By Peter Sinn Nachtrieb Directed by Jeff Zinn NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
Breean Julian* (Penny) Breean is delighted to be making her acting debut at the Gloucester Stage Company. She performed in New York City for many years and then took a hiatus to pursue a career in drama therapy, eventually making Boston her new home. Locally, Breean has worked with the Huntington Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, The Merrimack Repertory Theatre and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Regional credits include: The Old Globe, The Guthrie Theater and Stamford Center of the Arts. Film/television credits include Guiding Light, Lifetime Television for Women and local commercials and voice work. Breean holds an MFA in Acting from the Graduate Acting Program at New York University and a MA in Drama Therapy from New York University. Her favorite role by far is being a mom to her three girls.
Alex Portenko (Ben) is thrilled to be making his acting debut at Gloucester Stage Company. His regional credits include The Merry Widow (Boston Lyric Opera); O Happy Port! and Six Degrees of Separation (Bad Habit Productions); and The Normal Heart (Salem Theatre Company). Alex is an alumnus of the First Stage Program with the Lyric Stage Company of Boston and has worked as an AD and choreographer for Brookline High School. Originally from Uzbekistan, Alex earned his BFA in theatre arts from Salem State University and is a proud member of AGMA.
Lewis D. Wheeler* (Jeffrey) Lewis is delighted to return to GSC where he appeared in Gloucester Blue, Doubt: A Parable, An Ideal Husband, and directed Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth. Regional credits: No Man’s Land – IRNE Nomination (American Repertory Theater); Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Pattern of Life, Muckrakers (New Repertory Theatre); Richard II (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); Chosen Child – IRNE Nomination (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); The Importance of Being Earnest, A Number, The Glass Menagerie (Lyric Stage Company); five seasons at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre (WHAT), also American Stage (Florida), Nora Theatre Company, Underground Railway Theater, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Stoneham Theatre, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Publick Theatre, Cape Rep, Wheelock Family Theatre, Shakespeare Now. Film/TV: Black Mass, The Company Men, Pink Panther 2, Louisa May Alcott (PBS), Brotherhood, and the upcoming films Live by Night and Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea. Lewis’s father was renowned director David Wheeler, whose GSC credits include Speak Well of the Dead / The Crazy Girl (2002) with Jill Clayburgh and Lily Rabe. Lewis earned his BA in Theatre and Film Studies at Cornell University and MFA from American Film Institute. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association since 2004.
Jeff Zinn** (Director) Has been acting, directing, teaching, and writing about theater for more than 30 years. Before coming to GSC he was best known as the longtime artistic director of Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT) on Cape Cod where he produced almost 200 productions, many of which he directed. Under his leadership WHAT became a nationally recognized regional theater presenting provocative new American plays for a diverse and appreciative audience. During his time there he also led a multimillion dollar capital campaign culminating in the construction of the Julie Harris Stage, a year-round 200 seat venue described as “a gem” by the architecture critic of the Boston Globe. As an actor he his equity debut as “Danny” in the original off-broadway production of David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity In Chicago, and appeared on Broadway with Derek Jacobi in The Suicide. As a director he developed new plays at Ensemble Studio Theater, The White Barn Theater, The West Bank Cafe, Theater for the New City, the Berkshire Playwright’s Lab, New Jersey Repertory Theater, Boston Playwrights Theater, and as a member of the Circle Repertory Company Lab. Locally he has directed for the Nora Theater and the New Repertory Theater. His Book, The Existential Actor: Life and Death, Onstage and Off (Smith and Kraus Publishing) was released in 2015. He lives in Merrimack with his wife, Crystal. They have two grown kids, Georgia and Noah.
Miranda Kau Giurleo (Costume Designer) gladly returns to GSC where she designed Lettice and Lovage last season’s The New Electric Ballroom. Previous GSC credits include: Fighting Over Beverly, Dear Liar, The Wind in the Willows, Ponies, Calvin Berger, Our Son’s Wedding, The Secret of Mme. Bonnard’s Bath, and The Heidi Chronicles. Other design credits include: The Convert, and Roots of Liberty (Underground Railway Theatre), Matchless/The Happy Prince (Central Square Theatre), Dry Land, Shockheaded Peter, Grimm, Love Person, Neighbors, She Kills Monsters, The Good Negro, and After the Quake (Company One), Measure for Measure, As You Like It, and Two Gentlemen of Verona (Actor’s Shakespeare Project), and Closer Than Ever (New Repertoire Theatre). She has previously designed and built costumes for the U.S.S. Constitution Museum production of Sailor’s Lives, Sailor’s Wives, and is currently on the faculty at Bridgewater State University.
