Press Release: Suspense on Stage at MRT

DATE: September 26, 2016
CONTACT: Kate Brandt,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678


A gripping, supernatural story by horror writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

October 12 – November 6, 2016

Lowell, MA – This fall Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) presents the regional premiere of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s "Abigail/1702", the haunting play that asks what might have happened ten years after the Salem witch trials. At the center of the story is Abigail Williams, the young accuser of 1692’s Salem Village, as she tries to begin a new life after the hysteria has subsided—yet remains haunted at every turn by terrors of the past. Tlaloc Rivas directs.

The 90-minute performance will run without an intermission. Performances are October 12 – November 6. Press performances are at 8:00 pm on Saturday, October 15 (Opening Night), and 2:00 pm on Sunday, October 16. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $70 - $26 and are on sale now at or by calling 978-654-4678.

“Abigail/1702” takes off from two questions: 1) What might have happened to the characters of the Witch Trials ten years later, and 2) What if the Devil had been a real figure that roamed the woods of Massachusetts?

The result is a suspenseful story infused with the supernatural. We meet a host of characters, familiar and unfamiliar, whose lives have been forever transformed by the events of 1692: Abigail Williams, the notorious young accuser, now seeking redemption; Elizabeth Proctor, the bereaved and outraged wife of the executed John Proctor; plus pirates on the run, reverends seeking answers, spirits of the dead, and the Devil himself.

About the Play and Playwright
MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels is thrilled to present an eerie take on a story that could not have more regional relevance. “In so many ways, the Salem Witch Trials is our own local horror story,” Daniels says. “And Roberto’s play puts a completely new spin on the story we know so well. I’ve been working with Roberto for 15 years, and am so excited to finally be able to produce one of his pieces in the area where it’s set. It promises to be the perfect New England Halloween tale.”

Playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is one of the most versatile horror writers in the field. The creative head of Archie Comics, he spearheaded the move to transform the series into a zombie saga (“Afterlife with Archie”). He also penned the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s “Carrie,” wrote the book for the Broadway take on “American Psycho,” his hotly anticipated Archie-based show “Riverdale” is set to premiere on the CW this winter, and he has also made a name for himself with such horror and suspense plays as “The Muckle Man” and “Say You Love Satan.” “Horror used to be commonplace in theatre,” Daniels remarks, “but now it is rare. Roberto is one of the very few people who can pull it off.”

Creative Team and Cast
The five-person cast features Rachel Napoleon, Mark Kincaid and Jon Kovach. Celeste Oliva, a Boston-based actor will be returning to MRT after appearing in last December's production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play." Making his professional debut is 11-year-old Trevor Dame of Pelham, NH.

Director Tlaloc Rivas is joined by a creative team that includes James J. Fenton (sets), Anne Kennedy (costumes), Maria-Cristina Fusté (lights) and David Remedios (sound).

Tickets range from $70 - $26 and are available at 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, October 12 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, October 19 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.

Special Events
MRT is thrilled to continue offering Free Child Care in the 2016-17 Season, at one performance of every show. Licensed professionals from Acre Family Childcare will provide activities for children (ages 0-10) of ticketholders during the 4:00 pm performance of “Abigail/1702” on Saturday, October 22.

As part of its Community Conversations series, MRT will host post-show panel discussions on three Wednesdays (October 19, 26, and November 2) with speakers from the Salem Historical Society and University of Massachusetts Lowell. The talks with the Historical Society will give a taste of the perils of Puritan life in the American colonies, and explain what really happened in the witch hysteria of 1692—and the impact that pirates and the Devil had on our New England predecessors.

Educator Night (October 13) will offer half-price tickets to teachers and librarians. On Wine Down Friday (October 14), the audience will be invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the lobby following the 8:00 pm performance with the cast and crew, as well as with the Western Avenue Studios Artists Association members whose work is currently on exhibit in the lobby. Ladies Night (October 27) will include complimentary wine and sweet treats from Lowell confectioner Sweet Lydia’s before the 7:30 performance. Post-Show Discussions will be held following select performances: in addition to the Wednesday Community Conversations, each Thursday Ask the Artists will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the people who created the show.

“Abigail/1702” has received media support from media sponsor Merrimack Valley Magazine. Circle Health is the 2016-17 Season Sponsor. 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. MRT produces vibrant, contemporary plays that explore what it means to be alive today. A seven-show season runs from September through May in the intimate 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre. The company is known as a leader in producing new plays, especially world and regional premieres. MRT is one of 72 theaters nationwide (one of three in Massachusetts) with membership in LORT (the League of Resident Theatres).

MRT 2016-17 SEASON
“45 Plays for 45 Presidents” by Andy Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston, and Karen Weinberg, Directed by Sean Daniels
September 7 – October 2, 2016

“Abigail/1702” by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Directed by Tlaloc Rivas
October 12 – November 6, 2016

“Going to See the Kid” by Steven Drukman, Directed by Alexander Greenfield
November 30 – December 24, 2016

“The Making of a Great Moment” by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Directed by Sean Daniels
January 4 – 29, 2017

“Women in Jeopardy!” by Wendy MacLeod, Directed by Sean Daniels
February 15 – March 12, 2017

“Chill” by Eleanor Burgess, Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
March 22 – April 16, 2017

“My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend” Conceived and performed by Charissa Bertels, Book and lyrics by Christian Duhamel, Music and lyrics by Edward Bell, Directed by Sean Daniels
April 26 – May 21, 2017

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

Image Download

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