Project Description

Sponsored by Carla and Ed Slomin

American Underground

World Premiere
Bonnie & Terry Burman New Play Award Winner

By BRENT ASKARI
Directed by JULIANNE BOYD

OCTOBER 2–20
Boyd-Quinson Mainstage

In the not-so-distant future, an interracial couple enjoys a visit from their college-aged son when a young Muslim woman arrives at their back door. She’s looking for safe passage via a new Underground Railroad as Muslims are being detained and imprisoned. Suddenly, a government official knocks on their door wreaking havoc on the family. They must decide how much to risk to save an innocent woman. This riveting thriller takes us inside a stark vision of an unapologetic America.

Sponsored in part by Philip and Mary Oppenheimer
Student Matinees sponsored in part by The Alpern-Rosenthal Foundation & Central Berkshire Fund & The Dobbins Foundation

Explore the ideas of American Underground with our Free Supplemental Reading Guide.
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“Once again, Barrington Stage Company brings us another bold, brave, important, timely, and highly relevant piece.”
—BroadwayWorld

“See it! It will be ninety minutes out of your life which could someday save your life or mine. But don’t do it for me. See it for yourself.”
—Berkshire Bright Focus

“has you totally engrossed…Playwright Brent Askari is a terrific storyteller.”
—Troy Record

“Intriguing…This is a new play and one with promise.”
—Talkin’ Broadway

“fast paced, gripping drama”
—Berkshire Fine Arts

“a thoughtful piece…powerful and haunting”
—The Berkshire Eagle

“compelling”
—Off Script

CAST

NATASCIA DIAZ* (Anna) BSC debut. NEW YORK: Broadway: Man of La Mancha, Antonia u/s Aldonza. Off Bway: Grand Hotel, Rafaella; Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Second Stage). DC: Fosca in Passion (Signature Theatre—2019 Helen Hayes Award); Betty 3 in the World Premiere of Collective Rage (Woolly Mammoth); Elektra in Agamemnon and His Daughters (Arena Stage); Savage in Savage in Limbo (MetroStage); Jacques Brel… (2013 Helen Hayes Award); Mariana in Measure for Measure, Emilia in Othello (Shakespeare Theatre). TV: Oz, Nurse Jackie, Law & Order: SVU, Damages. FILM: Every Little Step (self). More at natasciadiaz.com. Instagram: @ladydiaz777; Twitter: @NatasciaDiaz
ALAN H. GREEN* (Rog) BSC: The Royal Family of Broadway, Broadway Bounty Hunter, Romance in Hard Times. Original Broadway Casts: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, School of Rock, Sister Act, Play On!. 1st National Tours: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Swing!, Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Off Broadway: Broadway Bounty Hunter (Greenwich Street Theatre), Happiness (Lincoln Center), Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular (Radio City). International: Miss Saigon. TV: Unforgettable, Peter Pan Live!, 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, Guiding Light. Lots of National Commercials. Deacon at Metro Baptist Church. Rice University Graduate. IG: @alanhgreen; ALANHGREEN.com
KATHLEEN MCNENNY* (Kourtney) BSC: American Underground 2019 reading, The Birds. Most recently she recurred as Grace Molinaro in The Enemy Within. Selected credits: Broadway: The Father, Fish in the Dark, An Enemy of the People, Death of a Salesman, Coram Boy, The Constant Wife, After the Fall, A Few Good Men. Regional: A Doll’s House, Part 2, Weston Playhouse; Death of a Salesman, Pittsburgh Public; Outside Mullingar, Philadelphia Theater Co.; Equus, Guild Hall; Moon for the Misbegotten, McCarter; Richard III, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival; Beyond Therapy, Westport Playhouse. TV: Blindspot, Elementary, Chicago Justice, Person of Interest, The Black Box, The Good Wife, New Amsterdam, Law & Order: CI and SVU. Training: The Juilliard School.
JUSTIN WITHERS* (Jeff) BSC debut. Theatre: Days Of Rage (Second Stage Theater, Dir. Trip Cullman); Thirst (Contemporary American Theater Festival). Film: A Shot Through the Wall. He is a 2018 graduate of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University where he received his B.F.A. in Acting. He would like to thank his family for supporting his pursuit of the arts. JustinWithers.com
RASHA ZAMAMIRI* (Sherri) BSC: American Underground 2019 reading. She is an Arab-American actor, singer and voiceover artist who was last seen in the groundbreaking TV series Ramy on Hulu. Rasha was privileged enough to spend the last two summers at Ritsona Refugee Camp, Greece, working with Syrian refugees in the Campfire Project alongside Jessica Hecht and Arin Arbus. Past theatre credits include: Kiss (Yale Repertory), The Who & The What (Gulfshore Playhouse), We Live in Cairo (The O’Neill), The Wife (BerkeleyRep), Hour of Feeling (Humana Festival), Aftermath (New York Theatre Workshop & World Tour). TV/Film: Madam Secretary, Looming Tower, Instinct, #Wargames, Sayid, Blindspot, Blue Bloods and The Blacklist. Proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.

