Every day is opening night.

Jonathan Groff heads cast of MCC Theater’s production of “The Submission”

Rick Miramontez / Jon Dimond / Jaron Caldwell
rick@oandmco.com / jon@oandmco.com / jaron@oandmco.com


“ T H E S U B M I S S I O N ”



New York, NY MCC THEATER (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) today announced that Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening, “Glee”), Will Rogers (When the Rain Stops Falling), Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie, HBO’s “How to Make It in America”), and Rutina Wesley (“True Blood,” The Vertical Hour) will star in the world premiere production of The Submission, by Jeff Talbott, directed by Tony Award-Winner Walter Bobbie (School for Lies, Chicago). Performances of this funny and furiously intelligent new play begin at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street, NYC) on September 8, 2011 and continue through October 22, 2011. An official opening is set for September 26, 2011.

Shaleeha G’ntamobi’s stirring new play about an alcoholic black mother and her card sharp son trying to get out of the projects has just been accepted into the nation’s preeminent theater festival. Trouble is, Shaleeha G’ntamobi doesn’t exist, except in the imagination of wannabe-playwright Danny Larsen (Groff), who created her as a kind of affirmative-action nom-de-plume. But a nom-de-guerre may prove more useful as the lies pile up, shaky alliances are forged, and everyone dear to Danny must decide whether or not to run for cover as the whole thing threatens to blow up in his lily white face. New York-based actor Jeff Talbott makes an auspicious play-writing debut with The Submission after taking home the first-ever Laurents/Hatcher Award for the play earlier this year.

Later in the season, MCC Theater will present the world premiere of Wild Animals You Should Know and the newly reworked and fully re-imagined production of Carrie, the musical. Season subscriptions for all three 2011-2012 mainstage productions are priced at $109-$149 and are available by visiting www.mcctheater.org. Individual tickets will go on-sale at a later date. All performances will take place at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.

MCC Theater recently celebrated its 25th anniversary season as one of New York City's leading Off Broadway theater companies, committed to presenting New York and world premieres each season. When MCC Theater was founded in 1986, its mission was simple: to bring new theatrical voices to theater-going audiences. MCC Theater continues to accomplish this yearly through three programmatic areas: its mainstage works; its Playwrights’ Coalition, which actively seeks and develops new and emerging writers; and its Education & Outreach Programs, including the Youth Company, which allow more than 1,200 students yearly to experience theater, increase literacy and discover their own voices through the creation of original theater pieces. Notable MCC Theater highlights include: the 2008 Tony Award-nominated reasons to be pretty by Neil LaBute, last season’s The Pride, Fifty Words, the 2004 Tony-winning production of Bryony Lavery’s Frozen; Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig; Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living; Marsha Norman’s Trudy Blue; Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Wit; Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone and Alan Bowne’s Beirut. Over the years, the dedication to the work of new and emerging artists has earned MCC Theater a variety of awards.

For more information on MCC Theater, visit www.mcctheater.org.

