Chris Bohjalian’s NY Times Bestseller ‘Midwives’ to Make its World Premiere Stage Adaptation in 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New York Times bestselling author Chris Bohjalian will bring his world-premiere stage adaptation of his novel Midwives to George Street Playhouse next month and kick off 2020 in George Street’s new home at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.

The novel, which has sold more than two million copies since its publication, was an early selection of Oprah’s Book Club and was previously adapted into an award-nominated film.

“Midwives, based on the bestselling novel, makes a powerful and compelling new play,” said George Street Artistic Director David Saint, who is at the helm of this new production. “It’s a fantastic page-turner. It’s a gripping thriller that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats from start to finish.”

When a major snowstorm breaks out during a routine at-home birth, cutting off all communication with the outside world, midwife Sibyl Danforth makes the impossible decision to perform a makeshift cesarean section and save the life of a baby. But when the blizzard clears and questions arise, Sibyl must then face a jury and answer for what really occurred that icy Vermont night.

“This has been one of the absolute most wonderful experiences in my professional life,” Bohjalian said. “It is such a privilege to see Midwives brought to life at George Street Playhouse with this cast, this crew and this remarkable director.”

Chris Bohjalian is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 21 books, which have been translated into 35 languages and three times become movies. His most recent novel, The Flight Attendant, debuted as a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and national Indiebound bestseller and is currently being filmed for an HBO Max limited series.

This world-premiere production of Midwives will star award-winning playwright and actress Ellen McLaughlin, who originated the part of the Angel in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and appeared in every production from its earliest workshops to Broadway, in the role of Sibyl Danforth.

McLaughlin is a Drama Desk Award-nominated playwright known for new adaptations of Lysistrata, The Trojan Women, and more. Her work has been produced by the Public Theater, The National Actors’ Theater, and others both nationally and internationally.

She is joined in Midwives by GSP favorite John Bolger, who previously appeared opposite her in George Street Playhouse’s production of Outside Mullingar. Bolger most recently  appeared in last season’s The Trial of Donna Caine.

Rounding out the cast are Molly Carden (Emotional Creature at Signature Theater); Michael Cullen (King Liz at Second Stage Theater and The Trial of Donna Caine at George Street Playhouse); Grace Experience (Chris Bohjalian’s Grounded at 59E59); Ryan George (Othello at Alchemical Theater Laboratory and The Trial of Donna Caine at George Street Playhouse); Monique Robinson (Fairview at the Berkeley Repertory Theater); Armand Schultz (Broadway’s Frost/Nixon, The Herbal Bed, A View From the Bridge, and The Secret Rapture); and Lee Sellars (A Time to Kill, West Side Story, and Talk Radio on Broadway; House of Cards and Luke Cage on Netflix)

Midwives will feature set design by Shoko Kambara; lighting design by David Lander; sound design by Scott Killian; costume design by Lisa Zinni; and stage management by Samantha Flint. Casting by McCorkle Casting, Ltd.

This world-premiere is George Street Playhouse’s book club selection for 2019/20, offering patrons the opportunity to read the novel, see the play, and then discuss the show with a member of the George Street team.

Groups of 10 or more save 20-percent. For more information, to bring your group, or to purchase a book club package, contact (732) 258-7575.

Performances begin January 21. Audiences are encouraged to buy tickets early for the best seats. To purchase, visit www.GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org or call (732) 246-7717.

Who’s Who

Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian (Playwright) is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 21 books. His work has been translated into 35 languages and three times become movies. His most recent novel, The Flight Attendant, debuted as a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and national Indiebound Bestseller. It is currently being filmed for an 8-hour HBO Max limited series, starring Kaley Cuoco (who is also an Executive Producer), Rosie Perez, Sonoya Mizuno (Crazy Rich Asians and Maniac), Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones and The Haunting of Hill House), and T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy). Susanna Fogel (Booksmart and The Spy Who Dumped Me) is directing the first two episodes. His new novel, The Red Lotus, arrives on March 17, 2020. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His first play, Grounded, premiered at the 59 East 59th Theatres in New York City in the summer of 2018 and is now available as an audiobook and eBook, Wingspan. He has adapted his novel, Midwives, for a play, which will premiere January 21, 2020 at George Street Playhouse. His awards include the Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts; the ANCA Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; Russia’s Soglasie (Concord) Award for The Sandcastle Girls; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio; a Best Lifestyle Column for “Idyll Banter” from the Vermont Press Association; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. He is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences. Chris graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College. He has been awarded Honorary Degrees as well from Amherst, Champlain College, and Castleton University. He lives in Vermont with his wife, the photographer Victoria Blewer. Their daughter, Grace Experience, is a young actor in New York City.

