Working Theater presents the off-Broadway premiere of
Call Me Waldo
by Rob Ackerman
directed by Margarett Perry
February 14th – March 11th, 2012
An outrageous new comedy from the writer of Tabletop. Extraordinary things happen when an ordinary electrician begins channeling the spirit of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
featuring Matthew Boston, Brian Dykstra,
Rita Rehn & Jennifer Dorr White
at The Abingdon Theatre Art Complex ’s
June Havoc Theatre,
312 W 36th St (btw 8th & 9th Aves)
Straight from the critically-acclaimed sold-out run at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY:
"a warm-hearted comedy about an average guy experiencing a midlife crisis...energetic, entertaining and just provocative enough to have you dusting off your Emerson"-- Ithaca Journal
“wildly entertaining” - The Cornell Daily Sun
"fun dialogue and beautiful language" -- The Ithacan
“whip smart”, “thoughtful and clever”, "Bruce Springsteen by way of Woody Allen ... Call Me Waldo makes philosophy pop” - The Ithaca Times
Meet the creative team:
ROB ACKERMAN (Playwright) wrote Tabletop (2001, Working Theater, Drama Desk Award, Best Ensemble Performance), Origin of the Species (which became a movie starring Amanda Peet), and Disconnect (2005, Working Theater, Classic Stage Company). EST presented Loons in 2007, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts produced Icarus of Ohio in 2008, and Volleygirls was commissioned and produced by American Conservatory Theatre in 2009. Producer Monica Raymund is currently developing a musical version of Volleygirls with director Neil Patrick Stewart. Call Me Waldo will be produced by The Kitchen Theater in Ithaca this January prior to a Working Theater production at The Abingdon in New York in February, 2012. Rob’s work has been published by Dramatists Play Service, Smith and Krauss, Vintage Books and Playscripts and has been nurtured and performed at Yaddo, Flux Theatre Ensemble, Access Theatre, At Hand Theatre, and Dorset Theatre Festival. His short plays include Human Resources,The Back Line, Calculating Route, Dear China, and Bait and Tackle. As an IATSE Local 52 Prop Master for the SNL Film Unit, he's worked on many commercial parodies such as Schmitt’s Gay Beer, Mom Jeans, Chewable Pampers, British Movie, and Red Flag Perfume. Rob was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, majored in theater and Spanish at Middlebury College, and earned an M.F.A. in stage directing at Northwestern. A member of the Dramatists’ Guild, Rob is represented by Peter Hagan of Abrams Artists Agency.
MARGARETT PERRY (Director) i s an award-winning director of new plays. Off-Broadway credits Brian Dykstra’s CLEAN ALTERNATIVES (59E59, Fringe First Award-Edinburgh), FIRST PRIZE by Israela Margalit (Arclight), THE BODY POLITIC by Richard Abrons (59E59) and A PLAY ON WORDS by Brian Dykstra (59E59). Other favorite NY premieres includeWELCOME TO ARROYO'S (Hip Hop Theatre Fest), FORSAKING ALL OTHERS (Access Theater), SPILL THE WINE (TBG), COMPETING NARRATIVES (TBG) and MOTHER TONGUE (Abingdon). Margarett has directed more than 15 productions for the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca including world premieres by Rachel Axler, Brian Dykstra and Darian Dauchan as well as classics including OLD TIMES and PRIVATE LIVES. She is also a regular at the Human Race Theatre Company where this season she directed GOD OF CARNAGE and where her productions have won DayTony Awards for Best Overall Production, PAINTING CHURCHES, and Best Ensemble, THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW. Margarett has directed numerous solo shows including the extended Off-Broadway run of Brian Dykstra’s THE JESUS FACTOR at the Barrow Street Theatre, Lee Blessing’s CHESAPEAKE, Rachel Lampert’s THE SOUP COMES LAST, Joan Shepard’s CONFESSIONS OF OLD LADY #2, Carlo D’Amore’s NO PAROLE, BRIAN DYKSTRA: CORNERED & ALONE and Darian Dauchan’s ENTERTAINER’S EULOGY. She is currently in development on Bonnie Levinson’s WHOOPS I FORGOT TO HAVE KIDS. Film/TV credits include: “The Jesus Factor” (DVD/UpRoar Entertainment), "Another Bed”, “Wet” (Houston Film Festival Remi Award for Direction) and “The King & Me” (TVpilot-ABC). She is an Artistic Fellow at The Lark Play Development Center where she has worked with a variety of writers developing their work. Perry was the Producing Artistic Director of Access Theater in NYC for six years where she directed and produced numerous plays and world premieres. www.margarettperry.com