CREATIVES

BRENT ASKARI (Playwright) BSC: Winner of a Burman New Play Award for American Underground, 2019 reading. Brent is a Persian-American writer and actor. He is the winner of the 2019 National New Play Network Smith Prize for Political Theater for his play The Refugees. Brent’s play Hard Cell was part of the 2017 PlayPenn development conference and was produced as part of Geva Theatre Center’s 2018–2019 Mainstage Season. Some of Brent’s other recent plays include: White Party (Finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Ashland New Play Festival, Semi-Finalist O’Neill Playwriting Conference); Digby’s Home (Semi-finalist O’Neill Playwriting Conference, produced at Mad Horse Theatre); Bending Reeds (Semi-Finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Developed at Blank Stage Living Room Series). Brent was part of HBO’s New Writers Project and has written screenplays for Paramount Pictures, Marvel Films, MTV and Reveille Entertainment. As an actor, Brent has performed in numerous theatrical productions across the country and is an ensemble member of Mad Horse Theatre Company and an Associate Artist of Portland Stage Company. He narrated the nationally syndicated children’s television program Animal Science, which was nominated for a national Daytime Emmy in 2014.

JULIANNE BOYD (Director) co-founded Barrington Stage Company in January 1995. She has directed many productions at BSC, including the 2018 critically acclaimed productions of West Side Story and The Glass Menagerie. She also directed the 2017 hit Company, starring Aaron Tveit. In 2016 she directed two world premieres: Christopher Demos-Brown’s American Son, which won the Laurents-Hatcher Award for Best New Play by an Emerging Playwright in 2016, and the musical Broadway Bounty Hunter by Joe Iconis, Jason SweetTooth Williams and Lance Rubin. Other productions include the world premieres of Mark St. Germain’s Dancing Lessons, The Best of Enemies and Dr. Ruth, All the Way, as well as the critically acclaimed revival of Goldman and Sondheim’s Follies. In 1997 she directed BSC’s smash hit production of Cabaret, which won six Boston Theater Critics Awards and transferred to the Hasty Pudding Theatre in Cambridge for an extended run.

Boyd conceived and directed the Broadway musical Eubie!, a show based on the music of Eubie Blake, which starred Gregory Hines and garnered three Tony nominations. She also co-conceived and directed (with Joan Micklin Silver) the award-winning Off Broadway musical revue A…My Name Is Alice (Outer Critics’ Award) and its sequel A…My Name Is Still Alice. She has worked extensively in New York and regional theatres.

From 1992 to 1998, Ms. Boyd served as President of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, the national labor union representing professional directors and choreographers in the U.S. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre History from CUNY Graduate Center.

ELIVIA BOVENZI (Costume Designer) BSC: If I Forget, Time Flies and Other Comedies, The Glass Menagerie, Typhoid Mary, The Birds, Kunstler and peerless. She has designed an extensive repertoire of Shakespeare including Much Ado About Nothing, The Rape of Lucrece, Hamlet and Titus Andronicus (New York Shakespeare Exchange); Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare on the Sound). Assistant design credits: Broadway revivals of My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof; and for The Father and Incognito (MTC); Plenty (Public Theater); War Paint (Goodman Theatre); Kiss Me, Kate (Hartford Stage); My Heart is in the East (La MaMa). MFA: Yale School of Drama, where her credits include An Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Yale Rep/Berkeley Rep), Cloud Nine and Richard II. Elivia is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theater Design at Queens College. eliviabovenzi.com

FABIAN OBISPO (Sound Designer) BSC: The Chinese Lady. Off Broadway: Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Manhattan Class Company, Classic Stage Company, Atlantic Theatre Company, Vineyard Theatre, The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Theatre for a New Audience, Primary Stages Women’s Project and The Acting Company. Regional: Arena Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Kennedy Center, American Conservatory Theater, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Seattle Repertory, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Westport Country Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, Virginia Stage, Playmakers Repertory Company, Syracuse Stage, Everyman Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Folger Theatre and Indiana Repertory Theatre among others.

