Tinker to Everst to Chance Press Release

DATE: JANUARY 25, 2016
CONTACT: Kate Brandt, kate.brandt@mrt.org
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595 
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678
ONLINE: mrt.org


Sean Daniels to direct Mat Smart's richly layered drama in Lowell

February 10 – March 6 

Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre continues its 2015-16 Season with the regional premiere of “Tinker to Evers to Chance,” the touching new work from playwright Mat Smart about mothers, daughters, and baseball. The story spans a century of Chicago Cubs fandom, and resonates with honest questions about love, heartbreak, and hope. MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels will direct.

The 1-hour, 45-minute play runs from February 10 – March 6, with press performances at 8:00 on Saturday, February 13 (Opening Night), as well as at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Sunday, February 14. 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.

MRT’s production follows the 2014 world premiere at Rochester, New York’s Geva Theatre Center. Sean Daniels (who also directed this season’s smash-hits “The Lion” and “I and You”) has championed Smart’s play from the beginning, and helmed its world premiere in Rochester. “Mat does this amazing thing, where he shows you that to be a sports fan is to be the greatest romantic in the world. Because every year, you believe this could be your year—even though every year before has shown you it’s not.” Daniels notes that the play is perfect for the Greater Boston scene: Red Sox fans (especially those from who remember the pre-2004 days) will empathize with the hapless Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908. “For people that love the sport and love to talk about it, this is a great show.”

About the Play
At the center of the “Tinker to Evers to Chance” are die-hard fans: Lauren, a young professional who’s traded the windy city for the big apple, but still “bleeds Cubbie blue;” Lauren’s mom Nessa,; and RJ, a home care aide who works for Lauren’s mother, Nessa – herself a true fan,   who in her younger years made a pilgrimage to meet legendary second baseman Johnny Evers. When Nessa goes missing during a pivotal 2003 playoff game, Lauren and RJ are left to track her down—and to confront truths, both painful and beautiful, about just how far we’re willing to go for love.

Humor and humanity – with brilliant interweaving of flashbacks – grace the plot’s 97-year span. We meet the fast-talking Johnny Evers in 1906 (who along with Joe Tinker and Frank Chance, comprised one of the greatest infield combos in baseball history.) We also visit the feisty Nessa at several key moments in her younger life. The back story unfolds layer by layer, building to a poignant climax.

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle praised Mat Smart for hitting “this remarkably funny, tender story out of the ballpark” in its premiere at Geva.

Creative Team and Cast
Playwright Mat Smart is the recipient of the 2014 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the William Inge Center for the Arts, as well as the recipient of two Jerome Fellowships and a McKnight Achievement Grant. His work has been produced and workshopped in Boston at the Huntington Theatre Company (“The Hopper Collection,” “The Royal Society of Antarctica.”) Himself a Chicago native and avid baseball fan, Smart has watched a game at every one of baseball’s 30 Major League ballparks.

The two-person cast features Emily Kitchens and James Craven, both of whom have been with the show since early readings and workshops. They created their respective roles in the Geva premiere and now have the opportunity explore their roles even more deeply in this production.

In addition to Daniels, Kitchens, and Craven, sound designer Stowe Nelson is also reprising his role in the production.

Joining them are designers Randall Parsons (sets), A. Lee Viliesis (costumes), and Brian J. Lilienthal (lights). Lilienthal is a member of MRT’s Patriot Program, a network of theatre artists from around the country who share MRT’s resources and call the company their “theatrical home.”

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, February 10, 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, February 17 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 its first season offering Free Child Care at one performance of every show. Licensed professionals from Acre Family Childcare will provide activities for children (ages 0-10) of ticketholders during the 7:30 pm performance of “Tinker to Evers to Chance” on Wednesday, February 17.

On Wine Down Sunday, the audience will be invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the lobby following the first Sunday evening 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. 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 third Ladies Night of the season will take place on Thursday, February 25 and includes a pre-show wine and chocolate reception featuring treats from Sweet Lydia’s.

“Tinker to Evers to Chance” has received support from Media Sponsor Howl Magazine. 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

Image Download
(Headshots available now, PR photos available January 27, production photos available February 11.)
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