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'Fifth of July' to be performed in Cleveland

• Mar 25, 2018 at 2:00 PM

CLEVELAND — The Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting program has announced the debut performance for the class of 2020.

“Fifth of July,” from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, will run in the Helen Theatre at Playhouse Square from March 28 through April 7. Wilson received the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for “Talley’s Folly.” He was a founding member of Circle Repertory Company and one of 21 resident playwrights for the company.

“So much of the creative process is about collaboration and ‘Fifth of July,’ a play about a group of people dealing with the past and moving into the future, no matter how painful, offers a rich opportunity for our class of 2020 to immerse themselves in vibrant distinct characters in a truly ensemble piece,” director Donald Carrier said.

“Fifth of July” debuted at the Circle Repertory Company, a New York-based theater company co-founded by Wilson, starring William Hurt and Jeff Daniels. The production opened April 27, 1978 and ran for 159 performances before transferring to Broadway in 1980. The Broadway debut of “Fifth of July” featured Christopher Reeve and Swoosie Kurtz in her Tony Award-winning performance as Gwen.

In the wake of the Vietnam War, a veteran and his eccentric family gather in rural Missouri to ring in Independence Day. But the fireworks don’t stop once the Fourth is over. Long-standing resentments and disappointments bubble to the surface as the family attempts to reconcile the hopes they once had for the future with the realities of their present. From Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, “Fifth of July” is both a stunning and humorous portrait of a generation in search of direction and redemption.

Tickets are $15 for Wednesday and Thursday performances; Friday and Saturday performances are $20. Tickets are half off for currently enrolled students younger than age 25 with valid student ID and Young Professional discounts are available with a YP-CPH membership. To order single tickets, call 216-241-6000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10-plus can save by calling 216-400-7027. 

Since 1996, Case Western Reserve University has partnered with Cleveland Play House.

Every two years, eight actors are chosen from the hundreds who audition nationwide to join this rigorous three-year conservatory program. It admits committed and bold young artists who possess a love of language, empathy for the human experience, a vivid imagination and the desire to develop the necessary physical and vocal skills for a successful and sustained career in the ever-evolving performing arts scene. All three years are spent in residency at Cleveland Play House, providing students with unique access to its new downtown Cleveland state-of-the-art facilities and the professional expertise of its staff.

The Cleveland Play House, founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theater. It has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres and over its long history, more than 12 million people have attended 1,600-plus productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. 

The theater is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Cleveland Play House is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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