PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: AUGUST 10, 2015
CONTACT: Kate Brandt, email@example.com
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678
MRT OPENS SEASON WITH AWARD-WINNING SOLO MUSICAL “THE LION”
Sean Daniels’ inaugural season
begins with launch of a national tour
August 26 – September 20
Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT)’s new Artistic Director Sean Daniels opens his first season at the helm of the company with “The Lion,” a solo-musical written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer and directed by Daniels. After highly-praised runs in Edinburgh and London, two Off-Broadway productions, and several awards, “The Lion” is beginning a two-year national tour that launches from MRT. The gripping musical takes the audience on one man’s musical journey from boyhood to manhood, through pain and healing, to discover the redemptive power of music.
The 80-minute play will run from August 26 – September 20, with press performances at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Sunday, August 30. Press are also welcome to attend the Opening Night performance on Saturday, August 29 at 8:00 pm, though seating is limited. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $60 - $23 and are on sale now at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678.
Daniels and Scheuer first met during in 2013 at Goodspeed Musicals’ winter writers’ retreat. What began there in Connecticut continued for several years as the pair transformed four songs and a story into a musical that captivated audiences and critics on two continents. They also caught the attention of theatrical producer Eva Price (a Chelmsford native, whose parents were long-time subscribers to MRT). Now her company, Maximum Entertainment, in partnership with other visionary producers, is touring the production to regional theatres around the country to cities that include Washington D.C., Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh.
According to Daniels, “I always knew I wanted to start the season with the show Ben and I built together. My hope is that in launching the national tour at MRT, I can show local audiences the type of work we’ll be making here, and give them a taste of what the future holds.”
“The Lion” tells the autobiographical story of Scheuer losing his father at a young age and later fighting (and winning) a battle with stage IV Hodgkins Lymphoma. That battle is also chronicled in the book “Between Two Spaces,” which features photography by Riya Lerner and text from Scheuer’s journals. Half of the proceeds from the book are donated to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
“The Lion” won “Best New Musical” from London’s Offie Awards and “Outstanding Solo Performance” from the Drama Desk Awards. Scheuer also earned a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance in New York. The Off-Broadway production also received nominations from the Lucille Lortel Awards and the Outer Critics Circle Awards.
The prestigious London newspaper The Stage called it “Absolutely the best original musical of the year so far, on either side of the Atlantic… I doubt I'll see another show this year so poignant, so personal, so heartfelt, so sincere and so simply staged as ‘The Lion’ - a masterpiece.” The New York production was hailed by broadwayworld.com as “The first must-see of the season” and the Huffington Post said, “See it now. See it again. The best musical I’ve seen this year.” Charles Isherwood made the show a Critics Pick in the New York Times, citing “a directness and good humor that only the hardest-hearted could resist.”
Scheuer was also invited to ring the opening bell at NASDAQ and appeared on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS.
Scheuer and Daniels were joined on the creative team by Scenic Designer Neil Patel, Lighting Designer Ben Stanton (Tony Award nominee), Sound Designer Leon Rothenberg (Tony Award winner), and Costume Consultant Jennifer Caprio.
Tickets range from $60 - $23 and are available at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678. A Senior discount is offered for 10% off adult ticket prices. Student tickets are $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. $5 Night: Wednesday, August 26, at 7:30 pm. Patrons may purchase tickets for $5, cash only, at the Box Office between 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Limit 2 tickets per person. Lowell Night: Wednesday, September 2 at 7:30 pm. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10 at the box office from 4:30 pm-7:30 pm. Proper ID required, limit 2 per person. A Military Discount of $10 off per ticket (up to four tickets per production) applies to any performance for active duty, retired, veteran, and reservist members of the military.
Post-Show Discussions will be held following select performances, allowing further access to the production. Most Wednesdays, a Community Conversation will follow the evening performance, when the audience is invited to participate in a discussion about themes of the play with local organizations. Each Thursday, Ask the Artists will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the people who created the show.
“The Lion” is supported by Production Sponsor Enterprise Bank and received additional support from Media Sponsor, 92.5 The River. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979, and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. The company is known for its high production standards and for creating compelling new plays and regional premieres that reflect the lives and emotions of its audiences. MRT is one of just three theatres in Massachusetts that is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), which has 72 members nationwide.
MRT 2015-16 SEASON
“The Lion”, written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer
August 26 – September 20, 2015
“I and You” by Lauren Gunderson
October 7 – November 1, 2015
“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” adapted by Joe Landry
November 25 – December 20, 2015
“The White Chip” by Sean Daniels
January 6 – 31, 2015
“Tinker to Evers to Chance by Mat Smart
February 10 – March 6, 2016
“The Realness: a break beat play” by Idris Goodwin
March 16 – April 10, 2016
“Home of the Brave” by Lila Rose Kaplan
April 20 – May 15, 2016
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678
(Photos from previous productions available now, production photos from MRT available beginning August 27.)
1. Visit The Lion photo collection on Flickr
2. Select a photo from the Photo Stream or the Albums
3. Click on the thumbnail and let the image load in your browser on the Flickr site.
4. Click the download button and select View All Sizes.
5. Select the size you wish to download from the choices listed across the top of the image.
6. Click the "Download the ___ size of this photo..." link at the top. The image will download to your computer.