John R. Malinowski (Lighting Designer) returns to GSC having previously designed lighting for Driving Miss Daisy, This Is Our Youth, Trad, and set and lighting for Nine Circles. Recent credits include Oceanside (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), Arcadia (Central Square Theatre), Wild Party (Moonbox Productions), Miss Julie (Harbor Stage Company), and the New York premiere of Simon Says at the Lynn Redgrave Theater. He lit Jeff Zinn’s productions of The Pillowman, Daughter of Venus, Fool for Love, and the Norton Award winning Bakersfield Mist in Wellfleet. He has designed for American Repertory Theater, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Nora Theater, New Repertory Theater, SpeakEasy Stage, as well as American Stage Theater Festival in Tampa, FL and Tennessee Rep in Nashville, TN. He has received 3 IRNE awards as well as an Elliot Norton for Outstanding Lighting (1996). He was an NEA/TCG Design Fellow from 2000-2002.
Jeffrey Peterson (Props Master) A recent transplant from Minneapolis, MN, Jeffrey is a third year MFA candidate in Scenic Design at Boston University. Recent BU design credits include: Rosmersholm, Equal Writes, the Whitmores. Professional design credits include: Dancing at Lughnasa, Pavilion, Sylvia, Last Five Years, Glass Menagerie, String for Minneapolis’ Yellow Tree Theater Rocky Horror Show Live Cardinal Theatricals, Melancholy Play (Assistant designer Clint Ramos designer) Trinity Rep. Select technical design credits include: Galileo, The Cherry Orchard, Ivanov Classic Stage Co. NYC
DAVID REMEDIOS† (Sound Designer) has previously designed sound for The Flick and An Ideal Husband at Gloucester Stage. Recent credits include Love’s Labour’s Lost (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Not Medea (Contemporary American Theater Festival); Orlando (Opera House Arts); MIT’s Moving Day! Centenary Celebration; Freud’s Last Session and Broken Glass (New Rep); Home of the Brave (Merrimack Rep); Rhinoceros (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre/Suffolk University); I and You (Merrimack Rep & 59E59); Violet (SpeakEasy Stage); The Winter’s Tale (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); Buyer & Cellar (Lyric Stage). Upcoming projects include Uncanny Valley (Stoneham Theatre), Abigail/1702 (Merrimack Rep), and The Scottsboro Boys (SpeakEasy Stage). remediossound.com.
Cristina Todesco† (Scenic Designer) Recent designs include Dogfight (Speakeasy Stage Company), Freud’s Last Session (New Repertory Theatre), Oh God (Israeli Stage), Milk Like Sugar (Huntington Theatre Company), Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Nights Dream (Boston Symphony Orchestra). Theater companies include Actor’s Shakespeare Project, Company One, ART Institute, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Lyric Stage Company, Boston Conservatory, Boston Playwrights, Olney Theater Center, Orfeo Group, Poet’s Theater, Stoneham Theater, Harbor Stage, Wheelock Family Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, Summer Play Festival, Opera Boston. She is the recipient of four Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Design: The Clean House (New Repertory Theatre), Twelfth Night (Actor’s Shakespeare Project), The Aliens and The Flick (Company One) and one IRNE award: Appropriate (Speakeasy Stage). She earned a BFA in painting from BU’s School of Visual Arts, and an MFA in scenic design from BU’s School of Theatre Arts, where she currently teaches.
Jenna Worden* (Stage Manager) is thrilled to return to Gloucester Stage after serving as a member of the inaugural apprentice company last season, serving as the Assistant Stage Manager for Out of Sterno, The Flick, and A Measure of Normalcy. In addition to her work at GSC, Jenna has worked with WGBH, Childsplay AZ, and Phoenix Theatre. Jenna earned both her BA in Theatre Studies and BSEd in History from Northern Arizona University. Credits of notability at NAU include stage managing Of Mice and Men, directing the premiere of Forgotten Places by Mac Groves, and performing with NAUghty Bits Improv Troupe.
Kim Smith, Good Morning Gloucester
GSC “THE TOTALITARIANS” IS ALIVE, FUNNY, PASSIONATE, AND CRAZY. REPRESENTING THE VERY BEST OF LIVE REGIONAL THEATRRE…
“The Totalitarians” is alive, funny, passionate, and crazy. Representing the very best of live regional theatre, what unfolds on the stage is an experience that you can’t get anywhere else at any price.”
