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Weathervane Playhouse’s ‘Three Tall Women’ Explores the Three Ages of Womanhood

Thursday, October 27, 2011 5:05:00 PM

(Oct. 18, 2011 – Akron, Ohio – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) From the celebrated playwright who created the landmark drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women is a play that explores the complicated gap between age and experience.

Three Tall Women is presented live on stage in Weathervane Playhouse’s intimate Dietz Theater from Oct. 27 to Nov. 12, 2011.

In Three Tall Women, three women – one a 90-something-year-old, one a 52-year-old one a 26-year-old – navigate the emotional terrain of a life mixed with pleasure, satisfaction, shame and regret.

The play’s three main female characters are nameless. Instead, the playwright identifies the women only by the letters A, B and C. Thematically, each woman comes to represent the three distinct life stages of womanhood (and humanity as a whole): youth, middle age and maturity.

"A" is an elderly woman who knows that the end of her life is approaching quickly. "B" is A’s 52-year-old caretaker, a slightly sarcastic yet caring woman. "C" is a boldly self-confident 26-year-old who has come from A’s attorney’s office to discuss the elder woman’s finances.

Three Tall Women is directed by Bill Morgan. The production is sponsored by Margaret J. Dietz.

Ticket and Performance Information

Three Tall Women plays in Weathervane Playhouse’s John L. Dietz Theater between Oct. 27 and Nov. 12, 2011. (The Dietz Theater is Weathervane Playhouse’s intimate, 50-seat "second stage" within its Weathervane Lane facility.)

The preview performance is Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.; the official opening-night performance is Friday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m.

Between Oct. 27 and Nov. 12, 2011, performance days and times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at both 2:30 and 8 p.m.; and ONE Sunday (Oct. 30) at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for all performances of the play are $18 each. The 50-seat Dietz Theater features general-admission seating only.

Due to language and themes, Three Tall Women is recommended for ages 13 and older.

The Three Tall Women Cast and their Ohio Residences

MARCI PAOLUCCI of Cuyahoga Falls plays the role of "A"

LORENA GOOLD of Stow plays the role of "B"

HANNAH STORCH of Kent plays the role of "C"

CONNOR REESE of Jackson Township plays the role of The Boy

The Three Tall Women Creative Team

CARLINA CROSTON of Akron serves as stage manager.

ERIN KATZ FORD of Cuyahoga Falls and JASON BRYAN MAURER of Akron serve as the Lighting Co-Designers.

TODD DIERINGER of Wadsworth serves as the Scenic Designer and the Properties Designer.

JASEN SMITH of Akron serves as the Costume Designer.

ALAN SCOTT FERRALL of Cuyahoga Falls serves as the Scenic Designer and Technical Director.

About the Play’s Director

BILL MORGAN is the Artistic Manager for CHSC (The Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center), where he controls the day-to-day activities of SignStage, a deaf-awareness program within the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing department. In addition to directing for many local community theaters, Bill is a specialist at adapting mainstream children’s stories into "deaf theatre" plays that highlight deaf characters and cultural conflicts. Bill also has several years of experience at writing, producing and implementing school residencies that integrate theatre-arts programming with American Sign Language into the state of Ohio's Standards for the Arts. Bill co-wrote and produced D.E.A.F. (Dedicated to the Elimination of Assumptions and Fallacies) a fun, interactive educational school-assembly program that focuses on deaf awareness. He has more than 30 years of experience at producing theater ranging from simple one-acts to huge outdoor productions with more than 300 actors complete with live horses in Civil War re-enactments that include gun and cannon fire. You may have seen him acting in a PBS-TV miniseries titled KC and The Kidd, in which he played the lead role of The Kidd. Bill has been the co-owner/producer of Sign Stage on Tour (SSonT) for 12 years; SSonT is a professional children’s theater company that produces deaf-theater productions and tours nationally. For SSonT, Bill has produced stage adaptations of many of Roald Dahl’s works including Matilda, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He was the only person in the world who received permission from the Roald Dahl estate to create a deaf-theater adaptation of both Matilda and James and the Giant Peach. Bill has served as a member of the Artist in Residence Grant Review Committee for the Ohio Arts Council and was a member of the Arts in Education curriculum committee for the Cleveland Municipal School District. In 2009, Bill was nominated for the State of Ohio Governor’s Award as Outstanding Arts Administrator. This past July, Bill was very proud to have directed Trips with Grandma, the winning entry in Weathervane’s inaugural 8x10 TheatreFest and 10-minute play competition. Bill continues his work with Cleveland civic organizations and educational organizations such as Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Theatre Collective and the Cuyahoga Arts and Education Consortium.

About the Play, its Production History and Awards

In his 1994 review of the original off-Broadway production of the play, critic Ben Brantley of The New York Times describes the play’s structural premise: "Mr. Albee baldly sets these characters up as representatives of three ages of woman. C embodies all the intolerance and the conviction of immortality of youth, and is impatient with the old woman's meanderings. The caretaker, in turn, is impatient with C's impatience and given to sharp-tongued reminders that A represents C's future. (In this sense, she is a sort of stand-in for Mr. Albee, as playwright, not as son.) And throughout all this, A fades between past and present."

