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Atlantic Theater Company Announces THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER Complete Casting

atlantic theater company




Stage adaptation by ROY WILLIAMS

Directed by LEAH C. GARDINER


Previews begin Wednesday, January 8 2014
Opening Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Limited engagement through Sunday, February 9, 2014


Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is proud to announce complete casting for the American premiere production of award-winning British playwright Roy Williams’ stage adaptation of Alan Sillitoe’s beloved short story THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER, directed by Leah C. Gardiner.

THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER will feature Eshan Bay, Sheldon Best, Zainab Jah, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Patrick Murney, Joshua E. Nelson, Sydney Sainté, Raviv Ullman, Todd Weeks and Malik Yoba.

THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER will begin previews Wednesday, January 8; officially open Tuesday, January 21; and play a limited engagement through Sunday, February 9, 2014 Off Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street).

In this stage adaptation of Alan Sillitoe’s classic short story, award-winning British playwright Roy Williams brings the young, defiant Colin Smith into the 21st century.  Colin (Sheldon Best), with few prospects in life, finds himself in a prison school for criminal activity.  He turns to long distance running as an escape, only to have the school exploit him for his talent, offering him a possible way out. Will he run his race for them, or for his independence?

Olivier Award nominated playwright Roy Williams’ most recent play, Advice for the Young at Heart, was produced by Theatre Centre in London this past fall. His works includeCategory B, Angel House, Days of Significance, Joe Guy, There’s Only One Wayne Matthews, Baby Girl, Absolute Beginners, Little Sweet Thing, Slow Time, Fallout, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, Local Boy, Souls, Lift Off, Starstruck, Josie’s Boy, The No-Boys Cricket Club and the Olivier Award nominated play Sucker Punch, now being adapted into a feature film.

Leah C. Gardiner’s New York theater credits include the Obie Award winning play Born Bad and the world premiere production of the Pulitzer Prize finalist play Bulrusher Off-Broadway. Her extensive regional credits include staging the American premiere of Roy Williams’ Sucker Punch at Studio Theatre, the world premiere production of the Pulitzer Prize finalist play Blue Door at South Coast Repertory and the national tour of Wit.

Eshan Bay makes his Off-Broadway debut after first appearing onstage in Agnes Under the Big Top at the Long Wharf Theatre and recently on Netflix's House of Cards. Sheldon Best starred as Puck in Classical Theatre of Harlem’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and on New York stages including 59E59 and Penguin Rep. Zainab Jah was awarded the San Francisco Bay Area Critics’ Circle Outstanding Performance prize for her role in Ruined. Jasmine Cephas Jones makes her Atlantic Theater Company and Off-Broadway debut. Patrick Murney has appeared on stage in the Chicago production of White Noise and on television in HBO’s “The Money.” Joshua E. Nelson’s stage credits include The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg at The Kennedy Center. Sydney Sainté makes her Off-Broadway debut after recently graduating from the Atlantic Acting School. Raviv Ullman has appeared Off Broadway in Russian Transport, in Dead End at The Ahmanson Theatre and in the national tour of The King and I. Atlantic ensemble member Todd Weeks has appeared in the company’s productions of The Jammer, Bluebird, Keep Your Pantheon, Scarcity, The Voysey Inheritance, Romance, Sea of Tranquility, The Cider House Rules and Distant Fires. Malik Yoba is best known for his roles in the 1993 Disney film Cool Runnings and the hit television series “New York Undercover.”

The design team for THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER will feature scenic design by Lauren Helpern, costume design by Bobby Frederick Tilley II, lighting design by Michael Chybowski, sound design by Bart Fasbender and projection design by Pauline Lu and Paul Piekarz.

The American premiere of the critically acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of The Night Alive, written and directed by Olivier Award winner and Tony Award® nominee Conor McPherson is now in previews at Atlantic Theater Company at the Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street).


ALAN SILLITOE (Author) was born in Nottingham, England on March 4th, 1928. At fourteen he began work in various factories, until at seventeen becoming an air traffic control assistant. After four years in the Royal Air Force as a wireless operator he returned from Malaya for demobilization but was found to have contracted tuberculosis. During his recovery he decided to become a writer. Much of the 1950s he lived in France and Spain, where he wrote many poems, and his first novel, “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,” published in 1958. The following year came his second book, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” - both made into films. Since then he has written novels, stories, poems, plays, travel books, and stories for children. His “Collected Poems” was published in 1993 and his “Collected Stories” and autobiography “Life without Armour” in 1995.

