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Present Laughter

June 1, 2013 - June 30, 2013

By Noël Coward
Directed by David Lee 

Rechnitz Theater

Single ticket prices start at $20. Click here to buy your tickets!

In 1930s London, Garry Essendine, a debonair matinee idol, is one of the world’s most famous actors. Garry sees his life as an eternal performance—one in which the spotlight never goes out. But can the man who can’t say “no” juggle an ambitious debutante, an aspiring playwright, a secret affair, his tart-tongued secretary, and his ex-wife, all in one morning?

Noël Coward’s Present Laughter (which he originally wrote as a showcase for his own great talent) is a sparkling blend of bravura acting, elegant designs, witty dialogue, and outrageous comedy.

Tony Award nominees Michael Cumpsty (End of the Rainbow) and Veanne Cox (Company) lead the cast, which also features Leighton Bryan, Mark Capri, Cole Escola, Richard Hollis, Kaitlin Hopkins, Robin Moseley, James Riordan, Camille Saviola, and Hayley Treider.

Director David Lee, the winner of nine Emmy Awards, was a co-creator of Frasier and a writer/producer for Cheers. He wrote a new book for the classic Cole Porter musical Can-Can, which he first staged at the Pasadena Playhouse (winning an Ovation Award for Best Director) and is scheduled to direct on Broadway in 2014.


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Leighton Bryan
Leighton Bryan

Joanna Lyppiatt

Leighton Bryan (Joanna Lyppiatt) is a recent graduate of NYU’s Grad Acting Program. Broadway: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, u/s Margaret (performed twice) and Mae. Readings: Rainbow’s Return by Stephen Mo Hanan (as Stockard Channing’s daughter, dir. Chris Hart); work with LCT Directors LAB, McCarter, Shakespeare Society, and TACT. She co-created Death of Kings, a re-cutting of Shakespeare’s history plays (dir. John Adams) in London; and Dabda, PA, a play integrating film and theater (w/Rachel Mewbron, Colin Baker) in New York. Favorite roles include: Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing; Cassius/Charmian, The Emperor Antony; Beulah, Orpheus Descending; and Alice in the premiere of Tony Kushner’s musical The Henry Box Brown Play (dir. Mark Wing-Davey). Brown University, BA; RADA, Certificate; NYU, MFA. PLWIW, ly5.

Mark Capri
Mark Capri

Hugo Lyppiatt

Mark Capri (Hugo Lyppiatt) Two River Theater debut. Roundabout: George in On Approval (Theatre World Award), Hovstad in An Enemy of the People. West End (RSC): Hector in Man and Superman. Broadway: covered Alan Rickman as Elyot in Private Lives and Rupert Everett as Charles in Blithe Spirit. Metropolitan Opera: Iphigenie en Tauride, Oedipus Rex. LA Opera: The Merry Widow. Other theater includes: Arcadia and the Japanese tour of Terra Nova (Mark Taper); A Perfect Wedding (Kirk Douglas Theatre); Holmes in Sherlock Holmes, Equus, Light Up the Sky (Pasadena Playhouse); Die, Mommy, Die! (premiere, Los Angeles); As You Like It (Shakespeare Theatre, D.C.); An Ideal Husband (Seattle, Berkeley, and South Coast Reps); Henry V (Old Globe); Noises Off (Marines Memorial and Walnut Street); Cymbeline, Undiscovered Country (Hartford Stage); The Winter’s Tale (Yale Rep); Private Lives, Woman in Mind, A Tale of Two Cities (McCarter); Chee Chee (Actors Theatre of Louisville); The Play’s the Thing (Intiman), others. Film: The Empire Strikes Back, Titanic, Conceiving Ada, Liz and Dick. TV: 90210, Free Agents, Hot in Cleveland, Frasier, According to Jim, So noTORIous, Whoopie, The Naked Truth, Cybill, others. Training: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Veanne Cox
Veanne Cox

