Asheville Community Theatre and New Umbrella, Inc. present TV Comes to Town

January 16, 2013

TV fans should head out to the theater for an evening in which the TV screen and the stage collide.

Mike Reiss, Emmy-award winning writer and producer of The Simpsons, brings his new comedy Rubble to ACT’s Mainstage for a professional reading by an NYC and Asheville-based team of artists.  This is the premiere reading of the play. Rubbleis a ridiculous and absurdist comedy that follows the journey of a middle-aged TV writer as he has a near death experience in Hollywood…in more ways than one!  It’s a laugh-out-loud commentary on the state of entertainment today, and anyone who has ever turned on the television is bound to find it stimulating, and painfully funny.

Local favorite actors Willie Repoley and Ralph Redpath, both regulars at NC Stage and Flat Rock Playhouse, will be joined in performance by Ken Keeler, former writer for The Simpsons and Futurama, who will play the role of the middle-aged TV writer.  “I guess this is method acting,” Keeler says.

New Umbrella Artistic Director Elisabeth Gray will round out the cast, playing all of the female roles—ranging from a bossy studio exec to a French bimbo.  Gray will make her Broadway debut this spring in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, while performing her one-woman show Southern (dis)Comfort Off-Broadway, which originated at ACT.  “In this reading, each of us gets to play about five different characters.  It’s exciting to be involved in such an accessible piece of theater.  I can safely say this is a great time to bring along friends who think they hate the theater.  They’ll be surprised!” Gray says.

The reading will be directed by NYC-based film and theater director Daniel Zimbler.  “I grew up raised on Mike Reiss’s writing on The Simpsons,” Zimbler says.  “Directing a reading of his work is like having a chance to direct an episode of The Simpsons.  A childhood dream come true!”

The comedy reading will be followed by a Q&A session with celebrated TV writers who have all left Hollywood and made Asheville home.  Ken Keeler, writer and producer of both Futurama and The Simpsons, will be joined by Patricia Green, Emmy-award winning writer and producer of such shows as Christy, Cagney & Lacey, Chicago Hope and LA Law, and by Brenda Lilly, creator of the TV show State of Grace and numerous other works for the screen and for the stage, many of which have graced local stages.   The Q&A session will be open to the public for questions.

Approximate Running Time: 90 minutes