Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 2013-14 Rep Season
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! Kicks Off Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 2013-14 Rep Season

“In Philadelphia, Here I Come! Friel understands perfectly the ways the heart leaps and lurches . . . The language is as beautiful as any being spoken on a stage today." – The New York Times
“While on one level it's about the myriad and confusing ways the past and present continually inform each other, it's even more basically a bittersweet love letter to the joys and pains of growing up and moving away.” –

(SARASOTA, December 12, 2013) — Asolo Repertory Theatre opens its 2013-14 rep season with PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! Directed by Academy Award nominee and two-time Tony Award winner Frank Galati, previews for the show will be held January 7 – 9 and the production will run from January 10 – April 12.

Hailed as one of the best playwrights in the English language, Brian Friel's first great play 
tells the humorous and touching story of a young man embarking on a new life, struggling to find the strength to leave. As 25-year-old Gareth "Gar" O’Donnell prepares to move from Ballybeg, Ireland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to pursue his American dream, he is plagued by his relationship with his uncommunicative and emotionally unavailable father. Gar must also say goodbye to Kate Doogan – his great love who he regrettably let slip through his fingers. Above all, he is challenged by one simple question – does he truly want to leave his home?

PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! examines the dynamic relationship between Public and Private Gar – played on stage by two different actors. Friel brilliantly pours life into Gar's subconscious in the form of Private Gar, whose character serves as the vehicle for his counterpart’s secret insecurities, hopes and dreams. On the eve of Public Gar's departure, he and his spirited alter-ego reminisce about the life and people, from childhood buddies to his beloved family housekeeper, they will have to leave behind. 
“This brilliant, touching and funny story is about an Irish boy named Gareth who has immense difficulty expressing himself but must say goodbye to everything and everyone he knows and loves,” said Michael Donald Edwards, Producing Artistic Director of Asolo Rep. “For Gar, Philadelphia represents a true opportunity, a new life, and freedom from his very confining world. The play takes place over the course of one day, and in that time we inhabit the Irish cultural universe that Gar will bring to his new American world."

“Gar’s pursuit of the American Dream illuminates the aspirations and sacrifices of millions of immigrants,” said Frank Galati. “This tale of longing and hoping for a new life reflects so many of our parents’, grandparents’ and great grandparents’ journeys – generations of people who created the foundation of the American Character.”

PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! continues the second season of Asolo Rep’s exciting five-year American Character Project, which explores this country's social, cultural and historical facets. Since its 1966 Broadway premiere and subsequent Tony nominations for best play, best actor, and more, this timeless story of voyaging outside of what is familiar and safe continues to impact audiences worldwide.

(In order of appearance)
Peggy Roeder* 
Christian Conn*
Bernard Balbot*
Douglas Jones*
Amanda Lynn Mullen
Mark Konrad 
David Breitbarth* 
Anne-Marie Cusson*
J. Kenneth Campbell*
Andrew Sellon*
Brian Nemiroff+

Jefferson McDonald 
Cale Haupert 
Madge Mulhern
Public Gar
Private Gar
S.B. O’Donnell
Kate Doogan
Senator Doogan
Master Boyle
Lizzy Sweeney
Con Sweeney
Ben Burton/Canon O'Byrne

*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
+Appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.


Inside Asolo Rep
Wednesday, January 29 at 11am 
Asolo Rep's Cook Theatre

Asolo Rep’s Dramaturg and Literary Manager Lauryn Sasso will lead this special, in-depth discussion featuring director Frank Galati and other creative artists from the production. Come get a unique perspective on the making of Asolo Rep’s PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! Tickets for this insightful behind-the-scenes event are $5 for the general public and free for Asolo Rep donors and Guild members and are available at Asolo Rep's Box Office or at

Discussion Series: Connecting Great Artists to Great Audiences
Tuesday Talkbacks: Share an intimate discussion on the themes of the play following Tuesday night performances.

  • Feburary 4 and March 25 following the 7:30pm performance

Meet the Actors: After select Sunday matinee performances, join the cast for a special moderated talkback.

  • February 9, March 16 following the 2pm performance

Pre-Show Conversations: A half hour before select performances, speak with Asolo Rep artists and staff to gain insight into the play’s development and explore its themes.

  • Thursday, February 13 at 7:30pm prior to 8pm performance
Story Circles: Before and after select performances of PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! we will gather to share personal stories of immigration and searching for home. If you have a story to share, or would like to hear stories from others, please join the conversation. Your thoughts could inform this year’s Faces of Change, a documentary-style theatre piece exploring immigrant experiences in our community.
  • Saturday, January 25 following the 2pm performance
  • Wednesday, January 29 at 7pm prior to 8pm performance

SELECTED ARTIST BIOS (In Alphabetical Order)
BERNARD BALBOT* (Private Gar) returns to Asolo Rep after appearing in Frank Galati’s production of 1776 last season, which recently closed its run at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Previous Chicago credits include productions with Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Writers’ Theatre, American Theater Company, and Drury Lane. Regional credits include multiple collaborations with Utah Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, and Hangar Theatre. Film: Warrior and She’s Out of My League. Training: Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama and Moscow Art Theater School.

CHRISTIAN CONN* (Public Gar) Theater credits include Desire Under the Elms (Broadway); Tiny Dynamite (59E59); Other Desert Cities (Guthrie Theater); Venus in Fur (Studio Theatre); The Liar, The Beaux’ Stratagem, Love’s Labor’s Lost (Shakespeare Theatre); Angels in America, All My Sons (Playmakers Rep); The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Bug, King Lear (Syracuse Stage); Playboy of the Western World (Hangar Theatre). Christian’s also played five seasons with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, three seasons with the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and one season with The Acting Company. BFA, Rutgers University.

FRANK GALATI (Director) is a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. Over the years, he has received nine Joseph Jefferson Awards for his work in Chicago theater: one for acting, five for directing and three for writing. He directed last season’s acclaimed production of 1776, which went on to open this season at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He has also directed My Fair Lady, and the award-winning Twelve Angry Men (Asolo Rep). He was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2012 for his adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s Civil War novel The March, which he directed at Steppenwolf in Chicago. In 2011 he directed Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor (Stratford Festival, Ontario). He won two Tony Awards in 1990 for his adaptation and direction of The Grapes of Wrath (Broadway), and was nominated again in 1998 for directing the musical Ragtime. He has staged operas for Chicago Opera Theater, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 1989, Mr. Galati was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay (with Lawrence Kasdan) of The Accidental Tourist. In 2000 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Professor emeritus in the department of performance studies at Northwestern University.


Tickets for PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! and the entire 2013-14 Asolo Repertory Theatre season are on sale now. Tickets for PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! start at $21.To purchase tickets, call 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, visit, or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office, located in the lobby of the theatre. Asolo Repertory Theatre is located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts. Box office hours are Monday 10am – 4pm, Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 8pm, and Sunday 10am – 2pm. The box office closes at 5pm when there are no evening performances and phone lines close one hour prior to the start of any performance. Season subscription packages are also available online and by visiting or calling the box office. 


Asolo Rep is able to bring PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! to the stage thanks to the generosity of its sponsors. Corporate sponsors are BB&T, Sarasota Bay Club, Plumbing Today, and ABC 7. Asolo Rep’s season sponsors are Florida State University, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Designing Women Boutique, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and The Woman’s Exchange, Inc. Asolo Rep’s artistic programs are paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues. Asolo Rep is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. 

Media Contact:

Sasha Fields
Public Relations Manager
941-351-9010 ext. 4800
Copyright © 2019 Asolo Repertory Theatre, All rights reserved.

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