ROY WILLIAMS’ (Adaptor) most recent play, Advice for the Young at Heart was produced by Theatre Centre in London this past fall. He began writing plays in 1990 and is one of the UK’s leading dramatists. In 2000 he was the joint-winner of The George Devine Award and in 2001 he was awarded the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. He was awarded the OBE for Services to Drama in the 2008 Birthday Honours List.  His plays include the adaptation of The Loneliness of the Long Distant Runner (Pilot Theatre/ UK Tour), Sucker Punch (Royal Court Theatre, nominated for Olivier Award for Best Play, Studio Theatre/DC), Category B (Tricycle Theatre), Angel House (Eclipse Theatre, UK Tour), Days of Significance (RSC), Joe Guy (Tiata Fahodzi), There’s Only One Wayne Matthews (Polka Theatre), Baby Girl (NT Connections), Absolute Beginners (Lyric Hammersmith), Little Sweet Thing (Nottingham Playhouse), Slow Time (NT Education), Fallout (Royal Court Theatre), Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, Local Boy (Hampstead Theatre), Souls (Theatre Centre), Lift Off (Royal Court) , Starstruck (Tricycle, Winner of John Whiting Award, Alfred Fagon Award & EMMA Award for Best Play), Josie’s Boy (Red Ladder Theatre Co) and The No-Boys Cricket Club (Theatre Royal, Stratford East). Roy is currently working on commissions for the National Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Out of Joint, Sonia Friedman Productions, Royal Court Theatre and Pilot Theatre. He is also adapting his play, Sucker Punch for 55 Films/Film4 and working on a new series of Interrogation.

LEAH C. GARDINER (Director). New York theater credits include: Born Bad (U.S. premiere, Soho Rep, Obie Award); Bulrusher (World Premiere and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Urban Stages); Kent, CT (Zipper Theater).  National: Antony and Cleopatra, Othello (Houston Shakespeare Festival); Fences (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); The Last Five Years (Crossroads Theatre Company);  Blue Door (World Premiere and Pulitzer Prize finalist, South Coast Repertory); Clementine in the Lower Nine (World Premiere, TheatreWorks, top 10 2012); Sucker Punch (U.S. Premiere, Studio Theatre); Topdog/Underdog (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Birdie Blue (City Theatre); Orange Flower Water (World Premiere, Contemporary American Theatre Festival); The Flag Maker of Market Street (World Premiere, Alabama Shakespeare Festival); Streetcar Named Desire (Pillsbury House Theatre); Angels in America, Parts I and II (Connecticut Repertory Theatre); (Re-staging Director)  Broadway’s The Normal Heart (Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater); national tour of Wit (Kennedy Center, Ordway, among others);. Ms. Gardiner holds an M.F.A. in Directing from the Yale School of Drama. Film producer: Mother of George, best cinematography, Sundance, 2012.

ESHAN BAY (Asher) is making his Off-Broadway debut and second stage appearance with this production. He studied Economics and Politics at NYU and trained as an actor at The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. He first appeared onstage in Long Wharf's Agnes Under the Big Top for which he won the Best Newcomer Award (CCC). He has worked with David Fincher on Netflix's House of Cards, and starred in David Andalman's American Milkshake, which premiered at Sundance last year. He recently received an MA in Classical Acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

SHELDON BEST (Colin).  Off Broadway and New York: Classical Theatre of Harlem: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck); 59E59 and Penguin Rep: Freed (John Newton Templeton); LAByrinth: Paradox of the Urban Cliché; Ma-Yi & Vampire Cowboys: Soul Samurai; Vampire Cowboys: Geek! and Alice in Slasherland; 59E59 & Scripts Up: Years of Sky.  Regional: Baltimore Center Stage: Dance of the Holy Ghosts (Marcus); Studio Theatre of DC: Sucker Punch (Leon);Denver Center: Superior Donuts (Franco); Geva Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lysander); NC Shakespeare Festival: Romeo and Juliet (Romeo); Cleveland Play House: The Life of Galileo (Andrea Sarti); Underground Railway: Harriet Jacobs (Tom); Actors’ Shakespeare Project: Much Ado About Nothing (Claudio); SpeakEasy Stage: The History Boys; Berkshire Theatre: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Television: CBS’s “Person of Interest.”  BA: Brandeis University.

ZAINAB JAH (Mum). Recent theatre credits include Ophelia in Hamlet, Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prudence in The Convert at the McCarter, Goodman and Kirk Douglas Theatres, Josephine in Ruined, Anne Marie in A Doll’s House at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Maima in Eclipsed at Yale Rep., Helen of Troy in Trojan Women at Classical Theatre of Harlem, Hamida in In Darfur at The Public Theater /NYSF, Peter Sellars’ Children Of Herakles,European Tour. Film and TV credits include principal roles in Dinner Rush with Danny Aiello,Law & Order SVU.”Awards include the Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Featured Actress in a Play for The Convert and San Francisco Bay Area Critics’ Circle Outstanding Performance, Female Featured Role for Ruined.

