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Comic spy thriller‘Our Man in Santiago’ gets
NYC off-Broadway premiere at AMT Theater
NEW YORK CITY (UPDATED September 19, 2022) — The New York City off-Broadway premiere of Our Man in Santiago, a wickedly smart, critically acclaimed comic spy thriller by two-time Emmy nominee and WGA award-winner Mark Wilding (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Good Girls, Charmed), opened September 16 at the AMT Theater on West 45th Street, where performances continue through October 28.
A boisterous political romp inspired by the true story of a spectacularly failed U.S. attempt to overthrow Chile’s democratically elected leader, Our Man In Santiago sees the CIA enlist an inexperienced agent to carry out a last-ditch, poorly conceived and wildly dangerous effort to hasten the 1973 Chilean coup d’état.
According to director Charlie Mount, “It’s about consequentialism. In politics, do the ends justify the means? Is it okay to break the law if it’s for the good of the country? Does assuming the moral imperative make it okay to do something wrong? Sound familiar? It’s set in 1973 Chile, but it could just as well be set in Vietnam, Cambodia or, more recently, in Iran.”
On Sept. 4, 1970, socialist politician and physician Salvador Allende was elected president of Chile. According to a 1974 article in Harper’s Magazine penned by Gabriela García Márquez, a contingency plan had been hatched by the Nixon administration and the Chilean military in preparation for just such an event — but the coup they intended had to be aborted when “someone made a mistake in the Pentagon and requested 200 visas for a purported Navy chorus, which in reality was to be made up of specialists in government overthrow; however there were several admirals among them who couldn’t sing a single note.”
“The idea for this play has been percolating in the back of my mind ever since I read Marquez’s article,” says Wilding. “At the time, I was still in high school, but I made a copy and have held onto it ever since. It was such a loony, misguided venture.”
For the New York production, Presciliana Esparolini, Nick McDow Musleh and George Tovar reprise the roles they created in the world premiere production at L.A.’s Theatre West, with Steve Nevil and Michael Van Duzer returning as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger.
“For those who enjoy sophisticated political satire, Our Man in Santiago is your man!” wrote theater critic Ed Rampell in the Hollywood Progressive, while reviewer Ernest Kearney (The Tvolution) called it “a sharp, witty script that offers an abundance of laughs with an admirable number of insights slipped in.” Hollywood Times reviewer Ethlie Ann Vare enthused, “A funny play about important ideas… a cracking good production of a smart, funny, thoughtful and surprising new play.” Steven Stanley of Stage Scene LA found it to be “edge of your seat hilarious,” awarding nine “Scenie” awards including outstanding production, direction and ensemble.
The creative team includes set designer Jeff G. Rack, costume designer Mylette Nora, fight director Joe Nassi and gun wrangler Bruce Dickinson. The original lighting design is by Yancey Dunham. Emily Kluger is the production stage manager. The general managers are Tom Smedes and Heather Shields of Clearview Theatricals, and the company manager is David Brian Colbert. The associate producer is Anne Leyden. Our Man in Santiago is produced by Benjamin Scuglia in association with Little Jack Productions.
Mark Wilding has worked in television for three decades, writing and producing both comedies and dramas. He was most recently a writer and executive producer on the NBC/Netflix show Good Girls and on ABC/Hulu’s Promised Land. Comedy credits include Ellen, Dave’s World, Jesse, Caroline In The City, The Naked Truth, The Tony Danza Show and Working. Mark worked on Ellen in its first year, back in 1993, when the show was still called These Friends Of Mine. He returned two years later to help write and produce the fourth season of the show, which culminated in “The Puppy Episode” — when Ellen DeGeneres’s character famously came out as gay. The episode won an Emmy for best comedy writing. Drama credits include Jake 2.0, Charmed, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal and Still Star-Crossed. Mark served as co-executive producer and executive producer on Grey’s Anatomy for seven years, during which he wrote a dozen episodes of the show and was part of a writing staff that was nominated twice for an Emmy for best dramatic writing. His episode “Where The Boys Are” won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Individual Episode. Another episode, “Life During Wartime”, won the 2008 Genesis award for dramatic writing. In 2011, Mark moved to Scandal, serving as executive producer and head writer for five years. One of his episodes, “Nobody Likes Babies”, was cited by Time magazine as one of the Top Ten TV episodes of 2013. Scandal was also honored by the AFI in 2013 for “its contribution to America’s cultural legacy.” In the fall of 2016, Mark moved to New York for six months, where he executive produced a summer series for ABC, entitled Still Star-Crossed.
Our Man in Santiago continues through October 28, with performances on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:30 p.m., and one additional performance on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $49–$79.
The AMT Theater is located at 354 W 45th St., New York, NY 10036.
To purchase tickets and for more information, including up-to-date Covid-19 protocols on the day of each performance, go to OurManInSantiago.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
‘Our Man in Santiago’
The New York City off-Broadway premiere of Our Man in Santiago, a wickedly smart comic spy thriller inspired by a true incident. In this boisterous political romp by two-time Emmy nominee and WGA award-winner Mark Wilding (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Good Girls, Charmed), the CIA enlists an inexperienced, unsuspecting agent to follow up with a last-ditch, poorly conceived and wildly dangerous effort to hasten the 1973 Chilean coup d’état.
• Written by Mark Wilding
• Directed by Charlie Mount
• Starring Presciliana Esparolini, Nick McDow Musleh and George Tovar, with Steve Nevil as Richard Nixon and Michael Van Duzer as Henry Kissinger
• General Managers: Tom Smedes and Heather Shields, Clearview Theatricals
• Associate producer Anne Leyden
• Produced by Benjamin Scuglia in association with Little Jack Productions
Performances continue through October 28
• Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.: Oct. 25 ONLY
• Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.: Sept. 21, Sept. 28, Oct. 5, Oct. 12, Oct. 19, Oct. 26
• Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.: Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6, Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Oct. 27
• Fridays at 7:30 p.m.: Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Oct. 21, Oct. 28
• Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.: Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 8, Oct. 15, Oct. 22
• Sundays at 2:30 p.m.: Sept. 25, Oct. 2, Oct. 9. Oct. 16, Oct. 23
354 W 45th St.
New York, NY 10036
To find up-to-date Covid-19 protocols on the day of each performance, go to OurManInSantiago.com.