EXUBERANT COMEDY ROLLS INTO MRT “The Making of a Great Moment,” Offers Laughs and Smarts for the New Year

PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: DECEMBER 20, 2016
CONTACT: Michael Glicksman, michael.glicksman@mrt.org
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7555
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678
ONLINE:  mrt.org
 
EXUBERANT COMEDY ROLLS INTO MRT
“The Making of a Great Moment,” Offers Laughs and Smarts for the New Year
 
January 4 –29, 2017
 
Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) starts off 2017 with “The Making of a Great Moment,” the world premiere comedy by ATCA/Steinberg award-winning playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. The play was written specifically to showcase the comedic genius of actors Danny Scheie and Aysan Celik. They play two actors on the tour of their play about all of human history—which they bring across the country by bicycle. Colorful humor, thought-provoking insight, and heartfelt performances make it a delectably smart and funny night of theatre. MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels directs.
 
The 90-minute performance will run without an intermission. Performances are January 4 – 29. Press performances are at 8:00 pm on Saturday, January 7 (Opening Night), and 2:00 pm on Sunday, January 8. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $70 - $26 and are on sale now at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678.
 

Presents a mix of contemporary and new plays each month from September through May. Offers online tickets and calendar and educational resources.

 
The Making of “The Making...”
The seed for the production came from Daniels’ work with cast members Aysan Celik and Danny Scheie in 2011’s “Bob: A Live in Five Acts,” also by Nachtrieb, at the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Daniels knew then and there he’d have to get the gang back together:
 
“It is an absolute joy to have some of my favorite artists coming to MRT,” notes Daniels. “Peter is one of the most deliciously hilarious playwrights writing today. And Aysan and Danny are two of the best. The fact that Aysan is flying here straight from and back to Abu Dhabi shows we are really bringing the best of the world to Lowell.”
Nachtrieb found early inspiration for the story in Yuval Noah Harari’s acclaimed book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.” The script underwent a rigorous workshop at NYU Abu Dhabi, where cast member Aysan Celik is a theatre professor. Daniels, Nachtrieb, and the two actors spent ten days on the campus and surrounding areas getting a sense for how the script should sound and tuning up the details.
 
More About the Play
MRT audiences have come to love the theatre for its smart, colorful productions that both entertain and enlighten. “The Making of a Great Moment” promises just that experience.
 
The story follows two Canadian actors charged with a most ambitious (and burdensome) task: perform a play called “Great Moments in Human Achievement” on tour across the United States, bringing inspiration to millions… by bicycle. The characters’ 4+ hour production spans millennia of humankind’s inventions, revolutions, conquests, advances, and triumphs, exhausting even without having to long-distance cycle between each tour stop. When faced with the great things their species has achieved, the two daring (and incredibly fit) actors—idealistic Mona and cynical Terry—have no choice but to ponder the value of their own contributions along the road to sheer brilliance.
 
Cast and Creative Team
Danny Scheie and Aysan Celik make their MRT debut, bringing their unique energy and comic genius to Lowell. The four will be reuniting at San Francisco’s Z Space theatre for a second production of the play, planned for the spring.
 
Scheie, a longtime Bay Area actor, has earned a reputation as one of the great character actors of his generation. He has worked extensively in both Shakespeare and contemporary plays, including Nachtrieb’s “Bob…” and “House Tour...” He is on the theatre faculty of UC Santa Cruz.
 
Celik’s far-reaching and versatile career has traversed comedy, classical texts, devised work, documentary theatre, Shakespeare, dance-theatre, and more. She has originated roles Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, and on tours internationally. She is a founding Associate Artist of the Alpert award-winning Theater Mitu, which performs original pieces and classics reinterpreted by research in global performance and ritual traditions. She is on the theatre faculty of NYU Abu Dhabi.
 
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb is a member of New Dramatists and is a Playwright in Residence at Z Space in San Francisco. He is a recipient of a Mellon Foundation grant and his other plays include “The Totalitarians,” “Boom,” “Bob: A Life in Five Acts,” “Hunter Gatherers,” and “A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Mansion with Tour Guide Weston Ludlow Londonderry.” This summer, he is riding his own bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to fight HIV/AIDS with AIDS/LifeCycle.
 
Director Daniels is joined by a creative team that includes Apollo Mark Weaver (sets), Jessica Ford (costumes), Brian J. Lilienthal (lights), and David Remedios (sound).
 
Admission
Tickets range from $70 - $26 and are available at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678. A senior discount is offered for 10% off adult ticket prices. Student tickets are $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. $5 Night: Wednesday, January 4 at 7:30 pm. Patrons may purchase tickets for $5, cash only, at the Box Office between 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Limit 2 tickets per person. Lowell Night:Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30 pm. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10 at the box office from 4:30 pm-7:30 pm. Proper ID required, limit 2 per person. A Military Discount of $10 off per ticket (up to four tickets per production) applies to any performance for active duty, retired, veteran, and reservist members of the military.

Presents a mix of contemporary and new plays each month from September through May. Offers online tickets and calendar and educational resources.

Special Events
 
Wednesday night Community Conversations post-show discussions focus on themes of the play. The run of “The Making of a Great Moment” will feature local professors and experts on the history of human societies speaking both about the play, and about Harari’s “Sapiens,” the book that inspired the production. 
 
On Wine Down Friday (January 6), the audience will be invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the lobby following the 8:00 pm performance with the cast and crew, as well as with the Western Avenue Studios Artists Association members whose work is currently on exhibit in the lobby. Each Thursday, Ask the ArtistsPost-Show Discussions will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the people who created the show.
 
Sponsors
“The Making of a Great Moment” is sponsored by Farley White Interests/Wannalancit Mills and has received media support from media sponsor the WBUR. Circle Health is the 2016-17 Season Sponsor. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
 
Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979, and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. MRT produces vibrant, contemporary plays that explore what it means to be alive today. A seven-show season runs from September through May in the intimate 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre. The company is known as a leader in producing new plays, especially world and regional premieres. MRT is one of 72 theaters nationwide (one of three in Massachusetts) with membership in LORT (the League of Resident Theatres).

MRT 2016-17 SEASON
“45 Plays for 45 Presidents” by Andy Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston, and Karen Weinberg, Directed by Sean Daniels
September 7 – October 2, 2016
 
“Abigail/1702” by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Directed by Tlaloc Rivas
October 12 – November 6, 2016
 
“Going to See the Kid” by Steven Drukman, Directed by Alexander Greenfield
November 30 – December 24, 2016
 
“The Making of a Great Moment” by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Directed by Sean Daniels
January 4 – 29, 2017
 
“Women in Jeopardy!” by Wendy MacLeod, Directed by Sean Daniels
February 15 – March 12, 2017
 
“Chill” by Eleanor Burgess, Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
March 22 – April 16, 2017
 
“My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend” Conceived and performed by Charissa Bertels, Book and lyrics by Christian Duhamel, Music and lyrics by Edward Bell, Directed by Sean Daniels
April 26 – May 21, 2017
 
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre 
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678