Every day is opening night.

Rattlestick Announces Complete Cast & Creatives for José Rivera’s “Massacre (Sing To Your Children)”

Rick Miramontez / Richard Hillman
rick@oandmco.com / richard@oandmco.com


“ M A S S A C R E   (S I N G   T O  Y O U R  C H I L D R E N) ”


New York, NY (3/12/12) – Rattlestick Playwrights Theater has announced the cast and creative team for the world premiere of Massacre (Sing to Your Children), by Obie Award-winning playwright José Rivera, directed by Brian Mertes.  Performances will begin Wednesday, April 4th at Rattlestick Theater (224 Waverly Place – off Seventh Avenue South, between Perry & West 11th Streets).  The official opening night is set for Thursday, April 12th.  The production is scheduled to run through May 12th.

In a small New Hampshire town, seven friends conspire to murder their mysterious neighbor Joe. On the night of the killing, as they confront the many meanings of their crime and finally relax and laugh and love again…there’s a knock on their door.

“It has always been a dream of mine to produce a play by José Rivera,” says Artistic Director David Van Asselt. “I am thrilled that he has given us the opportunity to premiere this brave and exciting work, which has been completely re-conceived over the past several years.”

The cast features Jolly Abraham, Brendan Averett, Dana Eskelson, Jojo Gonzalez, William Jackson Harper, Adrian Martinez, Sona Tatoyan, and Anatol Yusef.

The creative team features Andromache Chalfant (scenic design), Cait O’Connor (costume design), Austin Smith (lighting design), Daniel Baker (sound design), and Andrew Diaz (properties). Melissa Mae Gregus is Production Stage Manager and Sam Horwith is Assistant Stage Manager.

The performance schedule is as follows: Wednesday – Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm and Monday at 8pm. Tickets are $55 and are available through TicketCentral.com/212- 279-4200. Rattlestick is offering $10 tickets to students (with valid ID) and $15 tickets to patrons under thirty years of age and theater artists.  Information on how to purchase student, under thirty, and theater artist tickets can be found on the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Facebook page.

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is a multi-award-winning company which has produced over fifty world premieres in the past sixteen and a half seasons and was the recipient of the 2007 Ross Wetzsteon Memorial OBIE Award for its work developing new and innovative work. Rattlestick’s Advisory Board participates in The Emerging Playwrights Project, which matches a new playwright with an established artist for an experienced eye and creative support. Playwright and artist mentors have included Edward Albee, Jon Robin Baitz, Zoe Caldwell, Arthur Kopit, Craig Lucas, Joe Mantello, Terrence McNally and Marsha Norman. Previous plays include Two Boys in a Bed, Message to Michael, Carpool, Volunteer Man, A Trip to the Beach, Ascendancy, Stuck, Vick’s Boy, The Messenger, Saved or Destroyed, Neil’s Garden, My Special Friend, Faster, Bliss, St. Crispin’s Day, Where We’re Born, Five Flights, Boise, Finer Noble Gases, God Hates The Irish: The Ballad of Armless Johnny, Miss Julie, Acts of Mercy: passion-play, Cagelove, It Goes Without Saying, Dark Matters, Stay, American Sligo, Rag and Bone, War, Geometry of Fire, That Pretty Pretty or The Rape Play, The Amish Project, Killers and Other Family, Post No Bills, Blind,  Little Doc, underneathmybed, There Are No More Big Secrets, The Hallway Trilogy,  Carson McCullers Talks About Love, The Wood, Asuncion, Horsedreams, Yosemite, the Off-Broadway GLAAD Award-nominated hit The Last Sunday in June, Craig Wright’s The Pavilion (Drama Desk nominee – Outstanding Play of 2005) and Lady (Drama Desk nominee – Outstanding Play of 2008), as well as The Aliens by Annie Baker (2010 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play).


José Rivera (Playwright) is the two-time Obie Award winning author of Marisol, Cloud Tectonics, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, Boleros for the Disenchanted, and many other plays.  Currently in the works are Human Emotional Process, The Hours are Feminine, Lessons for an Unaccustomed Bride, The Book of Fishes, a new translation of Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and a musical for The Civilians called La Corona.  Rivera was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA, and a Writers Guild Award for his screenplay The Motorcycle Diaries, directed by Walter Salles.  His screenplay of Kerouac’s On the Road, also directed by Salles, will premiere internationally in 2012.  For HBO he has written a pilot for a one-hour series based on Massacre (Sing to Your Children) called “Mayhem.”  Also in the works is The 33 – a film about the 2010 rescue of 33 trapped miners in Chile.  Celestina, based on his play Cloud Tectonics, will mark his debut as a feature film director.  Rivera, who is playwright in residence at the Lark Theatre and a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and LAByrinth, lives in New York.

