Raul Mendez and Priscilla Lopez to star in World Premiere of Nilo Cruz’s Bathing in Moonlight at McCarter in Princeton

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"Raul Mendez and Priscilla Lopez to star in World Premiere of Nilo Cruz’s Bathing in Moonlight at McCarter in Princeton"

Nilo Cruz - photo by Matt Pilsner

A world premiere from Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz, directed by Emily Mann, running September 9 – October 9 in McCarter’s Roger S. Berlind Theatre.
Princeton, NJ: When Father Monroe discovers that Marcela and her Cuban-American family are struggling, he offers a warmth and kindness unlike anything Marcela has ever experienced. Small acts of generosity blossom into love as the lines between vocation and passion begin to blur. McCarter Theatre Center Artistic Director Emily Mann and playwright Nilo Cruz reunite for
the first time since the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics with this lyrical new play about falling in love and finding a place to call home.

About Nilo Cruz’s return, director Emily Mann said: “This is one of Nilo’s most enchanting plays. It’s not only a beautiful love story, but also a story of family and faith written by one of the greatest poets of the American theater. I’m honored to have Nilo Cruz back at McCarter Theatre.”

Bathing in Moonlight‘s cast is an internationally impressive pool of talent, featuring Raúl Méndez  (Father Monroe), Priscilla Lopez (Martina), Hannia Guillen (Marcela), Katty Velasquez (Trini), Frankie J. Alvarez (Taviano), and Michael Rudko (Bishop Andres).


Cast and Design Team

Raúl Méndez (Father Monroe) makes his American stage debut as Father Monroe. Famous for his chameleon-like performances in numerous Mexican film/TV/stage roles, Méndez is fast becoming a known talent in the English-speaking world after becoming a star with his breakout performance as Chacorta in NBC/Universal Telemudno’s Señor de los Cielos. Currently, he can be seen on two Netflix Original Series, as the unstable antagonist Joaquin on Sense8 under the direction of Lana and Lilly Wachowski & James McTeigue and as President Gaviria on Joseì Padilha’s Narcos.

Priscilla Lopez (Martina) returns to McCarter having previously appeared in Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Anna in the Tropics. In Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-Winning In the Heights, she originated the role of Camila Rosario. She received a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress for her portrayal as Harpo Marx in the Broadway musical A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine and her performance as the original Diana Morales in A Chorus Line led to an OBIE Award and Tony Nomination.

Hannia Guillen (Marcela) began her career in Miami’s film/theater/TV industry before moving to Los Angeles to play Paloma Lopez-Fitzgerald in the NBC’s Passions. Currently based in New York as a part of the prestigious Repertorio Español, Hannia stars in Doña Flor y sus Dos Maridos, En el Tiempo de las Mariposas, and La Nena se Casa.  Additional projects penned by Nilo Cruz include Theatre for the New City’s A Bicycle Country; The Color of Desire (World Premiere, The Actors Playhouse); and Sotto Voce (Asolo Rep).

Katty Velasquez (Trini) is an up-and-coming, New York-based actor with credits including guest starring roles in Law and Order: SVU and Blindspot, as well as appearing as Lina in Leonardo
Santana Zubieta’s acclaimed short film Nadie nos Mira.

Frankie J. Alvarez (Taviano Jr./Taviano Sr.) reunites with Nilo Cruz after starring in the title role of the 2012 bilingual repertory production of Hamlet: Prince of Cuba & Hamlet: Príncipe de Cuba at Asolo Rep. He is best known as Agustin on HBO’s critically-acclaimed series Looking and Looking: The Movie. Additional stage credits include Othello (workshop, NYTW, dir. Sam Gold); Those Lost Boys: The Ten-Year Reunion (co-creator, Ars Nova); and Hamlet: Prince of Cuba/Hamlet: Príncipe de Cuba (Asolo Rep).

Michael Urdko’s (Bishop Andres) Broadway credits include The Audience, Romeo & Juliet, Mary Stuart, The Best Man, Timon of Athens and Serious Money. His distinguished career has included appearances on stages in Europe and across the country, including Antony & Cleopatra and Julius Caesar (Globe Theatre, London); Henry V (Theatre for a New Audience); as well as productions at Arena Stage, Center Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Yale Rep., the Wilma, and many more.

The creative/design team for Bathing in Moonlight includes scenic and lighting designer Edward Pierce, whose Broadway credits include Wicked, Billy Elliot, 9 to 5, and A Streetcar Named Desire (Dir: Emily Mann), returning to McCarter after designing for last season’s American premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll. Tony Award-winning sound designer Darron L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher) returns to McCarter for his twelfth production, and veteran Broadway costume designer Jennifer von Mayrhauser returns for her 25th production at McCarter. Casting is by Laura Stanczyk Casting, CSA.
Bathing in Moonlight was first conceived as a commissioned play when Nilo Cruz won the 2014 Greenfield Prize at the Hermitage Artist Retreat (Englewood, FL). The production finds its way to
the Berlind Stage with the added support of a 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and a McCarter Completion Commission.

