Professional Nonprofit Theater on Martha's Vineyard
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24 Church Street, Box 2452, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 | 508-696-6300

The Whaleship Essex

Patricia Neal Stage
Written by Joe Forbrich
Directed by Peter Zinn
Based on a true story
World Premiere
Stage Manager: Christine Lomaka
Lighting Design: Jeffrey E. Salzberg
Set Design: Todd Edward Ivins
Sound Design: Kyle Kotarski
Costume Design: Jonathan Knipscher
Starring: Jarrod Allan, Luke Bailey, Scott Barrow, Wallace Bullock, Joe Carter, Daniel Cuff, D'Arcy Dersham, Steve Dunayer, Brian Keane, Sean McGuirk, Christopher Patrick Mullen, Adam Petkus, Dylan Riley-MacArthur, Rob Karma Robinson and Peter Stray
The Essex and its crew met with tragedy on November 20, 1820 when it was sunk by an enraged sperm whale in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Based on first-hand accounts, “The Whaleship Essex” is an epic, ensemble tale of survival. Infused with authentic sea shanties, “The Whaleship Essex” revels in the common language shared by both the theatrical and the nautical worlds.

Joe Forbrich

Joe began his association with the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse as the flight instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen in the Ricardo Khan/Trey Ellis play, FLY. He appeared most recently on the stage in LUCKY GUY on Broadway, and in ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL/MEASURE FOR MEASURE at New York Shakespeare Festival. His TV work includes White Collar, 30 Rock, Blue Bloods, Law & Order; and on film in Freedomland, We Own The Night, My Own Love Song, and in the upcoming films The Red Robin and Hypothetically (directed by Peter Zinn). As an actor, writer, set designer, sailor and boat builder, Joe has combined his passion for the common language of both the nautical and the theatrical worlds to create THE WHALESHIP ESSEX. He dedicates this play to his friend and English teacher, Bill Reynolds.

Peter Zinn (Director)

Off-Broadway: RUMSPRINGA (The Bleecker Street Theater), THE RUNNER STUMBLES (The Arclight Theatre). Other New York directing credits include A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG (Workshop Theater), HOLY DAYS, BENEFACTORS (2011 NYIT Award nomination for Outstanding Production), and WOMEN AND WAR (The Spoon Theater), SO LONG LIVES THIS (American Globe Theatre), REIKE ON THE PLAINS, ALWAYS, OVERNIGHT, FOUND, NUMBERS, and IT'S TIME (HB Playwrights Theatre). Also, SMILE: A COUNTRY ROCK MUSICAL at The Deane Center for Performing Arts in Wellsboro, PA. He serves as artistic director for the Bleecker Company new play series which has included performances by Anne Meara, Rosie Perez, Mario Cantone, Ralph Macchio, Chip Zien, and others. As an actor, he's performed with Steppenwolf Theatre, The Goodman Theater, The Geffen Theater, The Milwaukee Rep, and The Central School of Speech and Drama.

Jarrod Allan (Owen Coffin)

Jarrod is a recent graduate of Atlantic Acting School and a soon to be graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts BFA Drama program. He has played Silvius in AS YOU LIKE IT, Ernst in SPRING AWAKENING: THE MUSICAL, and Daniel / Lendall in ALMOST, MAINE; all at Atlantic. He is also the Executive Director of the newly formed Joust Theater Company and played Vertumnus in their inaugural production of Mary Zimmerman’s METAMORPHOSES. This is Jarrod’s professional debut.

Luke Bailey (2nd Mate Matthew Joy)

In his youth Luke performed in many Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse productions, including Thrik Bok-Bop Ching in THE SNOW QUEEN. He was last seen as Don Jon in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at Georgetown University. He is thrilled to be back on the stage.

Scott Barrow* (Boatswain Obed Henricks / Fight Choreographer)

A proud Playhouse Artistic Associate, Scott has worked here as an actor (RETREAT FROM MOSCOW, PROOF, OUR TOWN, MUCH ADO, 12TH NIGHT), as a director (this summer's 3 MUSKETEERS, HENRY 4), and a writer (OUTCASTS; THE LEPERS OF PENIKESE ISLAND). Scott is a founding member of Shakespeare for the Masses, a frequent Fabulist, and often Professor Projector. Elsewhere: with Tectonic Theatre Project 33VARIATIONS (starring Jane Fonda), THE LARAMIE PROJECT CYCLE, SQUARE PEG; New York Theatre Workshop, Arena Stage, The Arden, Arkansas Repertory, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Hartford Stage, The Wilma, The Mint, Nevada Shakespeare, DC's Studio Theatre, New Repertory, The Geva, The Olney, the Metropolitan Playhouse, Portland Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, New Jersey Shakespeare, Urban Stages, and Trinity Rep among others. MFA Brandeis University. He is Emmett's dad.

