May 25 – June 18, 2022
Set in the hothouse of New Orleans’ Garden District, Suddenly Last Summer has all the hallmarks of a Tennessee Williams masterpiece: exotic locales, tortured psyches, glorious, lyrical language, and Williams’ gift for creating vivid, unforgettable characters. An elderly socialite mourns the death of her poet son, who died under mysterious circumstances while vacationing at an island resort. Eager to protect her son’s image, she hires a doctor to silence the only witness to the tragic event–but the shattering truth fights its way to the surface, as it always does in Williams’ world. In the great Avant Bard tradition of providing audiences an opportunity to see something they may have read but have never seen–or have seen the movie version but have never seen it on-stage–audiences can learn first-hand what happened last summer, and experience the unique and exhilarating beauty of this quintessential Williams classic.
This production includes a prologue of “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen” by Tennessee Williams featuring Jonathan Del Palmer as man and Miss Kitty as Woman.
Performance Days and Times
Wednesday, May 25 Performance (Preview 1) 7:30P
Thursday, May 26 Performance (Preview 2) 7:30P
Friday, May 27 Performance (Preview 3) 7:30P
Saturday, May 28 Performance (Preview 4) 7:30P
Sunday, May 29 Performance (Opening) 2:00P
Thursday, June 2 Performance 7:30P
Friday, June 3 Performance 7:30P
Saturday, June 4 Performance 7:30P
Sunday, June 5 Performance 2:00P
Thursday, June 9 Performance 7:30P
Friday, June 10 Performance 7:30P
Saturday, June 11 Performance 2:00P
Saturday, June 11 Performance 7:30P
Sunday, June 12 Performance 2:00P
Sunday, June 12 Performance 7:30P
Thursday, June 16 Performance 7:30P
Friday, June 17 Performance 7:30P
Saturday, June 18 Performance 2:00P
Saturday, June 18 Performance 7:30P (This performance is ASL Interpreted, if you would like to learn more, please email the Box Office at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please be advised that this production is for mature audiences. If you have questions or concerns, please call the box office or consult with house management at will call.
Catharine Holly: Sara Barker^
Violet Venable: Cam Magee
Mrs. Holly: Megan Morgan
Miss Foxhill: Miss Kitty
Dr. Cukrowicz: Matt Sparacino
Sister Felicity: Christine Hirrel
George Holly: Jonathan Del Palmer
Read Cast Bios
Miss Kitty (Woman/Miss Foxhill) (she/her) is an AMAB/non-binary/ genderqueer/transfemme actor, dancer, and chanteuse. Credits include Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Margaret in Much Ado About Nothing with Prince George’s Shakespeare in the Parks, Specs in S.P.I.E.S. with Imagination Stage and Leapfrog Productions, Miss Fabian in Illyria or What You Will, Cleopatra/Queen Anne/Puck in She Speaks!, and hosting her virtual cabaret An Evening with Miss Kitty with Avant Bard Theatre. On film, she recently wrapped up portraying Danielle in A Brighter Tomorrow: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging for WILL Interactive. She can also be seen in the PSA Open to All – “Three Words” for the Movement Advancement Project, and she portrayed Ebony in the industrial Shine for the ISA Group. She has also made the occasional cabaret appearance with LA TI DO Productions. Thank you for keeping the arts alive. For Tom. “Live in FIERCE …not in fear.” XoXoX #LiveInFIERCE
Jonathan Del Palmer (Man/George) (he/him), is excited to make his Avant Bard Theatre debut. He last appeared on stage in Moon Man Walk (Constellation Theatre Company) and Kill Move Paradise (Rep Stage). Some of Jonathan’s other recent credits include columbinus and The Member of the Wedding (1st Stage), Day of Absence (Theater Alliance), and Sing to Me Now (Rorschach Theatre). He’s glad to have the ability to hop on stage again and hopes that you enjoy the show!
Matthew Sparacino (Doctor Cukrowicz) (he/him) is thrilled to return to Avant Bard Theatre for this production having played in the past as Oronte in A Misanthrope and Orsino in llyria, or What You Will. A DMV native, Matt has performed with a number of local houses over the past decade. He most recently appeared at 1st Stage in the fall, bowing as Ben in Secret Things. Matt received his BA in Theatre from UMD and is a proud company member of Pointless Theatre, with whom he has collaborated on roughly a dozen productions, including Don Cristóbal, Hugo Ball, Doctor Caligari, and A Very Pointless Holiday Spectacular. Other select credits include The Farnsworth Invention [HHA nomination – Best Ensemble] and Lobby Hero (1st Stage); Six Degrees of Separation (Keegan Theatre); The Winter’s Tale and Antony & Cleopatra (Folger Theatre) Richard II, Dracula and Merchant of Venice (Chesapeake Shakespeare); and Fever/Dream (Woolly Mammoth). Many thanks to Christopher and all of Avant Bard for giving us this chance to finish what we started in the spring of 2020. For Tom. matthewsparacino.com
Cam Magee (Violet Venable) (she/her) is so pleased and thankful to be able to revisit this play with this cast, this director, and this creative/ production team. Her past Avant Bard Theatre credits include Stephano/Antonia (The Tempest,) Gloucester (King Lear,) Auréiie (The Madwoman of Chaillot,) Eleanor/Pembroke (King John,) Juno (Juno and the Peacock,) Mistress Quickly (The Mistorical Hystery of Henry (I)V,) Countess Rousillon (All’s Well That Ends Well,) Amanda (Private Lives,) Karen (The Children’s Hour,) Dora Strang (Equus,) and Hannah Jelkes (The Night of the Iguana.) Beginning in 1996, Cam dramaturged 17 Shakespearian productions for Avant Bard. She has appeared at Arena Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre, The Folger Theatre, Wooly Mammoth, Rorschach Theatre, Theater J, and the Washington Stage Guild (for which she received a Helen Hayes nomination for Mrs. Cheveley (An Ideal Husband.) She is a company member of Avant Bard and Rorschach Theatre. Cam’s first role at Catholic University was Catherine in Suddenly Last Summer. She has loved this play for a long time. For Jess, who patiently ran lines with me before the pandemic and then again this spring.
