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I’M GONNA PRAY FOR YOU SO HARD
by Halley Feiffer.
"Everything I did - every decision I made - led me right here - right to this moment, here with you."
The UK premiere of an award-nominated black comedy from American playwright Halley Feiffer, I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard opens at the Finborough Theatre for a four week limited season on Tuesday, 28 February 2017 with Adrian Lukis and Jill Winternitz.
Ella is a precocious and fiercely competitive actress whose sole aim in life is making her famous playwright father, David, proud. Over the course of a wickedly intense evening, Ella and David deliberate whether to read the reviews of her off-Broadway debut. But that decision could shatter their relationship forever.
A hilarious and gut wrenching black comedy which sheds new light on the eternal struggles of family life. I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard reminds us that you don't have to be part of a theatrical family to know that life is filled with drama. And for that, there's no dress rehearsal.
I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard received its critically acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere in 2015, breaking box office records and earning Feiffer a nomination for an Outer Critics' Circle Award. It is directed by Jake Smith, previously Staff Director on Breakfast at Tiffany's (Theatre Royal Haymarket and National Tour), who returns to the Finborough Theatre following his sell-out revival of Andy Capp the Musical.
Playwright Halley Feiffer began her writing career at a young age when she won the National Young Playwrights' Contest in 2002. Full-length plays include How to Make Friends and Kill Them (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City (MCC Theater). Theatre as actor includes The House of Blue Leaves (Walter Kerr Theater, Broadway) for which she won a Theatre World Award, Tigers Be Still (Roundabout Theatre Company), Some Americans Abroad, suburbia and Election Day (2ST), Still Life (MCC Theater) and None of the Above (Lion Theatre).
Director Jake Smith began his career at Hull Truck and was a founding member of Assemble Fest, a large-scale theatre festival launched following Hull's winning City of Culture campaign. He was the Trainee Director in Residence at Chichester Festival Theatre from 2014-2016. Jake is currently Resident Director at The Almeida Theatre and was recently Staff Director on Breakfast at Tiffany's (Theatre Royal Haymarket and National Tour). Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Andy Capp the Musical. Direction includes The Tempest (Petersfield Shakespeare Festival), Citizenship (National Theatre Connections, Chichester Festival Youth Theatre and The Capitol Theatre, Horsham), The Boy Who Built Clock (Arts Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Chichester Festival Theatre), Smoke (and mirrors) (Derby Theatre for Theatre Uncut), The Little Match Girl (Assemble Fest, Hull), Alice's Site (Hull Truck) and The Coronation of Poppea (Middleton Hall, Hull).
Readings include Arthur (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Swan Song (Minerva Theatre, Chichester, and Chichester Festival Theatre), I am Scratch (Old Red Lion Theatre) and Betjeman with Edward Fox (Chichester Festival Theatre). Jake has worked as Assistant Director with Howard Davies on For Services Rendered and Jamie Glover on Miss Julie and Black Comedy (Minerva Theatre, Chichester, and Chichester Festival Theatre), Nadia Fall on Way Upstream, Dale Rooks on The Hundred and One Dalmatians and Jonathan Kent on Gypsy (Chichester Festival Theatre), Max Stafford-Clark on Pitcairn (Chichester Festival Theatre and Out of Joint), Christopher Morahan on Stevie (Hampstead Theatre), and Sarah Louise Davies on Whale Music (Hull Truck).
Adrian Lukis | David
Trained at Drama Studio London.
Theatre includes The Seagull (Chichester Festival Theatre and National Theatre), Dinner (Wyndham's Theatre), The Philadelphia Story, Cloaca (The Old Vic), The Taming of the Shrew (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Relapse, Sleep with Me (National Theatre), Versailles (Donmar Warehouse), Dead Funny, The Front Page, (Chichester Festival Theatre), Sherlock Holmes - The Best Kept Secret (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Orson's Shadow (Southwark Playhouse), Pygmalion (Theatre Royal Bath), As You Like It, Hay Fever (Rose Theatre, Kingston), The Winslow Boy and Arthur and George (Birmingham Rep).
Film includes City Slacker, Victim, Nine Miles Down, Innocent, Nightwatching, 7 Seconds, Me Without You, Young Blades and The Trench.
Television includes The Crown 2, Grantchester, Red Dwarf, Judge John Deed, Downton Abbey, Death in Paradise, Silk, Pride and Prejudice, Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie's Poirot, Silent Witness, Doctors, Fresh Meat, Outnumbered, Lewis, Heartbeat, A Touch of Frost, The Bill, Spooks and Foyle's War.
Jill Winternitz | Ella
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
West End Theatre includes Girl in Once (Phoenix Theatre) and Baby in Dirty Dancing (Piccadilly Theatre).
Other theatre includes Dark Tourism (Park Theatre), A Handful of Soil (Drayton Studio Theatre), Hamlet, The Canterbury Tales (Cunard Queen Mary 2) and The Seagull (Moscow Art Theatre School).
Film includes 10x10, A Streetcat Named Bob, Relics, The Sorrows and The Replacement Child.
“Bone-chilling… A potently acted, punishing drama by Halley Feiffer” Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
“Viciously funny… Brutally effective… Feiffer takes a tough look at the forces that can bring us to our knees” ★★★★ Four Stars, Time Out New York
“One of the best plays I’ve seen this season… Provocative, sensitive, shocking… The writing is polished and probing… A tense thriller that left me shaking” New York Observer
“Spectacular tension and real danger” Entertainment Weekly
“It’s a fearless piece of work, riveting and hilarious!” Bergen Record
The Press on Director Jake Smith:
"The young director Jake Smith is one to watch." Terri Paddock
"A moment of artistic genius by director Jake Smith. Mirrors loveable rogue is brought to life in stunning style" Daily Mirror on Andy Capp The Musical
"Jake Smith's witty production on the tiny Finborough stage gives it plenty of warmth, and a versatile cast frequently double as actor musicians to give the two person band added heft" Mark Shenton, The Stage
“Wonderfully inventive staging by Dale Rooks and Jake Smith" ★★★★★ Five Stars, The Argus on A Christmas Carol
“It is rare to see such a stunning piece of theatre among professional productions nowadays… A charming retelling of Dickens’ classic tale” ★★★★★ Five Stars, The Reviews Hub on A Christmas Carol