Final casting is announced for the UK premiere of Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck’s hit comedy The Understudy, which runs at London’s Canal Café Theatre from 21 February to 11 March 2017, with a press night on 23 February.
Canal Cafe’s own artistic director Emma Taylor (NewsRevue, Canal Café; The Birds, Leicester Square Theatre; The Nanny, Soho Theatre) will star alongside Lennard Sillevis (Cowboy Mouth, Kings Head; King John, The Union Theatre), and Samuel John (A Long Day’s Journey into Night, Bermuda Arts Festival; Dead Funny and Our Walk Through the World, The Old Red Lion). The production is directed by Russell Lucas and designed by Stuart Glover.
Full of laugh-out-loud comedy and vivacious satire, The Understudy dissects the backstage friction of a frenzied understudy rehearsal of a long lost Kafka play about to be staged on Broadway. Charged with running the rehearsal, Roxanne finds her professional and personal lives colliding when Harry, a jobbing actor, is cast as understudy to Jake, a mid-level action star yearning for legitimacy.
Director Russell Lucas comments:
“This is the second time I’ve convinced Canal Café Theatre’s Artistic Director Emma Taylor onto her own stage. Combined with Samuel John’s dexterous skills and the instincts of Lennard Sillevis, The Understudy is going to be lightning in a bottle.”
The Understudy is part of Canal Café’s America: Past, Present and Future season, which will conclude with a brand new commissioned play inspired by Americana.
Director Russell Lucas trained as an actor at Colchester Mercury Youth Theatre then in Birmingham at The Russian School of Acting and Sandwell College. His directing practice has included collaborations with Sh!t Theatre, Heather Uprichard (Shunt Collective), Sam Wills (The Boy with Tape on his Face), Martin Malcolm (Warped) & Linda Marlowe (Night Bus). He works in many mediums including performance art, film, photography and theatre production. He also delivers workshops for The Donmar Warehouse, Hackney Arts and The Directors Guild of Great Britain. He is co-creator and director of smash-hit Julie Madly Deeply by Sarah Louise-Young (London/Australia/Canada).
Author Theresa Rebeck, currently residing in Brooklyn, New York, has been named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek, and The New York Times has referred to her as one of her generation’s major talents. She is best known for her plays Seminar and Mauritius, which both premiered on Broadway, and her earlier works Spike Heels, Bad Dates and Omnium Gatherum, (Pulitzer Finalist) and her hit TV show Smash. In addition to Smash, Rebeck has numerous writing and producing credits for television including Dream On, L.A. Law, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue. She is currently under commission by Roundabout Theater Company, La Jolla Playhouse and South Coast Rep. Rebeck and composer Josh Schmidt are adapting the RKO film Dance, Girl, Dance, as a stage musical, and she has created a stage adaptation of the fable Stone Soup with John Weidman. She has received some of the top honours in her field, including the National Theatre Conference Award, the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award, PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, and the Peabody. She has written for American Theatre Magazine and has had excerpts of her plays published in the Harvard Review.