UK PREMIERE OF THE 2013 TONY AWARD-WINNING BEST PLAY VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE OPENS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JONATHAN CHURCH’S 2019 SUMMER SEASON

PRODUCTION RUNS AT THE USTINOV STUDIO UNTIL 6 JULY, WITH OPENING NIGHT FOR PRESS THIS EVENING

Theatre Royal Bath Productions today releases production photography for the UK premiere of Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, directed by the Tony Award-winning US director Walter Bobbie. The comedy stars Michelle Asante, Janie Dee, Mark Hadfield, Aysha Kala, Rebecca Lacey and Lewis Reeves and runs at the Ustinov Studio until 6 July with opening night for press this evening.

The original production premiered at the McCarter Theatre and Lincoln Center Theater in 2012 and after a successful run it transferred to Broadway where it received six Tony Award nominations and won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.

Vanya and his sister Sonia live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up. But their sister Masha escaped many years ago and became a famous movie star. When Masha returns unannounced with her twenty-something boy toy, Spike, so begins a rollicking weekend of rivalry, regret and all-too true premonitions.

Walter Bobbie (director) won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for the 1996 production of Chicago which holds the record for the longest-running musical revival ever presented on Broadway. The production also saw Bobbie receive the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical. Other Broadway directing credits include Footloose, Twentieth Century, Sweet Charity, High Fidelity, Venus in Fur and White Christmas. Bobbie served as Artistic Director of City Center’s Encores! and sits on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Christopher Durang (writer) is known for his works of absurdist and satirical comedy. His plays include Beyond Therapy, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Baby with the Bathwater, Laughing Wild, A History of the American Film and Betty’s Summer Vacation. In 1995 he won the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Writers Award and in 2000 won the Sidney Kingsley Playwriting Award.

Michelle Asante most recently performed on stage in Our Lady of Kibeho (Royal and Derngate) and previously in Things of Dry Hours (Young Vic), Welcome Home Captain Fox (Donmar), Ruined (Almeida) and Torn (Arcola). Michelle’s TV credits include Dr Who, Holby City, Casualty, Our Girl 2 and Father Brown.

Janie Dee recently completed a critically acclaimed run in the title role of Linda (Manhattan Theatre Club), for which she was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, and Follies (National Theatre), for which she was nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical Performance and the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Janie has also appeared in Channel 4’s Chimerica and Crashing as well as the BBC’s The Murder Room and Midsomer Murders.

Mark Hadfield played Gepetto in the National Theatre’s production of Pinocchio. His other stage credits include The Libertine (Theatre Royal Bath and Theatre Royal Haymarket), Richard III (Almeida), Painkiller (The Garrick) and The Meeting (Hampstead Theatre). Film credits include A Cock and Bull Story and A Royal Night Out.

Aysha Kala was named BAFTA breakthrough Brit of 2015. She has performed on stage in An Adventure (Bush Theatre), Obsession (Barbican), Punkplay (Southwark Playhouse), Djinns of Eidgah (Royal Court) and Much Ado About Nothing (RSC). Television appearances include Channel 4’s Indian Summers and Shameless.

Rebecca Lacey’s stage credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre and West End), Pride and Prejudice (Regent’s Park Open Air) and Tartuffe (English Touring Theatre). For television, Rebecca has appeared in Doc Martin, Rellik, Endeavour and Bad Education.

Lewis Reeves’ theatre credits include My Night with Reg (West End), Our Boys (Duchess Theatre) and The Wider Earth (The Dead Puppet Society). Television credits also include DC Jake Collier in Unforgotten, Crazyhead, and Misfits.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is produced by special arrangement with Joey Parnes, Larry Hirschorn, Sue Wagner and John Johnson.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike opens Theatre Royal Bath’s Summer Season 2019 from Artistic Director Jonathan Church. The programme of eight plays will also include Blithe Spirit with Jennifer Saunders (14 June – 6 July), followed by Vanessa Redgrave’s Vienna 1934 – Munich 1938 (11 July – 3 August), Uncle Vanya directed by and starring Rupert Everett (18 July – 3 August), The Argument starring Felicity Kendall (7 – 24 August), and visiting productions Trying It On (3 – 7 September) The Life I Lead (27 August – 31 August) and The Man in the White Suit (6–21 September) immediately prior to a West End transfer.

Ticket for the full season are on sale at www.theatreroyal.org.uk.