The Shoplifters

by Morris Panych
directed by Morris Panych
originally produced at Arena Stage, Washington, DC.
September 5, 2014 through October 19, 2014

About the Premiere Production:

Meet Alma — a career shoplifter who prefers the “five-finger discount” over some lousy senior citizen deal. When her life of petty crime is halted by an overzealous rookie security guard and his ambivalent mentor, she risks losing her freedom, her resolve and maybe even the steak she has stuffed in her pants. Tony-nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Broadway’s Romeo and Juliet, Follies) leads an expertly drawn cast of oddball characters in this biting, world-premiere comedy about society’s haves and have-nots and how much they might actually have in common.

Artistic Statement

I have a special love for artists from Canada. A number have graced our stages over the past 10 seasons, from Benedict Campbell in My Fair Lady to John Murrell's Faraway Nearby to Michel Tremblay's For the Pleasure of Seeing her Again to Ken MacDonald as the scenic and costume designer for The Shoplifters. I love to experience the North in the American vision of our mandate through superb artists from Canada. At Arena Stage, we focus on new work and the playwright's voice. Morris's strength as an artist is the discovery of universal truths in the ridiculous, and he comes to us at the right time with a ripe idea. His characters and use of comedy have established him as one of Canada's leading writers. His triple-threat abilities as a writer, director and performer have set him apart as an artist for decades. In the case of The Shoplifters, Morris investigates the aisles of a grocery store and the people who occupy them. Sometimes the ethical line between right and wrong gets a little smudged. This show pertains to the shoplifter and the security guard in each of us. This is for anyone who has ever thought about stealing from the corporate man.

Director: Morris Panych
Set Design: Ken MacDonald
Lighting Design: Nancy Schertler
Sound Design: David Van Tieghem
Costume Design: Ken MacDonald
Additional creative team: Jocelyn Clarke (Dramaturg), Pat Cochran (Assistant Stage Manager), Mic Coughlan (Overhire Carpenter), Scott Folsom (Light Board Operator), Chuck Fox (Properties Director), Zachary Fullenkamp (Overhire Carpenter), Kurt Hall (Stage Manager), Alice Hawfield (Wardrobe Supervisor), Adam W. Johnson (Sound Engineer), Geoff Josselson, CSA (New York Casting), Martha Knight (Stage Manager), Christopher V. Lewton (Master Electrician), Fatimah Mateen (Stage Management Fellow), Ryan Maxwell (Literary Assistant), David Ramsey (Overhire Carpenter), Brandon Rosen (Assistant to the Lighting Designer), Joseph P. Salasovich (Costume Director), Scott Schreck (Technical Director), T. Tyler Stumpf (Costume Shop Manager), Timothy M. Thompson (Sound Director), Justin Titley (Props), Cliff Williams, III (Fight Director)
Cast: Jayne Houdyshell, Michael Russotto, Jenna Sokolowski, Adi Stein, Delaney Williams

Additional Funders:

Beth Newburger Schwartz & Richard Schwartz

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