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Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director; Barry Grove, Executive Producer) is pleased to announce casting for the upcoming world premiere Broadway production of Nick Whitby’s TO BE OR NOT TO BE, based on the 1942 motion picture To Be Or Not To Be.  The production will mark Whitby’s New York playwrighting debut.


Craig Bierko (The Music Man, The Long Kiss Goodnight) and Jan Maxwell (Coram Boy, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) will head the cast, which will also feature Peter Benson (The Pajama Game), Steve Kazee (Monty Python’s Spamalot), Michael McCarty (Mary Poppins), Kristine Nielsen (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, MTC’s Our Leading Lady), Brandon Perler (Broadway debut), Rocco Sisto (Iphigenia 2.0), and Marina Squerciati (MTC’s Beauty of the Father). The production will be directed by three-time Tony Awardâ nominee Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone, Monty Python’s Spamalot).


TO BE OR NOT TO BE will be the first production of Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2008-2009 season. The production will begin previews at the Biltmore Theatre (261 West 47th Street) on Thursday, September 11 and will open on Thursday, October 2.


At the Polski Theatre in 1939 Warsaw, Joseph (Bierko) and Maria Tura (Maxwell) are about to open yet another smash with their theatrical troupe. As the German invasion gets underway, the theatre is closed by the censors, forcing the troupe to face desperate times. But when a handsome young bomber pilot enlists their help to catch a spy, what is a group of actors to do? This hilarious black comedy is an ingenious commentary on the World War II era and an inspired tribute to the timeless joys of the theatre. 


Complete casting will be announced in the coming weeks.


The creative team for TO BE OR NOT TO BE will include: Anna Louizos (Scenic Design), Gregg Barnes (Costume Design), Howell Binkley (Lighting Design), Darron L West (Sound Design), Josh Marquette (Hair Design), and David Caparelliotis (Casting).


Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, MTC has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. MTC productions have earned a total of 16 Tony Awards and five Pulitzer Prizes, an accomplishment unparalleled by a New York theatrical institution. Renowned MTC productions include Top Girls; From Up Here; Come Back, Little Sheba; The Receptionist; LoveMusik; Blackbird; Translations; Shining City; Rabbit Hole; Doubt; Proof; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; Kimberly Akimbo; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Sylvia; Four Dogs and a Bone; Putting It Together; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Crimes of the Heart; and Ain’t Misbehavin’


In 2003, MTC reopened Broadway’s landmark, long-neglected Biltmore Theatre, soon to be renamed the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, following a two-year, $35 million capital campaign. In addition, MTC operates two theatres at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street), its Off-Broadway home since 1984.


During Meadow’s sabbatical this season, Daniel Sullivan, a close associate of MTC and director of several Manhattan Theatre Club productions (Rabbit Hole, Brooklyn Boy, Sight Unseen, Proof, Psychopathia Sexualis), has been serving as Acting Artistic Director. Meadow will resume her full duties as artistic director in September and is consulting on the planning of the 2008-2009 season.


You can subscribe to MTC by calling (212) 399-3030, Monday – Friday, noon – 8 PM with a major credit card. Subscriptions will also be available online at www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.


Single tickets to TO BE OR NOT TO BE will be available at a later date. Other listings information will be released in the coming weeks.



PETER BENSON (Rowicz). Broadway: The Pajama Game (‘Prez’ – Outer Critics Circle Nomination, Outstanding Featured Actor), Wonderful Town (‘Frank Lippencot’), Roundabout Theatre Co. production of Cabaret at Studio 54, Wendy Wasserstein’s An American Daughter (‘Billy Robbins’), Little Me (multiple roles), and State Fair (‘Harry’). Off-Broadway: The Maddening Truth (Keen Co.) The New Moon (City Center Encores!), Tina Howe’s Birth and Afterbirth (Atlantic Theatre Co.) The Country Club (The Drama Dept.). On television Mr. Benson has guest starred on “Law and Order,” “Ed,” “Strangers with Candy,” “Law and Order: CI,” and appeared as a regular on HBO’s OZ and ABC’s Hi Honey I’m Home.


CRAIG BIERKO (Josef). For his role in The Music Man (dir. Susan Stroman), Bierko was nominated for the Tony Awardâ for Best Actor in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and won the 2000 Theatre World Award. Other theatre: Modern Orthodox (dir. James Lapine), Thou Shalt Not (dir. Susan Stroman). Film: Bill, For Your Consideration, Scary Movie 4, Cinderella Man, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Kate & Leopold, The Suburbans, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Long Kiss Goodnight, ‘Til There Was You. TV: “Unhitched,” “Boston Legal,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Sex and the City,” “Ally McBeal,” “Mad About You.” Bierko is a graduate of Northwestern University.


STEVE KAZEE (Sobinsky) is thrilled to be making his MTC debut.  Kazee recently appeared as ‘Starbuck’ in the Roundabout Theatre Co. production of 110 in the Shade. Other Broadway credits include Monty Python’s Spamalot as ‘Sir Lancelot’ and Edward Albee’s Seascape. Regionally, Kazee appeared in The Subject Was Roses (Kennedy Center), where he was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor alongside Bill Pullman and Judith Ivey. Off-Broadway: As You Like It (NYSF). TV/Film: guest stars on “NCIS” (CBS), “NUMB3RS” (CBS), “Medium” (NBC), “Conviction” (NBC), and “As the World Turns” (CBS). Steve received his MFA in Acting from the prestigious NYU Tisch Graduate Acting Program. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association since 2005.


