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Graduate Ensemble Opens Season with "The Three Sisters"

Posted October 29, 2014 in Press Releases


The Three Sisters
MFA Class of 2016 Takes On Chekhov’s Masterpiece

November 12 – 22, 2014

Calendar Editors, See Fact Sheet for Performance Schedule

CLEVELAND, OH (October 29, 2014) The Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA (CWRU/CPH MFA) Acting Program will present The Three Sisters in the Helen Rosenfeld Lewis Bialosky Lab Theatre (“The Helen”) at PlayhouseSquare for 10 performances only, November 12-22, 2014. Written by Anton Chekhov and directed by CWRU/CPH MFA Program Director Ron Wilson, this landmark piece of theatre opens the second season for the MFA Class of 2016.

“I have had a love affair with the plays of Anton Chekhov for too many years to count,” says Wilson. “Chekhov's understanding of the frailties and absurdities of humanity are unmatched. He is able to see the humor in the pain and the pain in the humor as his characters struggle with what it means to exist. He also presents his characters without judgment. He leaves that to the audience.”


Following the death of their father, sisters Olga, Masha, and Irina dream of returning to Moscow, the glorious city of their youth which represents all things civilized and cultured. Yet, as their yearning increases, the reality of their current provincial lives grows more stifling. Chekhov’s The Three Sisters is a masterpiece of modern theatre that explores the universal — and sometimes comical — struggle to find meaning in our lives.

THE THREE SISTERS Cast - MFA Class of 2016

NICK BARBATO (Andrei) hails from Syracuse, New York, where he attended Le Moyne College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a theatre arts minor. He recently played Leo in CPH’s The Little Foxes.

JEREMIAH CLAPP (Vershinin) is a native of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, where he has appeared in Farragut North (Steven), Twelfth Night (Malvolio), Henry V (Chorus) and Back of the Throat (Bartlett).

ALEC HYNES (Baron Tuzenbach) graduated from Cornell College with a Bachelor of Special Studies in Theatre, Religions and Performance Studies. He has worked regionally in Iowa with Riverside Theatre, and with Working Group Theatre.

MEGAN KING (Masha) graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith last June with her Bachelor of Arts in theatre performance. She also holds an Associate of Fine Arts from Arkansas State University Beebe. She recently played Alexandra in CPH’s The Little Foxes.

JAY BEN MARKSON (Kulygin) graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and creative writing. Markson is also the associate artistic director and an ensemble member of MaineStage Shakespeare.

RICKIE McDOWELL (Solyony) is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre arts. McDowell has a passion for all aspects of film, ranging from acting to producing.

KATHRYN METZGER (Olga) received her Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts and English from CWRU. She recently appeared as Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew at Island Stage Left.

KATIE O. SOLOMON (Irina) graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science from Towson University’s theatre program with a concentration in performance. She is a proud founding member of Baltimore’s Stillpointe Theatre Initiative.

THE THREE SISTERS Cast - Additional

ARON LONG (Ferapont) appeared in the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program’s production of Twelfth Night last season and recently graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater.

LAURA STARNIK (Anfisa) recently appeared in the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival in Come Back, Little Sheba. Regional credits include This is Not the Play, Cleveland Public Theatre; and Humble Boy, Middletown and Sons of the Prophet, Dobama Theatre.

DAVID VEGH (Chebutykin) is excited to be part of this production of The Three Sisters. He recently joined the theatre faculty at Case Western Reserve University where he will direct Lobby Hero in 2015.

KATJA YACKER (Natasha) is a sophomore undergraduate student at Case Western Reserve University double majoring in theatre and psychology. She has previously appeared in Measure for Measure and Waiting for Lefty for CWRU’s Eldred Theatre.


ANTON CHEKHOV (Playwright/1860-1904) was a physician, playwright and short story author and is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the modern era. He was born in Taganrog, a port town in southern Russia, and later attended medical school in Moscow, paying his tuition by writing short sketches of Russian life for local newspapers. Upon graduation, Chekhov traveled throughout Russia tending to the sick, often free of charge. He found inspiration to write short stories while travelling, and won the Pushkin Prize in 1887 for his short story collection At Dusk. While he showed a talent for writing, the poor reception of his play The Seagull caused Chekhov to renounce theatre. However, director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko and his colleague Konstantin Stanislavski loved The Seagull and remounted it to great success. They went on to commission the production of Chekhov’s other plays, Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. Chekhov’s dramatic principles are still used today, and his stream of consciousness style inspired such writers as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. After showing symptoms of tuberculosis for three years, Chekhov was officially diagnosed in 1897. He died in Badenweiler, Germany, in 1904.

