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Ensemble Theatre Company Presents
Neil Simon’s Tony-Nominated Chapter Two,
A Heartfelt Romantic Comedy, Perfect for the Holiday Season
Santa Barbara, CA – Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) at the New Vic continues the 2016-17 Season with Neil Simon’s Tony-Nominated romantic comedy about second-time-around love, Chapter Two. The production runs December 1 through 18 and is directed by Andrew Barnicle, who returns to the New Vic following his critically acclaimed direction of Noël Coward’s Fallen Angels.
Set in Manhattan in the 1970s, Chapter Two is a charming and poignant romantic comedy that follows the coping and coupling of New York writer and recent widower George Schneider. At the advice of his brother, George begins a relationship with actress Jennie Malone, whose six-year marriage to a professional football player has recently fallen apart. Despite the obvious chemistry, the road to “happily ever after” is a bumpy one for these seasoned lovers.
Audiences might recall Chapter Two from its screen adaptation starring James Caan. Lauded as "lovely, whimsical, and downright hilarious," by the New York Post,Chapter Two is a wonderful treat for the holidays.
“This is our first production of a Neil Simon play,” noted Jonathan Fox, ETC’s Artistic Director. “Chapter Two marks a turning point in his writing. His work becomes deeper and more autobiographical, without losing his trademark humor. I’m delighted that Andrew Barnicle is back at ETC to direct.”
Andrew Barnicle returns to ETC after directing last season’s wildly popular production of Noël Coward’s Fallen Angels and the prior season’s production of David Ives’ Venus in Fur. Mr. Barnicle served as artistic director of The Laguna Playhouse from 1991 through 2010. In that time he produced over 100 Playhouse shows and directed over 40 of them, including many world, U.S., west coast and Southern California premieres.
Making their ETC debuts are Todd Weeks as George Schneider and Caroline Kinsolving as Jenny Malone. Mr. Weeks comes to ETC having just starred opposite Bryan Cranston as Chief of Staff Walter Jenkins in the HBO biopic “All the Way.” His Broadway credits include The Full Monty (original cast); The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Summer and Smoke, and Our Town. A member of the renowned Atlantic Ensemble, Mr. Weeks has performed in ATC premieres of The Voysey Inheritance, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The Jammer, Sea of Tranquility, The Cider House Rules,Distant Fires, Boys' Life(also at Lincoln Center Theater), and The Lights (LCT) among others. He will also star in the upcoming “When We Rise,” an ABC mini-series on the history of the LGBT movement.
Ms. Kinsolving earned a Best Actress Lu Leonard Award nomination for her work as Vanda in Venus in Fur at San Diego Rep. Other theatre credits include Olivia in Twelfth Night at The Old Globe; Amanda in Private Lives at ICT; Jo in Little Women at North Coast Rep; may other LA-based productions, as well as WordPlay at Playwrights Horizons in New York. Her film and television credits include “Medium,” “Criminal Minds,” and “Cold Case,” The Watcher, Krankenhaus, The Pink Conspiracy, and Puppy Love.
Returning to ETC are Thomas Vincent Kelly as Leo Schneider and Heather Ayers as Faye Medwick. ETC’s audiences will know Mr. Kelly’s performances in Bell, Book, and Candle and Opus. He has starred in productions at The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, and Writers’ Theatre, and originated the role Raymond Pemberthy in Phillip Kan Gotanda’s play The Wind Cries Mary at San Jose Repertory and East/West Players in L.A. His work on television includes the recurring role of Dr. Bresson on “24,” as well as starring roles on “The Practice”, “Bernie Mac”, “The District”, “Medium”, “Without a Trace”, “Judging Amy”, “JAG”, “Law & Order: LA”, and “Saving Grace.”
Ms. Ayers’ performed to great acclaim in ETC’s productions of Sweeney Todd, Women in Jeopardy, Intimate Apparel, and A Little Night Music. She has appeared on Broadway in Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr. and Trevor Nunn’s production of A Little Night Music. Next year, Ms. Ayers will appear on Broadway as Mrs. Lancaster, the owner of the bed and breakfast in the new musical version of Groundhog Day.
The design team for Chapter Two includes Scenic Designer Bruce Goodrich, Costume Designer Dianne K. Graebner, and Lighting Designer Pablo Santiago.
Playwright Neil Simon is a quintessential New York playwright, and has more combined Tony and Oscar Award nominations than any other writer. His witty, and oftentimes autobiographical, work includes numerous Broadway hits, including Come Blow Your Horn,Barefoot in the Park (1963; film 1967), The Odd Couple (1965; film 1968), The Star-Spangled Girl (1966; film 1971), Plaza Suite (1968; film 1971), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1969; film 1972), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971; film 1975), The Sunshine Boys (1972; film 1975), California Suite (1976; film 1978), Chapter Two (1977; film 1979), I Ought to Be in Pictures (1980; film 1982), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983; film 1986), Biloxi Blues (1985; film 1988), Broadway Bound (1986; television movie 1992), Rumors (1988), Lost in Yonkers (1991; film 1993), and The Dinner Party(2000). Simon also wrote the books for numerous musicals, including Little Me(1962), Sweet Charity (1966), Promises, Promises (1968), They’re Playing Our Song (1979), and The Goodbye Girl (1993).
ETC’s 2016-17 Season has been generously sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation. Production support for Chapter Two comes from Montecito Bank & Trust, Sybil Rosen, and Barbara and Sam Toumayan.
Founded in 1979, Ensemble Theatre Company is Santa Barbara’s leading professional, resident theatre company. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jonathan Fox and Managing Director Jill Seltzer, ETC has attracted accomplished performing artists from around the country. The 2016-17 Season launched in September at the New Vic, ETC’s newly renovated 294-seat performing arts venue, with a critically acclaimed production of Macbeth. The 2016-17 Season continues with Chapter Two by Neil Simon (12/3/16 - 12/18/16); The Gershwin’sPorgy and Bess, composed by George Gershwin with libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks (2/11/17 – 2/26/17); Baby Doll, adapted by Emily Mann and Pierre Laville from the film by Tennessee Williams (4/15/17 – 4/30/17); and Syncopation, by Allan Knee (6/8/17 – 6/25/17).
Performances for Chapter Two run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 and 7:00 pm, with a Saturday 4:00 pm matinee performance on December 10, a Tuesday 7:00 pm show on December 6. Youth tickets are available for age 29-and-under for only $20.00 each. Single tickets are available through the ETC box office at (805) 965-5400, or online at etcsb.org. For group sales information, please call (805) 965-5400. The New Vic is located at 33 W. Victoria Street, Santa Barbara CA, 93101.