Merrimack Rep in Lowell

See a performance at Merrimack Repertory Theatre.

Lowell, MA – The “bad boys of abridgement” sprint through the world of sports at record-breaking speed in the brand-new championship comedy The Complete World of Sports (abridged), starring the Reduced Shakespeare Company®, written and directed by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, receiving its East Coast Premiere at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, September 9 – October 3, 2010.  After its limited engagement at MRT, the show will begin its national tour of theatres and performing arts centers around the country.  Subscriptions and individual tickets are available online at www.MerrimackRep.org or by calling 978.654.4MRT.

From the earliest cavemen playing “Neanderthal in the Middle” to your own kid’s soccer practice, The Complete World of Sports (abridged) is a marathon of madness and mayhem as the entire history of sports explodes in a tour de farce of physical theatre.  It reduces every sport ever played on every continent in the entire history of the world.  Is Bowling really a sport?  What about Poker or Competitive Eating?  Which is more boring – Baseball or Cricket?  Who invented Curling and Synchronized Swimming and why in the world are they in the Olympics?  The Complete World of Sports (abridged) is a profound piece of theatre for even the most intractable couch potato.  As America’s infatuation with all things athletic continues, The Complete World of Sports (abridged) is a show whose time has come!

The cast of The Complete World of Sports (abridged) features Reduced Shakespeare Company® members Reed Martin, Austin Tichenor and Matt Rippy.  Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor are co-authors of Completely Hollywood (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged) and The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), which have all played at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in past seasons.  Reed Martin appeared in all three of those productions, while Austin Tichenor appeared in Completely Hollywood (abridged) and The Complete History of America (abridged).  Matt Rippy, an RSC member since 1996, makes his Merrimack Rep debut.

“Merrimack Repertory Theatre has had a long and happy relationship with the Reduced Shakespeare Company® and when they told us they were developing a new play with sports as the theme, we found a spot for them right away,” says MRT Artistic Director Charles Towers.  “The RSC has several touring companies now, so it was very important to us to get the original guys – it just makes the show that much better.  By putting Sports in September, we were able to secure Reed, Austin and Matt for MRT’s production – and for MRT’s audience.”

“One of the funniest troupes in American theater today!”  — St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Since its 1981 origins as a pass-the-hat act in California, the Reduced Shakespeare Company® has created seven stage shows, two television specials, several failed TV pilots, and numerous radio pieces – all of which have been performed, seen and heard the world over.  The company’s itinerary has included stops at the White House, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s West End, Seattle Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre and Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival, as well as performances in Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Malta, Belgium, The Netherlands, Singapore and Bermuda – plus countless civic and university venues throughout the USA, Great Britain and Ireland.  The RSC won the prestigious Shorty Award and has been nominated for an Olivier Award in London, two Helen Hayes Awards in Washington, DC, the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, and several podcast awards.  RSC scripts are published in the US and UK, and translated into over a dozen languages.

This production of The Complete World of Sports (abridged) is sponsored by Enterprise Bank, with additional support by the Eagle-Tribune.  Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

CAST BIOS

REED MARTIN (Writer/Director/Performer) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: Completely Hollywood (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged), The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged).  Reed Martin is a graduate of UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, The Bill Kinnamon School of Professional Umpire Training, and Clown College.  He has performed in forty-six states and eleven foreign countries, including New Jersey.  Prior to joining the RSC in 1989, he was a clown with Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus where he spent two years frightening children and smelling of elephants.  He lives in Northern California with his wife and two sons, all three of whom are much funnier than he is.  Reed feels strongly that toilet paper should be fed over the top of the roll.

MATT RIPPY (Actor/Director/Webmaster) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut.  Matt ran away with the Reduced Shakespeare Company back in 1996.  Rippy (he goes by Rippy) has appeared onstage with the Reduced in the West End and (near) Broadway as well as various tours in the US, UK, Middle East, Far East and Jersey. He also did a stint in the UK press office, where he handled PR and made terrible cups of tea.  Rippy acts as the Reduced webmaster and from time to time he acts as a director.  Sometimes he even acts like a real actor in movies: he recently acted like a bad guy in Day of the Dead, like a good guy in Boogeyman 3 and like a normal guy in The Dark Knight.  Rippy knows one day he must act like a grown up, until then he’ll just keep hangin’ out with the Reduced Shakespeare Company.  See more and learn less at www.mattrippy.com.