Monica Reed

Veanne Cox (Monica Reed) most recently appeared in Smash, Pan Am, and Louie. Broadway credits: A Free Man of Color; La Cage aux Folles; Caroline, or Change; The Dinner Party; Company (Tony and Drama Desk nominations); and Smile. Off-Broadway includes: Obie Award for Sustained Excellence; Damn Yankees (Encores!); Blind (Rattlestick); Paradise Park (Signature, Lortel nom.); Spain (Lortel nom.), Last Easter (Drama Desk nom.), The Wooden Breeks (MCC); House and Garden, Labor Day (MTC); The Altruists, Batting Cage, The Waiting Room and Flora, the Red Menace (Vineyard); Freedomland (Playwrights Horizons); A Question of Mercy (NYTW); Love, Loss and What I Wore; A Mother, A Daughter and A Gun; The Vagina Monologues; The Food Chain. Regional theater includes: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, The Way of the World, The Beaux’ Stratagem (Helen Hayes nom.) (Shakespeare Theatre Company); Private Lives (The Guthrie); The Boy Friend, Betty’s Summer Vacation (Bay Street); The Imaginary Invalid (Yale Rep); The Importance of Being Earnest (La Jolla). Film/TV includes: Marci X, Beethoven’s 4th, Erin Brockovich, Big Eden, You've Got Mail, Henry Fool, Royal Pains, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and SVU, Seinfeld, Boston Legal, Joan of Arcadia, and Cinderella.

Michael Cumpsty
Michael Cumpsty

Garry Essendine

Michael Cumpsty (Garry Essendine) previously appeared at Two River Theater as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. On Broadway he has appeared in End of the Rainbow (Tony nomination), Sunday in the Park with George, The Constant Wife, Democracy, Enchanted April, 42nd Street, Copenhagen, Electra, 1776, Racing Demon, The Heiress, Translations, Timon of Athens (Bayfield Award), La Bete, and Artist Descending a Staircase. His Off-Broadway credits include Hamlet (Obie Award), Richard II, and Richard III (all for Classic Stage Company); Twelfth Night, Timon of Athens, All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Cymbeline, and The Winter’s Tale (all for the New York Shakespeare Festival); The Art of Success and Man and Superman. He has appeared in many of America’s premiere regional theaters. He played Leontes in The Winter’s Tale for the Royal Shakespeare Company at their home in Stratford-upon-Avon. He has appeared in the TV films Dolley Madison (PBS), Alexander Hamilton (PBS), The Lady in Question (A&E), Night Sins (CBS), Mistrial (HBO), Hamlet (PBS), and The Kennedys of Massachusetts (ABC). Mr. Cumpsty was a series regular on L.A. Law, and has played recurring roles on Star Trek: Voyager, Nurse Jackie, and Boardwalk Empire. His film credits include Eat Pray Love, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Starting Out in the Evening, The Ex, Flags of Our Fathers, The Visitor, The Ice Storm, Fatal Instinct, State of Grace, Downtown Express, and Burning Blue.

Cole Escola
Cole Escola

Roland Maule

Cole Escola (Roland Maule), aka “the funny guy” (The New York Times), is best known for his TV show Jeffrey & Cole Casserole on the Logo Network, which came about after a series of his internet videos became popular. He has appeared onstage in NERDS: A New Musical Comedy at North Carolina Theatre and in Scott Wittman’s Jukebox Jackie at La MaMa in New York City. He was also named one of the 10 best cabaret artists of 2012 by Time Out New York for his popular one-man nightclub act. Other TV credits include Law & Order, Smash, and the MTV original movie, Made 2: Ladies Man.

Richard Hollis
Richard Hollis


Richard Hollis (Fred) Theater credits include Hit-Lit at Queens Theatre; Stones in His Pockets at Hudson Stage; Amadeus, Romeo and Juliet and The Real Thing at Northern Stage; The Illusion at Triad Stage; The Sisters Rosensweig for Capital Rep; and The Foreigner for Barnstormers Theatre. At London’s National Theatre, he appeared in the world premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia, plus His Girl Friday, Tartuffe, The Wonders of Sex, and The Country Doctor. Other London shows include Factors Unforeseen, The Years Between, The Skin Game, and Diana of Dobson’s at the Orange Tree Theatre; Torn at the Arcola; and Oz at the Unicorn. National tours include Present Laughter, Macbeth, Henry V, Sisterly Feelings, Murder on Air, and Great Expectations. BBC TV credits include the original The Office, Shakespeare’s Happy Endings, EastEnders, Waking the Dead, and Silent Witness. Film includes Dark Shadows.