Megan Morgan (she/her) is delighted to be working with Christopher Henley and this talented cast again, after a double-year hiatus. Megan is a founding member of Source Theatre Company, where she appeared as Anna in Anna Christie, Shen Te/Shui Ta in Good Woman of Szechuan, Olga in Three Sisters, the Chorus in Henry V and Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Also, as a founding member of the erstwhile Washington Shakespeare Company (Avant Bard Theatre) she has appeared as Gertrude in Hamlet, Mme. De Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Isabella in Edward II, Portia in Julius Caesar, and directed Ibsen’s Rosmersholm. At Studio Theatre, she ran as Paulina in Death and the Maiden, and Edith Potter in The Women. With Signature Theatre, she played Collette in Four Dogs and a Bone (Helen Hayes nomination). With Freedom Stage, she was Maud and Betty in Cloud 9. In New York with Third Stages and Rendezvous Productions: Impromptu, Rouge and Lace: Portraits of American Women, Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen, Trade, Pat Hott’s Kids, The Oxbow Incident. TV: Homicide: Life on the Street – Carla Reeves, Bones of Contention. This one’s for Mother and Pops.
Sara Barker (Catharine Holly) (she/her) is grateful to have the opportunity to work on this resilient, good-humored team. With Avant Bard Theatre, Sara performed in King Lear, Emilie, Orlando, Othello, A Misanthrope, Mary Stuart, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Lulu, Peace, The Mistorical Hystery of Henry (I)V, The Cherry Orchard, The House of Yes; with Rorschach, Sara performed in A Maze, and This Storm is What We Call Progress, With Factory 449, Sara performed in 4.48 Psychosis and Closet Land; with Scena, Sara performed in The Importance of Being Earnest and A Woman of No Importance; with Faction of Fools, Sara performed in The Cherry Orchard. In New York, Sara performed in Lear DeBessonet’s devised Death Might Be Your Santa Claus and Josh Fox’s devised Limitless Joy. Sara is a producing partner with Avant Bard, and a company member with Factory 449 and Rorschach; Sara is a graduate of St. John’s College. For Tom. sarabarker.com
Christine Hirrel (Sister Felicity) (she/her) is delighted to return to this amazing production with Avant Bard Theatre where she was last seen as Josephine in Madwoman of Chaillot and where she has served as dialect coach for numerous productions including King Lear, Orlando, and No Man’s Land. Over the past two decades, Ms. Hirrel has been fortunate to act, coach and teach in DC theatre while raising her sons and enjoying her career as a speech-language pathologist. Acting credits include those with Keegan Theatre, American Century Theater, Venus Theatre and Studio Theatre Second Stage, among others. As a dialect coach, she worked most recently on 1st Stage Theater’s production of The Phlebotomist. Other coaching credits include those with The Kennedy Center, Theater J, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Ms. Hirrel earned her BA in Theatre and MA in SpeechLanguage Pathology from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Director: Christopher Henley
Set Designer: David Ghatan
Lighting Designer: Hailey LaRoe
Costume Designer: Anna Marquardt
Props Designer: Liz Long
Sound Designer/Composer: Clay Teunis
Photos: DJ Corey Photography
Read Production & Technical Team Bios
Christopher Henley (Director) began acting and directing around DC with Source Theatre Company and Spheres Theatre Company (where he directed Williams’ Auto-da-Fe). He was a founding Ensemble Member at Avant Bard Theatre (then Washington Shakespeare Company); was its Artistic Director for more than 16 years; and continues as Artistic Director Emeritus and member of the Acting Company. Previous Tennessee Williams for Avant Bard includes directing A Streetcar Named Desire and The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore as well as playing Shannon in The Night of the Iguana, Quentin in Small Craft Warnings, and the Doctor in Portrait of a Madonna. Other directing at Avant Bard includes Camus’ Caligula, Ludlam’s Camille, and, most recently, The Madwoman of Chaillot. Other favorite Avant Bard roles include Richard II, Prospero, Lear’s Fool, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, and Truman Capote in Holliday Memories. Elsewhere around town, he has acted at The Folger (Don John), Longacre Lea Productions (stage and film versions of Something Past In Front of the Light), and Cherry Red Productions (title role in Killer Joe) among others.