David Saint (Director) is in his 23rd season as Artistic Director of George Street Playhouse. He has directed 39 mainstage productions at GSP, having most recently helmed last season’s The Trial of Donna Caine, in addition to American Hero; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; and An Act of God starring the legendary Kathleen Turner in the 2017-18 season. His time here has been marked by collaborations with such artists as Keith Carradine, Tyne Daly, Rachel Dratch, Sandy Duncan, Boyd Gaines, A.R. Gurney, Uta Hagen, Jack Klugman, Dan Lauria, Kathleen Marshall, Elaine May, Anne Meara, David Hyde Pierce, Chita Rivera, Paul Rudd, Stephen Sondheim, Marlo Thomas, Eli Wallach and many others, including a remarkable partnership with Arthur Laurents. In addition, many new award winning works have begun their life here during his tenure, such as The Toxic Avenger, Proof, The Spitfire Grill, Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies and It Shoulda Been You. He has directed Final Follies at Primary Stages, Clever Little Lies at Guild Hall in East Hampton, N.Y., and off-Broadway at Westside Theatre, as well as the National Tour of West Side Story. In July 2016, he directed a two-night concert performance of West Side Story at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. In Summer 2019, he directed a revolutionary new production of West Side Story for IHI Stage Around in Tokyo and currently serves as a creative consultant for a new film version of West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg. He also has directed on Broadway, off-Broadway and regionally at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages, McCarter, Williamstown, Seattle Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public, Long Wharf and many others on premieres by writers such as Aaron Sorkin, Wendy Wasserstein, Peter Parnell, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Joe DiPietro and Jonathan Larson. He is the recipient of the Alan Schneider Award, Helen Hayes Award, L.A. Drama Critics Award, several Drama-Logue Awards and is the President of The Laurents/ Hatcher Foundation.

John Bolger

John Bolger (Rand Danforth) returns to George Street Playhouse for an eighth time, having previously appeared here in The Trial of Donna Caine, American Hero, American Son, Outside Mullingar; Good People; Twelve Angry Men and Lips Together, Teeth Apart. National Tours: South Pacific and Dirty Dancing; Regional: Five Presidents at Bay Street, cover for That Face at MTC; staged concert of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Richard III at Hartford Stage; The Real Thing and Antony and Cleopatra at The Old Globe; Light Up The Sky at The Roundabout; The Lady From Maxim’s at The Huntington; Safe Sex at La Mama; Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Sea Plays and Ages of Man,  with The Willow Cabin Theatre Co. TV: Taken, Bull, Homeland, The Blacklist, Orange is the New Black, The Black Donnelly’s, Sex and the City, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, General Hospital, One Life to Live and Another World. Film: Patriots Day, The Only Living Boy in New York, Just Looking, Parting Glances and Black and White.

Molly Carden

Molly Carden (Connie Danforth) New York: Emotional Creature (Signature Theatre), Please Continue (Ensemble Studio Theater), How To Live On Earth (Colt Coeur), Cherry Smoke (Working Theater), Downtown Race Riot (NYSF/Powerhouse Theater). Regional: Indecent (Weston Playhouse), The Carpenter (Alley Theatre), Translations (Studio Theatre), Frankenstein (Denver Center), The Night Alive (John Drew/Guild Hall), On Clover Road (Contemporary American Theater Festival), Emotional Creature (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Great Immensity, (The Civilians at Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Proud member of Colt Coeur, EST, and the 52nd St. Project. B.F.A. from UNCSA.