Brian Mertes (Director) has directed the world premieres of many new plays, including David Greenspan’s The Myopia for the Foundry Theater. Mertes has developed new work at EST, MCC, Naked Angels, MTC, Public Theater, PS 122, Actors Theater of Louisville, Playwrights Center Minneapolis, New Dramatists, Ars Nova, PlayPenn, BACA and Christine Jones’ Theater For One. He regularly directs at Juilliard, most recently creating a multi-media theater work based on Sam Shepard’s Paris, Texas with alt-country rocker, Jim White. He has taught directing for the Columbia and NYU film programs and at Brown/Trinity Rep as the current Head of the MFA Directing Program.  He has been a guest director at North Carolina School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase, NYU Grad, UT Austin, and Yale. Mertes has directed television for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, garnering three Emmy and three DGA nominations, and an Emmy for directing. With director Melissa Kievman, he hosts an annual retreat at an old stone house in upstate NY, where, with their company, they have presented epic, environmental stagings of Chekhov’s Ivanov, Platonov, The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters, Seagull, and Uncle Vanya.  Brian is also an associate director at Trinity Rep where he recently staged Clybourne Park.

Brendan Averett (Hector) was last seen in Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s production of As You Like It and on tour in Guys and Dolls for Big League Theatricals. New York credits include Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play for Epic Theatre Ensemble and Hamlet at Gallery Players. Other regional credits: Of Mice and Men (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Saint Louis Rep – Cincinnati Entertainment Award nomination); Chicago – Don’t Dress for Dinner, The Ballad of Emmet Till, Passion Play, Blithe Spirit, Twelfth Night, Hapgood, Money, Man and Superman, Henry V, Hamlet, and The Chairs; Los Angeles – As You Like It, Great Expectations, Cyrano de Bergerac, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Henry V; Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, The Brothers Karamazov, Guys and Dolls, The Donnellys, The Swanne – Pt. III and Count of Monte Cristo. TV credits include “Law & Order: SVU” and R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet.”

Jojo Gonzalez (Panama) Recent Film/TV: The Smurfs, “Pan Am,”  “White Collar.” Recent Theater: 12N (Leviathan Lab).  Awards/Nominations: OBIE Award, OCIE Nomination (The Romance of Magno Rubio); OOBR (The School For Wives). Off Broadway: Paper Angels (Direct Arts); Sweet Karma (Queens Theater in the Park); The Romance of Magno Rubio (Ma-Yi World Premiere, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Laguna Playhouse, Long Wharf Theater, LATC, Sibiu Theatre Festival, Stockton/ San Bruno); 365 Days/365 Plays (World Premiere);  Richard III, Fucking A, Dogeaters (NYSF/ Public Theater); Watchers, Middle Finger, Li’l Brown Brothers,  Mother Courage, Pinaytok (Ma-Yi); ARSAT( Fluid Motion); The Seagull, Tomorrow, School For Wives (NAATCO); Last Hand Laundry in Chinatown(La Mama); Mr. Porter and Mr. Shakespeare (Medicine Show). Regional: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Long Wharf Theater); The Silence of God (CATF); Dogeaters (La Jolla Playhouse); The Good Earth (Bristol Riverside Theater); 90 North (Berkshire Theater Festival). TV: “Without A Trace,” ”The Sopranos,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “The Jury,” “The Time of Your Life,” “New York Undercover.” Film:  A Kiss For Justin, Disoriented. Love to SanMaZoSa, The Dogeaters Vortex and The Bunkhouse Boys past, present and future.

Adrian Martinez (Erik) Theater: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis (Public Theater/LAByrinth, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman); Our Lady of 121st Street by Stephen Adly Guirgis (Union Square Theater/LAByrinth, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman); Massacre: Sing To Your Children by José Rivera (Public Theater/LAByrinth, directed by Kate Whoriskey). Film: It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Mail Order Wife, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Mona, The Interpreter, Don’t Let Me Drown, Morning Glory, In America, The Promotion, Little New York, Taxi, Flypaper, Pelham 123 (2009), Pieces of April. Films opening in theaters in 2012: Casa De Mi Padre (opposite Will Ferrell) and Piranha 3D (opposite a Piranha). Upcoming: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, opposite star and director, Ben Stiller. Television:  “A Gifted Man” (recurring) on CBS,  all “Law and Order,” “Flight Of The Conchords,”  “Ed,”  “Sex & The City,”  “Conan O’Brien,”  “The Sopranos,” “Mercy,” “Delocated,” “Undefeated,” “NYPD Blue” and “Between the Lions.”