Emily Carbone (Stage Manager) (she/her) is excited to work on her first production with Avant Bard! Emily holds a BA in Musical Theatre from Temple University and now works locally as an actor, stage manager, props designer, and teaching artist. Favorite past credits include Cinderella and The Servant of Two Masters at Synetic Theater (Props Designer), Annie at the Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre (Stage Manager), and Sunday in the Park With George (Frieda) at Temple University. To learn more about Emily, visit www.emilycarbone.com.
David C. Ghatan (Scenic Designer) (he, him) is returning to Avant Bard having previously designed Ada and the Engine, Les Justes, and Much Ado About Nothing, among others. He is a Board Chair and a company member with Rorschach Theatre and was nominated for a Helen hayes in Scenic Design for Voices Under Water (Rorschach Theatre). He holds a BA in Design from The George Washington Unitversity (BA ‘00). He runs CM Kling + Associates Architectural Lighting Design and is a partner at Pixelumen Lab, an interactive design company based in Alexandria.
Hailey LaRoe (Lighting & Projections Designer) (she/her) is so excited to be working with Avant Bard for the first time on this phenomenal show. Hailey is a lighting and projection designer, based in the DC area since 2018. Her recent lighting design credits include Clue on Stage (Anne Arundel Community College), Nat Turner in Jerusalem (Next Stop Theatre), Rhinoceros (Pointless theatre co.), and Man Covets Bird (Spooky Action Theater). Hailey’s Projection work includes a design for Christmas Eve (ExPats Theatre), assistant projections and content creation work for Show Way (Kennedy Center TYA), associate projections for The Phlebotomist (1st Stage), and assistant projections for La Casa De La Laguna (Gala Hispanic Theatre). Hailey has really enjoyed working with such a great group of people on this production and she hopes you enjoy the show! If you’re interested in more of Hailey’s work you can find it at Haileylaroedesigns.com.
Anna Marquardt (Costume Designer) (she/her) is so excited that her hand-painted parrot skirt will be making another appearance onstage. She previously costumed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress with Dominion Stage, and her costume design work will be seen in the upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with The Arlington Players. On the DC-area stage, she played Mrs. Potts in The Arlington Players’ Beauty and the Beast. She also hosts a YouTube channel called Jello Tester and is revisiting her high school yearbook inscriptions on TikTok at 90s.high.school.yearbook. annamarquardt.com
Keta Newborn (Production Manager) (she/her), is returning once again after making her debut with Avant Bard Theatre as their production manager for the production of Ada and the Engine. After being a Freelance Stage Manager for over 13 years, Keta decided in November 2021 to step away from Stage Managing and focus on Production Management. Previously, Keta has stage managed several Avant Bard Productions Topdog/Underdog, The Gospel at Colonus (remount), King Lear, and The Gospel at Colonus. Keta is grateful for the opportunity to once again work with Avant Bard and would like to thank her Father above for being used as one of HIS vessels, working to bring HIS work of art into the hearts of many.
Ben Sullivan (Associate Set Designer) (he/him) is a scenic and lighting designer. In addition to his work on the stage, he works at CM Kling + Associates, an architectural lighting design firm based in Alexandria. Selected scenic and lighting design credits include Ada and the Engine (Avant Bard Theatre, asst.) Dear Mapel (Mosaic Theater Company, asst.), Almost Heaven, Mamma Mia!, Cabaret (Surflight Theatre, NJ), Speech & Debate (Georgetown University), and The Lathe of Heaven (Spooky Action Theater, asst.). Portfolio: bensullivandesign.weebly.com
Clay Tuenis (Original Sound Designer) (he/his) returns to Avant Bard for his third go (Pericles and Rain/SLS pre-covid). He provided the sfx for Pangs of the Messiah (Theatre J) sound for the National Portrait Gallery’s Looking Over The President’s Shoulder, the bells for their 1776 finale, Johnson Lear, and The Bomb Stops Here (Truman) and Viola! Julia (Child) both written by Clay (Viola! is still being performed in the Philadelphia area by Linda Kenyon). He designed the sound for the first Gala production of Soy Juana, and several projects for The Washington Stage Guild, including An Inspector Calls, The Family Reunion, Fanny’s First Play, If We Are Women, Humble Boy, Incorruptible, Enigma Variations, On The Rocks. Arranged an old radio-style show Danger with Greenbelt Arts Center. In the vinyl days, Clay was an oldies club disc jockey swapping drinks for requests at Deja Vu downtown (now mercifully extinct). Clay and his wife Laura Giannarelli sometimes coach and record voice-over students in their home studio.
^ Avant Bard Theatre Producing Partner
Anonymous, in honor of Marc Okrand and Richard G. DeAcetis
David Gloria, Sarah Friedrich, Jack Luksick and Meadows Farm
- Washington Forrest Foundation
- Sheila C. Johnson Foundation
- Nora Roberts Foundation
- The Morgan Fund at Seattle Foundation
- Share Fund
- Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development, that delivers public activities and programs as arlington arts
- This project was supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, which receives support from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency