Gift Announces New Ensemble Members and 2018 Season

Gift Announces New Ensemble Members and 2018 Season

During last night’s Season Release Bash at Old Irving Brewery Co., artistic director and co-founder Michael Patrick Thornton announced The Gift Theatre’s 2018 season will include: Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere of HANG MAN, directed by ensemble member Erica Weiss; Shakespeare’s HAMLET, directed by Monty Cole, and the Midwest premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member David Rabe’s COSMOLOGIES, directed by Thornton.

The Gift Theatre also announces the addition of five artists to their ensemble: Evan Michael Lee, Chika Ike, Martel Manning, Gregory Fenner, and Hannah Toriumi. The now 37-member ensemble also includes: Danny Ahlfeld, Maggie Andersen, Cyd Blakewell, Brittany Burch, Hillary Clemens Harbor, John Kelly Connolly, Paul D’Addario, Jenny Connell Davis, Brendan Donaldson, Will Eno, James D. Farruggio, Ed Flynn, Gabriel Franken, John Gawlik, Andrew Hinderaker, Marti Lyons, Alexandra Main, Laura Marks, Kenny Mihlfried, Benjamin Montague, Darci Nalepa, Keith Neagle, William Nedved, Lynda Newton, Sheldon Patinkin (in loving memory), Maureen Payne-Hahner, David Rabe, Mary Ann Thebus, Michael Patrick Thornton, Erica Weiss, Jay Worthington and Kyle Zornes.

“Who are we? From the individual level to the national, we are in the midst of a vital articulation of Identity,” Thornton said. “We believe theatre can help orient and navigate people through a life which often contains multitudes of pain and struggle. And yet, the resolve to continue to struggle can define us; giving us, even, perhaps, in the act, a kind of grace. The 2018 Season lives under the aesthetical canopy of Absurdism, wherein characters who struggle to find meaning in life nevertheless continue to pursue meaning. Today, we are also deeply honored and excited to announce an enrichment of our ensemble. Evan, Chika, Martel, Gregory, and Hannah are artists of virtuosic talents with whom we have collaborated over the years in joy and awe. In short, we love them. They have each played a defining role in The Gift’s history and now, as ensemble members, our future.”

THE GIFT THEATRE’S 2018 SEASON (from the press release):

February 9–April 8, 2018
HANG MAN (world premiere)
by Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour, directed by ensemble member Erica Weiss
The community of a backwoods Southern town grapples with the murder of a Black man who is found hanging in a tree. As events unfold, the hanging mystifies the people of the community, forcing them to confront their complicity in this man’s horrific demise. Osei-Kuffour’s darkly comical, heartbreaking play, which recently made the prestigious 2017 Kilroy’s List, uses absurdity to explore racism, sexuality, and the parts of American history we would all like to forget.

June 1–July 29, 2018
HAMLET, by William Shakespeare, directed by Monty Cole
After the death of his dad, a young black man named Hamlet returns home to grieve and seek revenge. Fighting against the injustice of his father’s murder and the powers that want him out of the picture, Hamlet quickly loses power and sanity. Directed by guest artist Monty Cole, The Gift’s retelling of Shakespeare’s great tragedy will crack open the mind of one of western drama’s most fascinating and entertaining characters.

October 12–December 9, 2018
COSMOLOGIES (Midwest premiere)
by ensemble member David Rabe, directed by artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton
Put the whimsical humor of the Keystone Cops and Bugs Bunny into a particle collider with the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard and George Berkeley and you’re getting close to the style of this existential absurdist comedy from David Rabe. When a young man’s negotiation for a date goes very wrong, we are transported through kaleidoscopic worlds of possibilities, identities, and loves.

For more information on The Gift Theatre’s 2018 season visit

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