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Tony-Winning Summer Comedy at Playhouse

By Lola Smith

Players’ Workshop is proud to announce its 129th production since 1982: the 2013 Tony Award-winner for Best Play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (VSMS) by the renowned Christopher Durang. Opening July 21 at the San Miguel Playhouse on Independencia in a limited run of eight performances, VSMS is a rousing and hugely entertaining night of theater.

The play unfolds in Bucks County, PA, in an old but comfortable farmhouse shared by middle-aged Vanya and his adopted sister, Sonia. Their sister, Masha, an international movie star, abandoned Vanya and Sonia years ago to care for their elderly and infirm parents. Years later, the two siblings spend their endless and tedious days bickering over nothing, and nothing ever changes. Their only diversion is a crazy-like-a-fox housekeeper, Cassandra, a doomsayer prophet whom no one believes. But out of the blue, today Masha is coming, with a young male starlet, Spike, in tow. Cassandra warns them they’re going to lose the house, owned by their famous sister. But first a costume party!

Award-winning playwright Durang is known for his absurd take on modern life, and this farcical sibling rivalry riffing off classic Russian playwright Anton Chekhov is no exception. “Few contemporary playwrights have proven as deft as Durang at mining both the absurdity and the dangers of human folly,” raved USA Today. “VSMA, in its own deliciously madcap way, shows keen insights into the challenges and agonies of 21st-century life.”

Director Michael Gottlieb has assembled an international all-star veteran cast including Martin J. Grapengeter as the mild-mannered volcano, Vanya, and Clara Dunham as the funny and forlorn Sonia. Jill Gottlieb shines as ego-driven movie star Masha, and Kate Rowland inhabits the role of the irreverent seer Cassandra. Jetting in from NYC to do the role of the young stud, Spike, is Brennan Lowery, and newcomer Shantal Surving rounds out our cast as the young, innocently seductive Nina.

“I’ve been involved with a lot of shows in this town,” said director Gottlieb, “and this is going to be something special. A super-fun script with six actors who can pull it off at a professional level. It’s going to be hot.”

Purchase advance tickets US$12 online at or 200 pesos in person at our Centro ticket booth at Mesones 57A at the corner of Reloj, 10:30am–2pm daily except Tuesdays. Theater box office opens one hour before show time. All seats are reserved.


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