“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” Preview June 5-6, 2013

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“Dead Man’s Cell Phone”

Sarah Ruhl’s whimsical dark comedy looks at
personal responsibility, integrity and human connection

Los Angeles, Calif. (April 30,2013) – An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next
table who has had enough. And a dead man, with a lot of loose ends. Richard Israel
directs Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative and off-center romantic comedy
by MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Sarah Ruhl, opening on June 7 at
International City Theatre (ICT) in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Two
low-priced previews take place on June 5 and 6.

A lonely woman is forced to confront her assumptions about morality, redemption and
the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world as she steps into the life
of a dead man by taking his cell phone calls. What starts as a moment of frustration
quickly turns into a bond of curious loyalty when Jean finds herself caught in the
middle of another man's tangled web of relationships and family. Acting as his
mouthpiece, Jean soon discovers different types of connections that go beyond the
physical, tapping into the psychological, the emotional and even…the afterlife.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Ruhl explained, “If someone were to ask me why I
wrote this strange play, I might be silent, I might be evasive, or I might outright
lie. But imagine that I said that I was interested in the culture of cell phones, in
how they have completely altered our emotional, psychic and body states to the point
where culture (and perhaps not even evolution) has caught up. Imagine that I said I
was interested in how there is no longer any privacy, nor is there any reason
anymore to talk to strangers on elevators… That I feel, at times, lost.”

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone is a funny, quirky play tinged with magical realism, but
Sarah’s humor is so grounded in reality and so honest that it’s easy to go along for
the ride,” says Israel. “She was amazingly prescient when she wrote this. Now, with
smart phones and texting, it’s become even harder for us to connect – we not only
need never look anyone in the eye, we no longer even need to speak to one another.
This play humorously examines how human beings try to reach each other.”

Winner of the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone was first
presented in 2007 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington D.C. before going
to New York City, where it opened at Playwrights Horizons starring Mary Louise
Parker.

The ICT production stars Alina Phelan as Jean (All in the Timing at ICT; Garland
Award winner for her portrayal of Hamlet in Hamlet: The First Quarto and Ovation
nominee for Family Planning, both for Theatre of Note), Trent Dawson (Broadway’s The
Herbal Bed; Off Broadway productions of Vine, The Memorandum, Macbeth, Brothers in
Crime; three Emmy Nominations for his role as Henry Coleman on As the World Turns),
Susan Diol (You Never Can Tell at Circle in the Square with Uta Hagan and Victor
Garber; Opera Comique at the Kennedy Center with Eli Wallach; a member of the
Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and The Road Theater Company), Heather Roberts (Juliet in
Romeo and Juliet at the Ark Theatre; Twelfth Night at A Noise Within) and Eileen
T-Kaye (previously seen at ICT in Death Defying Acts, Black Comedy, On the Twentieth
Century, Cabaret and The Threepenny Opera; at the Geffen in Coney Island Christmas;
at The Theatre @ Boston Court in The Government Inspector; and in Ivanov for
Evidence Room/Odyssey Theatre).

Set design for Dead Man’s Cell Phone is by D Martin Bookwalter; lighting design is
by Jeremy Pivnick; costume design is by Kim DeShazo; sound design is by Dave Mickey;
hair and wigs are by Anthony Gagliardi; props are by Patty and Gordon Briles;
production stage manager is Michael Frank; and casting is by Michael Donovan
Casting.

Though Sarah Ruhl originally intended to be a poet, she fell in love with
playwriting after studying with playwright Paula Vogel at Brown University. Many of
her plays mix the mundane with the mythical and supernatural, exploring the delicate
line between life and death. She is known for her retellings and adaptations of
classic stories and for bringing a clear feminist voice to the contemporary stage.
Her other plays include In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) (Glickman Prize,
2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist); The Clean House (Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2005
Pulitzer Prize finalist), In Demeter in the City (nominated for nine NAACP awards);
Eurydice; Melancholy Play; Orlando; a new version of Chekhov's Three Sisters; and
Passion Play (Kentucky Center Fourth Forum Freedom Award). Her plays have premiered
at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway, and have been produced off-Broadway at Lincoln
Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons and Second Stage. Regionally they've been seen
at Berkeley Repertory Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, The Goodman Theater,
Cornerstone Theater, Arena Stage, Wooly Mammoth, Cincinnati Playhouse and the Piven
Theater Workshop in Chicago, as well as being produced at many other theaters across
the country and around the world.

