Naked Angels – Saturday Mourning Cartoons, Naked Faith, and The Stand In; Primary Stages – The Joy Solution and At the Still Point. Regional theater: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Bay Street Theatre, Barrington Stage, and Goodspeed Musicals. Broadway, Associate Designer: A Leap of Faith, Catch Me If You Can, Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, Sweet Charity with Christina Applegate, The Producers, Cabaret, and Hairspray.
KIRK BOOKMAN (Lighting Designer) most recently designed three new plays for the 2012 Humana Festival. He returns to Pittsburgh Public Theater where he has designed several productions, including As You Like It, Electra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The World Goes ’Round, Metamorphoses, Oedipus the King, The Tempest, and Ain’t Misbehavin.’ He recently designed Charles Busch’s new Off-Broadway play The Divine Sister. For the National Actors Theatre: The Sunshine Boys (Jack Klugman and Tony Randall), The Gin Game (Julie Harris and Charles Durning), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Right You Are. For the Irish Rep: Bedbound, Playboy of the Western World, Eclipsed, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Major Barbara. Other New York productions: What Then (Ohio Theatre), The Cook (Intar Theatre 53), Recent Tragic Events (Playwrights Horizons, starring Heather Graham), My One Good Nerve (starring Ruby Dee), The Green Heart (Manhattan Theatre Club), Rude Entertainment, The Book of Liz (David and Amy Sedaris), Les MIZrahi (Isaac Mizrahi), As Thousands Cheer, and June Moon. Ballet productions with: English National Ballet, Santiago Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet. For the San Francisco Symphony: Thomashefsky, Of Thee I Sing, Oedipus Rex, Nightingale, A Flowering Tree (directed by Peter Sellars), and El Nino. Most recently: Company for the New York Philharmonic.
ZACH MOORE (Sound Designer) most recently designed the sound for Freud’s Last Session, As You Like It, Red and Electra here at PPT, and Sweeney Todd for the University of Pittsburgh Rep where he teaches sound design. He has designed 60 productions for Pittsburgh Public, including the world premieres of The Chief, Harry’s Friendly Service, The Glorious Ones, The Secret Letters of Jackie and Marilyn, and Paper Doll; the American premieres of The Bird Sanctuary and RolePlay (also original music); as well as Circle Mirror Transformation (also original music), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Metamorphoses, Cabaret, Oedipus the King, I Am My Own Wife, Anna in the Tropics, Man of La Mancha, Tea, Wit, and You Can’t Take It With You. Other designs include House and Garden (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre), Completely Hollywood (abridged) (Reduced Shakespeare Company), The Bird Sanctuary (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Falsettos (The Huntington), Paper Doll (Long Wharf Theatre), and Fully Committed (PPT, Dallas Theater Center, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, and McCoy/Rigby Productions). Zach also plays guitar in Hero Destroyed, and operates a small music mastering studio.
DON WADSWORTH (Dialect Coach) over the past decade Don has served as the dialect/voice coach for many Public Theater productions; this season he helped the actors in Freud’s Last Session with their Viennese and British dialects. On Broadway he taught the Irish dialect to the full cast of the musical The Pirate Queen. Don has the distinction of coaching six Oscar-nominated actors. For the film Warrior Don taught Australian and British actors how to sound like American brothers, voted by Esquire magazine to be “the most American non-Americans”! In Los Angeles he worked with Chris Pine on Unstoppable (now on DVD) for Twentieth Century Fox. Upcoming projects include an ABC-TV movie called “Elixir,” where he coached Jane Seymour, and a feature film titled A New York Heartbeat. Mr. Wadsworth is a Professor of Voice and Speech for Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama where this year he coached the cast of Sweeney Todd (with various English dialects) and Mad Forest (with Romanian accents).
McCORKLE CASTING, LTD. (Casting) Pat McCorkle (C.S.A.) upcoming on Broadway: The Toxic Avenger, Over the Rainbow. Memorable Broadway casts include: High, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Amadeus, She Loves Me, Blood Brothers, A Few Good Men, I’m Not Rappaport, among many others. Original Off-Broadway casts of: Tribes, Freud’s Last Session, Our Town, Almost Maine, The Adding Machine, As Bees in Honey Drown, Killer Joe, Mrs. Klein, Driving Miss Daisy. A partial list of feature film projects include: Ghost Town, Secret Window, Basic, The Thomas Crown Affair, The 13th Warrior, Madeline, Die Hard With a Vengeance, School Ties. Television credits include: “Electric Company,” “Californication” (Emmy nomination), “Hack,” “The Education of Max Bickford,” “Barbershop,” “Chapelle’s Show,” among several others. Premium Rush, a Sony feature film, is scheduled for summer release.