Anatol Yusef (Joe) hails from England where he trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. New York theatre includes: The title role in Richard III, Hal in Proof, Kevin in The Science of Guilt – his theatre company’s inaugural production, & Rev Thomas Gallaudet in A Movement of the Soul, for which he learned American Sign Language. In Washington DC, he played Jake in Harold Pinter’s Moonlight at the Studio Theatre. Some of his extensive UK theatre includes notable work with The Royal Shakespeare Company; The Young Vic; Birmingham Rep; Bristol Old Vic; Tricycle Theatre; Southwark Playhouse and in the West End. Television includes: “Boardwalk Empire” (seasons 1&2), “Trial & Retribution VII,” “Jeeves & Wooster,” “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,” “Thief Takers,” “Second Sight, “The Afternoon Play.”  Film includes: The Gathering, O’ Jerusalem, Ten Minutes, CornerShop, and playing Bob Hoskins’ younger ‘Ray’ in Fred Schepisi’s award winning film Last Orders. With Francesco Campari, Anatol is associate Artistic Director of Fixitsolife Theatre Company. He is currently shooting season 3 of “Boardwalk Empire,” playing Meyer Lansky.

Dana Eskelson (Vivy) Theater: Balm in Gilead / Mertes, Harvey, Willimon; Lascivious Something / The Women’s Project; A Perfect Couple / WET; Platonov, The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters, The Seagull / Theater at Lake Lucille; Anon / The Atlantic Theater; After Ashley / Vineyard Theater;  As I Lay Dying; A Clockwork Orange, Slavs! /Steppenwolf Theater; Heart of a Dog/ New Crime; Gravid Water/UCB (ongoing). Film: The Company Men /John Wells; Three Backyards /Eric Mendelsohn (2010 Sundance directing award); Peter and Vandy / Jay DiPietro; The Brave One / Neil Jordan; Definitely Maybe /Adam Brooks; One Last Thing / Alex Steyermark; Griffin and Phoenix / Ed Stone; The Interpreter / Sydney Pollack; Cold Creek Manor / Mike Figgis. TV: “Brotherhood” (recurring), “The Law and Order Supreme Triad,” Exiled: A Law and Order Movie, “The Unusuals,” “100 Centre Street with Mr. Lumet,” “New York Undercover” (recurring), “Prince Street” (lead). Upcoming film: Deep Powder, See You Next Tuesday, Please Be Normal. Upcoming TV: “NYC-22” (recurring).

Jolly Abraham (Janis) Broadway: Coram Boy and Bombay Dreams. Off-Broadway:  The Bald Soprano, Richard II, Hard Times, The Oedipus Trilogy, The Constant Couple, Hamlet (The Pearl Theatre), McReele (Roundabout).  NY Theatre:  The Un-Marrying Project, The Grecian Formula, Twelfth Night.   Regional:  Scorched (The Wilma Theatre, Barrymore nomination), Vaidehi (Chauttauqua Theatre Company), News To Me (Hartbeat Ensemble), Love’s Labour’s Lost co-production (The Shakespeare Theatre DC/RSC), The Pentecost (Old Globe). O’Neill Theatre Conference and Lincoln Center Director Labs.  TV: “Lights Out”, “White Collar”, “Nurse Jackie”, “Gossip Girl”, “Sex and The City”, “Ed”, “Law and Order SVU” and “CI”, “Bedford Diaries”.  Film:  Loving Leah, Stay. Company member of The Pearl Theatre. BFA from North Carolina School of the Arts.

Sona Tatoyan (Lila) is a first-generation Syrian–Armenian-American actress, producer, writer, and director living in New York. World premiere stage roles include Lila in Massacre (Sing to Your Children) at the Goodman Theatre with Teatro Vista, Chicago; Ani in Brainpeople at the American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco; and Flora/Eve in Boleros for the Disenchanted at Yale Repertory Theatre (winner for Outstanding Ensemble, Connecticut Critics Circle Awards).  In Los Angeles she played Marta Towers in The Red Scare on Sunset at the Attic Theatre & Film Center.  Lead roles on film include Eve in The Journey (winner for Audience Award, Milan International Film Festival 2002), and the No Name Girl in the short The Tape Recorder (José Rivera, director), and Laila in Ms. Tatoyan’s writing/directing debut short, Toujours.  Upcoming roles include Maggie in the much-anticipated adaptation of Jack Keroac’s On the Road (Walter Salles, director, Francis Ford Coppola, executive producer), as well as the title role in the independent feature Celestina (José Rivera, director, Walter Salles, executive producer). Ms. Tatoyan is a 2011 Sundance/RAWI fellow for her first feature script, The First Full Moon, and is a proud graduate of The William Esper Studio.