Richard Israel returns to International City Theatre, where he directed Leading
Ladies last season. Other credits include Avenue Q for DOMA Theatre Company; Once
Upon A Mattress for Cabrillo Music Theatre; Falsettos for the Third Street Theatre;
Gypsy for West Coast Ensemble (LA Weekly Award nominations for Directing and
Outstanding Musical); the world premiere of Having It All at the NoHo Arts Center (7
Ovation Award Nominations); Meet Me In St. Louis for Musical Theatre West; A
Christmas Carol for the Norris Theatre; Bell, Book and Candle for The Colony
Theatre; and the critically acclaimed West Coast premiere of Anita Bryant Died For
Your Sins, the Los Angeles premiere of Big - The Musical, Assassins (LA Weekly Award
nominations for Direction and Outstanding Musical, LADCC Award for Musical Ensemble)
and Floyd Collins - all for Hollywood’s West Coast Ensemble Theatre. For the Musical
Theatre Guild, he has directed High Fidelity, One Touch Of Venus, High Spirits and
Violet as well as staged readings of Dani Girl and Rocket Science for the Festival
Of New American Musicals. Richard is the artistic director for West Coast Ensemble
Theatre and the recipient of a Career Achievement Award for Directing from the Los
Angeles Drama Critics Circle.

Richard Israel returns to International City Theatre, where he directed Leading
Ladies last season. Other credits include Avenue Q for DOMA Theatre Company; Once
Upon A Mattress for Cabrillo Music Theatre; Falsettos for the Third Street Theatre;
Gypsy for West Coast Ensemble (LA Weekly Award nominations for Directing and
Outstanding Musical); the world premiere of Having It All at the NoHo Arts Center (7
Ovation Award Nominations); Meet Me In St. Louis for Musical Theatre West; A
Christmas Carol for the Norris Theatre; Bell, Book and Candle for The Colony
Theatre; and the critically acclaimed West Coast premiere of Anita Bryant Died For
Your Sins, the Los Angeles premiere of Big - The Musical, Assassins (LA Weekly Award
nominations for Direction and Outstanding Musical, LADCC Award for Musical Ensemble)
and Floyd Collins - all for Hollywood’s West Coast Ensemble Theatre. For the Musical
Theatre Guild, he has directed High Fidelity, One Touch Of Venus, High Spirits and
Violet as well as staged readings of Dani Girl and Rocket Science for the Festival
Of New American Musicals. Richard is the artistic director for West Coast Ensemble
Theatre and the recipient of a Career Achievement Award for Directing from the Los
Angeles Drama Critics Circle.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 8 pm and Sundays @ 2
pm, June 7-30. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, June 5 and
Thursday, June 6 @ 8 pm. Tickets are $38 on Thursdays and $45 on Fridays, Saturdays
and Sundays, except opening night which is $50 and includes a reception with the
actors following the performance. Preview tickets are $29. International City
Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean
Boulevard in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call the ICT
Box Office at 562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.com
<http://www.internationalcitytheatre.com/> .

Details for Calendar Listings
“Dead Man’s Cell Phone”

WHAT:
Dead Man’s Cell Phone — A lonely woman is forced to confront her assumptions about
morality, redemption and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world as
she steps into the life of a dead man by taking his cell phone calls. What starts as
a moment of frustration quickly turns into a bond of curious loyalty when Jean finds
herself caught in the middle of another man’s tangled web of relationships and
family. Acting as his mouthpiece, Jean soon discovers different types of connections
that go beyond the physical, tapping into the psychological, the emotional and
even…the afterlife.

WHO:
Written by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Richard Israel
Featuring Trent Dawson, Susan Diol, Alina Phelan, Heather Roberts, Eileen T’Kaye
Produced by caryn desai [sic]

WHEN:
Previews: June 5 & 6 at 8 pm
Performances: June 7 -30
Wednesday at 8 pm: June 5 only (preview)
Thursdays at 8 pm: June 6 (preview), 13, 20, 27
Fridays at 8 pm: June 7 (Opening Night), 14, 21, 28
Saturdays at 8 pm : June 8, 15, 22, 29
Sundays at 2 pm: June 9, 16, 23, 30

WHERE:
INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE
Long Beach Performing Arts Center
300 East Ocean Blvd.
LongsBeach CA 90802

HOW:
562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.com
<http://www.internationalcitytheatre.com/> 

TICKETS:
Opening Night: $50 (includes reception following the performance)
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: $45
Thursday: $38
Previews: $29

 


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