Private Lives | 2016-2017 Season

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Private Lives

Mar 21 – Apr 16

Written by Noël Coward
Directed by Mark Cuddy
Scenic Design by Nicholas Dorr
Costume Design by Gregory Gale
Lighting Design by Derek Madonia
Sound Design by Dan Roach
Fight Choreography by David Leong
Dramaturgy by Jenni Werner
Stage Manager Jenn Lyons

Elyot and Amanda have been divorced from each other for five years, so imagine their surprise when, whilst honeymooning on the French Riviera with their new spouses, they find themselves in adjacent suites. Sparks fly, reigniting a passion between them too powerful to fight (although fighting is the thing that they do best) in Noël Coward’s 1930 champagne cocktail of a comedy about the fine line between love and loathing.



Recommended for ages 14 and up

Run time: 2 hours and 25 minutes (including intermission)

Don't miss "Prologue" an hour before all performances (except for 8:00 PM on 3/25/2017 when it is abbreviated and at 7:30)

Godot's Bar and the Geva Kitchen will be open two hours prior to every performance.  Click to see the menu and drink offerings.


Victor Prynne

BILL CHRIST is very pleased to be making his Geva Theatre Center debut. Broadway credits include Born Yesterday, The Miracle Worker, Inherit the Wind and Search and Destroy. Off-Broadway credits include The Age of Iron and The Seagull (Classic Stage Company) and Richard II (Pearl Theatre Company). Regional credits include Romeo and Juliet, An Opening in Time and Cymbeline (Hartford Stage); Nixon in Frost/Nixon and Othello (Portland Center Stage); His Girl Friday (La Jolla Playhouse); Coriolanus, Othello, Arms and the Man, The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); over twenty productions at the Denver Center, including title roles in Cyrano de Bergerac and Oedipus Rex; Dinner with Friends and Heartbreak House (Alliance Theatre); Love and Anger (Wilma Theatre); Lennie in Of Mice and Men (George Street Playhouse); Private Lives (Portland Stage Company). Film and television credits include Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Laramie Project, “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: CI.” Mr. Christ studied at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts with William Esper and is a member of The Actors Center in New York.


Sybil Chase

JENNY LEONA is thrilled to be making her Geva Theatre Center debut.  Other regional credits include Frankenstein (The Denver Center), And a Nightingale Sang (Westport Country Playhouse), Our Town (Long Wharf Theatre), The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare Theatre Company) and The Underpants (Long Wharf Theatre/Hartford Stage).  New York credits include The Beekeeper’s Daughter (Theatre for the New City) and Fire.Water.Night (La Mama).  Film and television credits include The Breatharians (Big Beach Films), “Unforgettable” (A&E) and Cleaver’s Destiny (Dagger Charge Films). Ms. Leona received her B.F.A. from The Juilliard School. Love and thanks to BSA.


Elyot Chase

DAVID MACDONALD makes his Geva Theatre Center debut in Private Lives. Broadway credits include Skylight, Rocky, Mamma Mia!, Coram Boy and Two Shakespearean Actors. National tour credits include An Inspector Calls (Jeff Award Nom. Chicago). Most recent appearances include Stoppard’s latest – The Hard Problem at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC; seven seasons with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, including Falstaff in 2015’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and Charles Kean in 2016’s Red Velvet. He has developed world and American premieres by Theresa Rebeck, Lucinda Coxon, and Emily Mann at the Alley Theatre, Yale Rep, and McCarter Theatre Center, respectively. Other regional credits include The Old Globe, Wilma Theatre, Hartford Stage, Cleveland Play House, Arizona Theatre Company (with Monette Magrath in The Great Gatsby), Syracuse Stage, Cape Playhouse, North Shore Music Theater, etc. His TV credits include “Elementary,” “Person of Interest,” “The Blacklist,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Sex and the City” and ten years as Prince Edmund Winslow on “Guiding Light.” Mr. Macdonald is a graduate of The Juilliard School.


Amanda Prynne

MONETTE MAGRATH makes her Geva Theatre Center debut in Private Lives. Broadway credits include All the Way with Bryan Cranston. Off-Broadway credits include On the Verge (Attic Theatre Company). Recent regional credits include Sex With Strangers (Cleveland Play House); Disgraced (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Stick Fly (East Coast Premiere-McCarter Theatre Center); Book of Days (Arena Stage); the World Premiere of Silent Sky (South Coast Rep); the World Premiere of The Night is a Child (Milwaukee Rep); The Great Gatsby and Enchanted April (Arizona Theatre Company); The Ice-Breaker (Rolling World Premiere) and The Laramie Project (Laguna Playhouse); Desire Under the Elms (A Noise Within); Mauritius, Private Lives, Enchanted April, The Constant Wife, As You Like It and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Pasadena Playhouse). Recent Television includes “Weeds” (recurring) and “The Young and the Restless.” Film credits include Miss Dial, Jake’s Closet, Looking for Mr. Miyagi and The Other Sister. Say hi @missmonettenyc



ALEXIS RUSSO made her Geva Theatre debut earlier this season in A Christmas Carol. She graduated from The College at Brockport last May with a major in dance and a minor in theatre. Some of her recent theatre experience include the portrayal of the roles Catherine Simms in The Foreigner and Karen in Dinner with Friends. She has also been performing as a dancer and singer in The Popshow Band, which originated in Rochester, since 2012. Ms. Russo would like to thank her family for their constant support, and would also like to thank those in the theatre who mentored her this fall.