MATTHEW RICHARDS (Lighting Designer) BSC: Time Flies and Other Comedies, The Glass Menagerie, The Cake, Kimberly Akimbo, Art, Elegies. Broadway: Ann starring Holland Taylor. Opera: Macbeth at L.A. Opera. Off Broadway: Is God Is at Soho Rep; Absolute Brightness… and The Curvy Widow at Westside Arts; The Killer, Tamburlaine and Measure For Measure at Theatre for a New Audience; A Funny Thing… at MCC. Regional: Arena Stage; Baltimore’s Center Stage; Cincinnati Playhouse; Cleveland Play House; Dallas Theater Center; Ford’s Theatre; The Goodman; Hartford Stage; The Huntington; La Jolla Playhouse; Long Wharf; The Old Globe; Shakespeare Theatre; Westport Playhouse; Williamstown Theatre Festival.

MARIANA SANCHEZ (Scenic Designer) BSC debut. Mariana is a scenic designer originally from Mexico with a background in architecture. Scenic design credits include: Off Broadway: Marys Seacole (Lincoln Center Theater); Winter’s Tale (The Public Theater); Fade (Primary Stages); Troy (The Public Theater); Frontieres Sans Frontieres (The Bushwick Starr); Oh My Sweet Land (The Play Company). Regional: All’s Well That Ends Well (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Fetch Clay, Make Man (Dallas Theater Center); Manahatta (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Skeleton Crew (Baltimore Center Stage); The Wolves (TheaterWorks); Fade (TheaterWorks); The River Bride (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); War (Yale Repertory Theater); Winnie the Pooh (The Alliance Theater); Peter Pan (Yale University); among others. She earned an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

DAVID D’AGOSTINO* (Production Stage Manager) BSC debut. In the past decade, his work has taken him to every continental state and several Canadian provinces, working on a variety of national tours and regional productions. Favorite credits include the revival of Pippin, Million Dollar Quartet, Cabaret, The Producers, Memphis: The Musical and Man of La Mancha. No stranger to new works, David has previously worked with the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival as manager of “The PiTCH!” playwright workshop, working on and facilitating several new plays and musicals. Thanks to Mom, Dad and Alex!

MCCORKLE CASTING LTD; PAT MCCORKLE, KATJA ZAROLINSKI (Casting) (C.S.A.) Casting actors for Barrington Stage for 17 years. Pat McCorkle is pleased to be an Associate Artist at BSC. Broadway: Over 50 productions including On the Town, Amazing Grace, End of the Rainbow, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, She Loves Me, A Few Good Men. Off Broadway: highlights — Clever Little Lies; Sheer Madness; Tribes; Our Town (Barrow Street); Freud’s Last Session; Toxic Avenger; Almost, Maine; Driving Miss Daisy. Feature film: Premium Rush, Ghost Town, The Thomas Crown Affair, Die Hard with a Vengeance, School Ties, etc. Television: Twisted, St. George, Sesame Street, Hack, Californication, Max Bickford, Chappelle’s Show, Strangers with Candy, Barbershop, etc. mccorklecasting.com

CHARLIE SIEDENBURG (Press Representative) BSC Associate Artist. Charlie joined the Barrington Stage family in 2005 and has represented over 130 BSC productions. His work has led to features in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, USA Today and American Theatre Magazine. He began working as a publicist in 1990 at the Barn Theatre in August, MI, working with folks like Marin Mazzie, Jennifer Garner and Tom Wopat. His many PR credits include the Metropolitan Opera (Live in HD), Paper Mill Playhouse (1999–2004), George Street Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Goodspeed Musicals, Long Wharf Theatre, Surflight Theatre and Two River Theatre Company. A graduate and professor at Wagner College, where he teaches Theatre Appreciation, Charlie recently received the Dr. Kevin Sheehy Alumni Leadership Medal.

American Underground - 2019

American Underground concerns Rog and Anna, an interracial couple that is part of The Network, a new version of the Underground Railroad — this one devoted to help Muslims get safe passage out of the country. One night, a young Muslim woman named Sherri arrives at their back door. The couple, along with their son Jeff, come up with a plan to help Sherri get away to freedom; however, Kourtney, a government official, shows up to interview them on the day of Sherri’s departure — claiming it’s all just routine — or does she know more than she’s admitting?