Matthew Boston (Lee/Waldo) NY credits include The Body Politic (59E59th), Disconnect (Working Theater), Magic Hands Freddy (SoHo Playhouse), and A Ritual of Faith (Lion Theatre). Regional credits include Water By the Spoonful (Hartford Stage); Intimate Apparel (Two River Theater Company); Opus and The Chosen (Portland Center Stage); The Seafarer (George Street Playhouse); A Thousand Clowns and The Diary of Anne Frank (Intiman Theatre); Black Snow (Yale Rep); The Real Thing (Huntington Theatre Company); The Beard of Avon, The Invention of Love (American premiere), Arcadia, The Cherry Orchard, Mrs. Warren’s Profession and The Matchmaker (American Conservatory Theater); The Violet Hour, Dancing at Lughnasa and All’s Well That Ends Well (Dallas Theater Center); The Rainmaker (Centerstage); the world premiere of Donald Margulies’ adaptation of God of Vengeance (ACT); Cloud Nine (Trinity Rep); Galileo and Pentecost (Berkeley Rep); Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Cleveland Play House); Othello (Great Lakes Theater Festival); Julius Caesar (New Jersey Shakespeare Festival); Hamlet (Northern Stage Company); Holiday (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); What the Butler Saw (Two River Theater Company); The Two of You, Strangerhorse and A Marriage Minuet (The Kitchen Theatre); The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (Stamford Theatre Works) and The Lion in Winter (La Mirada Theater). Mr. Boston’s film and television credits include Law & Order, In the Family, Ghost Ship, Into the Blue, Camp Wilderness, One Life to Live and All My Children.
BRIAN DYKSTRA (Gus) is an actor, playwright and HBO Def Poet. Recent credits include: Mark Rothko in RED (St. Louis Rep & Cincinnati Playhouse Co-Pro), Elyot Chase in Private Lives (Kitchen Theatre), Trigorin in The Seagull (ART), Claudius in Hamlet (Northern Stage), Mr. Cutter in Clean Alternatives (59E59), Heisenberg in Copenhagen (Arizona Theatre Company), Eddie Carbone in A View From The Bridge (Theatre Fest), Gabe in Dinner With Friends (Philadelphia Theatre Company) and Sir Toby in Twelfth Night (Pittsburgh Public Theatre). His solo work includes The Jesus Factor (also out on DVD), Cornered & Alone and his holiday show HO! TV & film: HBO’s “Def Poetry” “Third Watch”, “Law & Order” “Chappelle’s Show”, “(718)”,Corn, Spectropia, Another Bed, Freedomland and Knight & Day. Brian is recently back from Romania where he saw a workshop of his play “The Two of You” in both Rumanian and Hungarian. It is slated to be performed at the Rumanian State Theatre, next season.
Rita Rehn (Sarah) Broadway: Tony Award winning Nine, A Chorus Line. Royal Family. Tours: Tale of the Allergist's Wife (with Valerie Harper). Marsha Norman's Last Dance (with Jo Beth Williams), Manhattan Theatre Club. John Patrick Shanley's Defiance, (with Stephen Lang), Charles Busch's Our Leading Lady (Manhattan Theatre Club. Dreamcatcher Theatre: As Bees in Honey Drown (Best Actress, NJ Theatre Critics) And the World Goes Round (Best Featured Actress, NJ Theatre Critics). Premier Stages: Humbug first female Scrooge). Catch Me If You Can (with Jamie Farr, Gretna Playhouse). Clifford Odets' The Big Knife (with Robert Beltran and Miguel Sandoval, Lillian Theatre). She has also performed with Marion Ross, Burt Reynolds, Estelle Harris, Sergio Fanchi, Robbie Benson and Raul Julia. This will be her 87 professional play; favorites include Man of La Mancha, Dames at Sea, Marriage Minuet and Steel Magnolias! Many commercials, voice overs. www.ritarehn.com
JENNIFER DORR WHITE (Cynthia) is thrilled to be part of this production of Call Me Waldo. She has performed Off-Broadway in Sealed for Freshness, The Flashing Stream, The “A” Word, Women of Manhattan and Pera Palas. She appeared last season in NYC in The Play About My Dad (59E59), Better Left Unsaid (Center Stage) and Born of Conviction (Irondale Center) and has worked in many other Off-Off-Broadway theatres, such as Collaboration Town, terraNOVA Collective, the NYC Fringe Festival, E.S.T., the 14th Street Y, Hudson Guild, Vital Theatre Company and the Lark Play Development Center, where she is an Artistic Associate. Regional theatres include Stamford Theatre Works, Dorset Theatre Festival and the Denver Center. Jennifer recently shot a national commercial with Gordon Ramsay, and her films include A.B.C.D., Done to Death and Aaron Bacon. She has been seen on “Law & Order: SVU” and “Guiding Light” and appears regularly as Julianna McKannis on the Onion News Network. She received her M.F.A. from the National Theatre Conservatory and her B.A. from Williams College. www.JenniferDorrWhite.com
“Whimsical new comedy” ... “boisterously funny”....