In characterizing Three Tall Women as "often a truly moving work," Brantley also notes the play’s semi-autobiographical roots:

"Mr. Albee has admitted in interviews that it was directly inspired by his own adoptive mother, a domineering, Amazonian woman. And the details of A's life, including her ambitious marriage to a wealthy man and her warring relationship with her recalcitrant son, seem to tally with what we know of Mr. Albee's family history. He has described the writing of the play as "an exorcism." And one can see in A the roots of the controlling women who abound in the rest of his oeuvre."

The world premiere of Three Tall Women took place at Vienna’s English Theatre in Vienna, Austria, on June 14, 1991, and was directed by Edward Albee. The first United States production was at the River Arts Repertory in Woodstock, New York. Three Tall Women had its New York City premiere on Jan. 27, 1994, at the Vineyard Theatre, where it ran for 47 performances before closing on March 13, 1994. This production of Three Tall Women, directed by Lawrence Sacharow, then moved to the Promenade Theatre for a commercial run – where it opened on April 13, 1994, and ran for 582 performances before closing on Aug. 26, 1995.

A subsequent national tour of the play featured an interesting twist on the play's original casting. The Tony Award-winning actress Marian Seldes originated the role of B at the Vineyard Theatre and then continued to play the role when Three Tall Women transferred to the Promenade Theatre. However, several months before the show closed at the Promenade, Seldes switched to playing the role of A. When the show went out on the road for its national tour, Seldes remained in the role of A.

Three Tall Women was showered with several prominent awards:

The 1994 Lucille Lortel Awards
1. Outstanding Play
2. Outstanding Director (Lawrence Sacharow)
3. Outstanding Actress (Myra Carter)

The 1993-1994 OBIE Award
Performance (Myra Carter)

The 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Edward Albee (playwright)

The 1994 Drama Desk Award
Best Actress in a Play (Myra Carter)

The 1994 Outer Critics Circle Awards
1. Best Off-Broadway Play
2. Best Actress in a Play (Myra Carter)

The 1994 Drama Critics' Circle Award
Best Play (Edward Albee)

Albee’s Pulitzer Prize for Three Tall Women was his third Pulitzer Prize (after A Delicate Balance in 1967 and Seascape in 1975) – but it could have been his fourth. He’s why: In 1963, his Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf was selected for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama – but the selection was overruled by the trustees of Columbia University (the award’s advisory board) due to the play’s explicit language and sexuality. Instead, the award that year went to no play at all. Had Albee been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, he would have tied Eugene O’Neill (with four awards) for the most Pulitzer Prizes for Drama.

About the Playwright

EDWARD ALBEE is perhaps best known for his association with the artistic movement of the 1950s and early 1960s more popularly regarded as "the theater of the absurd." Born in Washington, D.C., on March 12, 1928, Albee’s parents abandoned him as a baby. A wealthy couple who owned a theatre chain, Reed and Frances Albee, adopted the infant boy. The Albees named their son after his adoptive paternal grandfather, Edward Franklin Albee, a powerful vaudeville producer who had made the family fortune as a partner in the Keith-Albee Theater Circuit.

Despite the lavish environment in which he grew up in affluent Westchester, New York, he was, by most accounts, unhappy. He attended Trinity College, a small liberal arts school in Hartford, Connecticut for a year. After failing to show up for the school’s chapel services, as well as certain classes, Albee was dismissed by the school. At the age of 20, Albee left home and settled in Greenwich Village in New York City. He took on various jobs, including the roles of "office boy," record salesman, and Western Union messenger.

During his early years in Manhattan, he also began to meet other writers, including Thornton Wilder and W.H. Auden. It was Wilder who suggested that he try his hand at plays. At the age of 30, Albee wrote his first play, The Zoo Story, in a quick, three-week period.

Albee's first full-length, three-act play was Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and its 1962 Broadway production won the Tony Award for Best Play. Centered on fractured family relationships, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf won him international fame and opened new doors of artistic opportunities.

Albee’s other plays include The American Dream, Tiny Alice, A Delicate Balance (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner) All Over, Seascape (Pulitzer Prize winner), The Lady From Dubuque, The Man Who Had Three Arms, Finding the Sun, Fragments, The Play About the Baby, Occupant, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? and At Home at the Zoo. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and president of the Edward F. Albee Foundation. He was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980 and in 1996 received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts.

In honor of his 80th birthday in 2008, several of his plays were staged at well-known off-Broadway theaters. Albee himself directed two of his own plays – The American Dream and The Sandbox – at the Cherry Lane Theatre (the original venue of both plays in 1961 and 1962, respectively).

Ever the iconoclast, Albee himself once summed up his career for an interviewer by declaring, "I have been both overpraised and underpraised. I assume by the time I finish writing – and I plan to go on writing until I'm 90 or gaga – it will all equal itself out. You can't involve yourself with the vicissitudes of fashion or critical response."

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