Kaitlin Hopkins
Kaitlin Hopkins

Liz Essendine

Kaitlin Hopkins (Liz Essendine) currently heads the Musical Theatre BFA program at Texas State University. As an actress, Kaitlin has performed in theater, film, television, and radio for over 30 years. Broadway: Noises Off, Anything Goes, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Off Broadway: The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Bare: a pop opera, Nicky Silver’s Beautiful Child, and Bat Boy: The Musical (Drama Desk/Ovation Award nomination). Other: Disney’s On the Record (National Tour), Dirty Dancing (National Tour), John Adams’ opera I Was Looking At The Ceiling… directed by Peter Sellars (International Tour), and numerous award-winning radio plays (LA Theatre Works) including The Heidi Chronicles and Proof. Film/TV includes more than 50 appearances including: Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Nanny Diaries, Rescue Me, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: DS9, Law & Order (SVU/CI). As a director her credits include: A Little Princess, Urinetown, Hair, Bat Boy, All Shook Up, and Oklahoma (Austin Critics’ Award Best Musical 2012). Kaitlin received nominations for Best Direction from the Austin Critics’ four years in a row, winning for The Wild Party and All Shook Up, also receiving a commendation from the Kennedy Center KCACTF for Excellence in Directing. Kaitlin is very proud to have created the dry throat lozenge Fontus, She is married to playwright/actor Jim Price. She dedicates this performance to her beloved students at Texas State University.

Robin Moseley
Robin Moseley

Lady Saltburn

Robin Moseley (Lady Saltburn) has worked on and Off-Broadway, and at more than 15 regional theaters. She was a company member of the Alley Theatre in Houston for six years and with the Denver Center Theatre Company for two years. Favorite roles include Frankie in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at the Alley; Amanda in The Glass Menagerie at both St. Louis Repertory Theatre and ACT in San Francisco; Maureen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane at the Denver Center; Linda in Death of a Salesman at The Old Globe in San Diego. Most recently, she appeared as Mrs. Brady in Inherit the Wind and Mad Margaret in Richard III at The Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego.

James Riordan
James Riordan

Morris Dixon

James Riordan (Morris Dixon) Broadway: Jerusalem, The Elephant Man, Dance of Death, Noises Off. Off-Broadway: Andy in Brian Friel’s Lovers at TACT, John Ruskin in The Countess at the Lambs, the US premiere of Howard Brenton’s Christie in Love and Our Leading Lady at MTC. Film: The Hoax (directed by Lasse Hallstrom) and Choose. Television: the Season 4 premiere episode of Boardwalk Empire, White Collar, Damages, Dark Horse (directed by Roland Emmerich), As the World Turns, Gossip Girl, All My Children, Law & Order, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Regional theater: Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Arena Stage, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and others. Thanks to Phillip Loeb and the brave founders of Actors’ Equity Association.

Camille Saviola
Camille Saviola

Miss Erikson

Camille Saviola (Miss Erikson) Her many theater credits include: the original workshop, Broadway production, and national tour of the Tony-winning Nine. She created the role of Emma Goldman in Ragtime. Other New York credits include: South Pacific (Bloody Mary), NYC Opera, Tango Apasionado, Harvey Fierstein’s Spookhouse, Angry Housewives, and Mama Morton in the Broadway revival of Chicago (opposite Melanie Griffith), a role she also played on the Japanese tour. Her solo shows include A Vaudeville and Secrets of the Lava Lamp (MTC) and BlueLikeBillieHolidayonaStormyMondayBaby (2100 Square Feet Theater). Credits in California include co-starring with Chita Rivera in The House of Bernarda Alba (Mark Taper Forum) (LADCC and BSW/Garland Awards), Zorba (The Leader, Reprise! (LADCC and BSW/Garland Awards), Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony (MVPAC), and the title role in Mother Courage and Her Children (Theater @ Boston Court). Films credits include Betsy’s Wedding, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Stuart Saves His Family, Shadows and Fog, Nightlife (Best Supporting Actress Cable Ace Award), Hotel Arthritis, others. TV includes: Star Trek: DS9 (Kai Opaka), Friends, JAG, Judging Amy, Some of My Best Friends (series regular), First Monday (series regular), Nip/Tuck, Without a Trace, Saving Grace, and Turtle’s mother in Entourage. Her cabaret shows, Ancora Pazzo! and Songs of Love and Loathing, have received critical acclaim. She recently directed Veils for the iStar Theatre Lab, a NY group devoted to the development of new work.

