Gift Announces KENTUCKY Cast and Designers

Gift Announces KENTUCKY Cast and Designers

Pictured (top, l to r): Paul D’Addario, Martel Manning and Hannah Toriumi with Maryam Abdi, Ian Voltaire Deane (bottom, l to r) Emjoy Gavino, Helen Joo Lee, Michael E. Martin, Emilie Modaff, Ana Silva and Jess Vann.

The Gift Theatre has announced casting for its Chicago premiere of Leah Nanako Winkler’s KENTUCKY, directed by ensemble member Chika Ike.

The cast includes ensemble members Paul D’Addario, Martel Manning and Hannah Toriumi with Maryam Abdi, Ian Voltaire Deanes, Emjoy Gavino, Helen Joo Lee, Michael E. Martin, Emilie Modaff, Ana Silva and Jess Vann.

The production team to date includes Ryan Emmons (scenic design), Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Rachel Levy (lighting design) and Alex Oparka (stage manager).

Hiro is a self-made single, almost 30 woman making it in New York while estranged from her dysfunctional family who lives in Kentucky. When her sister, a born-again Christian, decides to marry at 22, Hiro decides to do whatever she can to stop the wedding and salvage her sister’s future.

“You can’t go home again – but sometimes you have to. KENTUCKY explores the ways in which we try to escape our past and what happens when confronted by it, particularly in the bizarre and stressful setting of a wedding,” comment Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton and Associate Artistic Directors Emjoy Gavino and Paul D’Addario. “Leah Nanako Winkler explodes stereotypes (Southerners, born again Christians, the immigrant parent, the prodigal daughter), endowing each character with growing shades of humanity. The idea of a female Asian protagonist in a decidedly American setting, in a show that is not about race is somewhat of a revolution in American theatre. That she does it through searing humor, music and movement is what makes Leah an incredibly exciting voice in American Theatre.”

KENTUCKY runs October 17 – November 16, 2019 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.

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