“Call Me Waldo, directed with just the right lightness by Margarett Perry, makes for an engaging 95 minutes”
- Frank Scheck, New York Post
"I love that line in the play about how the guys do all this work every day that most people will never understand. Everyone can relate to that. Call Me Waldo sheds light on what we do and shows that even little jobs and simple tasks can embody art and creativity. So thanks for spreading the word and giving the little guy a big day."
-Gifford Meyer, Member, IATSE Local 52
Call Me Waldo photos © Lia Chang
"What do you do when an everyday assistant electrician begins channeling Ralph Waldo Emerson? The choices are obvious – either lock him away or join in the fun. Rob Ackerman’s CALL ME WALDO is by all standards a party...
"There is much to like about this 95-minute comedy. The cast is impressive. Brian Dykstra is the quintessential “knuckle dragger,” and Matthew Boston transforms into Emerson at the drop of a phrase. Their female counterparts (Rita Rehn and Jennifer Dorr White) bolster the fast-paced action with zeal. An amazing set (David L. Arsenault) and props (Hannah Kochman) transform the stage ...
"Go see CALL ME WALDO – you will definitely laugh and you might even be inspired."
- Laurie Lawson, Electronic Link Journey
"It’s a very enjoyable play! But it’s also a serious, thoughtful play about heartache, love and people trying to figure out if their lives mean anything....
"Both the humor and emotional guts of the play are mined to the fullest by the small cast who have great ensemble chemistry... The characters are fully developed and tons of fun to watch...
"Call Me Waldo is a great theatre experience and as a bonus you’ll walk away knowing more about Ralph Waldo Emerson."
- Heather Lee Rogers, nytheatre. com
a note from the playwright...
CALL ME EVERYTHING
Why are humans in such a big hurry to label one another? It’s one of the first things we do. We figure out who cares for us and who threatens us, who’s safe and who’s not. But what works in childhood can fail us as adults. What if we want to expand the definition of who we are? It’s hard. We resist it. Others do too. We’re more comfortable making blanket statements and passing judgment: “Plumbers are this. Carpenters are that. Electricians are something else altogether.” When we try to label each another, we’re wrong. The truth about individuals is more complicated, and more interesting.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a 19th century American philosopher who believed in the sacred potential of all women and men. As a teenager fell in love with his essay “Self Reliance.” I'd never read such radical thoughts, had never seen such a challenge to readers to lead their lives and not just follow them. It felt like he was reading my mind.
CALL ME WALDO is not a play about Emerson. It’s about a guy who falls in love with Emerson’s idealism, and how he shakes up those around him and forces them to question everything. The story takes place in two worlds—the blue collar and the white coat—and the worlds collide. Out of this collision comes the first comedy I’ve ever written. Turns out Transcendentalism is funny. Who knew?
We sit in the dark in a theater to witness believable change in recognizable people. Like other forms in nature, human beings can blossom, turn toward the light and grow in improbable ways, and I think we love to see this.
I did a lot of reading to write this play, but it’s also extremely personal. I’m a proud member of the AFL-CIO, and also a writer, husband and father. Emerson wrote, “Do your work and I shall know you.” I like that, and I try to live it.