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Rapture, Blister, Burn - Our First Show of the New Year!

Theatre Artists Studio presents the Arizona Premiere of Gina Gionfriddo's new play, Rapture, Blister, Burn, January 16 through February 1, 2015. The New York Times calls Rapture Blister Burn, "Intensely smart and immensely funny." The artfully crafted show, which was the runner-up for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, weaves together controversial feminist theories through sharp, witty dialogue between three generations of women. From Phyllis Schlafly to Betty Freidan, the characters debate postmodern feminism over martinis as they muse about marriage, career, pornography and slasher films.

While Gionfriddo decries any conscious attempt to follow in feminist playwright Wendy Wasserstein's shoes, she has been universally hailed as "taking up where 'The Heidi Chronicles' left off." Like Wasserstein's Heidi, Gionfriddo's Catherine wrestles with the feminist drive for professional success while watching her chances of home and hearth fade from the picture. In an unexpected plot twist, Catherine attempts to remake her life and have it all. When life begins to unravel, college co-ed, Avery, points out that feminism has achieved little in the past 40 years, "You either have a career and wind up lonely and sad, or you have a family and wind up lonely and sad." Anything but despairing, the women in Rapture find unique ways of coping that unveil new possibilities and provide endless opportunities to embrace a new feminism; one that truly reflects the reality and grittiness of modern day life.

The Studio's production of Rapture is directed by veteran Valley director, Richard Powers Hardt, a self-proclaimed feminist who says he was attracted to Rapture because he lived through much of the feminist movement in the 1960s. The son of a single mother whom he watched struggle to gain equal pay in the workplace, Hardt opines, "I grew up discussing these issues and I learned that respect goes way beyond opening doors for women. These are fundamental issues of equality." Hardt further explains his love of playwright Gionfriddo because she consistently writes about the choices we all have to make in life and the consequences that follow. "Life is all about choices," Hardt offers, "We constantly question ourselves; did we make the moral choice, the right choice. We wonder how our lives would have turned out differently had we gone down a different path. Rapture explores the possibility of doing just that."

Richard Powers Hardt has been acting, directing and designing in the Valley for over 35 years. Some of his favorite projects include Beyond Therapy, The Dining Room, and Dark of the Moon for Theater Works, Much Ado About Nothing and King Lear for The Shakespeare Theatre, Nightwatch and The Importance of Being Earnest for Mesa Theatre and the Arizona premieres of All Through the Night and Maple and Vine. Richard directed David Mamet's Speed the Plow at Theatre Artists Studio in October.

The cast features Studio members Debra Rich, Robyn Allen, and Aaron Seever, along with guest artists Petey Swartz & Alexandra Utpadel.

Debra Rich was most recently seen as Helen in Christopher Durang's Baby with the Bathwater. Other Studio rolls include Ceil in And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, Elsa in The Road to Mecca, and Ellen in Maple and Vine. She starred in Theater Works' hits Mama Won't Fly and The Dixie Swim Club. Film credits include the soon-to-be released feature Car Dogs with George Lopez and Nia Vardalos, and Manic Man. Debra is an award-winning journalist and columnist for Arizona Jewish Life Magazine.

Robyn Allen has worked as a professional in theater for the past 25 years. She has had the pleasure of working all over the Valley with some of Arizona's finest. She received her education at ASU and at the New Actors Workshop in New York. Robyn is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA.

Aaron Seever is a new artistic member and is proud to be performing with Theatre Artists Studio for the first time. Aaron's past roles include Ken in Rumors, Andrew in I Hate Hamlet, Serge in Art, and Gordon in Laughing Stock. Aaron is also a filmmaker and screenwriter and is completing the final edit on his latest short film, Temporary. His first film, Penelope Fortesque, Romance Novelist was accepted to the Phoenix Film Festival as well as Palm Springs Marketplace.

Theatre Artists Studio presents Gina Gionfriddo's, Rapture, Blister, Burn from January 16 through February 1, 2015, at The Studio, 4848 E. Cactus Rd, #406, Scottsdale, AZ 85254. Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm.

As an added bonus for Thursday night attendees, The Studio will present audience talkbacks with the cast and a panel of local feminists on January 22 and 29 immediately following the performances. In addition, members of women's groups are being offered tickets for only $10 each for the Thursday night shows, even if they are not attending as part of a group of 10 or more. Panelists for January 22 include local celebrity author and journalist Jana Bommersbach along with Athia Hardt. The January 29 panelist will be Janet Arnold, former head of the Arizona Jewish Theater Company.

Tickets are $20 for General Admission; $10 for Students 25 & Under and $15 for Groups of 10 or More, Seniors 65 & Over & Members of the Military (active or retired). For tickets, call the box office at 602-765-0120 or visit our TICKETS PAGE.

This production is being presented under the auspices of the Actor's Equity Association Members Project Code.

Rapture, Blister, Burn, - January 16 - February 1, 2015 

PHOTO INFO: Left to Right - Robyn Allen, Debra Rich and Aaron Seever in Rapture, Blister, Burn. Photo by Mark Gluckman.

 

 

 

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*Unless otherwise noted, all production photos on this website are courtesy of Studio Member, Mark Gluckman Photography.