Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley : Resources for the press

by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
directed by Virginia Drake
South Bay Premiere
Nov. 16-Dec. 17 2017: Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. No performances on Nov. 19 and 23.
[image: Arthur and Mary in "Miss Bennet"]

They’re smart. They’re bookish. And they just may hit it off royally. Arthur (James Lewis) and Mary (Melinda Marks) in “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.” Photo by Taylor Sanders.


“I grew up with the kindest, cleverest, and most beautiful elder sisters in the country;

and with the loudest, silliest, and prettiest younger sisters in the country.
This left few fair adjectives for me.”
-Mary Bennet

SAN JOSE, CA (Oct. 18, 2017) – In City Lights Theater Company’s holiday show, audiences will revisit favorite characters from Pride and Prejudice—along with characters they might not expect. In Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Jane Austen’s beloved tale continues, this time with the focus on Mary Bennet, the oft-overlooked middle sister.

It’s the holiday season in the Darcy home, and Mary is still feeling like the odd sister out as she spends Christmas with her witty, pretty and married sisters. Then, with the help of a surprise guest, Mary finds she has the power to write her own story.

This charming new play by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon runs Nov. 16-Dec. 17 at City Lights, 529 S. Second St., San Jose. This South Bay premiere is directed by Virginia Drake. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 (no shows on Nov. 19 and 23). For details and tickets, go to cltc.org or call 408-295-4200.

Miss Bennet premiered last fall in a rolling world premiere at the Marin Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre in Chicago, and Round House Theatre in Washington, D.C. Critics and audiences called it a new holiday classic. “Gunderson and Melcon’s script is a delight, packed with sly Austenian wit and observations both clever and biting,” Sam Hurwitt wrote in the Marin Independent Journal. The San Francisco Chronicle called the play “a perfectly constructed love story.”

Gunderson, a San Franciscan and playwright-in-residence at the Marin Theatre Company, is a favorite at City Lights, which recently presented her plays I and You and Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Melcon, the former director of new-play development at MTC, oversees arts programming at the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

Mary Bennet: Melinda Marks (Campbell)
Arthur de Bourgh: James Lewis (San Jose)
Lizzie Darcy: Laura Domingo (Oakland)
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Jeremy Ryan (Sunnyvale)
Jane Bingley: Brooke Silva (Pleasanton)
Charles Bingley: Keenan Flagg (San Jose)
Lydia Wickham: Alyssa Teixeira (San Jose)
Anne de Bourgh: Tonya Duncan (San Jose)
Servant: Charnnee’ Young (Campbell)
Servant: Arturo Dirzo (Mountain View)
Virginia Drake (Director), faculty emerita at West Valley College, recently directed Rapture, Blister, Burn at City Lights, preceded by Tigers Be Still, Art, The Language Archive, Smell of the Kill, Hedda Gabler, First Day of School and August: Osage County. Her directorial efforts at Los Altos Stage Company include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, On Golden Pond, Circle Mirror Transformation and Doubt. Virginia has also directed at TheatreWorks and Santa Clara University. A member of Actors’ Equity Association, she holds an MFA in Acting from Stanford University, and a BA in Dramatic Art from U.C. Davis. She also records audio books for Books Aloud Inc., based at San Jose’s Martin Luther King Library.

Designers: Ron Gasparinetti (Scenic), Christine Herrera (Choreography), Pat Tyler (Costumes), Mia Kumamoto (Lighting), George Psarras (Sound Design), Ting Na Wang (Props), Kimberly Hill (Dialect Coach).

Sponsors and Supporters: These include The Shubert Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates, Applied Materials Foundation, the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and many other individuals, corporations, and foundations.

City Lights is donating part of the box-office proceeds of this family-friendly production to the Happy Hollow Foundation, which is dedicated to advocating, supporting and enhancing the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose. On Sunday, Nov. 26, foundation board member Lissa Kreisler will make a brief presentation about the organization … and bring along the famous Danny the Dragon.

City Lights’ 2017-18 season, its 35th, continues with the Civil Rights-era drama Alabama Story; Shakespeare’s ever-controversial The Merchant of Venice; the new romantic comedy The Siegel; and the vibrant Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights. Details at cltc.org.



WHAT: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, a new holiday play by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, is a sprightly sequel to Pride and Prejudice. This time, the focus is on forgotten middle sister Mary Bennet, who meets an unexpected Christmas visitor and learns she can write her own story.

WHEN: Nov. 16-Dec. 17, 2017
Pay What You Can Night: Thursday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; $19 Preview Night: Friday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.
Opening Night (with a post-show party catered by San Jose’s Cafe Stritch): Saturday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m.
Showtimes: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. No performances on Nov. 19 and 23.

WHERE: City Lights Theater Company, 529 S. Second St., San Jose, CA 95112

TICKETS: Tickets are $19-$44, with discounts for seniors (55+), students/educators, and groups (10+). (There is a $2 surcharge for phone and in-person buys.) Closing-weekend tickets are increased by $2.

INFO: For tickets and details, go to cltc.org or call 408-295-4200. The theater is wheelchair-accessible, and parking is provided on most nights across the street at Notre Dame High School for $5.

PRESS: For press passes or more information, contact City Lights marketing director Rebecca Wallace at rebecca@cltc.org or 408-295-4200. Download high-res photos from the show at cltc.org/missbennet.

Press resources for past City Lights shows