Arthur Miller’s rarely seen “Driving Down Mt. Morgan to take Oldcastle stage

To help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of playwright Arthur Miller, Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington Vermont has scheduled a large scale production of one of his later and most controversial plays, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan beginning on October 7, 2016.

Martin Gottfried, Miller’s biographer, described it as the best of Arthur Miller’s later works. In the play we meet Lyman Felt, who is in his fifties, and a poet turned insurance tycoon. Driving down Mt. Morgan in the snow, he crashes his car and is taken to an upstate hospital. Summoned to his bedside are his daughter and his two wives: Theo, the older WASP-ish woman whom he married decades earlier; and Leah, the young Jewish businesswoman who had been Lyman’s lover and insisted on becoming his wife. Now Lyman’s past – and his appetites – have caught up with him. Miller’s Lyman is a brilliant creation—a man who simply thinks he should have everything. “Miller is writing with all the vigor and agility of the commercial theater at its most irresistible”, noted the Sunday Times of London.

Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson, directs. “This is a bravura play by a great writer at the height of his powers. It will upset some theatregoers, entrance others and make for passionate, perhaps even heated discussions following performances. Lyman Felt will be admired, and hated but I dare say no one will be neutral about him. This is a mountain of a man and a thrilling challenge and we are blessed to have Nigel Gore in the role.” Peterson notes that “Nigel was brilliant in our production of “The Lion in Winter” last season and has been thrilling audiences at Shakespeare and Company and around the world for years. The audience is in for a treat as he matches wits with Katrina Ferguson and Hannah Heller, two talented actresses who are capable of standing toe to toe with him in marital combat.”

Gore is recently back from China where he was acting in Tina Packer’s Women of Will. He was seen in Sense and Sensibility and A Doll’s House in New York this year. He won the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actor playing George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in Boston. He has acted in London, Prague, and in Shakespeare Festivals throughout the United States. Gore is a native of England.

Australian-born Katrina Ferguson has played several roles with Oldcastle including Josie in A Moon for the Misbegotten, the premiere of John Morogiello’s Engaging Shaw, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, David Budbill’s, Judevine and Peterson’s adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities. Recently she appeared in the U.S. premiere of Calendar Girls at the Ivoryton Playwhouse. Ms. Ferguson has appeared with the National Shakespeare Company, the Dorset Theatre Festival, New Jersey Rep and the Bickford Theatre.

Hannah Heller first appeared with Oldcastle in 4000 Miles. She has danced with Gregaory Hines and Savion Glover, clowned with Bill Irwin and acted on stage, television and in films.  She appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in “The World is Round”. She is a graduate of New York University.

Oldcastle’s Richard Howe plays Lyman’s attorney. His many appearances with OTC range from musicals such as Big River and Cabaret to dramas such as Jundevine and The Glass Menagerie to comedies including Bedroom Farce and Almost, Maine. He designed the set this season for The Consul, the Tramp & America’s Sweetheart.

Cheryl Howard last appeared with Oldcastle in the Carleton Carpenter musical, Northern Boulevard. She starred on Broadway in Dance a Little Closer and off-Broadway as Zora. She has toured in her critically acclaimed one woman show The Sensational Josephine Baker.

Ana Anderson plays Lyman’s daughter, Bessie. Ms. Anderson was in last season Black Comedy and appeared in the Oldcastle Actors’ Express production of The Ugly Duckling. She has recently moved to New York City to pursue her acting career.

New York Newsday summed The Ride Down Mt. Morgan in these words: “Everyone is vulgar and hilarious, selfish and giving, ridiculous and quite grand in this generous play about the tragic and wondrous unknowability of the human creature.”

The play opens Friday October 7, 2016 with a reception following the performance when the audience can meet the actors. Wednesday October 12 is a Buy One Get One Free performance. It runs through October 23. For tickets or information visit the company’s website: www.oldcastletheatre.org or call 802-447-0564.

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