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Brilliantly Witty Comedy Native Gardens comes to Cleveland Play House

Posted March 28, 2019 in Press Releases

CLEVELAND, OH (March 28, 2019) Cleveland Play House (CPH), offers the thought-provoking comedy Native Gardens from playwright Karen Zacarías, to be performed April 27th – May 19th in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. The production is directed by CPH Associate Artistic Director Robert Barry Fleming, with a press opening Friday, May 3rd.

A hilarious hot-button comedy about thorny neighbors with good intentions. Pablo and Tania have just purchased a fixer-upper next to Frank and Virginia, a well-established couple with a prize-worthy English garden. A friendly disagreement over a little fence hilariously erupts into an all-out border war, exposing both couples’ notions of race, taste, class and privilege. The gloves are off in this colorful production that shines a light on what happens when cultures and gardens clash.

Native Gardens received its world premiere in 2016 at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Written by Karen Zacarías, winner of the National Latino Playwriting Award, Native Gardens has been produced by The Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Victory Gardens, Old Globe Theater, and Trinity Repertory Theater. Zacarías is an inaugural resident playwright at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., as well as a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons, a national network that strives to update the American narrative to including the stories of Latinos.

Director Robert Barry Fleming adds, “Through twelve vignettes this comedy illuminates that which we know and don't know about ourselves and our perceptions about "the other". Each vignette, punctuated by action that incorporates stylized movement to a rhythmic soundscape, adds to the infectious fun of the piece.” He adds, “The character's values, attitudes, beliefs are rendered with such sublime ridiculousness, compassionate fierceness, humor, and wit, that the action that is the "Butley and DelValle cultural collision" sweeps us away on a wave of recognition and laughter. It's a story about the ideas that keep us feeling safe and the circumstances that challenge. A space where we get to discover ourselves anew with equal parts humility and embrace."

Native Gardens Cast

NATALIE CAMUNAS (Tania Del Valle) is delighted to make her Cleveland Play House debut. Natalie is a native Los Angelino, USC graduate, queer, second-gen Latinx actor, playwright, voice-over artist, and creative coach. Natalie recently completed a triple understudy engagement in Luis Valdez’ Valley of the Heart at the Mark Taper Forum in L.A. Additional theatre credits include the role of Gabby Orozco in the world premiere co-production of American Mariachi at the Old Globe Theatre and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Recent TV/Film credits: Goliath opposite Billy Bob Thornton on Amazon, Speechless on ABC, Netflix feature Bright opposite Will Smith, directed by David Ayer. As a voice over artist, you can hear Natalie’s voice in promo spots for Fox’s 911. As a playwright, Natalie’s plays have been produced in Los Angeles, New York, and Ireland. As a coach, she founded The Hallway Space, a free virtual community resource for artists and The Happy Actor, one-on-one coaching for thriving and succeeding in Hollywood. nataliecamunas.com

GRAYSON DeJESUS (Pablo Del Valle) was last seen in Cleveland in the First National Tour of the Tony Award-winning play War Horse. His regional credits include the world premiere of the Matthew Lopez play Zoey’s Perfect Wedding (Denver Center); Lion In Winter (Pioneer Theatre); Lion In Winter (St. Louis Rep); the title role in Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Longwharf Theater); Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Santa Cruz); The Tempest, The Importance of Being Earnest, Winter’s Tale, and Amadeus (Old Globe Theater). He participated in the developmental workshop of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat by Lynn Nottage at the McCarter Theater. His television credits include High Maintenance on HBO, Sneaky Pete on Amazon, Conviction and Forever on ABC. His film credits include Kate Can’t Swim currently on Amazon Prime and Tasmania. He holds an MFA from USD/Old Globe.