Michael Hoban, Theater Mirror
GSC Delivers Hilarious Dark Comedy With ‘The Totalitarians’
- “…raucously comical look at how Americans respond to image and rhetoric over substance in today’s insane political environment.”
- “This a lightning fast-paced comedy, with so many terrific one liners that it might require a second viewing to catch them all.”
- “Breean Julian is a scream as the manic Penny, and she makes the transition from dim bulb to calculating politician seamlessly enough to be a little frightening.”
Gail McCarthy, The Gloucester Daily Times
A 21st century political satire comes to Gloucester Stage
- “The playwright spins a provocative tale of a brewing oligarchic takeover in the state of Nebraska with an over–‐the–‐top personality in the candidacy of Penelope Easter…”
- “Three women who saw the show this week left commenting that it was a thought–‐provoking piece, which fits the mission of Gloucester Stage to bring such works to the local stage.”
Sally Applegate, Wicked Local: Gloucester
Gloucester Stage serves up hilarious political satire in ‘The Totalitarians’
- “This outrageous comedy depends on brilliant performances and direction – and Gloucester Stage delivers.”
- “Alex Portenko, as Ben, an anti-conspiracy activist, ranges from creepily menacing to violently enraged, in a hilarious, energy-packed performance.”
- “Spectacular physical comedy and brilliant vocal turns make Ben an unforgettable character.”
- “Lewis D. Wheeler is delightful as Jeffrey…Wheeler is cute, charming and funny…”
- “If you find it hard to believe what our candidates are saying in this election year, and enjoy outrageous, over-the-top satirical comedy, has Gloucester Stage got a show for you.”
Jack Butterworth, The Item
- “The Gloucester Stage Company rules the theatrical scene this month with “The Totalitarians”…”
- “Playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb lets his four ensemble characters rise over the top of every situation, and they take themselves so seriously that the audience doesn’t have to. As a result, he crams the maximum amount of laughter into every situation and director Jeff Zinn makes sure that no laugh is left behind.”
- “At a time when ideology and personality trump facts and reality and satire intersect, Nachtrieb’s play has only crept closer and closer to actual journalism in the two years since it debuted in San Francisco, and the cast gives each part everything they’ve got.”
- “The Totalitarians” is totally worth seeing. It provides the laugh track that seems to have been left out of this year’s election coverage”
Ed Siegel, The ARTery
Forget Palin, Forget Trump–Penny Easter is Running For Office At Gloucester Stage
“…the production is all to the good.” “Some of Nachtrieb’s humor is delicious, some rib-tickling…”
Mark Sardella, The Wakefield Daily Item
Totalitarians coup at Gloucester Stage
- “…Amanda Collins (who was a hit in last season’s Out of Sterno) is hysterically funny as Penny’s stressed-out campaign manager.”
- “Wheeler is a study in understated frustration as the doctor who hates patients and is married to a wife who ignores him in favor of getting a vapid candidate into office.”
- “There are lots of laugh-out-loud moments in The Totalitarians and much that rings true, especially as we try to make it through the last two months of our own election-year theater of the absurd.”
Nancy Grossman, BroadwayWorld.com
BWW Review: THE TOTALITARIANS: Too True to be Good
- “…Collins shows an impressive range of emotions and expressions, evolving from the disappointment Francine feels working for a stupid, low-level candidate, and turning her into a crazed, well-oiled machine that takes no prisoners.”
- “If you like your humor broad…then The Totalitarians might be the comic relief you seek.”
Terry Byrne, The Boston Globe
Role Reversal for Acting Couple
“Collins says the world of “The Totalitarians” is far from the couple she and Wheeler are, but because they know each other so well they have a shared language as they approach the roles.”
Kim Smith, GoodMorning Gloucester
Jeff Zinn Makes Gloucester Stage Directing Debut With New England Premiere of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s Political Comedy, The Totalitarians
Michael Hagerty, The ARTery
16 Plays At Local Theaters, Including a Bevy Of Choices At ArtsEmerson This Fall
“Coming off an artistically successful summer, Gloucester Stage Company immediately dives into its fall season with the New England premiere of a dissonant dark comedy.”
Gloucester Stage Company Presents New England Premiere of THE TOTALITARIANS
According to Director Zinn, “As we all watch, with our jaws dropped, the daily excesses of candidates and hear the commentators remark, ‘you can’t make this stuff up,’ I am incredibly grateful to Peter Nachtreib for ‘making stuff up’ that rises to the occasion. Some may find the humor in The Totalitarians outrageous, but in this political moment I believe outrage is exactly what we need.”