ST. PETERSBURG — American Stage will continue its 2018-19 season with the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” written by Eugene O’Neill. The production will be directed by Brendon Fox and will run May 29 through June 30, at Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg.
Previews will be May 29 and 30, 7 p.m. Opening night will be May 31, 8 p.m. Ticket prices vary by performance. For information, call 727-823-7529 or visit americanstage.org.
Considered one of the all-time great American plays, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterwork lays bare what we all know to be true: the ardor of familial love cannot always protect you. What begins as an ordinary summer day at the Connecticut home of the Tyrone family morphs into a night filled with foggy, drink-laced demons. Long-buried secrets are revealed, which once exposed cannot be ignored. A long-revered showcase for tour-de-force performances, “Long Day’s Journey into Night” is a compassionately brutal look at the devastating impact of addiction and one family’s struggle to fight for love itself.
“This is an exciting undertaking for us,” said Stephanie Gularte, American Stage producing artistic director. “’Long Day’s Journey into Night’ is an epic work on many levels. In plunging into such a deep, rich piece of theater, one that reveals humanity with unrelenting honesty, we are taking on one of the bigger challenges that our medium provides.”
This production features five cast members. Returning to the American Stage mainstage are Janis Stevens, Josh Odsess-Rubin and Rose Hahn. James Keegan and Billy Finn will both be making their American Stage mainstage debut.
Finn was most recently seen as Mercutio in “Romeo & Juliet” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He also recently appeared as Buddy Holly in the pre-Broadway lab production of “The Wanderer,” a new musical based on the life of Dion DiMucci. As a musician, Finn has performed at Judson Church, ANT FEST, Prevail Union and Birdland. He received his MFA in acting at Brown/Trinity Rep.
Audience members may recognize Hahn from some of the work she has done as an acting/production apprentice this season at American Stage: as the hungry servant in “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” as the directing apprentice for “Pipeline,” or as a crew member from other productions this season. She is a recent graduate from Towson University with a BFA in acting.
Keegan was most recently seen in the role of Bruce Bechdel in “Fun Home” at Clear Space Theater. For 13 repertory seasons, he was a company member of the American Shakespeare Center, where he performed in more than 65 productions. Keegan has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Delaware where he is now a professor in the Associate in Arts Program.
Odsess-Rubin returns to American Stage after playing Arthur de Bourgh in “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” earlier this season. Other recent credits include Edward in “Sense & Sensibility” and Caspar in “Photograph 51” with South Coast Repertory; and Captain Spaulding in “Animal Crackers” at Cygnet Theatre.
Stevens was last seen as Marjorie in “Marjorie Prime.” She is an Associate Artist at Sacramento’s Capital Stage with multiple credits for directing and acting. Stevens is a 2006 Drama Desk Award nominee for her solo performance as Vivien Leigh in “Vivien” in New York City.
“Why is ‘Long Day's Journey into Night’ such compelling theatre now in 2019,” Fox, the director of this production, asked. “O'Neill is a master at creating complicated, funny, heartbreaking characters who have some of the juiciest dialogue written in the last 100 years. At the center of the play, the Tyrone family love each other fiercely and deal with their demons with a riveting mix of denial and desperation. They risk everything for the truth — about themselves, each other, and ultimately all of us in the audience.”
O'Neill was the first American dramatist to regard the stage as a literary medium and the first U.S. playwright to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born in 1888, in New York City. His masterpiece, “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” produced posthumously in 1957, is at the apex of a long string of great plays, including “Beyond the Horizon” (1920), “Anna Christie” (1922), “Strange Interlude” (1928), “Ah! Wilderness” (1933) and “The Iceman Cometh” (1946). O'Neill died in 1953, in Boston, Massachusetts.
Throughout the run of “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” ticket holders are invited to arrive early for an exclusive prologue presented by ASFWD apprentice Dylan Renfrow, set 30 minutes prior to each performance. In addition, chatbacks will be presented Thursday, June 6; and Sundays, June 9, 16 and 23. These events are free for ticket holders. Audience members may ask questions about the play, the characters and the process.