RON WILSON (Director) returned to Cleveland in 1999 to serve as the chairman of the Department of Theater at Case Western Reserve University and the director of the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting program. He has been the resident fight choreographer with CPH since 1999, and directed more than 60 productions in his career. Directing credits for the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program include In Arabia We’d All Be Kings, Arcadia, Hurlyburly, Bus Stop, Hay Fever, Cloud Nine and The Real Inspector Hound. Other directing credits include The Triumph of Love, Cincinnati Play House in the Park; and The Comedy of Errors, Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Directing credits also include musical theatre, opera, mime and movement theatre. Acting credits include The Guardsman, Room Service and The Underpants, Cleveland Play House; and All’s Well That Ends Well, CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program.

The design team for The Three Sisters includes Cameron Caley Michalak (Scenic Design), Angelina Herin (Costume Design), Michael Boll (Lighting Design), and James C. Swonger (Sound Design). Also on the team: Stage Manager Maryann Morris and Production Assistant Meghan Cvetic.

For a complete cast and creative team bios, go online at


Since 1996, Cleveland Play House has partnered with Case Western Reserve University to offer a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting. In 2003, it became a conservatory program completely housed at Cleveland Play House. Every two years, the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program accepts a class of eight actors into its three-year program. All three years are spent in residency at Cleveland Play House, providing students with unique access to its new downtown Cleveland state-of-the-art facilities and the professional expertise of its staff. Program graduates include Rich Sommer (Mad Men, Harvey), Elizabeth A. Davis (Once – Tony Award Nomination, Allegro), Tom Degnan (The Good Wife), and Andrew Gorell (The Lion King).


Founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, Cleveland Play House has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. It has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,300 CPH productions. Today, Cleveland Play House looks toward its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at PlayhouseSquare in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland Play House is funded through the generosity of Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and The Ohio Arts Council helps to fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.



WHAT: The Three Sisters

Written by: Anton Chekhov

Directed by: Ron Wilson

Performed by: The Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program Class of 2016

SYNOPSIS: The Prozorov siblings—Andrei, Olga, Masha and Irina—have languished for more than a decade in a provincial Russian town they relocated to with their late father. Yearning to return to their culturally refined life in the Moscow of yesteryear, the siblings watch their friends and neighbors’ lives progress without them, in this classic drama about clinging to the past at the expense of one’s present.

WHERE: Helen Rosenfeld Lewis Bialosky Lab Theatre (“The Helen”)

PlayhouseSquare, 1407 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, 44115

WHEN: Opening Night: Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Final Performance: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Wednesday - Saturday Evenings 7:30 pm

Saturday Matinees 3:00 pm


Behind the Scenes: Check in on Chekhov

November 2nd, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

Step inside the actors' studio—literally— as we observe the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting students rehearse Anton Chekhov’s timeless tale about what fills the distance between reality and dreams. Then, talk with the cast and director Ron Wilson, head of the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program. RSVP to required.

This is part of CPH’s InsideCPH program, which take you behind-the scenes, and inside the process, of every CPH show. Behind-the-Scenes is FREE and open to the public, and offers the chance to sit in on rehearsals, join exciting tours and designer demos, connect with CPH artists, leaders and staff, and more.

Pre-show Conversations – 30 minutes before every production. These interactive conversations pull back the curtain early to let you connect with the people, themes, ideas and creative choices that go into the production, in an engaging and relaxed setting.

Post-show Discussions Friday, 11/14; Friday, 11/21 - A chance to interact with the cast, creative team, local experts and fellow playgoers in a lively and wide-ranging discussion of the production and the questions it raises.


Single tickets are on sale now; prices range from $7.50 to $15. Tickets are $7.50 for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid ID. For single tickets, please call 216-241-6000 or go online at Groups of 10+ call 216-400-7027 or email

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