The Original Amazing Race
If your worldview is strictly 21st century, circling the globe in 80 days probably seems slow. Planning such a trip is easy now. The modern traveler books reservations online, checks out hotel websites before choosing accommodations, and maybe Skypes friends abroad to talk about schedules. Once in a foreign city, Google Earth shows where you’re going, maps are found on cell phones, and apps help with languages and currency.
Jules Verne would have absolutely loved these amazing technologies.
Born in France in 1828, Verne became one of the most popular writers of his era. He is referred to as the Father of Science Fiction and the characters in his novels had numerous extravagant travels and unimaginable (except by Verne) modes of transportation.
In addition to Around the World in 80 Days (1873), his works include A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869), just to name a few. While his books are in the fantasy genre, a surprising number of things he envisioned have become reality. Captain Nemo’s submarine, The Nautilus, for instance, along with high-speed trains, gas-powered cars, and glass skyscrapers. His “talking newspapers” foreshadowed television.
Almost a century-and-a-half ago Verne spent much of his time thinking about what the future would look like, so he’d be gratified to know that his ideas are part of it. Around the World certainly keeps going around. In addition to this new stage adaptation by Mark Brown, it has been made into two movies, a television miniseries, a video game, and a travelogue. The popular TV series “The Amazing Race” also owes a debt to Verne.
The first film, from 1956, starred David Niven and also featured Noël Coward, legendary playwright of the upcoming Private Lives. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Song, among several others, this move had the famous balloon scene where ice is scooped from a mountain top to chill a bottle of champagne – even though there was no balloon in the book (or this play). A dashing Pierce Brosnan appeared in the television version and the 2004 film starred Jackie Chan. The video game can be downloaded on your computer. Jules Verne would not have understood one word in the last sentence.
Creating The World
It is said that God created the world in seven days, but director Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Scenic Designer Michael Schweikardt needed a little longer. Together they had to come up with a setting in which Verne’s huge story – full of people, places and action – could be told on The O’Reilly stage.
While a map seems like the easy choice, neither of these theatrical all-stars are into the obvious. They ended up discovering a period board game called Around the World With Nellie Bly and based the set’s floor design on this colorful and evocative graphic.
Bly herself has an interesting backstory.
She was born in Pittsburgh in 1894 as Elizabeth Jane Cochrane. Eventually she became a journalist at Joseph Pulitizer’s
New York World. Fifteen years after Around the World in 80 Days was published, Bly, then 25-years-old and financed by her paper, decided to see if she could make Verne’s work of fiction into fact.
Following the book’s route, she circumnavigated the globe in 72 days. Thanks to the electric telegraph, American readers breathlessly followed the progress of her 25,000 mile journey in the New York World. Bly became a sensation and in 1890 McLoughlin Brothers created the game.
In Verne’s tale it’s Londoner Phileas Fogg who accepts a bet to circle the Earth in record time. Being a Frenchman, the writer poked fun at this English gentleman, giving him a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is a lot of comedy in his perfectionist tendencies, but they also help him to follow a schedule like clockwork.
More comedy is found in Fogg’s French servant, Passepartout, and there’s a hint of romance in Aouda, the Indian princess. Assisted by designer Marth Bromelmeir’s multitudinous costumes, these and the wide area of other characters in this epic adventure will be played by five fearless actors.
Carpet bags in hand, Fogg and Passepartout set out on a steamship to France. Then it’s off to Brindisi, Suez, and through to the Red Sea. Arriving in Bombay, they board the Great Indian Peninsula Railway and encounter danger at The Pagoda on Malabar Hill. They ride an elephant in Allahabad, a creature which promises to be one of Schweikardt’s most creative elements (with a little help from Zach Moore’s sound design).
Steaming to Singapore they face a typhoon that’s sure to be a fun challenge for Lighting Designer Kirk Bookman. Once across the Pacific, San Francisco is the first stop and then the Wild West. A bridge collapse doesn’t faze them and a sled with sails helps them reach Chicago in the nick of time.
As the exciting race continues and the suspense builds, the audience will root for the intrepid director, designers, and actors who are able to evoke the whole world through thrilling theatrical imagination.