About Nilo Cruz (Playwright)

Nilo Cruz was born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Florida. Cruz is best known for his play Anna in the Tropics, which won the Steinberg award, the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and received a Tony nomination. His other plays include Dancing on Her Knees, Night Train to Bolina, A Park in Our House, Two Sisters and a Piano, Beauty of the Father, and Lorca in a Green Dress, among others. Cruz has translated Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, Doña Rosita the Spinster, and Jose Sanchez Sinisterra’s Ay Carmela. He also adapted Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings for the stage. Cruz has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including two NEA/TCG National Theatre Artist Residency grants, a Rockefeller Foundation grant and the San Francisco’s W. Alton Jones award. In 2009 he won The Laura Pels Mid-career Playwriting award and a Helen Merrill award for Excellence in playwriting. Cruz has taught playwriting at Brown, NYU Gallatin School, Yale School of Drama, and the University of Iowa. He recently co-wrote the screenplay Castro’s Daughter with Oscar winner Bobby Moresco. He also wrote the libretto of Bel Canto, based on the novel by Anne Patchett, for the Lyric Opera in Chicago. His new play Sotto Voce premiered off-Broadway last February at Theatre for the New City.


About Emily Mann (Director)
Multi-award-winning Director and Playwright Emily Mann is in her 27th season as Artistic Director and Resident Playwright of McCarter Theatre Center where she has overseen 150+ productions. Under Ms. Mann’s leadership, McCarter was honored with the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater and celebrated the Best Play Tony Award win for Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

Ms. Mann wrote and directed Having Our Say, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth premiering at McCarter before it moved to Broadway (Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award; Tony nominations for Best Play, Best Direction of a Play, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play along with Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations; NAACP and Joseph Jefferson Awards; Peabody and Christopher Awards for her screenplay). Ms. Mann directed the world premieres of The Convert by Danai Gurira (winning six Ovation Awards, including Best Director of a Play); Phaedra Backwards by Marina Carr; Sarah Treem’s The How and the Why; Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I (also Off-Broadway); and Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon (also off-Broadway).  Other favorite plays directed at McCarter are: Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics (also on Broadway); David Auburn’s Proof; Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance; Rachel Bonds’ Five Mile Lake; Antony and Cleopatra; All Over (also off-Broadway, Obie Award for Directing); Three Sisters; A Doll House; Glass Menagerie; and Mrs. Warren’s Profession. In 2012, Emily directed A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway with Blair Underwood, Wood Harris, Nicole Ari Parker, and Daphne Rubin-Vega.

Emily’s plays include: Execution of Justice (Guggenheim Fellowship; Helen Hayes and Joseph Jefferson Awards; Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award noms.); Still Life (six Obie Awards); Greensboro (A Requiem); Meshugah; Annulla, An Autobiography; and Mrs. Packard (recipient of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award). Her current writing projects include two new plays: Hoodwinked and Gloria (Steinem) Live at Lincoln Center.

Her adaptations include: Baby Doll; Scenes from a Marriage; Antigone; The House of Bernarda Alba (recently staged in London at the Almeida); and three Chekhov plays (Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and A Seagull in the Hamptons).  Emily is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on its council.  She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Princeton University; was named the 2011 Person of the Year from the National Theatre Conference; received the 2015 Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwrights’ Award; and was awarded the 2015 Margo Jones Award given to a “citizen-of-the-theatre who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the encouragement of the living theatre everywhere.”

About McCarter Theatre Center
Led by Artistic Director/Resident Playwright Emily Mann and Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, McCarter Theatre Center is a leading destination for playwrights, actors, and directors to collaborate on ambitious world premieres, re-imagined classics, adaptations, and developmental workshops. Awarded the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, McCarter has evolved into a nationally and internationally acclaimed theatre recognized for its first rate productions, daring world premieres, and lasting contributions to the American theatrical canon.  The theatre is celebrated for its emphasis on the creation and development of new work, marked especially by an on-going program of commissions, an annual artists retreat, and the fostering of long term relationships with emerging and established playwrights.

Among the noteworthy dramatists whose work has received world premieres, developmental productions, and workshops at McCarter are: Tarell Alvin McCraney, Edward Albee, Sarah Treem, Marina Carr, Lydia Diamond, John Guare, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Regina Taylor, Beth Henley, Danai Gurira, and Athol Fugard. Many, including Eclipsed, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Having Our Say, Anna in the Tropics, Crowns, Valley Song, and Yellowman, received original workshops at McCarter before moving on to Broadway and/or become some of the most frequently produced plays in the American theater. McCarter is equally recognized for its reinvestigations of the classic canon (currently, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap) including Fiasco Theater’s reimagined production of Into the Woods, Stephen Wadsworth’s acclaimed adaptations of the Marivaux Trilogy and Beaumarchais’ Figaro plays, Brian Friel’s Translations, and Emily Mann’s adaptations of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba.

McCarter is supported by Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and over 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations. McCarter Theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton, NJ. For more information, www.mccarter.org.

