Anna Christie
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by Eugene O’Neill
Adapted & Directed by Scott Edmiston

Season Sponsored by Lee & Diana Humphrey and Bank of America
Production Sponsored by Helen and Herman Gimbel Charity Fund
Director Scott Edmiston sponsored by Paul & Liz Kastner

Runtime is approximately two hours, including one 15-minute intermission.
Box Office: 617-585-5678 | boxoffice@lyricstage.com
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Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, O’Neill’s classic is a surprisingly contemporary play that crackles with fierce physicality, humor, and drama. After a 20-year separation, a coal barge captain (Lyric Stage favorite Johnny Lee Davenport) is reunited with the daughter he unknowingly abandoned to a life of hardship. When Anna falls in love with a shipwrecked sailor, her father and her suitor come to recognize their own culpability in her plight, and all three struggle in their own way for salvation. Following his acclaimed production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Scott Edmiston takes a fresh look at one of America’s greatest playwrights.

“A work about the awesome and overpowering force of nature!” — The Guardian

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Press & Reviews

Eugene O’Neill’s works are among the greatest in American drama. They can be very heavy and usually are long but also amazing. This play is deep and filled with emotion, but it will not leave you filled with despair, and it certainly is not drawn out. Director Scott Edmiston has gotten it right, and I would encourage those who have not taken in a work by O’Neill to start here. It will stir your emotions but not overwhelm you. You will see five very fine actors working with the words of a great playwright. And, you will see it all at the wonderful Lyric Stage Theater, a warm and intimate performing venue.

Unpacking Anna Christie At The Lyric   —Boxing Over Broadway

 

Edmiston’s staging — soaked in cheap booze and set against a Janie E. Howland-designed backdrop of barrels, planking and a stolid sea that rises to an eerie gleam — is strong and spare.

Lyric Stage Company Slices Through The Fog Of O’Neill’s ‘Anna Christie’   —WBUR

 

The three leads shine… It’s a rare opportunity to experience fine acting in an undeniably challenging work. . . . timeless.

Lyric Stage’s “Anna Christie”: Life on a Skoal Barge   —South Shore Critic

 

Whelton is thoroughly persuasive as the strapping, impulsive Mat… McWhorter rises admirably to the occasion.

‘Anna Christie’ shows its age at Lyric Stage   —The Boston Globe

 

McWhorter transforms from the exhausted, jaded stranger to a cleansed, refreshed woman with hope, only to be forced to harden herself once again to outside forces. During that process, we see her realize that she has the power to determine the outcome by her will. Throughout the long and broad arc of Anna’s journey, McWhorter is a revelation.

Intense ANNA CHRISTIE at Lyric Stage Company   —Broadway World

 

“Remarkably forward looking… hairpin swivels from intense psychological drama to moments of levity are perfectly timed and weighted… Takes you the shortest distance through the heart of his storms while preserving their potency.

Anna Christie   —EDGE Boston

 

What makes this production so intriguing is that Edmiston has cast two wonderful African-Americans as Chris Christopherson and his daughter Anna: Johnny Lee Davenport and Lindsey McWhorter. At first I thought their race might not work in this already complicated play, but I was wrong. It not only worked, but added resonance to O’Neill’s exploration of the “other.” Here is a play about people who live on the fringes — a sailor whose very existence depends upon his fraught relationship with the “Old Devil Sea” and his daughter, who has lived her own life for too long to be dominated by a protective guilty parent who “wants only the best for her.” In bold strokes O’Neill shows us how good intentions often do pave the way to hell.

Theater Review: “Anna Christie” — A Memorable Look at Life on the Margins   —Arts Fuse

 

The cast is terrific. Davenport is wonderful. McWhorter gives a subtle and layered performance as Anna, withholding and vulnerable at the same time.

A Beguiling “Anna Christie” at Lyric   —The Theatre Mirror

 

The result is at once a moving pre-feminist statement and theater as inviting and lasting as a Chippendale armchair…If Chris terms the fog a “dirty trick,” Anna sees it as a kind of metaphor for her redemption. By contrast, there should be no disagreement about Lyric Stage’s “Anna Christie.” Book passage without delay.

http://www.mysouthend.com/arts///258806/anna_christie_invites_you_in   —South End News

“Eugene O’Neill was my first creative hero when I was 17,” says Edmiston, who lives in Waltham. “He opened my mind to what theater can be. Tennessee Williams is often called the poet of American theater; I think of O’Neill as the novelist of American theater. There’s a grandeur to his writing. He has an uncompromising viewpoint, and an interest in exploring the darkness of the human soul. He understands the complexity of human relationships – how love and hate and fear and regret and guilt can all get tangled up in one moment.”

Scott Edmiston brings new life to O’Neill’s ‘Anna Christie’   —Wicked Local

 

And while I commend the cast for their effective and powerful performances, the play succeeds mightily because it is performed in concert with the spot-on scenic design by Janie E. Howland, and the inspired lighting design by Karen Perlow… Director Scott Edmiston knows O’Neill’s work intimately (he directed a winning production of Long Days Journey into Night some years ago). He is masterful here at Lyric Stage.

Stage Review: Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie”at Lyric Stage   —Robert Israel: Writer

 

Looking down upon the set from my seat I felt as if I were in the rafters of a ship anchored off Provincetown or Boston. I was reminded of how we are all at the mercy of the magnetic pull of the sea.

Stage Review: Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie”at Lyric Stage   —Robert Israel: Writer

Cast & Crew

 

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)

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More Information

April 6 — May 6
10:00 am

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