Press Room

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January 6, 2004
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.


Fairfax, Virginia, January 5, 2004— In a drama combining psychological and supernatural elements that only the father of the classic horror story could concoct, Murder by Poe, by noted playwright Jeffrey Hatcher brings Poe’s tales of the macabre to life. Hatcher weaves together four Edgar Allan Poe tales into a tapestry of revenge suicide, obsession, and murder, directed by John Miller-Stephany. The talented young cast members of The Acting Company perform Murder by Poe on Friday, January 30 at 8:00PM at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

The setting is a remote mansion on a "dark and stormy night…" as a traveler arrives seeking shelter and encounters four others who have found their way to this desolate place. Waiting out the storm, each tells how they came to be in this same room – and, each of their stories has to do with murder.

In The Tell Tale Heart a landlord with an accusing eye is buried beneath his tenant’s floorboards, his heart seeming to beat long after death…

A mewing feline reveals its missing owner behind a brick wall in The Black Cat.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue
introduces the first "serial killer" to modern fiction in a tale made famous by a certain street in Paris.

The Mystery of Marie Roget places one of New York’s great-unsolved mysteries in the hands of Poe’s raconteur, Auguste Dupin, the precursor of Holmes, Poirot, and Columbo.

In these stories of obsession, crime, and punishment, leavened by sardonic wit and romance, love and death entwined, Poe’s is a world peopled with translucent aristocrats, desperate murderers, dapper detectives, charming rakes, and sloe-eyed seductresses.

Director John Miller-Stephany is Associate Artistic Director of The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis where he directed productions of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana, Charles L. Mee’s Wintertime, and the Stephen Sondheim/George Furth musical Merrily We Roll Along, among others. Before joining the staff of the Guthrie, Mr. Miller-Stephany was Associate Producer of The Acting Company. In his long association with The Acting Company, he has had the opportunity to work with many directors, including the late John Houseman, the late Alan Schneider, Zelda Fichandler, Michael Kahn, Michael Langham, and Liviu Ciulei, to name a few.

Jeffrey Hatcher is, most recently, the adapter of Tuesdays with Morrie, based on Mitch Albom’s bestseller. He is the author of the book for the musical Never Gonna Dance, currently on Broadway. In addition to many of his plays being produced across the country, Hatcher is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including those bestowed by the National Playwrights Conference (five times), the McKnight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Fund and New Dramatists, among others.

Murder by Poe continues the Acting Company’s efforts of commissioning, developing and producing new plays based on great American literature. Following powerful and successful productions of Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson and Studs Terkel’s American Dreams: Lost and Found, Murder by Poe brings to the stage the work of one of America’s most powerful contemporary writers. 2003 Recipient of a Tony® Award for Excellence in Theater, The Acting Company promotes theater and literacy by bringing a touring repertory of classical productions, talented young actors and teaching artists into communities across America. The company performs each year in over 50 cities to audiences of 70,000. Founded in 1972 by John Houseman and current producing director Margot Harley, with members of the first graduating class of Juilliard’s Drama Division, Acting Company alumni members include Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, David Ogden Stiers, Mary Lou Rosato, Derek Smith and Jeffrey Wright.

Tickets for THE ACTING COMPANY: MURDER BY POE are $32, $24, $16. FAMILY FRIENDLY! All children (12 and under) half price! Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.