Comedy play opens fall theatre season at Ripon College Oct. 4

The widely acclaimed comedy play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, by Christopher Durang, will open the 2017-18 theatre season at Ripon College.

It is one of the most lauded and beloved Broadway plays of recent years. Some of the show’s elements are humorous adaptations of themes from works of Anton Chekhov. Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up, but their peace is disturbed when their movie star sister Masha returns unannounced with her 20-something boy toy, Spike. A weekend of rivalry, regret and raucousness begins.

The play won numerous awards, including the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play; Outer Circle Critics Award for Best Play; Drama League Award for Best Production of a Play; Drama Desk Award for Best Play; New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Production; and Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play.

The production will open at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, in Benstead Theatre, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts, on the Ripon College campus. The show also will run at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5; and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. Ticket information is available by calling 920-748-8791.

Members of the cast are: David Firari ’18 of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, as Vanya; Sophie Widman ’18 of Boulder Creek, California, as Sonia; Stephanie Nilsen ’18 of Waukesha, Wisconsin, as Masha; Michael Baumhardt ’18 of Richfield, Wisconsin, as Spike; Courtney Hall ’20 of West Allis, Wisconsin, as Cassandra; and Bailey Jerrick ’20 of Stoughton, Wisconsin, as Nina.

The crew includes James Balistreri ’19 of Plymouth, Wisconsin, assistant director, stage manager and lighting designer; Ethan Freiermuth ’19 of Prairie Farm, Wisconsin, and Heidi DeCaluwe ’20 of Jackson, Wisconsin, assistant stage managers.

Professor of Theatre Kenneth Hill is the director and sound designer. Associate Professor of Theatre John Dalziel is the set designer and technical director. Susan McDaniel Hill is the costume designer.

The play is intended for mature audiences.


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