Mary McDonnell – People’s Light & Theater: Cherry Orchard & first production photos! 2

Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves, Battlestar Galactica, Major Crimes) joins David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) at the People’s Light & Theater for a celebratory 40th season production of The Cherry Orchard, Emily Mann’s adaptation of the classic Checov story under direction of Abigail Adams.

Photo by Dennys Ilic Used & Shared with permission

© Dennys Ilic – People’s Light & Theater Used & Shared with permission














McDonnell stars as Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya, a woman returning to her ancestral homestead and its beloved cherry orchard only to find financial hardship might force the family to auction the orchard to pay the mortgage. As Ranevskaya and her brother Gaev (Strathairn) attempt to secure finances and await a miraculous save for their orchard, Lopakhin, a wealthy merchant tries to convince them to cut down the orchard and build rental villas, but she will not surrender the symbols of her past, be they beautiful or haunting. Instead, she throws a party for her family and friends and awaits a miracle.

From the press release:

Widely known from film and television including her Oscar nominated performance in Dancing with Wolves and starring in Major Crimes and Battlestar Galactica, this is Mary McDonnell’s first appearance on stage in eighteen years. Mary is thrilled by the opportunity to perform in a play adapted by her longtime friend, Emily Mann, alongside her daughter, Olivia Mell (Anya), and frequent collaborator, David Strathairn. On screen McDonnell and Strathairn previously co-starred in Passion Fish and Sneakers. On stage they performed together in Emily Mann’s production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at Hartford Stage. David Strathairn last performed at People’s Light in 2009 in Nathan the Wise.


The production also reunites McDonnell with People’s Light Producing Director Zak Berkman who has known McDonnell for three decades. “On my first day working at People’s Light in 2011, Abbey and I talked about how to make this project happen.” Berkman recalls. “It is a once in a lifetime occasion to have our remarkable resident company with David and Mary, all these extraordinary artists with such rich histories, exploring together this play that dances such an exhilarating dance with the past.


The Cherry Orchard previews on Wednesday, February 11 at 7:30pm, Thursday, February 12 at 7:30pm and Friday, February 13 at 8 pm. The play opens on Saturday, February 14 at 8 pm and runs through Sunday, March 8th.

© People's Light & Theater Used & Shared with permission

© Dennys Ilic – People’s Light & Theater
Used & Shared with permission



Wed, February 11- 7:30 pm (P)(C)
Thurs, February 12 – 7:30 pm (P)(C)
Fri, February 13 – 8 pm (P)
Sat, February 14 – 8 pm (O)
Sun, February 15 – 2 & 7 pm
Tues, February 17 – 7:30 pm
Thurs, February 19 – 7:30 pm (T)
Fri, February 20 – 8 pm
Sat, February 21 – 2 & 8 pm
Sun, February 22 – 2 pm
Wed, February 25 – 2 & 7:30 pm (S)
Thurs, February 26 – 7:30 pm (T)
Fri, February 27 – 8 pm
Sat, February 28 – 2 & 8 pm
Sun, March 1 – 2 & 7pm
Tues, March 3 – 7:30 pm
Wed, March 4 – 2 & 7:30 pm (S)
Thurs, March 5 – 7:30 pm (T)
Sat, March 7 – 8 pm
Sun, March 8 – 2 & 7 pm

Previews (P) Community Night (C) Opening Night (O) Talkback (T) Scoop (S)

Shawn Stone at People’s Light & Theater sent us these pictures of Mary McDonnell, courtesy to Mark Garvin (02/08/15) – click for HQ full size!



Mary McDonnell as Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya
Olivia Mell as Anya
Teri Lamm as Varya
David Strathaim as Leonid Andreyevich Gayev
Pete Pryor as Yermolai Lopakhin
Sanjit De Silva as Petya Trofimov
Peter DeLaurier as Boris Simeonov-Pishchik
Mary Elizabeth Scallen as Charlotta
Andrew Kane as Semyon Yepikhodov
Chaire Inie-Richards as Dunyasha
Graham Smith as Firs
Luigi Scottile as Yasha
Stephen Novelli as Vagrant/Postmaster
Mark Lazar as Stationmaster
Melissa Dunphy as Musician


Director: Abigail Adams
Set Design: Tony Straiges
Costume Design: Maria Jurglanis
Lighting Design: Dennis Parichy
Choreographer/Fight Director: Samantha Bellomo
Production Stage manager: Audrey M. Brown
Composer/Sound Designer: Melissa Dunphy
Resident Dramaturg: Gina Pisasale
Cunsulting Dramaturg: Lee Denvin
Line Producer: Zak Berkman

We would like to thank: The people’s Light & Theater, Shawn Stone and photographer Mark Garvin for providing source material and photos for this article as well as being very forthcoming in answering any questions we had.

People’s Light is located at:
39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355
Cherry Orchard: Leonard C. Haas Stage
Tickets: 610.644.3500

“The Cherry Orchard” opens tonight!

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