Bathing in Moonlight – Production Facts

Creative, Production, and Design Team

Playwright: Nilo Cruz
Direction: Emily Mann
Scenic and Lighting Design: Edward Pierce 
Costume Design: Jennifer von Mayrhauser
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
Original Music and Sound Design: Darron L. West
Casting Director: Laura Stanczyk Casting, CSA

Production Stage Manager: Cheryl Mintz

Director of Production: David York
Resident Producer: Debbie Bisno

Managing Director: Timothy J. Shields

CAST (in order of appearance)
Father Monroe: RAÚL MÉNDEZ
Taviano Jr./Taviano Sr.: FRANKIE J. ALVAREZ
Bishop Andres: MICHAEL URDKO

The Actors and Stage Manager in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the
union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Bathing in Moonlight start as low as $25.00 and are on sale now at www.mccarter.org,
by phone at (609) 258-2787, or in person at the McCarter Theatre Box Office, located at 91 University
Place in Princeton.

Bathing in Moonlight will be performed on the Berlind Stage. The production will be one hour,
thirty five minutes with no intermission. For more about Bathing in Moonlight, please visit the production’s website.

Performance Schedule
Friday                   September 9       8:00 p.m.
Saturday              Sept. 10               8:00 p.m.

Sunday                 Sept. 11               2:00 p.m.
Tuesday               Sept. 13               7:30 p.m.
Wednesday         Sept. 14               7:30 p.m.
Thursday              Sept. 15               7:30 p.m.
Friday                   Sept. 16               8:00 p.m. (Opening Night/Press Opening)
Saturday              Sept. 17               3:00 p.m.
Saturday              Sept. 17               8:00p.m.
Sunday                 Sept. 18               2:00 p.m. (Dialogue on Drama)

Tuesday               Sept. 20                7:30 p.m.
Wednesday         Sept. 21               7:30 p.m. (Post-Show Discussion)
Thursday              Sept. 22               7:30 p.m. (Pride Night)

Friday                   Sept. 23               8:00 p.m.

Saturday              Sept. 24               3:00 p.m.
Saturday              Sept. 24               8:00 p.m.
Sunday                 Sept. 25               2:00 p.m. (Post-Show Discussion)
Sunday                 Sept. 25               7:30 p.m.
Wednesday         Sept. 28               7:30 p.m.
Thursday              Sept. 29               7:30 p.m.
Friday                   Sept. 30               8:00 p.m.
Saturday              Oct. 1                   3:00 p.m.

Saturday              Oct. 1                   8:00 p.m.
Sunday                 Oct. 2                   2:00 p.m.
Sunday                 Oct. 2                   7:30 p.m.
Tuesday               Oct. 4                   7:30 p.m.

Wednesday         Oct. 5                   7:30 p.m.  (Audio Described Performance)

Thursday              Oct. 6                   7:30 p.m.
Friday                   Oct. 7                   8:00 p.m.
Saturday              Oct. 8                   3:00 p.m. (ASL Interpreted Performance)
Saturday              Oct. 8                   8:00 p.m.
Sunday                 Oct. 9                   2:00 p.m. (Closing Performance)


Live at the Library – Sneak Peek

Thursday, September 1

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Princeton Public Library Community Room

Please join us out in the community at the Princeton Public Library for a moderated discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Nilo Cruz (Anna in the Tropics, 2003) and McCarter Theatre
Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann about their artistic partnership in bringing Bathing in Moonlight to the stage.  The playwright and director, who will be in the midst of rehearsals for this world premiere, will discuss their previous collaboration, share information about the inspiration for and creative development of Cruz’s new work, and provide details on both the casting and sumptuous design of the production. Mann will also highlight McCarter’s 2016-2017 Theater Series.

The event will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Princeton Public Library’s Community Room (on the first floor adjacent to the Library Café). The Princeton Public Library is located at 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ.No RSVP or ticket is required to attend the discussion; it is free and open to the public.

Dialogue on Drama

Join us for a special post-show discussion with director Emily Mann and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz after the Sunday, September 18th 2:00 p.m. matinee performance. This is a free event, no RSVP req.

Post-Show Discussions

Post-show discussions at McCarter are highly interactive audience-based conversations facilitated by a member of McCarter’s artistic staff, often featuring cast members. These discussions focus on a range of topics including how artistic choices were made for the production, the actors’ process, and reflections and questions from audience members. Post-show discussions occur directly following the 7:30 p.m. performance on Wednesday, September 21 and following the 2:00 p.m. performance on Sunday, September 25.

Inside Story

Join us 45 minutes before any performance of Bathing in Moonlight for a talk led by a member of McCarter’s artistic staff. Hear about what inspired the play, its unique creation and style, and
much more. All Inside Story talks for Bathing In Moonlight will take place in the Berlind Theatre unless otherwise noted in the lobby upon arrival.

Bathing in Moonlight
is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and by funds
from the National Endowment for the Arts.Bathing in Moonlight is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. The Hermitage Artist Retreat invites artists and writers in every discipline to work at its historic site on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico.  The Hermitage commissions the Greenfield Prize to bring into the world works of art that will have a significant impact on the broad as well as the artistic culture of our society.