Wallace Bullock (Purser William Bond / The Porter)

A writer, teacher, actor, and historical dramatist, presently Wallace has a one man show entitled A TASTE OF JFK, MALCOLM X, AND ADAM CLAYTON POWELL. Wallace has performed the show in many theaters across the United States and Europe. Wallace first performed the show at the African Americans in Europe conference in Paris France in 1992. Wallace has also performed the show at Yale University. Wallace has also performed in Playhouse summer productions of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, A TWELFTH NIGHT, and AS YOU LIKE IT during the 1980’s. Wallace is a retired high school English teacher, where he taught AP English and directed school productions. He directed productions such as GUYS AND DOLLS, GYPSY, ANNIE, PAJAMA GAME, ROMEO AND JULIET AND HARVEY. Wallace holds a BA in psychology, from Widener University and an MA in English Literature from Brooklyn College of CUNY.

Joseph Carter (Richard Peterson)

Joe's role as Peterson is his acting debut. His introduction to the stage was nearly one year ago, when he played the same role in the Monday Night Special reading of THE WHALESHIP ESSEX . He is retired from government public service, having served over 30 years in law enforcement and over 38 years in the Army National Guard. He resides in Oak Bluffs, MA, with his wife, Rae, who is also retired after a career as a public school elementary ELL teacher. They have been married 32 years and have a daughter, Emily, who lives and works in Madison, WI.

Daniel Cuff (Benjamin Lawrence)

Daniel was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard in Oak Bluffs where he graduated from MVRHS in 2009. He then moved on to graduate the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013 where he studied psychology and theatre as well as performing in many productions including SUITORS, FOOL FOR LOVE, THE BALTIMORE WALTZ, DEATH OF A SALESMAN and ALMOST, MAINE. Daniel recently finished performing in THE BRINK OF US, a new play debuted in Brooklyn. He’s delighted to be returning to the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse for the first time since his stage debut as Clay-Boy Spencer in THE HOMECOMING in 2007.

D’Arcy Dersham* (Nancy / The Woman)

D'Arcy is thrilled to return to the Playhouse after a fifteen-year hiatus. Last seen here in HOTLINE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, IRENE’S RIFF, and THE SNOW QUEEN, she has gone on to work at Portland Stage (THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG),Trinity Rep (SOCIAL CREATURES, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, THE SYRINGA TREE, ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR), WHAT (BODY AWARENESS, NEIGHBORHOOD 3: REQUISITION OF DOOM), The Gamm (THE GRAPES OF WRATH), ETC (A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY, AMADEUS, KING STAG), Perishable Theatre (1:23, FALLING UP, LAZARUS DISPOSED), and Bridge Rep (THE LIBERTINE). MFA, Trinity Rep Conservatory. Proud member of AEA since 2002.

Steve Dunayer (Boatswain Isaac Cole)

Steve first appeared on the Playhouse stage as the nursery chimney in CHRISTMAS FOR JENNY when he was 10 years old. He is honored to return as a member of THE WHALESHIP ESSEX cast. In New York he was a member of Michael Imperioli's Studio Dante and appeared in productions of THE WATER ENGINE, SUBURBIA, and THE WHALESHIP ESSEX developmental showcase. A graduate of the Boston University School of Theatre where he studied acting and playwriting. Recently he produced and directed the short film The Accident written by Ronan Noone, starring Mary McCann and Andrew Rothenberg. Thanks to MJ, Pete, Joe, Jen, and Judy. Love to Mom and my Jen. For all the loved ones we've lost on land and at sea.

Brian Keane* (Capt. George Pollard / Night Watchman)

Brian appeared most recently in the North American tour of WAR HORSE. His New York theatre credits include: TIMON OF ATHENS (The Public Theatre), Lucinda Coxon's HAPPY NOW? (Primary Stages), CYRANO DE BERGERAC (directed by Frank Langella) and All My Sons (both at Roundabout Theatre Company), THE MISANTHROPE (Classic Stage Company), and SIDEMAN (Naked Angels). Regionally; A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Guthrie Theatre), THE WINTER'S TALE and HAPPY NOW? (Yale Rep), BOOK OF DAYS (Arena Stage), HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Baltimore Centerstage). Television and Film include; The Good Wife, Person of Interest, Lights Out, all three Law & Order series, Queens Supreme, All My Children, Downsized, Hustling, Urbania, Going Under, BearCity and BearCity 2.

