New England Premiere Opens Gloucester Stage 2017 Season
Gloucester Stage Company kicks off its 38th season of professional theater on Cape Ann with the New England Premiere of John Kolvenbach’s Bank Job from May 19 through June 10 at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For two brothers, Russell and Tracey, new to the armed robbery industry, what seems like easy money turns out to be a lot more difficult than it looks in the movies in John Kolvenbach’s hilarious Bank Job. When heist plans A and B (and C through F) fail, the brothers find themselves locked in the executive bathroom with no way out and no choice but to depend on a brave bank teller, a guileless cop, and the man in the shadows who put them up to the whole thing. A fun comedy, Bank Job is about the holes we dig ourselves into—and the unexpected comrades we trust to dig us out. Directed by GSC Artistic Director Robert Walsh and featuring GSC veterans Johnny Lee Davenport, Nael Nacer, Richard McElvain and Paul Melendy and GSC newcomer Shuyi Jia..
Bank Job had its world premiere in 2014 at the Amphibian Stage Productions Theater in Fort Worth, Texas. Bank Job playwright John Kolvenbach will be at Gloucester Stage on Sunday, June 4 for a free post show discussion with the director and cast following the 2pmperformance. John Kolvenbach is an American playwright known for works including Sister Play, Gizmo Love, Love Song, On An Average Day, Goldfish, Marriage Play, and Fabuloso. Both Love Song and On An Average Day were performed on the West End in London. Love Song was directed by John Crowley and featured Kristen Johnson, Cillian Murphy, Neve Campbell and Michael McKean, and was nominated for an Olivier Award as best new comedy. On an Average Day was also directed by Crowley and featured Woody Harrelson and Kyle McLachlan. Mr. Kolvenbach’s plays have been performed in London’s West End and all over the world, including productions in Rome, Sydney, Wellington, Seoul, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Zurich, San Juan, Berlin and throughout the United States.
Paul Melendy and Nael Nacer play the brothers, Russell and Tracey. Mr. Melendy has been seen at Gloucester Stage in 2016’s The Last Schwartz and 2015’s Sweet and Sad. Recent work includes ongoing roles in Shear Madness at the Charles Playhouse, Regular Singing at New Repertory Theatre, and A Confederacy of Dunces with the Huntington Theatre Company featuring Nick Offerman of NBC TV’s Parks and Rec. Mr. Melendy is a regular on local TV screens as “The Naked Guy” in a popular Bernie and Phyl’s ad as well as in various roles in other regional spots. His feature film credits include The PinkPanther Deux, The Makeover, Unfinished Business, and the upcoming Who Do You Think Would Win with Adam Sandler and David Spade.
Award winning actor Nael Nacer returns to Gloucester Stage Company after having previously appeared at GSC in The Flick for which he received an IRNE Award for Best Actor. His other credits include: A Doll’s House, Bedroom Farce, Come Back, Little Sheba, Awake and Sing!, Our Town and The Seagull at the Huntington Theatre Company; 45 Plays for 45 Presidents and It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play at Merrimack Repertory Theatre; Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, The Temperamentals, Animal Crackers and his 2015 Elliot Norton Award winning performance in Intimate Apparelat Lyric Stage Company; A Number, Pattern of Life, Lungs, and The Kite Runner at New Repertory Theatre; A Future Perfect at SpeakEasy Stage Company; Rhinoceros, Windowmen, The Farm andGary at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; Sila; and Distracted with Underground Railway Theatre, and Shear Madness at the Charles Playhouse.
Johnny Lee Davenport made his Gloucester Stage debut in 2012’s critically-acclaimed IRNE winning production of Master Harold … and the boys followed in 2013 by his IRNE Award winning performance as Hoke opposite Academy Award nominee Lindsay Crouse in GSC’s Driving Miss Daisy. His Off-Broadway credits include: White People Christmas at Cherry Lane Theatre; Revolutionary Moments with The Century Association; the title role in Gilgamesh at The 92nd Street Y;The Lysistrata Project at BAM; Harry and the Streetbeat with the Working Theater; and Maiden Lane at Ensemble Studio Theater. Regionally, Mr. Davenport has been seen as the title role in Julius Caesar, in Cymbeline, All’s Well That Ends Well, and The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater; Creon inOedipus Rex with Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre; Papa Shakespeare in The African Company Presents Richard III, Charlie inDeath of a Salesman and Captain Brice in Arcadia at American Players’ Theatre; Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Lord Hastings and others in Richard III, Prospero in The Tempest, and the title role in Othelloover 3 seasons with Tennessee Shakespeare Company; 16 seasons with Shakespeare & Company appearing in the title role in Othello, A Winter’s Tale, Measure for Measure, Richard III, Hamlet, and Henry V; Harold Loomis in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Gospel at Colonus, and The Road at The Goodman Theatre, Chicago; the title role in Everyman, at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago; Shylock inThe Merchant of Venice with Milwaukee Shakespeare; King Lear with Yale Repertory; The Oedipus Plays at the Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C., and the Athens Festival; the title role and Iago inOthello with the Second Age Theatre, Dublin and his Helen Hayes Award winning performance in Invisible Man at the Studio Theatre, Washington, D.C In the Boston area his recent work includesThurgood, The Whipping Man, and A House With No Walls at New Repertory Theater; Bootycandy with Speakeasy Stage; Beowulf with Poets’ Theatre; Walking the Tightrope and The Unbleached American at Stoneham Theatre; William King in Broke-ology at Lyric Stage Company for which he won an Elliot Norton Award and BroadwayWorld Boston Award; Richard Patterson in Neighbors with Company One, for which he won a BroadwayWorld Boston Award;Vengeance Is the Lord’s at The Huntington Theatre; Akeelah and the Bee, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Little Mermaid at The Wheelock Family Theatre; A House With No Walls at New Repertory Theatre;Pericles, Love’s Labours’ Lost, Hamlet, and Much Ado About Nothingwith Actors’ Shakespeare Project; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, andAs You Like It with Commonwealth Shakespeare; A Raisin in the Sunand Richard III at Trinity Rep. His film and television credits includeJoy, Ascendants, Ted, Law & Order; The Fugitive, U.S. Marshals,Chain Reaction, The Package, and The Blues Brothers.
