America Ferrera in Women’s Project Theater’s
ByLaura Marks, Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
Featuring Emily Ackerman, Kristin Griffith, Ken Marks, Tobias Segal & Myra Lucretia Taylor
At New York City Center Stage II
Women’s Project Theater’s new home, New York City Center Stage II, 131 West 55th Street.
This dark comedy Bethany by Laura Marks and Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch is set in an American town emptied by foreclosures, which mercifully feels like a flash from the past with financial recovery in full steam. (Knock on wood.) America Ferrera plays a financially-broke woman who learns just how far she’ll go to get back what she lost.
Ferrera, received an Emmy® Award, a Golden Globe® and a Screen Actors Guild Award® for starring Ugly Betty. Recently she played ‘Roxie Hart’ in a West End production of Chicago. Recently, she finished production of Diego Luna’s biopic, Chavez, which centers on the civil-rights activist and labor organizer, Cesar Chavez. Portraying his wife, Helen Chavez, Ms. Ferrera stars opposite Michael Peña and alongside Rosario Dawson and Gabriel Mann. Frerrera was last seen on the New York stage in the 2005 off-Broadway production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.
The big surprise to me was Tobias Segal in his role as Gary, a homeless man squatting in an abandoned house. Even though he played James in The Miracle Worker on Broadway and has had Drama Desk and Drama League nominations, I’d never seen or heard of him before. But now I’ll be watching out for him. Every movement, every gesture, every slide of his voice was perfect.
Playwright Laura Marks is an alumna of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and the Juilliard School. Bethany won the Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Women Writers as well as Synchronicity Theatre’s SheWrites Award, and was chosen by John Guare as runner-up for Yale’s David C. Horn Prize. Ms. Marks holds a new play commission from South Coast Repertory and is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Composer/Lyricist Workshop.
Director Gaye Taylor Upchurch is an alumna of Women’s Project’s Director’s Lab. Ms. Upchurch served as Sam Mendes associate director on The Bridge Project with BAM and the Old Vic and directed the U.S. premiere of Simon Stephen’s Bluebird starring Simon Russell Beale and the recent Harper Regan, both for Atlantic Theatre.
Lauren Helpern designed the clever set that functioned as both the house where Ferrera and Segal squatted as well as a car dealership. Sarah Holden did the costumes, Mark Barton, the lighting, and Leon Rothenberg, the sound. Jess Johnston is stage manager.