WYNN HARMON (Frank Butley) Broadway: The Detective in Porgy and Bess (also telecast "Live from Lincoln Center" on PBS). Off-Broadway: The Lucky One (Mint), As You Like It (The Pearl) and The New Yorkers (Musical Theater Works). International: Voltaire/Dr. Pangloss in Candide, at Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and Opéra National de Bordeaux, The Music Man at Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman. Regional: Lost in the Stars, Showboat, and Candide at The Kennedy Center; as well as work at Arena Stage, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, The Alley, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Syracuse Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, The Glimmerglass Festival, multiple Shakespeare festivals; and The Constant Wife plus ten Shakespeares at The Old Globe. TV: The Chaplain on Madam Secretary, Trevor Babcock on All My Children and Mayor Robert Van Wyck on The Knick. Film: Paper Cranes. Awards: Helen Hayes Award nomination and The Edwin E. Stein Award for Excellence in the Arts.

CHARLOTTE MAIER (Virginia Butley) Broadway: Act One, The Columnist, God of Carnage, Inherit the Wind, Losing Louie, Dinner at Eight, A Delicate Balance, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Picnic, Arsenic and Old Lace. National Tour: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Off-Broadway: By The Water and The Last Yankee (MTC); Witnessed by the World (59E59); Balm in Gilead (Circle Rep); Regional: Queen for a Year (Hartford Stage Company); Book of the Night (Goodman Theater Chicago); Suddenly Last Summer (Westport Country Playhouse); The Father and Night of the Iguana (Berkshire Theatre Festival); The Last Yankee (Spoleto Festival); A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theater, Princeton); Film: Custody, Two Weeks Notice, The Pink Panther, Music and Lyrics. Television: The Good Fight; Elementary, Person of Interest, Boardwalk Empire, Law and Order SVU, All My Children, One Life to Live, As the World Turns, Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall. Author: the Off-Broadway musical, A Child’s Garden (co-libretto.)

Native Gardens will also feature a small ensemble of Cleveland-based actors.

NATIVE GARDENs Creative Team

ROBERT BARRY FLEMING (Director) is the Associate Artistic Director at Cleveland Play House, and made his CPH directorial debut with Between Riverside and Crazy. Formerly the Director of Artistic Programming at Arena Stage, he has worked as a director, choreographer, and actor in many of the leading resident theaters across the country including: The Public, The Taper, The Guthrie, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Perseverance Theatre, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Goodman, to name a few. His work has been represented on Broadway: Stand-Up Tragedy, Ragtime; in television and film including the Oscar-winner, L.A. Confidential; and he was an associate producer for the NYC revival of Tennessee Williams' The Two-Character Play starring Amanda Plummer and Brad Dourif. Robert currently teaches in the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program and served as Associate Professor and Chair of the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Department at the University of San Diego, also teaching in The Old Globe USD Graduate Acting MFA Program. An SDCF Charles Abbott Directing Fellow, San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Award winner, and two-time honoree of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical, Robert received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for his work on Karen Zacarías’ Destiny of Desire at Arena Stage. Robert Barry Fleming was recently appointed as Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville and will step in his new role in June.

The Design Team for Native Gardens includes: JASON ARDIZZONE-WEST (Scenic Designer), INDA BLATCH-GEIB (Costume Designer) MICHAEL BOLL (Lighting Designer), RODOLFO ORTEGA (Sound Designer), ROBERT RAMIREZ (Dialect Coach), RACHEL LERNER-LEY (Dramaturg). The Production Stage Manager for this production is MARYANN MORRIS, with TOM HUMES as Assistant Stage Manager.

Ticket Information

Native Gardens will be performed in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square April 27th – May 19th, 2019. Tickets range in price from $25-$97 each, $15 rush tickets for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid student ID, and Young Professional discounts available with YP-CPH Membership. Student discounts available with valid student ID. CPH also offers Ohio Direction cardholders $5 admission for up to 8 tickets. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10+ save up to 30% off single ticket prices by calling 216-400-7027.

Subscriptions: Subscribers save up to 30%, with flexible season packages available. To purchase subscriptions to our phenomenal 2019-2020 Season, or to get more information, call 216-400-7096 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com.

ABOUT CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE

CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE, founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences across Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. clevelandplayhouse.com

Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Cleveland Play House is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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