NOËL PEIRCE COWARD was born in 1899 and made his professional stage debut as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish at the age of 12, leading to many child actor appearances over the next few years. His breakthrough in playwriting was the controversial The Vortex (1924) which featured themes of drugs and adultery and made his name as both actor and playwright in the West End and on Broadway. During the frenzied 1920s and the more sedate 1930s, Coward wrote a string of successful plays, musicals and intimate revues including Fallen Angels (1925), Hay Fever (1925), Easy Virtue (1926), This Year of Grace (1928), and Bitter Sweet (1929). His professional partnership with childhood friend Gertrude Lawrence, started with Private Lives (1931), and continued with Tonight at 8.30 (1936). During World War II, he remained a successful playwright, screenwriter and director, as well as entertaining the troops and even acting as an unofficial spy for the Foreign Office. His plays during these years included Blithe Spirit which ran for 1997 performances, outlasting the War (a West End record until The Mousetrap overtook it), This Happy Breed and Present Laughter (both 1943). His two wartime screenplays, In Which We Serve, which he co-directed with the young David Lean, and Brief Encounter quickly became classics of British cinema. However, the post-war years were more difficult. Austerity Britain – the London critics determined – was out of tune with the brittle Coward wit. In response, Coward re-invented himself as a cabaret and TV star, particularly in America, and in 1955 he played a sell-out season in Las Vegas featuring many of his most famous songs, including “Mad About the Boy,” “I’ll See You Again” and “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” In the mid-1950s he settled in Jamaica and Switzerland, and enjoyed a renaissance in the early 1960s becoming the first living playwright to be performed by the National Theatre, when he directed Hay Fever there. Late in his career he was lauded for his roles in a number of films including Our Man in Havana (1959) and his role as the iconic Mr. Bridger alongside Michael Caine in The Italian Job (1968). Writer, actor, director, film producer, painter, songwriter, cabaret artist as well as an author of a novel, verse, essays and autobiographies, he was called by close friends ‘The Master’. His final West End appearance was Song at Twilight in 1966, which he wrote and starred in. He was knighted in 1970 and died peacefully in 1973 in his beloved Jamaica.



MARK CUDDY is in his twenty-second season as Artistic Director of Geva Theatre Center. This season, in addition to Private Lives, he directed Sylvia and A Christmas Carol.  Last season, he directed To Kill a Mockingbird, Good People, A Christmas Carol and the world premiere of The Road to Where. Mr. Cuddy is well known for his staging of premieres, contemporary comedies and musical theatre. Among his Geva Theatre Center productions have been Clybourne Park, Pump Boys and Dinettes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, You Can’t Take It With You, Company, Superior Donuts, The Music ManFive Course Love, Fences, Sweeney Todd, A Christmas Story, Pride and Prejudice (which he also co-adapted), Bad Dates, Our Town, Tuesdays With Morrie, Urinetown, Splitting Infinity, Vigil, A Chorus Line, Hamlet, That Was Then (American premiere), Convenience (world premiere musical); 1776, Proof; the world premiere of Thornton Wilder’s Theophilus North which was also seen at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., The Miser, the East Coast premieres of both House and Garden, Quilters, Art, Famous Orpheus (world premiere musical) with Garth Fagan Dance, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor with the RPO, Golf With Alan Shepard, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and State of the Union. Prior to his tenure at Geva Theatre Center, Mr. Cuddy directed a number of world and American classics while Artistic Director of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Sacramento Theatre Company.


Scenic Design

NICHOLAS DORR makes his Geva Theatre Center debut with Private Lives. He has enjoyed a long career as a designer, performer and director. Among the over 200 productions he’s designed for the theatre, favorites include Heartbreak House and The Mystery of Irma Vep for the Sacramento Theatre Co., Three Sisters at the Actors Conservatory Ensemble, The Unified Field at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, The Birds and Electra at the Greek Theatre of New York and Hamlet at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Recent productions include A Most Dangerous Woman at New Jersey Shakespeare, The Cunning Little Vixen for the New England Conservatory and Anything Goes for the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. He is the recipient of numerous awards for this stage designs including 6 Dramalogue Awards, the LA Weekly Award and the Ovation Award for his production of West Side Story at the Civic Light Opera of L.A. Among his film credits: My Girl, Ruby, Albino Alligator and Life as a House. He currently resides on Cape Cod where he’s designed Steel Pier at the Cape Rep, References to Salvador Dali at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre and has served as the Resident Designer at the Cape Playhouse.