Shuyi Jia makes her GSC debut in Bank Job. Ms. Jia is a Chinese-Canadian actor based in New York. Her recent credits include: original production of The Pirate Princess at ART, A Big Mess with the ART Institute, As You Like It with the ART Lab, Three Sisters, A Profitable Position and The Lonely Voice in Moscow, The Farnsworth Inventionwith the Palo Alto Players and Farragut North with Opentab Productions. Previously a program manager at a tech company with a BA in Economics, she just graduated last year from the American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Training at Harvard.
Ipswich resident Richard McElvain has been working in the Boston area as an actor, director, writer, translator and teacher for many years. He has been a veteran of GSC since the 1980’s performing in a wide range of productions and directing several premieres of plays by Israel Horovitz, including Lebensraum, Today I am a Fountain Penand Captains and Courage. He played the title role in Brecht’s Galileowith the Underground Railroad Theatre Company. He won an Elliot Norton award for his performance in Conor McPherson’s Saint Nicholas with the Sugan Theatre. He played Roy Cohn in Boston Theatreworks award wining production of Angels in America Parts I and II. Mr. McElvain has done his own adaptation of SophoclesAntigone in which he also played Creon at the Nora Theatre. He also directed an acclaimed production of A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Nora Theatre Mr. McElvain has translated and then directed four plays by Moliere. He is featured in the David O’ Russell movie Joywith Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DiNiro and Bradley Cooper. His other film and television credits include Mermaids, What’s the Worst That Could Happen and Spenser for Hire. Along with Colleagues he has created an award wining Theatre Program at Fitchburg State University.
Artistic Director and Bank Job director Robert Walsh has worked at Gloucester Stage as both an actor and director for over 20 years. Most recently, in the 2016 season he directed Songs For A New World and in 2015 GSC season he directed the Elliot Norton Award winning The New Electric Ballroom and starred in Israel Horovitz’sGloucester Blue. Walsh’s GSC directing credits include North Shore Fish, Fighting Over Beverley, The Widow’s Blind Date, The Primary English Class, and Our Town. As an actor he has appeared on the stage in Gloucester in Sins of the Mother, The Subject Was Roses,The Barking Sharks, and Two for the Seesaw. He has also served as the Producing Artistic Director at the American Stage Festival where he directed Bus Stop, Intimate Exchanges, Jacques Brel…, and Lend Me a Tenor, among others. As Artistic Associate at Actors’ Shakespeare Project he has directed As You Like It, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, and Measure For Measure. Other productions directed include: Othello with Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Round and Round The Garden,Table Manners, K2, Later Life and Holiday Memories at Merrimack Rep; Rancho Mirage, Race, Speed-The-Plow, and True West with New Repertory Theatre; The Secret of Sherlock Holmes and The Goatwoman of Corvis County at Shakespeare & Co.; Misalliance andA Life in the Theatre at Two River Theatre Co.; I Hate Hamlet with StageWest; The Little Foxes at Barter Theatre; and Of Mice and Menat Stoneham Theatre, among others. Mr. Walsh directed the on-field ceremonies for the ’99 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. He is on the faculty at A.R.T/M.X.A.T. (Harvard) and Brandeis University.
John Kolvenbach’s Bank Job runs May 19 through June 10 at Gloucester Stage. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at7:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm and a special Tuesdayperformance on Tuesday, June 6 at 7:30 pm. Following the 2 pmperformances on Sunday, May 28 and Sunday, June 4 audiences are invited to free post-show discussions with the artists from Bank JobPlaywright John Kolvenbach will participate in the Sunday, June 4post show discussion. Single ticket prices are $32 to $42 with discounts available for Preview Performances, Cape Ann Residents, Senior Citizens and Patrons 25 years old and under. In addition to regular reserved tickets, Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, May 20 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information about Gloucester Stage, or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com.