Haley Treider
Haley Treider

Daphne Stillington

Hayley Treider (Daphne Stillington) New York: The Best of Everything (HERE), Double Falsehood (Classic Stage Company), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (The New Victory). Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Bard SummerScape Festival, Roanoke Island Festival Park. Readings/workshops: Rattlestick, MCC, The Public, NYS&F, The Civilians, Peccadillo Theater Company. TV: Law & Order: SVU, Person of Interest, The Drama Dept. Current fellow of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts. Proud graduate of UNCSA and member of AEA.

Noel Coward


Noel Coward (Playwright) was a renaissance man of theater and film—a writer, actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and cabaret artist. The semi-autobiographical comedy Present Laughter was written in 1939 and first performed in 1942, with Coward starring as Garry Essendine. His other plays include Hay Fever (1925), Private Lives (1930), Design for Living (1932), and Blithe Spirit (1941). His films include Cavalcade (1933), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, In Which We Serve (1942), and Brief Encounter (1945) and he was the composer-lyricist of songs including “Mad About the Boy,” “London Pride,” and “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” Coward was knighted in 1969 and died at his home in Jamaica in 1973.

David Lee


David Lee (Director) has directed productions of Light Up the Sky, Do I Hear a Waltz?, 110 in the Shade, Diva, Can-Can, Camelot, and Art (Pasadena Playhouse); the world premiere of How I Fell in Love (Williamstown Theatre Festival); On the 20th Century, Assassins, Company, A New Brain, Applause, Working, Forum, Zorba (Ovation nominee—Best Director), Elegies, Two By Two, and Gigi (Reprise). In 2007 he directed the acclaimed production of South Pacific at the Hollywood Bowl with Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell. His writing for the theater includes a concert adaptation of Can-Can (Encores! with Patti LuPone), and an entirely new book for Can-Can which he directed at the Pasadena Playhouse (Ovation Award—Best Director). David is also a nine-time Emmy Award winning director, writer, and producer for television. He is the co-creator of Wings and Frasier, for which he also wrote, produced, and directed. He served as writer/producer for Cheers and directed multiple episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. In addition to 19 Emmy nominations, he is the recipient of the Directors Guild Award, Golden Globe, Producers Guild Award, GLAAD Media Award, British Comedy Award, Television Critics Association Award (three times), the Humanitas Prize (twice), and the Peabody.

Tony Straiges

Scenic Design

Tony Straiges (Scenic Designer) previously designed Much Ado About Nothing at Two River Theater. Broadway credits include: Timbuktu!, John Curry’s Ice Dancing, Golden Child, Artist Descending a Staircase, Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Dress Casual, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Rumors, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Enchanted April, Richard III. Off-Broadway credits include: Tea at Five, Messiah, Diamonds, From Door to Door, Chasing Manet, Treasure Island, and Meet Me in St. Louis. Recent designs include The Caucasian Chalk Circle for Classic Stage Company, and Chrysalis, a co-production with People’s Light & Theatre and Longwood Gardens. He has designed for the Royal Swedish Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. His design models and sketches are included in the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio; Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute at the University of Ohio; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Library, New York City; and Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University.

Tilly Grimes

Costume Design

Tilly Grimes (Costume Designer) is a European stage designer currently working between London, Paris, and New York. Awards include the Balsamo Grand for Emerging Immigrant Artists, the Irish Arts Design Award, and Irish Times Theatre Award. American theater: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Westport Country Playhouse, Trinity Repertory Company, La MaMa, Shakespeare on the Sound, Ars Nova, Clubbed Thumb, New World Stages, HERE Arts Center, New Georges, Cherry Lane Theatre, The Juilliard School, and the Curtis Institute. She made her Two River debut earlier this season with Henry V and is delighted to be back at “team two river.” Tilly is also co-artistic director of London/Parisian Theatre Company ‘SavageCharm’ and teaching artist at Brown University. She received her MFA from NYU Tisch.

Rui Rita

Lighting Design

Rui Rita (Lighting Designer) made his Two River debut last season with August Wilson’s Jitney. He has designed several Broadway productions including The Trip to Bountiful, Present Laughter, Dividing the Estate, Old Acquaintance, Enchanted April and The Price. His Off-Broadway premieres include Horton Foote’s The Orphans' Home Cycle (Hewes Award, Signature), Nightingale, Moonlight and Magnolias (Manhattan Theatre Club), Big Bill, The Carpetbagger's Children, Far East, Ancestral Voices (Lincoln Center Theater), The Day Emily Married (Primary Stages), and Dinner with Friends (Variety Arts Center). His Off-Broadway revivals include Talley's Folly (Roundabout), The Piano Lesson (Signature, Lortel nomination), Mound Builders (Signature), Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Roundabout) and Engaged (Obie Award, TFANA). His additional Off-Broadway and regional credits include Second Stage, NYSF/The Public Theater, Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Center Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Goodman, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe, Westport Country Playhouse, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Leon Rothenberg