Michael Cullen

Michael Cullen (Judge Howard Dorset/Dr. Terry Tierney) NY Stage: King Liz (Second Stage Theater): Finks (Ensemble Studio Theater); Bug (Barrow St. Theater-Obie Award); Len, Asleep In Vinyl (Second Stage Theater); Cobb (Lucille Lortel Theater- Drama Desk Award, Best Ensemble); Dark Matters (Rattlestick Theater); One Shot, One Kill (Primary Stages); The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Atlantic Theater); Bus Stop (Circle In The Square); Regional Theatres: Actors Theater of Louisville-Humana Festival, Denver Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Penguin Theater, Buffalo Studio Arena, The English Theater of Frankfurt-Germany. TV: Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU, Life On Mars, A Gifted Man, Ed, Third Watch, NY Undercover, Flesh and Bone, The Blacklist, Claws, Film: The Place Beyond The Pines, Margot At The Wedding, Dead Man Walking, Clockers, Malcolm X and the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Grace Experience

Grace Experience (Anne Austin) is excited to be making her George Street debut. Credits include: Grounded (59E59, directed by Alexander Dinelaris),  The Wolves (Lyric Stage Company), Beauty and the Beast (Berkshire Theatre Group), The Turn of the Screw (Middlebury Actors’ Workshop), Our Town (Heartwood Regional Theatre), Beardo (Pipeline Theatre Company), The Thanksgiving Play (Lyric Stage Company), Into the Woods (Heartwood Regional Theatre), and Some People Hear Thunder (The Space at Capital Repertory). Grace is an award winning audiobook narrator for Penguin Random House Audio and a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. Love to her family, and the amazing folks at Professional Artists and Tsu Tsu Unlimited.

Ryan George

Ryan George (Asa Bedford) is a Miami raised, NYC based actor, with a BFA from the University of Florida. His NYC credits include the title role of Othello (Alchemical Theater Laboratory) and Jeb in Rush (Paradise Factory Theater). His Regional Credits include Oshoosi Size in The Brothers Size (Gablestage), Fish in The Royale (Gablestage), Spike in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Florida Rep), Trevor in The Play That Goes Wrong (Repertory Theater of St. Louis), Associate in The Christians (Riverside Theater) and Terrance in Thirst (CATF). He was last seen here as Jacob Walker in The Trial of Donna Caine and excited to return to George Street for another wonderful premiere.

Ellen McLaughlin

Ellen McLaughlin (Sibyl Danforth) is marking her third appearance at George Street Playhouse, having previously portrayed Rosemary Muldoon in Outside Mullingar and Margie in Good People. Broadway: Angels in America (Walter Kerr Theater). Off-Broadway: The Heart is Not Made of Stone (BAM); Septimus and Clarissa (Ripe Time); Blue Window, (Manhattan Theater Club); The Bacchae (LaMaMa); A Bright Room Called Day (Public Theater); String of Pearls (Primary Stages). Regional: Seascape (ACT, SF, CA); Good People, Ros and Ray (Seattle Rep.); Dear Elizabeth (People’s Light and Theater); Penelope, The Year of Magical Thinking, All My Sons (Playmakers’ Rep. NC); A Delicate Balance (Yale Rep. and Arena Stage, DC); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (McCarter Theatre, NJ); For Peter Pan…, Hedda Gabbler, Ghosts (Berkeley Repertory Theater); Fen, Road, Angels in America (Eureka Theater, SF, CA); King Lear (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland); Three Penny Opera (Trinity Rep., RI); Cryptogram (Yale Rep.); Angels in America (Mark Taper Forum, LA); Top Girls (Williamstown, MA); Homebody/Kabul (Intiman Theater, Seattle). TV: Law & Order. McLaughlin is also an award-winning playwright whose plays have received numerous Off-Broadway, regional and international productions.

