Rolling Premiere of Sunlight

The Phoenix Theatre, on Mass Ave in Indianapolis downtown, presents National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Sunlight, a new play by Sharr White. The show begins this Thursday, February 25 and runs through March 20 on the main stage of the Phoenix Theatre. This Indianapolis theatre event presents a never-before-seen script in full production on the Phoenix’s stage. Hook into the Phoenix this February and March to place your finger on the pulse of American theatre.

Sunlight won the 2009 Edgerton Foundation New American Play award. This political thriller, by Sharr White, centers on a small college community and four powerhouse players (all in their own right). The central character, Matthew Gibbon, is known for his reputation as a “liberal lion.” As the president of a small, yet prestigious university, Gibbon has never hidden from controversy or ignored his ability to make a difference. In short, Gibbon has never taken the easy road in his successful career as an educator.

After hiring the ultra-conservative Vincent Krieger as the dean of the university’s law school, Gibbon expected to be intellectually challenged and stimulated by his former star-student and son-in-law. But when Gibbon learns that Krieger was responsible for writing legal memos, which authorized the torture of Afghan prisoners, Matthew Gibbon finds himself on the war path. He trashes Krieger’s office and attempts to shut down the school newspaper for countering his own stance on the moral implications of torture.

As Matthew Gibbon and Vincent Kreiger go head to head in a bout for the ages, two women revolve around the pair attempting make sense of it all. Charlotte is not only Matthew’s daughter, but Vincent’s wife. A talented lawyer, Charlotte’s political views align more closely with her husband than her father, but she will stop at nothing to save her beloved dad’s reputation, fighting with reporters and leaping to shred documents in order to protect him. Midge, Matthew’s personal assistant of thirty years, is fiercely loyal to her boss, handling every aspect of his life from communication to cooking.

The Phoenix Theatre’s production of Sunlight stars four very talented Indianapolis artists, all of whom have graced the Phoenix’s stage in recent history. Rich Komenich, of last seasons The Seafarer, plays the liberal Matthew Gibbon. His counterpart, Vincent Krieger, is played by Bill Simmons, of The Most Damaging Wound earlier this season. Angela Plank, who appeared in Love Person last season, plays the torn Charlotte. And last but not least Gayle Steigerwald, who wowed audiences in A Very Phoenix Xmas 4 this season, plays Midge.

Producing director of the Phoenix Theatre, Bryan Fonseca, pulls double duty once again to direct this charged drama. The play had its official world premiere at the Marin Theatre Company earlier this season. After the Phoenix, it will grace the stage of the New Jersey Repertory Theatre. The script was brought to the Phoenix Theatre’s attention by managing director Sharon Gamble, who is also on the play reading committee for the National New Play Network. After reading the script, she new it would be just right for Hoosier audiences.

Last November (2009), playwright Sharr White was in Indianapolis for a staged reading of Sunlight at Marian University. The reading was used by White to rework sections of the play before its official premiere.

Tickets for this Indianapolis performing arts event are $15.00 on Thursdays and Sundays and $20.00 on Fridays and Saturdays. People under twenty four can purchase tickets for $15.00 on any night. Thanks to the league of Indianapolis Theatre’s “Free Ticket February” ten tickets for each performance are available to Indianapolis kids age sixteen to nineteen (see Free Tickets for Youth).

After the show, enjoy the Indianapolis cultural district, Mass Ave. With a wide range of Indianapolis restaurants and Indianapolis bars, its easy to find fun on Mass Ave. As always stay tuned to Indianapolis News, Events and Information on Fun City for all the latest on fun things to do in Indianapolis. This is Katelyn Coyne saying, “Get out in Indy and find some fun!”

February 25 through March 10, 2010

The Phoenix Theatre
749 North Park Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202