JASMINE CEPHAS JONES (Kenisha) is proud to make her Atlantic Theater Company and Off-Broadway debut. She is a member of Labyrinth Theater Company. Film: Untitled Noah Baumbach, Titus. Television: “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “Unforgettable (CBS), “The Blacklist” (NBC).

PATRICK MURNEY (Luke).Theater: White Noise (Chicago, NOLA); Letter from Algeria (The Abingdon), Under Fire (NYMF); The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Syracuse Stage) and ADHDU (Edinburgh Fringe).  Television: “The Money” (HBO), “Person of Interest,” “Golden Boy,” “Blue Bloods,” “Law & Order,”  “Suits,” “Law & Order, SVU.”  Film: God’s Pocket (Sundance 2014), James White, Saint Janet, Bluebird and King Kelly.

JOSHUA E. NELSON (Jase). Theater credits include The Wilma Theater: The Convert; Discovery Theater: What is a HERO?; The Kennedy Center’s TYA: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg; African American Continuum Theater Company: The Legend of Buster Neal; Adventure Theater: Bud, Not Buddy; The Kennedy Center’s Page2Stage Festival: U.G.L.Y., MFA Playwrighting Festival and Young Directors Festival; Lincoln Theater: Sanctified. BFA from Howard University Theater Arts Department, Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts.

SYDNEY SAINTÉ (Sandra) makes her Off-Broadway debut after recently graduating from the Atlantic Acting School and receiving a BFA in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. New York credits include Pierre Beaumarchais' The Marriage of Figaro (The Countess) at Atlantic Acting School and Shakespeare's Henry V (Henry V) at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

RAVIV ULLMAN (Gunthorpe).Theater credits include Russian Transport (New Group), The Bad Guys (Second Stage), Dead End (Ahmanson Theatre, Directed by Nicky Martin), The King and I (National Tour), A Rosen by Any Other Name (Connecticut Critics Circle nomination). Lead characters on both television series "Phil of the Future" and "Rita Rocks" and guest roles on "House," "Cold Case," "Law & Order SVU/CI," "Criminal Minds: SB," "The Middleman" and others. Several independent films, movies of the week and pilots.

TODD WEEKS (Stevens) is an Atlantic Company member who has appeared in Atlantic productions of The Jammer, Bluebird, Keep your PantheonScarcity, The Voysey InheritanceRomanceSea of TranquilityThe Cider House RulesDistant Fires, and many others.  He also appeared in the original cast of Howard Korder’s Boys’ Life and The Lights with Atlantic and subsequent productions at Lincoln Center Theater.  Broadway: The Full Monty (original cast), The Last Night of BallyhooSummer and Smoke and Our Town. National Tours:  Angels in America and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  Off-Broadway:  Some Americans Abroad (Second Stage), Therese Raquin (CSC) among others. Regional:  The Old Globe (The Full MontyLucky Duck), Dallas Theater Center (Angels in America, Of Mice and Men), Alliance Theater (Angels in America, The Underpants), Mark Taper (November and Romance), Playmakers Rep (Copenhagen), Long Wharf Theater (The Front Page) and the Williamstown Theater Festival (Therese Raquin).  Television and Film: "Desperate Housewives", “Rubicon,” “The Defenders,” “Men of a Certain Age,” “Detroit 187,” “Modern Family,” "Numb3rs", "Medium," "The Unit," “Law & Order(s),” “Ed,” “One Life to Live,” The Deal (Sundance), Love Thy Brother (Sundance, Aspen Comedy Festival and HBO Comedy), Mind the Gap (Showtime, South by Southwest Film Festival), Amos & AndrewPhil Spector (HBO), and Light Years (Austin Film Festival) directed by Atlantic member Maggie Kiley.

MALIK YOBA (Trevor) is best known for his roles in the 1993 Disney classic film Cool Runnings and the hit Fox television series “New York Undercover.” Recent stage credits include The New Group’s Everything’s Turning into Beautiful with Daphne Rubin Vega and The Delaware Theater Company’s The Piano Lesson. His theatre company, The Malik Yoba National Theatre (MYNT) Company, creates, acquires, produces and distributes content for the urban theatre market. He has co-written two musicals for stage: What’s on The Hearts of Men and Acoustic Chocolate (both adapted for screen). Yoba was also co-musical director for the Henson/ABC produced Saturday morning show “CityKids” and wrote the theme song for the movie Cool Runnings. At the age of 13 he became a member of The Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Theater Guild and at 16 worked with The Negro Ensemble Company.  Over thirty film credits including Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married, Why Did I Get Married Too, Copland, Smoke, Blue in the Face, Soul Food, Hooked Up, Harlem Aria, Vote for Me, Ride, Dreaming in Black and White,  Kids in America, Criminal, Betty and Corretta (Martin Luther King Jr. opposite Angela Bassett) and most recently the BBC film Turks and Caicos with Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter and Christopher Walken,  directed by David Hare. Veteran of 11 network/cable television shows as a series lead, including SyFy's “Alphas,” TNT’s  “Bull,” NBC’s  “Trinity,” “Kingpin, and Raines,”  ABC’s “Defying Gravity” and the F/X series “Thief.”  Recurring roles on NBC’s “Revolution,” “Arrested Development,” “Girlfriends” and VH1’s “Single Ladies.” Numerous guest starring roles including “The Good Wife,” “Person of Interest,” “Law & Order” and “Nikita.” Yoba also wrote, directed and starred in the web series “ShopTalk.”

ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is the award winning Off-Broadway theater that produces great plays simply and truthfully utilizing an artistic ensemble. Atlantic believes that the story of a play and the intent of its playwright are at the core of the creative process. The plays in the Atlantic repertory, from both new and established playwrights, are boldly interpreted by today’s finest theater artists and resonate with contemporary audiences. Since its inception over 28 years ago, Atlantic has produced more than 150 plays including Tony Award-winning productions of Spring Awakening and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh); world premieres of Women or Nothing, Almost an Evening, Offices and Happy Hour (Ethan Coen); The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Cripple of Inishmaan (Martin McDonagh); Body Awareness (Annie Baker); Romance (David Mamet); Through a Glass Darkly (Bergman, adapted by Jenny Worton); Farragut North (Beau Willimon); Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling (Adam Rapp); Bluebird and Harper Regan (Simon Stephens); What Rhymes With America (Melissa James Gibson); The Lying Lesson (Craig Lucas); 3 Kinds of Exile (John Guare); Storefront Church (John Patrick Shanley); Blue/Orange (Joe Penhall); Port Authority and Dublin Carol (Conor McPherson); Writer’s Block (Woody Allen); American Buffalo and Edmond (David Mamet); The Cider House Rules(adapted by Peter Parnell); Good Television (Rod McLachlan); Celebration & The Room, The Collection & A Kind of Alaska and The Hothouse (Harold Pinter); Gabriel (Moira Buffini); Oohrah! (Bekah Brunstetter); Mojo, Parlour Song (Jez Butterworth); Boys’ Life and The Lights (Howard Korder); Distant Fires (Kevin Heelan); Missing Persons (Craig Lucas).

Atlantic has garnered 12 Tony Awards®, 12 Lucille Lortel Awards, 15 Obie Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards, five Outer Critics Circle Awards and three Drama League Awards. Atlantic also operates The Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, which has an undergraduate program in conjunction with NYU, as well as a two-year professional acting program and a six-week intensive workshop every summer. Atlantic for Kids and the Educational Outreach Program partners with schools and teachers throughout the greater metropolitan area coordinating in-school visits of teaching artists and post-theater talkbacks.

THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER performance schedule: Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm.

Tickets: Regular tickets $45.00, Back20 $20 tickets available at any preview performance (Jan 8 – Jan 19). Order online at, by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111, or in person at the Atlantic Stage 2 box office (330 West 16th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).

Atlantic Members pay $35 per ticket for all main stage and Stage 2 productions. Members may book by contacting Ovationtix or visiting the Atlantic Stage 2 box office. Pay-As-You-Go and 4-Play Holiday Packages are also available for main stage and Stage 2 productions at $69 and $149, respectively. More information can be found by visiting or by contacting Ovationtix.

For information on Atlantic Theater Company membership, group sales or other inquiries, please contact the Membership Department: 212-645-1242 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @AtlanticTheater

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Andrew C. McGibbon



Andrew C. McGibbon has spent the past thirty years working in live theatre as a stage manager, general manager, producer and leader in the convergence of Broadway and online.

Mr. McGibbon worked as a stage manager and general manager for ten years. In 1994 he created a website devoted to live theatre, The site was subsequently bought by, and became He continued to manage the site for Playbill for four years. In 2000 he became the website manager for With the 2008-09 season he finished his ninth year on the show. He has also worked as a webmaster for the Broadway LeagueJazz at Lincoln Center, and as the Director of Digital Media for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Since 2015, Andrew has been working as an architectural photographer and virtual tour photographer known for his photography of theatres such as the Kimmel Center, Tanglewood, Signature Theatre Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, Arena Stage and the Goodspeed Opera House. His photography work can be previewed at

Mr. McGibbon is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Independent Theatre Bloggers AssociationActors' Equity Association and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, as well as the American Society of Media Photographers

In addition to his work in the theatrical industry, Mr. McGibbon is also a partner in Simple Solutions Distributing, a manufacturer of filtration equipment for the waste-water industry.

Photo: Elizabeth Leitzell