Monique Robinson

Monique Robinson (Charlotte Fugett Bedford) is ecstatic to make her George Street Playhouse debut! Her credits include: Fairview at the Berkeley Repertory Theater (Theater Bay Award  Nominee for Outstanding Performance In a Featured Role, West Coast Premiere), Comedy of Errors at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Folger Theatre, Two Gentlemen of Verona at Shakespeare & Company, G.O.A.T. at the Queen’s Theatre in the Park; Onscreen credits: Younger (Paramount), See You Yesterday (Netflix), Tell Me A Story (CBS), Product Of My Environment (NYCIFF Nominee), A Ring, and FAWK. University of Washington Professional Actors Training Program, MFA. Psalms 27:1

Armand Schultz

Armand Schultz (Bill Tanner) At George Street: American Hero, The Spitfire Grill, Jolson Sings Again. Broadway: Frost/Nixon, The Herbal Bed, A View From the Bridge, The Secret Rapture. First National Tour: Billy Elliot, Chicago/Toronto Companies. Off-Broadway: Our Town, The House In Town, Stuff Happens, King Lear, The Spitfire Grill, Sight Unseen, Cyrano de Bergerac. Regional: The Guthrie Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ogunquit Playhouse, Westport Country Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, among others. Film: Inez&Doug&Kira, Crown Heights, SALT, Burn After Reading, The Happening, Vanilla Sky. Recent Television: BULL, Blue Bloods, Mr. Robot, The Blacklist. Upcoming: Billions. Mr. Schultz is the President and Chairman of the Board of The Actors Center and a lifetime member of The Actors Studio.

Lee Sellars

Lee Sellars (Stephen Hastings) Broadway: A Time to Kill, West Side Story (Officer Krupke), Talk Radio. Other NY credits: Iow@, Gun-Shy ( Playwrights Horizons) A Small Melodramatic Story ( LAByrinth Theatre) The Alchemist ( Classic Stage). George Street Playhouse: Our Town, Twelve Angry Men, The Subject Was Roses, The Pillowman. Regional: The Great Leap (Guthrie Theatre), Hollywood ( LaJolla Playhouse), A Few Good Men ( Alley Theatre), On Clover Road ( CATF). TV: Happy ( recurring), Billions, Law and Order SVU, Deception, Elementary, House of Cards ( recurring), Mindhunter, Power, Luke Cage ( recurring), Shades of Blue, Chappelle’s Show, The Sopranos, Law and Order ( recurring) Film: Naked Singularity ( upcoming), James White, The Savages, Tenderness, The Crimson Mask, Groundhog Day.

About George Street Playhouse

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint since 1998, and Kelly Ryman, Managing Director since 2013, the Playhouse produces groundbreaking new works, inspiring productions of the classics, and hit Broadway plays and musicals that speak to the heart and mind, with an unwavering commitment to producing new work. With its 45-year history of producing nationally renowned theater, the Playhouse continues to fill a unique theater and arts education role in the city, state and greater metropolitan region.

At the start of its 2019-20 Season, George Street Playhouse moved to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in downtown New Brunswick.  Featuring two state-of-the-art theaters—The Arthur Laurents Theater with 253 seats and The Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater which seats 465– and myriad amenities, the NBPAC marks a new era in the esteemed history of George Street Playhouse.

History

Founded by Eric Krebs in 1974, George Street Playhouse, 0riginally located in an abandoned supermarket on the corner of George and Albany Streets, was the first professional theater in New Brunswick and became the cornerstone of the revitalization of the city’s arts and cultural landscape.  In 1984, the Playhouse moved to a renovated YMCA on Livingston Avenue, and in 2017 took temporary residence in the former Agricultural Museum at Rutgers University during construction of its new home.

The Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway. In 2018, George Street Playhouse was represented on Broadway with Gettin’ the Band Back Together which premiered on the Playhouse main stage in 2013.  American Son, produced by George Street Playhouse in 2017, opened on Broadway in 2018 starring Kerry Washington and Stephen Pasqual, and appears on Netflix. Other productions include the Outer Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger. In 2015, It Shoulda Been You opened on Broadway, and Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies opened off-Broadway.

George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles written and submitted by members of the community, which make up our community bulletin board.

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