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Ferocious dark comedy ‘Boxing Lessons’ marks one
year at New American Theatre’s Hollywood home
LOS ANGELES (March 26, 2019) — Jack Stehlin’s critically acclaimed The New American Theatre celebrates one year in its new home on Wilton Place in Hollywood with the world premiere of Boxing Lessons, a ferociously dark, savagely funny new comedy by John Bunzel (63 Trillion, Death of a Buick). Stehlin directs a top-flight cast for an April 26 opening on NAT’s main stage in the company’s newly refurbished space. Together, they put the capital “D” in family Dysfunction through June 2. Low-priced previews begin April 19.
When a famous writer dies under mysterious circumstances, family and friends gather in his cabin on a remote island in the Puget Sound to box up his belongings. As they go through the clutter dad left behind, hidden family secrets come to light — and they come to realize just how much they both despise and love one another.
Eve Danzeisen (TripLA’s 4Play: Sex in a Series, Uranium Madhouse’s Cold Sweat at Atwater Village Theater) and Luke McClure (currently appearing in The 6th Act’s Hamlet; on stage in Yellow by Del Shores and on screen in Shores’ Southern Baptist Sissies) star as brother and sister Judy and Ned, the first to arrive at their father’s disheveled hideaway on the usually pristine island… currently darkened by a smoke emergency, thanks to a Canadian wildfire. Susan Wilder (Rogue Machine’s Still Life, EST/LA’s Between Friends, Fountain Theatre’s Freddy) and Stephen Tyler Howell (Finks at Rogue Machine, NAT’s Macbethx5 at the Odyssey), their sharp-witted, narcissistic mother — ex-wife of the deceased — and their adopted, special needs brother, show up next, stoking the emotional fires. Eric Curtis Johnson (numerous productions at Sacred Fools; Antigone, The Dance of Death; A Christmas Carol at A Noise Within) and Bruce Nozick (Finks, Honky at Rogue Machine, Stanley Levison in the HBO film All The Way) round out the cast as “Sheriff Bob” and Dad’s ex-agent… and maybe former lover?… Billy.
Bunzel, known for his black comedies about sex, money and bad behavior, was inspired to write about family by the conflicting emotions he experienced when his own parents died.
“A dark comedy is a tragedy that’s funny,” he says. “To find humor in calamity is like walking a tightrope — when you’re able to keep your balance, it can lead to an amazing experience in the theater.”
“I’m an equal opportunity offender,” he laughs. “I find humor in love, sex, sexual orientation, family, money and neuroses. I make fun of it all. Love can be defined in many different ways.”
Bunzel and Stehlin were classmates together at Juilliard, and Stehlin has been involved, either as an actor or director, with every one of Bunzel’s previously produced plays, including Delirious (LA Weekly Award for playwriting), Death of a Buick (Manhattan Theatre Club, Pasadena Playhouse), Gravity Shoes (LA Weekly Award for playwriting), 63 Trillion, Expecting Bobby and Complexity.
“Each of the characters in Boxing Lessons possesses a zany pride, a desire to always come out on top, to control the situation, which is what drives the humor,” explains Stehlin. “But, in the end it’s about forgiveness, and that’s the serious substance underneath that makes the comedy so authentic.”
The creative team for Boxing Lessons includes scenic designer John Iacovelli, lighting designer Josephine Wang, sound designer Christopher Moscatiello, costume designer Florence Kemper Bunzel and casting director Victoria Hoffman. Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin produces for The New American Theatre.
The New American Theatre is a company of professional actors and artists who work in theater, film, television and new media. The company has enjoyed critical acclaim, awards and nominations from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, LA Drama Critics Circle, Back Stage, LA Weekly, LA Stage Alliance Ovations and more. CBS Los Angeles named The New American Theatre as one of the top five 99-seat theater companies in Los Angeles.
Boxing Lessons opens on Friday, April 26 with performances continuing through June 2 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. In addition, there will be three matinees, on Sunday, April 28; Sunday, May 26; and Sunday, June 2, each at 3 p.m. Three preview performances are set for Friday, April 19; Wednesday, April 24; and Thursday, April 25, all at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35, except previews which are $15. The New American Theatre is located at 1312 N. Wilton Place, Hollywood, CA 90028. For reservations and information, call (310) 424-2980 or go to www.newamericantheatre.com/
Details for Calendar Listings
World premiere of Boxing Lessons — A very dark comedy by award-winning playwright John Bunzel (63 Trillion, Death of a Buick). When a famous writer dies under mysterious circumstances, family and friends gather in his cabin on a remote island in the Puget Sound to box up his belongings. As they go through the clutter dad left behind, hidden family secrets come to light — and they come to realize just how much they both despise and love one another.
• Written by John Bunzel
• Directed by Jack Stehlin
• Starring Eve Danzeisen, Stephen Tyler Howell, Eric Curtis Johnson, Luke McClure, Bruce Nozick, Susan Wilder
• Presented by The New American Theatre, Jack Stehlin artistic director
Previews: April 19, April 24, April 25
Performances: April 26 – June 2
• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: April 24 ONLY (preview)
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: April 25 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: April 19 (preview), April 26 (opening night), May 3, May 10, May 17, May 24, May 31
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1
• Sundays at 3 p.m.: April 28, May 26, June 2 ONLY
The New American Theatre
1312 N. Wilton Place,
Hollywood, CA 90028
(between Fountain and Sunset)
General admission: $35
Ample street parking available