Sound Design

Leon Rothenberg (Sound Designer) made his Two River debut last season with August Wilson’s Jitney. Other regional credits include Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, New York Stage & Film, North Shore Music Theater, Theater by the Sea, Long Wharf, McCarter, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, and Intiman Theatre. Broadway credits: The Nance (Tony nomination), The Heiress, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Tony nomination), and Impressionism. Select NY/Off-Broadway: Manhattan Theatre Club, Tectonic Theater Project, Women’s Project, Public Theater, LCT3, New York City Center. For Cirque du Soleil: Wintuk, Kooza.

John O’Neill

Musical Director

John O’Neill (Music Director) was most recently music director for the national tour of West Side Story. Broadway and Off-Broadway: A Chorus Line, Curtains, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well…. Regional theater credits include: Paper Mill Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, and North Carolina Theatre for the Arts. Tours: A Chorus Line, Cabaret (Japan), The Rockettes Spectacular, Grease (Hong Kong), and Forever Plaid in Las Vegas. John has been on the faculty of The Julliard School Drama Division, Rutgers University, and CAP21. Published compositions: Sunshine, a children’s musical based on a Ludwig Bemelmans story.

Ben Furey

Vocal/Dialect Coach

Ben Furey (Vocal/Dialect Coach) Broadway includes: Matilda, Billy Elliot, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Catch Me If You Can, Mamma Mia!. National Tours include: all four North American productions of Billy Elliot, Monty Python’s Spamalot, West Side Story, and 101 Dalmatians .Off-Broadway includes Harper Regan, Gabriel, and The New York Idea (Atlantic Theater Company); If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, The Language Archive, Bad Jews and The Common Pursuit (Roundabout Theatre Company); The Explorers Club, That Face (Manhattan Theatre Club). Regional/International includes: Guthrie Theater, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Cincinnati Playhouse, Gate Theatre (Dublin), Dallas Theater Center, and Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Film includes: Treasure Buddies, Eyeborgs, and Pete’s Meteor. TV: Vocal Consultant for the popular PBS wine program, Vine Talk. Teaching includes: Old Vic – “New Voices” workshop, Gaiety School of Acting (Dublin), North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Laura Henry Studio, Los Angeles.

Cindy Tolan & Adam Caldwell


Cindy Tolan & Adam Caldwell (Casting) Broadway: Betrayal, Cinderella, The Performers, Lysistrata Jones, Relatively Speaking, That Championship Season, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, Avenue Q, and Xanadu. Previous productions with Vineyard Theatre, Bay Street, Dallas Theater Center, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, and Lincoln Center Theater. Film: The Place Beyond the Pines, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Blue Valentine, Another Happy Day, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Letters to Juliet, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Starting Out in the Evening, Death of a President, The Darjeeling Limited, The Namesake, Sherrybaby, Kinsey, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, Personal Velocity. Upcoming films: This Is Where I Leave You, Winter’s Tale, Gods Behaving Badly. Television: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords, Fringe, The Return of Jezebel James, and multiple HBO pilots. Members of CSA.

Amanda Michaels

Stage Manager

Amanda Michaels (Production Stage Manager) Previous PSM credits at Two River: August Wilson’s Two Trains Running and Jitney, Topdog/Underdog, A Thousand Clowns, Intimate Apparel, Orestes: A Tragic Romp, Heartbreak House, and Craig Wright’s Melissa Arctic. Broadway: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick Jr., PA; Side Show (reading, Roundabout), ASM; A Bronx Tale (Walter Kerr), PA; 24 Hour Play Series (American Airlines Theatre), ASM. Off-Broadway: My Children! My Africa (Signature), PSM; Dutch Masters with LAByrinth Theater Company (Cherry Lane), SM; How to Be a Good Italian Daughter (Cherry Lane), PSM; Two Trains Running (Signature), PA. Regional: The Conference of the Birds, Cyrano, and Orestes: A Tragic Romp (Folger Shakespeare Theatre), PSM; To Kill a Mockingbird, I Capture the Castle, School for Wives, and Private Lives (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ), PSM. Other: The Odyssey (NYU Abu Dhabi), PSM.


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