JAN MAXWELL (Maria) most recently appeared in Scenes From An Execution with the Potomac Theatre Project presented at Atlantic Theatre’s Stage 2.  Previously with PTP, she appeared in The Castle by Howard Barker (Washington, DC), and Camille by Alexandre Dumas (Olney Theatre Center). Other credits include Broadway: Coram Boy (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Drama Desk Award, Tony nomination), Sixteen Wounded (Drama Desk nomination), A Doll’s House, The Sound of Music, The Dinner Party, Dancing At Lughnasa, and City of Angels.  Off-Broadway: Substitution, Entertaining Mr. Sloane (Drama Desk nomination),  The Bald Soprano (Atlantic Theatre), Opening Doors (Carnegie Hall), Jules Feiffer’s A Bad Friend (Lincoln Center), Israel Horovitz’s My Old Lady (Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk nomination), Alan Ayckbourn’s House and Garden (MTC). Television: “Law & Order” (NBC), “AIDS – Changing the Rules” (PBS).


MICHAEL McCARTY (Colonel Erhard). Broadway: Mary Poppins, Royal National Theatre’s Oklahoma!, 42nd Street, Sweeney Todd, Big River, Teddy & Alice, Oliver!, Amadeus, King of Hearts, Dirty Linen, and Newfoundland. Tours: Pippin, 1776, Greater Tuna. LA: Ragtime, Grand Hotel. Films: A dozen, including Robert Redford’s Legend of Bagger Vance. TV: Guest star of over 50 shows. Recent regional: Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse), Sir Toby in Twelfth Night (Guthrie Theatre).


Kristine Nielsen (Anna). Broadway:  Les Liaisons Dangereuses, A Streetcar Named Desire (Roundabout), Spring Awakening, The Green Bird, Jackie: An American Life, The Iceman Cometh.  Off-Broadway: Die Mommie Die! (New World Stages), Our Leading Lady, Based on a Totally True Story, Wonder of The World (Manhattan Theatre Club), Miss Witherspoon, Betty’s Summer Vacation (Obie Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Nomination) at Playwrights Horizons, Machinal, Dog Opera (Obie Award) at The Public. Film: The Savages, Small Time Crooks.  T.V.: “Conviction,” “Law & Order: CI,” “Law & Order.”


KRISTINE NIELSEN (Anna). Broadway: Les Liaisons Dangereuses, A Streetcar Named Desire (Roundabout), Spring Awakening, The Green Bird, Jackie: An American Life, The Iceman Cometh.  Off-Broadway: Die Mommie Die! (New World Stages); Our Leading Lady, Based on a Totally True Story, Wonder of the World (Manhattan Theatre Club); Miss Witherspoon, Betty’s Summer Vacation (Obie Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nomination) at Playwrights Horizons; Machinal, Dog Opera (Obie Award) at the Public..  Film: The Savages, Small Time Crooks.  TV: “Conviction,” “Law & Order: CI,” “Law & Order.”  Graduate of Yale School of Drama.



BRANDON PERLER (Young Grunberg) is thrilled to be making his Broadway debut in To Be or Not To Be. Other credits include “Saturday Night Live,” various national network commercials, and numerous voice-overs.  


ROCCO SISTO (Silewsky/Magician’s Assistant). Broadway: Amadeus, A Month in the Country (RTC), The Comedy of Errors (LCT). Recent Off-Broadway: The Palace of the End (Epic Theatre Ensemble), Iphigenia 2.0 (Signature Theatre). Regional theatre credits include ACT Seattle and Seattle Rep., Mark Taper (LA), The Guthrie, Dallas Theatre Center, Center Stage (Baltimore), among others. Films include: Donnie Brasco, Frequency, Eraser, Illuminata, Carlito’s Way and the cult hit The American Astronaut. Television: “The Sopranos,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: C.I.,” “Homicide,” “C.S.I.,” “Close to Home,” “Star Trek,” “T.N.G.,” “Alias,” “N.Y.P.D. Blue,” and “J.A.G.” Founding member Shakespeare & Co. Awards: OBIE for The Winter’s Tale (Public Theatre) OBIE and Drama Desk nomination and Drama League Award for Quills (N.Y.T.W.) He holds an MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting Program.


MARINA SQUERCIATI (Eva). Off-Broadway: Beauty of the Father, directed by Michael Greif at The Manhattan Theatre Club. She was also in: The Toad Poems (The SoHo Playhouse), Perfect Harmony (Shubert Theatre), Ride (WHAT), The Underpants (Capital Rep), The Winter’s Tale (Williamstown Theatre Festival/dir. Darko Tresnjak), Demon at the Door (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Boston Marriage (Adirondack Theatre Festival), Stay, Illusion (Abingdon Theatre), The Song of Grendelyn (Alice’s Fourth Floor Theatre), Flyers and Other Tales (Jewel Box Theatre). Film: Aimless (Southshore Entertainment), and The Nutcracker, directed by Emile Ardolino. TV: “Guiding Light,” “Domestic Bliss” (Pilot), “Empty Nest” (NBC).  Squerciati is a graduate of Northwestern University.


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