AUSTIN TICHENOR (Writer/Director/Performer) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: Completely Hollywood (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged).  Austin Tichenor wrote the screenplay All The Other Reindeer with his wife, Tewksbury-native Dee Ryan; Fowl Play (also with Dee, for Disney); and the irreverent reference book Reduced Shakespeare with his other wife Reed Martin.  He’s played recurring roles on 24 and Alias, and guest starred on Nip/Tuck, CSI: Miami, The West Wing, and shows like them. Now living in Los Angeles with Dee and their two kids, Austin bats right and votes left.

SPECIAL EVENTS FOR THE COMPLETE WORLD OF SPORTS (abridged):
Pay What You Can Night – September 9 at 7:30PM.  Patrons may purchase tickets in cash at the Box Office between 4:30-7:30PM and name their ticket price.  Following the performance, there will also be a Director’s Dialogue, where the director and designers field audience questions and describe how the play was staged.  Lowell Night – September 11 at 8PM. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10 at the box office from 5-8PM. Proper ID required.  Opening Night – September 12 at 7PM. Audience members are invited to join Merrimack Rep’s staff and cast after the show in raising a glass of champagne to celebrate the opening of the production.  Cookie Matinee – September 15 at 2PM. Patrons enjoy complimentary cookies and coffee in the lobby before the show, courtesy of Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus.  Post Show Forums – September 16, 23, and 30 at 7:30PM.  Audiences can stay after the performance to learn the inside scoop and chat with the actors.

TICKETS: Individual tickets for the 2010-2011 Season are on sale now.  Tickets begin at $25.  Discounts are available for students and seniors.  Tickets may be purchase online at www.MerrimackRep.org or by calling the Box Office at 978.654.4MRT (4678).

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Don’t miss a single show!  On sale now, MRT offers subscription packages to fit every lifestyle and budget.  With season subscription packages ranging from $46-$273, all subscriptions offer deep discounts off the single ticket prices as well as exclusive subscriber-only benefits, including free parking, restaurant and theatre discounts, lost ticket insurance and free, unlimited ticket exchanges.  For season or subscription information, call 978.654.4MRT (4678), or visit www.MerrimackRep.org.

STUDENT MATINEES:
Each season, MRT shares the joy of live theatre with over 2,000 students through its acclaimed Student Matinee Series.  Teachers and schools can now book their classrooms for student matinee dates during the 2010-2011 Season, including The Complete World of Sports (abridged). Student matinees are being offered on Thursday, September 23 at 10:30am, Tuesday, September 28 at 10:00am, and Wednesday, September 29 at 10:30am.  Tickets are $8.50 for students, and MRT offers schools discounted or free tickets through its Partners in Education program.  Students also receive educational study guides tied to the curriculum and the opportunity to participate in a post-performance discussion with the cast of the show.  For many students, these trips to the theatre are their first experience of live professional theatre.  For more information or to reserve tickets for your school, please contact Dan Berube, Marketing Manager at 978.654.7595

For more information, bios, interviews, or photos, please contact Dan Berube at 978.654.7595 or berube@merrimackrep.org.

For MRT show times, tickets, season information, directions, or to request a brochure, please visit www.merrimackrep.org or call the Box Office at 978.654.4MRT (4678).

The nationally-acclaimed and award-winning Merrimack Repertory Theatre is located in beautiful historic downtown Lowell at Liberty Hall, the Company’s 308-seat theatre, 50 E. Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA 01852 (adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium).  Each season, Merrimack Rep presents an eclectic mix of contemporary productions, engaging the country’s best available actors, designers and directors.  Founded in 1979, MRT’s mission is “To advance the cause of human understanding by creating theatrical productions at the highest level of artistic excellence and making them affordable to the broadest possible community.”  Its unique artistic vision is shaped by a passion for excellence and a profound commitment to its community.  MRT strives to enhance the community’s life while contributing to its economic strength, measuring success by the depth of the Company’s artistic and social contribution to the region.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s 2010-2011 Season
Reduced Shakespeare Company® in The Complete World of Sports (abridged) by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, September 9 – October 3, 2010; Four Places by Joel Drake Johnson, October 14 – November 7, 2010; Beasley’s Christmas Party adapted by C.W. Munger, from the story by Booth Tarkington, November 26 – December 19, 2010; Tryst by Karoline Leach,  January 6 – January 30, 2011; The Exceptionals by Bob Clyman, February 10 – March 6, 2011; Two Jews Walk Into A War… by Seth Rozin, March 17 – April 10, 2011; A Picasso by Jeffrey Hatcher, April 21 – May 15, 2011.