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Off-Broadway hit gets N.E. premier at Public Theatre

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The Public Theatre’s production of the humorous and touching play “What Rhymes with America” opens Friday, March 11.

The Public Theatre will present the New England premiere of the humorous, touching and thought-provoking Off-Broadway hit “What Rhymes with America” March 11 through 20. This poignant and funny play explores the lives, hearts and heartbreak of a recently divorced dad, his estranged teenage daughter, a struggling actress and an endearing middle-aged virgin as they each try to figure out how to move forward in their lives.

A writer for the popular television series “House of Cards,” playwright Melissa James Gibson’s emotionally penetrating wit and compassionate insight makes her one of the most unique voices in theater today. Hank is a down-on-his luck father moonlighting as an “extra” at the Metropolitan Opera to pay his bills. Still pining for his almost-ex wife, he must confront his desire to retrieve the life he lost and the knowledge that he must move on. Adjusting to life on his own after 22 years of marriage, he attempts to repair his relationship with his estranged teenage daughter while dipping his toe in the dating scene with an endearingly awkward 40-year-old virgin.

When asked to describe the story, Director Christopher Schario refers to a line from the play: “People pretend to like different, but really they only like marginally different. What people really love is the same in disguise.”

Continuing the high quality of acting regularly seen at The Public Theatre, the cast of professional actors includes Kyle Knauf as Hank, Lindsey Gates as his endearing date Lydia, Carolyn Faye Kramer as his daughter Marlene, and Janet Mitchko as his opera co-worker Sheryl. All four actors have performed extensively Off-Broadway and at various regional theatres, and Kyle can soon be seen in the upcoming “Untitled Woody Allen Project.”

A free pre-show wine-tasting hosted by Rails Restaurant will take place in the theater lobby on Thursday, March 17 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

What Rhymes with America will be performed at The Public Theatre, Lewiston/Auburn’s Professional Theatre, March 11, 12 13, 17, 18, 19 and 20. Show times are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m., with an added matinee performance on Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m. For more information or to buy tickets, call 782-3200 or see www.thepublictheatre.org.

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