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Mary McDonnell To Star In "Gloria: A Life"
at McCarter Theatre Center

originally published: 07/16/2019

Mary McDonnell To Star In "Gloria: A Life" at McCarter Theatre Center(PRINCETON, NJ) --  Two-time Academy Award nominee Mary McDonnell has been cast in the title role of Gloria Steinem in Emily Mann’s Gloria: A Life, the opening production in McCarter Theatre Center’s 2019-2020 Theater Series. The production runs from September 6 to October 6 and is produced in association with American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. It's arichly-detailed tapestry about Gloria Steinem, one of the most inspiring and remarkable women of our time.

The play premiered earlier this year with an acclaimed Off-Broadway run produced by Daryl Roth. The original direction by Tony Award®-winner Diane Paulus will be restaged by McCarter's Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann. 

Ms. McDonnell commented “I am honored to be given the opportunity to represent the great Gloria Steinem onstage. This production is a gift, and I encourage anyone interested in experiencing this work to bring their daughters, their sisters, their mothers, their sons, their husbands, their friends to join us as we tell this story together.”

Making her McCarter debut, Ms. McDonnell has enjoyed a celebrated career across a variety of notable film and television projects including Dances with Wolves (Oscar and Golden Globe nomination), Passion Fish (Oscar and Golden Globe nomination), Independence Day,  Major Crimes (Emmy nomination), Battlestar Galactica, ER (Emmy nomination), and Hulu’s Veronica Mars. Her stage career has included many projects with Emily Mann including Mann’s Still Life (Obie Award), and the Broadway production of Execution of Justice.

Director and playwright Emily Mann added “Gloria: A Life explores how we move forward together as a community. We have gathered an amazing cast for this production, including my dear friend and collaborator, the legendary actress, Mary McDonnell. Her take on Gloria Steinem will be nothing short of a revelation for McCarter audiences. I cannot wait to be back in a rehearsal room with her.”



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Gloria Steinem first raised her voice five decades ago, championing equality for all. Today, her vision is more urgent than ever. The first act is Gloria’s story; the second is our own, as a “talking circle” emerges and the audience joins in conversation to share personal experiences. McCarter’s Berlind Theatre will be transformed into a unique in-the-round for the production. 

Called “thrilling and powerful” by The New York Times and “a powerful stage experience” by Vogue, Gloria: A Life moved theatergoers during its initial New York run last season. A piece of “living theater” in the truest sense, Gloria: A Life seamlessly dovetails history with headlines to become an ever-evolving celebration of human connection. 

Joining Ms. McDonnell will be a dynamic ensemble of performers including Gabrielle Beckford (McCarter’s 2018 revival of Regina Taylor’s Crowns), Mierka Gierten (A Red Orchid Theatre’s production of Simpatico at McCarter), Sera-Lys McArthur (Outlander on STARZ), Patrena Murray (original cast of Gloria: A Life), Brenda Withers (Crimes of the Heart and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at McCarter), and Eunice Wong (Classic Stage Company’s Faust). 

Gloria: A Life reunites members of the original production’s design team with scenic designer Amy Rubin, costume designer Jessica Jahn, sound designersRobert Kaplowitz and Andrea Allmond, and projection designer Elaine J. McCarthy. The team is joined by lighting designer Jason Lyons (Skylight at McCarter). Casting for Gloria: A Life is provided by Tara Rubin, CSA. 

McCarter Theatre Center Under the leadership of award-winning playwright and Artistic Director Emily Mann, Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg, and Special Programming Director William W. Lockwood, McCarter’s mission is to create world-class theater and present the finest artists for the engagement, education, and entertainment of the community. Winner of the 1994 Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre, world premieres include Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013 Tony® – Best Play); Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays;  Emily Mann’s Having Our Say; and Danai Gurira’s The Convert. McCarter brings artists from around the world to Princeton, New Jersey including Rhiannon Giddens, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Hiromi, and more. Education and outreach efforts serve tens of thousands through student matinees, in-school residencies, and adult classes. 


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