American Players Theatre has opened two more plays: in the Touchstone Theatre, “The River Bride,” directed by returning APT artist Robert Ramirez, and at the Hill Theatre, “Sense and Sensibility” directed by Marti Lyons.
Romantic, lush and magical, “The River Bride” is the first show of APT’s 43rd season to take place in the Touchstone Theatre, the indoor venue completed in 2009. “The River Bride” has a small, powerful ensemble of six actors, including Core Company member Melisa Pereyra and Ronald Román-Meléndez, Eduardo Xavier Curley-Carrillo, Triney Sandoval and Erica Cruz Hernández and Gabriela Castillo.
Austen’s work has only been performed once before at APT (“Pride and Prejudice” in the 2015 season), and “Sense and Sensibility” was originally slated for the 2020 season. So the organization is thrilled to welcome audiences to this romance of the Regency Era. With a large ensemble cast featuring Tracy Michelle Arnold, Isabelle Bushue, Sarah Day, Ty Fanning, Tim Gittings, Jamal James, Brian Mani, Samantha Newcomb, Nancy Rodriguez, Laura Rook and Marcus Truschinski, the stage is set to bring the story of the Dashwood sisters to life.
Artistic Director Brenda DeVita said of the new arrivals, “‘The River Bride’ is a play that we’ve been wanting to produce for a long time now. It was a Winter Words reading in 2018, and we knew right away it was something special – beautiful and romantic and just exquisitely written. The playwright, Marisela Treviño Orta, is a genius with poetic language and family dynamics. And our director, the lovely Robert Ramirez, was the voice and text director on the original production at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Triney Sandoval was in the original cast of the play. So it’s all come together in a way that feels kind of perfect.”
DeVita continued, “When we produced our first Austen play, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in 2015, the enthusiasm was kind of amazing. I mean, who doesn’t love Jane Austen? Her storytelling is so graceful, and her grasp of human emotions, and the deals we make with ourselves to balance happiness with our own sense of duty, and identity, and self-worth is all so relatable. And at the same time it’s so lush and romantic. This adaptation really focuses in on the relationship between these sisters, these women, and their love for each other, without sidelining their feelings for the men in their lives. I could not be more excited to share these very romantic, and very different, plays with our amazing audience.”
“The River Bride” will play through Sept. 30 and “Sense and Sensibility” through Oct. 9. For more information on tickets, see www.americanplayers.org or call the APT box office at (608) 588-2361.