Sean McGuirk* (The Proprietor)

Sean is thrilled to join the company & crew of the Essex! This past holiday season, he played Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL for the Theater Workshop of Nantucket & returns in August to portray Mark Rothko in RED. Other highlights include A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE (IRNE award), A FEW GOOD MEN with Lou Diamond Philips, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING on the Boston Commons and opening this July, his original show, THE ROY ORBISON EXPERIENCE, for the Texas Family Musicals. He dedicates this performance to the Corcoran Playground Writers. Love to Marsha, who was a singing waitress at the Seafood Shanty when they met here 38 years ago!

Christopher Patrick Mullen* (1st Mate Owen Chase / The Man)

Mr. Mullen is a graduate of DeSales University, and a member of Retro Productions and The Peopleʼs Light & Theatre Company. Credits include: WEST SIDE STORY (1st National Tour), THE RUNNER STUMBLES (Off Broadway); A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, CANDIDE, ASSASSINS (Arden Theatre Co); WHEN YOU COMIN’ BACK RED RYDER (Retro Productions); TWO GENTS, MIDSUMMER, HAMLET (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre); HENRY VIII, KING LEAR, DRACULA..., IRMA VEP, AS YOU LIKE IT, HAMLET, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, TWELFTH NIGHT, CHARLIEʼS AUNT (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival); THE PAVILION (Chester Theatre); AMADEUS (Hedgerow Theatre); CINDERELLA, WINTERʼS TALE, MR HART & MR BROWN, KING LEAR, THE TEMPEST, THE CRUCIBLE, TWELFTH NIGHT (Peopleʼs Light); Guest appearances on Law & Order.

Adam Petkus (Charles Ramsdell)

Adam is a native of Martha's Vineyard, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Theater Department and an experienced playhouse player, having acted in many Playhouse shows including the role of Oberon in MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Adam feels blessed to be a part of a show with so much local historical resonance.

Rob Karma Robinson* (Carpenter Lawson Thomas)

Rob is a Brooklyn/Houston native. He received his BFA from the University of Evansville , and then an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory. Since moving back to New York some of his credits include THE BLOWIN OF BAILE GALL by Boston playwright Ronan Noone at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse and was actually Rob's professional debut. As well as world premier EXPEDITION SIX, (written/dir. Bill Pullman) at the Kennedy Center, and two off off Broadway premiers, PROMISED TOMORROW TODAY, and HA! HA! written by Lawrence Dial of the Labrats and debuted in the Downtown Urban Theater Festival last year. Some of his most recent work has been with such up an coming theater companies as Amios, as well as Red Shirt Entertainment a subsidiary of the Walhberg entertainment group. He also played Tom Robinson in MRT's national tour of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for the 50th anniversary of the book. He is honored to inaugurate this new theater, and new season, with this new work. He is glad to be working to live rather than living to work as so many are in these trying days! One love.

Dylan Riley-MacArthur (Thomas Nickerson)

Dylan is so grateful to be here with an excellent cast, crew, and artistic team. Work elsewhere includes: Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, and the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Thanks, as always, to Mom and Dad for their constant love and support, and for schlepping up and down the east coast to watch me do my thing. Training: NYU - Atlantic Acting School and RADA in London.

Peter Stray* (Boatsteerer Thomas Chappel)

Film/ TV includes: Lost (ABC), Deadly Honeymoon (Lifetime), Mystery Of Matter (PBS) Theatre includes: Tennessee Williams in TENNESSEE WILLIAMS ORIGINAL ACTS, Michael Wells in TWO ROOMS, Benedict in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, (Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse), Valentine in ARCADIA (Folger Theatre), Hugh in TRICKS OF YOUTH (Globe, London), Southampton in THE ENGLISH CHANNEL (The Beckett Theatre, dir Robert Brustein) Mardian in ANTONY & CLEOPATRA, Cinna The Poet in JULIUS CAESAR (Shakespeare Theatre) Antipholus of Ephesus /Syracuse in COMEDY OF ERRORS (Rosemary Branch Theatre, London-Time Out Critic’s Choice) Screenwriter: Created Sleep Transmissions, Canaries (prepping to shoot Jan 2015) His acclaimed series 'Secludio' is at secludio.com Training: Central School Of Speech & Drama, London

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