FORT MYERS — Florida Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce the area premiere of "Opus," a gripping new drama by Michael Hollinger. Opening Jan. 8, with discounted previews on Jan 5, 6 & 7, "Opus" focuses on a world famous string quartet during the tense days leading up to their most important performance. It is a play about art and artists that exposes the flesh and blood behind all great art.
"This is one of the finest plays I have read in the past five years," said Producing Artistic Director, Robert Cacioppo, "on top of it being a very compelling story, it is set against the backdrop of some of Beethoven's finest music. The combination will be a very moving and beautiful night at the theatre."
The struggle at the heart of "Opus" can be boiled down simply to “four chairs and five people.” It is a familiar struggle to playwright, Michael Hollinger, a former violist, who spent much of his youth training to be a professional musician. Mr. Hollinger used that unbalanced equation to touch off what becomes 90 uninterrupted minutes of tense drama and intimate character study.
The ensemble cast of "Opus" features five actors with extensive bodies of work both at Florida Rep and around the country. In the quartet are Elliott playing 1st violin (Giles Davies), Alan playing 2nd violin (Chris Clavelli), Dorian playing viola (Brendan Powers) and Carl playing Cello (Tom Nowicki). Grace (Rachel Burttram) is the newest member of the quartet, who has been called upon to fill the violist's chair, left vacant by the unexpected and controversial departure of its previous occupant.
Clavelli, Powers and Burttram have each appeared extensively with Florida Rep, and all three were seen in last season’s "Dancing at Lughnasa." Clavelli & Burttram make their first appearance of many this season in "Opus," while Powers takes his final bow after beginning the season with "Boeing-Boeing" and "Dial ‘M’ for Murder." Nowicki and Davies each make their second appearance with Florida Rep in "Opus." Seen in last season’s "Art of Murder," Nowicki has worked extensively in film and television, and appeared in "Opus" with Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in 2008. Mr. Davies, a long-time company member with Cincinnati Shakespeare, is now a Florida-based actor who made his Florida Rep debut earlier this season "Dial ‘M’ for Murder."
Directed by Maureen Heffernan, "Opus" boasts the same creative team that last season brought "Dancing at Lughnasa" to vivid life, a production the Wall Street Journal called “profoundly satisfying," and recently listed as one of its top picks for the 'Best of 2009.'
Heffernan and her team, set designer Ray Recht, lighting designer Matt McCarthy, costume designer Roberta Malcolm and production stage manager Brian Macshka, are not strangers to Florida Rep audiences, and their work is characteristically sympathetic, delicate and critically acclaimed. This creative team, with little variation, can be credited with some of the Rep’s most powerful dramatic work that, in addition to "Dancing at Lughnasa", includes "Doubt," "Rabbit Hole" and last season’s "Shirley Valentine."
"Opus" by Michael Hollinger plays at Florida Rep Jan. 8-24, with discounted previews Jan. 5 at 8 p.m., Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. and Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. Performances are Tues. – Sat. at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Wed., Sun. & selected Saturdays with a special twilight performance at 7 p.m. on Jan. 10.
In addition to the preview performances, Florida Rep is pleased to announce two new special introductory offers to see their work at a discount. On Sat., Jan. 9 at 2 p.m., new groups of 10 or more can take advantage of an introductory rate of just $10 per ticket, and on Sun., Jan. 10 at 7 p.m., audience members under the age of 35 can see the show for $10.
Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre on Bay Street between Jackson & Hendry with free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit the Rep online at www.floridarep.org.