Jonathan Groff (Danny). Equally versatile on stage and screen, Jonathan Groff is steadily emerging as one of the most exciting young talents in the industry. He joined the cast of the critically-praised hit Fox series, “Glee,” during its first season as the lead vocalist of the rival glee club, Vocal Adrenaline, and the love interest of Lea Michele's character, Rachel Berry. Jonathan made his big screen debut in Ang Lee’s acclaimed film, Taking Woodstock. The movie, adapted by James Schamus from the autobiography Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life by Eliot Tibor and Tom Monte, told the true story of a young man working at his parents’ motel in the Catskills who inadvertently set in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969. In the film, Groff played Michael Lang, the legendary concert promoter and co-creator of the famed Woodstock Music and Art Festival. Groff was most recently seen in the films The Conspirator and Twelve Thirty. The Conspirator, directed by Robert Redford and starring James McAvoy and Robin Wright, tells the story of Mary Surratt, the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln. As the whole nation turns against her, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer to uncover the truth and save her life. Twelve-Thirty, written and directed by Jeff Lipsky and co-starring Mamie Gummer, is an independent drama about a broken family and the young man (Groff) who, in the span of a week, becomes entangled in each of their lives. A young veteran of the theater, Groff most recently made his West End debut in the acclaimed revival of Ira Levin's Deathtrap at the Noel Coward Theatre in London. The production was directed by Tony Award-winner Matthew Warchus (Art, God of Carnage, Boeing, Boeing) and co-starred legendary stage actor Simon Russell Beale. On stage, Jonathan also starred as Dionysus, the God of wine, in the Public Theater’s summer staging of Euripides’ The Bacchae. The production, helmed by Obie Award-winning director JoAnne Akalaitis and featuring original music by Philip Glass, was part of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series at Central Park’s Delacorte Theatre. Prior to his feature film debut, Groff starred as Melchior Gabor in the Tony Award-winning musical, Spring Awakening. With music by Duncan Sheik and book & lyrics by Steven Sater, Spring Awakening, based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 play of the same name, concerns a group of teenagers who are discovering the inner and outer tumult of their sexuality. Jonathan’s role as Melchior Gabor, the sharp, searching teen, earned his a 2007 Theatre World Award, in addition to Tony, Drama Desk, and Drama League Award nominations. Groff created the role Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre Company, prior to reprising the role on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Following his lauded run in Spring Awakening, Groff transitioned into the famed role of Claude in The Public Theater’s heralded revival of Hair, the seminal rock musical of the 1960’s. The show, about a tribe of politically active hippies fighting against the Vietnam War draft and living a bohemian life together in New York City, ran as part of The Public Theater’s “Shakespeare in the Park” series at the Delacorte Theatre, and introduced an entirely new generation of fans to the beloved musical. Furthermore, Groff was recently seen tackling difficult roles in two plays by acclaimed playwright/screenwriter Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss, Longtime Companion), for which he was the recipient of a Village Voice Obie Award for Outstanding Performance – Prayer for My Enemy and The Singing Forest. In Prayer for My Enemy, Jonathan starred as Billy, a young U.S. soldier, opposite Tony Award winners Victoria Clark and Michelle Pawk, at Playwrights Horizons. The show, directed by Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher, travels the terrain of a dysfunctional American family after Billy unexpectedly reunites with a childhood friend on the eve of his departure for the Iraq War. More recently, Groff starred opposite Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis, in the New York premiere of Lucas’ The Singing Forest at The Public Theater. Shifting from New York in the year 2000, to Freud's Vienna in the 1930s, and to Paris immediately after World War II, the play takes a surprising look at psychotherapy, celebrity and one family's quest for redemption, forgiveness and love. Groff will next be seen in MCC Theater’s production of Jeff Talbott’s The Submission. His additional theatre credits include roles in the Broadway musical, In My Life, and regional tours of The Sound of Music, Fame, Bat Boy, and Honk! Additionally, Jonathan starred alongside Joseph Fiennes, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Blythe Danner in the Ryan Murphy (“Nip/Tuck,” “Glee,” Running with Scissors) pilot, “Pretty/Handsome,” and he also had a recurring role on ABC’s “One Life to Live.” A Lancaster, Pennsylvania native, Jonathan currently resides in New York City.

Will Rogers (Trevor). Off Broadway: Unnatural Acts (Classic Stage Company), When the Rain Stops Falling (Lincoln Center), Chair (Theatre for a New Audience), From Up Here (Manhattan Theatre Club), 100 Saints You Should Know (Playwrights Horizons), Creature (Ohio Theater), Columbinus (New York Theatre Workshop), Green Girl (Summer Play Festival), Nicky Goes Goth (NY Fringe Festival), [sic] (78th St. Theatre Lab). Regional: Our Town, Not Waving (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Vertical Hour (Pioneer Theatre Co.), Dark Play or Stories For Boys (Humana Festival), Mary's Wedding (Actors Theatre of Louisville), This Is Our Youth (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis). TV: “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Gossip Girl.” Upcoming Film: Happy New Year, Nancy Please, Certainty, The Bay (dir. Barry Levinson). Will received his B.F.A. from North Carolina School of the Arts.

Eddie Kaye Thomas (Pete). Born and raised in New York City, Eddie Kaye Thomas began his career on stage at age seven, appearing Off and Off-Off Broadway with LaMama, the Brooklyn Shakespeare Company, the Wings Theater Company, Signature Theater, and others. He appeared on Broadway in John Guare's Four Baboons Adoring The Sun and opposite Natalie Portman in The Diary of Anne Frank. Other theater credits include Second Stage's The Bachelorette, New Group's Smelling A Rat, Dog Sees God, and Jack's Precious Moments. Having appeared in over twenty films to date, Thomas will next be seen in the independent feature Petunia opposite Thora Birch and Brittany Snow. He is well-known for creating the role of 'Finch' in the cult-classic American Pie trilogy. Other film credits include Black and White, opposite Brooke Shields and Robert Downey Jr.; Project Greenlight’s Stolen Summer with Aidan Quinn; Tom Green's Freddy Got Fingered; Harold and Kumar…1-2; Kettle of Fish; Farewell Bender; Venus and Vegas; Fifty Pills; and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Thomas was also featured in On The Road with Judas which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. Thomas currently stars as 'David 'Kappo' Kaplan' in the HBO original comedy “How to Make It in America.” He also currently stars as 'Barry' in the Fox animated series “American Dad.” Other television credits include “Til Death;” “CSI;” “Off Centre;” and “Law & Order.”

