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Tuesday, 17 January 2012 10:49

Keen Company Announces John Cunningham to Replace Richard Easton in PAINTING CHURCHES

Drama Desk and Obie Award-Winning Keen Company
Announces That
John Cunningham
Would Replace Richard Easton in the Cast of
Tina Howe's Painting Churches

Kathleen Chalfant and Kate Turnbull To Co-Star

The Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Keen Company (Carl Forsman, Artistic Director/Damon Chua, Executive Director) today announced that John Cunningham would join Kathleen Chalfant and Kate Turnbull for Tina Howe's Painting Churches, the 1983 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Keen Artistic Director Carl Forsman directs. Mr. Cunningham replaces the previously announced Richard Easton, who had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict. Performances will begin February 14, with Opening Night set for March 6.

{module ad_left_body}John Cunningham has appeared on Broadway in numerous productions, including Amour, Design for Living, Titanic, The Sisters Rosenweig, Six Degrees of Separation, and Anna Karenina. John was also a member of the original casts of some of Broadway's greatest musicals: Cabaret, 1776, Company, and Sunday in the Park with George. His Off-Broadway work includes Some Americans Abroad at Second Stage, The Naked Truth at WPA, Sylvia at Manhattan Theatre Club, and A Cheever Evening at Playwrights' Horizons. He won a Dramalogue Award for his performance in Camping with Henry and Tom, and an Obie Award for his performance in Quartermaine's Terms. His regional credits include School for Scandal at the Mark Taper Forum, All's Well That Ends Well at Yale Rep, The Cocktail Hour at the Long Wharf Theater, and numerous productions at both the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and Williamstown Theater Festival. On screen, John can be seen in the films Two Weeks Notice, Marci X, Shaft, Nixon, In & Out, Dead Poets Society, School Ties, and Mystic Pizza. He has also appeared on numerous television shows and mini-series, including "Damages," "The Good Wife," "30 Rock," "One Life to Live," "Law & Order," and "D.C. 9/11" for Showtime.

Painting Churches premiered Off-Broadway on February 8, 1983 at the McGinn-Cazale Theatre, produced by Second Stage. It transferred to the Lamb's Theatre where it ran for 206 performances. The play was filmed for PBS "American Playhouse" starring Sada Thompson, Donald Moffat, and Roxanne Hart.

In Painting Churches, we meet the Church family: Fanny (Chalfant) and Gardner (Cunningham). They are packing, about to move to a beach home on Cape Cod. Gardner is a poet and Fanny is from a "fine old family." Their daughter Margaret (Turnbull), an artist who lives in New York, has arrived to help them pack and paint their portrait.

This will be the first New York revival of Painting Churches, the smash hit comedy from the author of Coastal Disturbances and Pride's Crossing. In his review in the New York Times, Frank Rich wrote, "In Painting Churches, her beautifully written play, Tina Howe has dramatized an illuminating connection between life and art. And like the best paintings, Painting Churches rewards repeated viewings."

Keen Company continues their tradition of presenting plays that illuminate the challenge to live generously, and these two stories about children and parents will bring these themes to thrilling life. Keen believes that theater is at its most powerful when texts and productions are generous in spirit and provoke identification. Inspired by the works of early 20th Century American playwrights, Keen Company demonstrates that an earnest intent can still be sophisticated. We are unafraid of emotional candor, vulnerability, and optimism. Keen Company seeks to create a culture of artists, technicians, administrators and audiences who share a desire to invigorate the theater with productions that connect us through humor, heart and hope. "Keen Company's first tremendous leap of faith was producing Tina Howe's 42-character play Museum in our second season in 2002. I am honored to be able to bring Tina's unique and hilarious voice back to our stage. Painting Churches is such a touching portrait of our effort to understand our parents, and Keen Company is thrilled to be presenting its first New York revival. We'll endeavor to whip up enough chaos to delight Tina and her many fans," said Forsman.

Kathleen Chalfant was nominated for the Tony Award as Best Actress in a Featured Role for her role in Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. Chalfant earned great acclaim for her performance as Vivian Bearing in Margaret Edson's play Wit, receiving Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Obie and Lucille Lortel awards. For her performance in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, Chalfant won a second Obie Award. Most recently, Chalfant starred in the independent feature film, Isn't It Delicious?

Kate Turnbull recently made her Humana Festival debut with the acclaimed premiere of Maple and Vine. Other regional credits include The Matchmaker (Censterstage); Doubt (Portland Stage Company); and Measure for Measure, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Restoration Comedy,Titus Andronicus and A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Old Globe). Off-Broadway she has been seen in Passion Play with Epic Theatre Ensemble. Television: "Guiding Light." MFA from The Old Globe/University of San Diego.

The design team includes Beowulf Boritt (scenic), Josh Bradford (lighting), Jennifer Paar (costume), Ryan Rumery (sound), and Ricola Wille (properties).

This limited Off-Broadway engagement at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues) will begin February 14 and continue through April 22 only, with opening night set for March 6. Performances will be Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday through Friday at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm; and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are $59.75. To purchase tickets, visit or call 212/239-6200.

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