Long Wharf Theatre stages Curse of the Starving Class February 13 through March 10

NEW HAVEN – Tony Award-winner Judith Ivey, known for her critically acclaimed work in Long Wharf Theatre’s productions of The Glass Menagerie and Shirley Valentine, will star in Curse of the Starving Class, by Sam Shepard, directed by Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.

The show will take place February 13 through March 10, 2013. Tickets are $40-$70.

The cast includes Peter Albrink (Wesley), Ben Becher (Malcolm/Slater), Judith Ivey (Ella), Clark Middleton (Emerson/Ellis), John Procaccino (Taylor), Kevin Tighe (Weston), and Elvy Yost (Emma).

The creative team is comprised of Michael Yeargan (sets), Clint Ramos (costumes), James F. Ingalls (lighting), Fitz Patton (sound), Doug Wieselman (composer), William Berloni (animal handler), and Bryce McDonald (stage manager.)

The Tate family is dead broke, the front door smashed in and nothing in the refrigerator. Dad drunkenly dreams of a hermit’s life in the desert while Mom longs for European sophistication. So when both hatch schemes, independent of each other, to sell the family farm out from underneath their two children, a wild battle ensues to save each person’s piece of the American Dream. This modern classic by Sam Shepard, a Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning playwright, balances dark comedy and biting satire in its look at a family fighting to stay alive.

“Shepard is one of the truly great American playwrights, one that can be mentioned alongside the likes of Miller, O’Neill, and Williams. This is my personal favorite of his plays. It combines painful truths and wild humanity perfectly. The story rings deeply true to me. Ironically, it is one of the most realistic plays about the American family,” Edelstein said.

Ivey, playing the matriarch of the Tate family, gave what was described by the New York Times as the “performance of a career” in Long Wharf Theatre’s production of The Glass Menagerie. The two-time Tony Award-winner is currently appearing in The Heiress on Broadway, giving a performance described by the Hollywood Reporter as “sublimely funny.”

Curse marks the first time one of Shepard’s plays has been produced at Long Wharf Theatre. This OBIE Award-winning play, first produced in 1978, is part of Shepard’s family play trilogy, which includes Buried Child and True West.  Shepard’s exploration of the myth of the West and his own experience growing up with an alcoholic father are the source of many of the themes in his most famous works.

 “The play’s undeniable power lies more (as in Greek tragedy) in its bleak evaluation of the human condition, its fertile symbols (the eerie blue light of the empty refrigerator that the characters keep opening), and the astonishing quality of its language,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Peter Albrink (Wesley) is making his Long Wharf Theatre debut. He attended Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. Some of his credits include The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (Alliance) and A Streetcar Named Desire at Williamstown Theatre Festival, directed by David Cromer. 

Ben Becher, (Malcolm/Slater) a Rutgers graduate, recently appeared in What If (Living Theatre), Damned That Valley, (New Dramatists) and The Next Big Thing (Chris O’Neil Room).

Ivey (Ella) is the recipient of the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for her portrayals in Steaming and Hurlyburly, the Obie Award for her performance in The Moonshot Tape, and countless others for her stage and film work. Most recently she was honored with a Lucille Lortel Award for her work in the Long Wharf Theatre production of The Glass Menagerie at the Roundabout Theatre, which later moved to the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Some film credits include The Devil’s Advocate; Washington Square; Mystery, Alaska; Brighton Beach Memoirs; Love Hurts; Compromising Positions; What Alice Found; and Flags Of Our Fathers. Judith starred in four television series, the most memorable being “Designing Women.”

Clark Middleton (Emerson/Ellis) has appeared at The Public Theater, NYSF Shakespeare in the Park, The Mirror Rep, Circle Repertory Company and The Signature Theatre and at theatres all over the country. He has appeared in over 25 films directed by such artists as Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Ang Lee. His television work includes recurring roles on “CSI: Las Vegas, “Law and Order,” and “Fringe.” He wrote and performed the one man play Miracle Mile in NYC and throughout the U.S.

John Procaccino (Taylor) is a Long Wharf Theatre veteran, having appeared in Italian-American Reconciliation; Sylvia; Prayer for My Enemy; We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!; Down the Garden Paths, and as James Tyrone in A Moon for the Misbegotten. His Broadway work includes An Enemy of the People, An American Daughter; A Thousand Clowns; and Conversations With My Father; and understudied Alan Alda in Art.

Kevin Tighe (Weston) last appeared at the Long Wharf Theatre in Gordon Edelstein’s production of Mourning Becomes Electra. His other appearances include the Roundabout Theatre production of A Skull In Connemara, Open Admissions on Broadway, A Number at ACT Theatre in Seattle, Anna Christie and Buried Child at the Arena Stage; Yuri Lubymov’s production of Crime And Punishment at the Arena Stage; The Ballad of Soapy Smith at the Public Theater, Hedda Gabler at the Seattle Rep, Design For Living with the National Theatre of Great Britain, and Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo at the Kirk Douglas Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum. He has appeared in numerous television shows including episodes of “Law And Order”, recurring roles in “Lost”, “Murder One”, and “Freaks And Geeks”. Other roles include Winchell”, “Tales of The Crypt” and the Hallmark production of “In Cold Blood” In film, Mr. Tighe received the Canadian Genie Award for his performance in I Love A Man In Uniform. Other films include Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, Mumford, Bright Angel, Newsies, School Ties, Roadhouse, K-9, Geronimo, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

Elvy Yost (Emma) is making her Long Wharf debut. Her regional theatre work includes Romeo & Juliet and A Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Merchant of Venice and Richard III at the California Shakespeare Theater, Romeo & Juliet with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival at Festival Del Sole, Arcadia at the Pear Avenue Theatre, Harold & Maude: The Musical at TheatreWorks. Yost’s New York credits include Black Tie at Primary Stages, The Belle of Belfast at Cherry Lane, Balm in Gilead in a warehouse, music for Ivanov and The Seagull on a lake. She appeared in the films Bandslam, Oldboy, Light Years, Howard Cantour (short) and on television in “Southland,” “The Office,” “Mildred Pierce.”

For more information about Long Wharf Theatre or to purchase tickets, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.