Rutina Wesley (Emilie). Classically trained actress, Rutina Wesley, always brings a passion and intelligence to her work whether it is on the stage or behind the camera. Many have her likened to a young Angela Bassett, an actress with true range to make an audience both laugh and cry at the same time. Currently, Rutina is co-starring in the hit HBO series “True Blood.” From critically acclaimed producer Alan Ball comes a series based on the popular series of novels “Southern Vampire,” in a world about vampires living amongst humans buying synthetic blood and living in the South. Rutina plays the role of Tara, best friend to Anna Paquin’s Sookie Stackhouse. Rutina, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, made her film debut starring as the lead in the Paramount Vantage/MTV Films, How She Move, from British director Ian Rashid. The film was produced by Sienna Films Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny. Rutina plays the lead role of Raya Green, a young girl who returns home to the inner city after the traumatizing death of her sister and her dismissal from an elite private school her family can no longer afford. She hopes her talent as a step dancer can win her enough money to escape back to the suburban private school life. Through her friends, Raya realizes that the secret to her future happiness lies not in escaping her past but embracing it. The film most recently had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival where it competed in the World Competition. The film received high praise and Rutina’s performance was singled out in numerous publications. She recently completed filming the independent feature, California Winter, about the collapse of the California housing market and its effects on individuals and families within the community. In the short amount of time following her graduation from the Drama Division of the esteemed Juilliard School (May 2005), Rutina has amassed some high quality credits for her resume. She completed a starring run of “In Darfur” at the esteemed NY Public Theatre. Prior to that, Rutina made her Broadway debut playing a role in the high profile production of “The Vertical Hour,” by acclaimed playwright David Hare. Two time Academy Award Nominee Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy starred. Critically acclaimed director Sam Mendes marked his return to Broadway and Scott Rudin, Robert Fox, and Neal Street Productions produced. Recently, Rutina recorded a staged reading of the iconic play “A Raisin in the Sun” at the Skirball Center as part of LA Theatreworks’s Radio Theatre Series. Upon graduation from school, Rutina was a part of the pre-Broadway workshop of the Tony nominated musical “The Color Purple.” While in school at Juilliard, Rutina got her first taste of Hollywood being cast in a small role in the hit film “Hitch,” starring Will Smith and Eva Mendes. After shooting the film and right before the release, Rutina learned her scene had been cut from the final cut of the movie but still chalked up an impressive learning experience for a young girl still in drama school. In addition to her studies at Juilliard, Rutina also spent a summer studying Shakespeare at the well-known and wellrespected Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. While in the program, Rutina was able to tackle the highly sought after role of Juliet in a production of “Romeo and Juliet” directed by Nona Sheppard. While at Juilliard, Rutina was able to take part in various productions ranging from MacBeth (Dir: Rebecca Guy), Richard III (Dir: PJ Paparelli), The Winter's Tale (Dir: Richard Feldman) to The Marriage of Figaro (Dir: Timothy Douglas), Rebel Armies Deep Into Chad (Dir: Reggie Life), In the Blood (Dir: Sam Gold) among many others. Rutina attended the University of Evansville where she received her BFA in Theatre Performance and prior to that she attended the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts. She currently resides in New York and Los Angeles. Rutina is represented by Inspire Entertainment, LLC.

Jeff Talbott has written four full-length plays and two one-acts. The Submission was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award. The play was a semi-finalist for the 2010 O’Neill Playwrights Conference (under the title Festival Play) and it was in the final round of consideration for the 2010 New Play Summit at the Denver Center. His other plays are twelve twenty-five and Elliot Yagovich. He is the co author of Critical Moment (with Stephen Kunken), which was a semi-finalist for the New Play Festival at Denver Center Theatre, and a section of which was a finalist for the Heideman Award for best 10-minute play at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. It also has been seen in the reading series for the Hudson Theatre Company and in several Manhattan readings. His one-acts For Nate and Molly and Tender were both given world premiere productions by the Yale Cabaret while he was a student at the Yale School of Drama, where he graduated with honors. His writing has been informed by his work as a NYC-based actor. He has appeared both on Broadway (Sly Fox and Fortune’s Fool) and off (Home of the Brave), in regional theatres across the country (David Frost in the regional premiere of Frost/Nixon, Father Flynn in Doubt, etc.) and on television (all three NY-based “Law & Orders”) and film (Julie & Julia).

Walter Bobbie directed the international hit Chicago which won him the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards and has become the longest-running revival in Broadway history. Other Broadway credits include White Christmas, High Fidelity, Sweet Charity, Twentieth Century, Footloose and A Grand Night for Singing and the upcoming production of Venus in Fur at Manhattan Theatre Club. Recent productions include David Ives's Venus In Fur at Classic Stage, Evan Smith's The Savannah Disputation at Playwrights Horizons, Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette & Boo at the Roundabout, No No Nanette at Encores, Mr. Ives's New Jerusalem, also at Classic Stage, and Terrence McNally’s Golden Age at the Kennedy Center. Mr. Bobbie has also directed for New York Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Goodspeed Opera House, Sundance, and the O'Neill Center. He was Artistic Director for City Center’s acclaimed Encores, and serves on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

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