Costume Design


Lighting Design

DEREK MADONIA has designed numerous shows at Geva Theatre Center including Mother (and me), Miracle on South Division Street, the world premiere of The Road to Where, The Mountaintop, Stranded on Earth, Freud’s Last Session, The Tribute to Sir Elton John and Billy Joel, Perfect Wedding, Underneath the Lintel, Evie’s Waltz, The Underpants, Shear Madness, That was Then, All is Well in the Kingdom of Nice, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, Meet Me Incognito, Tomato Plant Girl, the Portrait the Wind the Chair, This is Not a Pipe Dream and Women Who Steal. He received his B.A. from the University at Albany. Mr. Madonia came to Geva in 1992 as a lighting apprentice and he is currently in his 23rd season as Lighting Supervisor. He would like to thank his family and his talented band of electricians for all their help and support.


Sound Design

DAN ROACH has, since 1988, worked on sound for numerous productions at Geva Theatre Center, NTID’s Theatre for the Deaf, SUNY Brockport, and Keuka College. Most recent productions at Geva include To Kill a Mockingbird, Miracle on South Division Street; Red; The Mountaintop; Katherine’s Colored Lieutenant; The Odd Couple; Stranded on Earth; Last Gas; The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs; Freud’s Last Session; You Can’t Take It With You; Perfect Wedding; On Golden Pond; Over the Tavern; Almost, Maine; Dracula; the Shape of Evil with PUSH Physical Theatre; Evie’s Waltz; Dial M for Murder; The Underpants; Nine Parts of Desire; Doubt and A Christmas Story. He studied sound at Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been applying that knowledge to theatre over the past 26 years. He is a resident of Brighton where he lives with his beautiful wife Jing.


Fight Choreographer

DAVID S. LEONG made his Geva Theatre Center debut in 2012 with Superior Donuts. He has choreographed fights for many Broadway productions including Fool for Love, Billy Elliott the Musical, Amazing Grace the Musical, A Time to Kill, Carousel, The Civil War, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, King Hedley II, The Rainmaker, Macbeth, and Hamlet. London productions include the West End musical Napoleon, and Jitney at the National Theatre of Great Britain. Mr. Leong’s work has been seen on the stages of nearly every major regional theatre in the United States including Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, ART, ACT, Seattle Rep, Goodman Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum, and the Guthrie Theatre. Mr. Leong is Chairman and Producing Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Theatre.


Literary Director/Resident Dramaturg

JENNI WERNER is in her sixth season at Geva Theatre Center. She has served as dramaturg on seventeen productions at Geva include world premieres by Molly Smith Metzler, Wendy MacLeod, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Lora Cole and Cass Morgan.  Previously, she served as the Director of Programming at Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the non-profit theatre field.  From 2005-2011, Ms. Werner produced TCG’s annual National Conference, curating the content and organizing the logistics for the largest national gathering of professionals in the non-profit theatre field.  For six years, she was adjunct instructor in the Program in Educational Theatre at New York University, and is now an adjunct instructor in the English Department at RIT. She sits on the board of ImageOut.  Ms. Werner has an M.F.A. in dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a B.A. in theatre and history from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.


Stage Manager

JENN LYONS is a Rochester native happy to be working at Geva. Previous shows at Geva include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Miracle on South Division Street, Red, The Mountaintop, Little Shop of Horrors, The Odd Couple and Clybourne Park.  National Tours include Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella (starring Eartha Kitt), Showboat and The Who’s Tommy. New York credits include work at Roundabout Theatre and Circle Repertory Theater as well as the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid.  Her two favorite productions are Maddie and Jack.

Elissa Myers Casting, Paul Fouquet, CSA


ELISSA MYERS CASTING, Paul Fouquet, CSA, a Rochester native, is honored to be recognized as a Geva Affiliate Artist. This marks the 19th year of Myers’ and Fouquet’s collaboration with Geva Theatre Center. Casting credits include “Poisoner’s Handbook,” “Becoming Helen Keller,” and the mini-series “Mystery of Matter” for PBS. Other PBS projects include “The Abolitionists,” “Dolly Madison,” “Alexander Hamilton,” “John and Abigail Adams,” “Benjamin Franklin” (Emmy Award), “Liberty” (Peabody Award), “God in America,” “People vs. Leo Frank,” “Louisa May Alcott,” as well as PBS “Great Performances” (Artios Award in “Outstanding Achievement in Casting”) and most recently “Murder Of A President” for American Experience. Additionally three “Movies of the Week,” as well as five pilots. Feature films include Hank and Asha (Audience Award at Slamdance 2013 and five other festival awards), and The Union. Theatre includes seven Broadway shows, including Tony-nominated Having Our Say, as well as 26 Off-Broadway shows. Regional theatre casting in the past two years includes Denver Center, Geva Theatre Center, Cleveland Play House, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Magic Theatre, Arena Stage, Alley Theatre, George Street Playhouse, and Arizona Theatre Company. The office has so far received 16 nominations and has won three Artios Awards for “Outstanding Achievement in Casting.”