News Advice and Links Archived News Advice and Links Archived News Stories MRT PRESENTS MRS. WHITNEY



DATE: 2/22/2012

CONTACT:  Dan Berube,        

PR CONTACT PHONE:  978-654-7595                           

BOX OFFICE:  978-654-4MRT (4678)




It’s a Comedy.  About Heartbreak.

March 15- April 8, 2012

Press Opening March 18 7pm


Lowell, MA – Mrs. Whitney, written by John Kolvenbach, directed by Kyle Fabel, follows the comedic journey of middle-aged divorcée Margaret Whitney as she attempts to reconnect with her long-estranged ex-husband, Tom. After realizing her loneliness in the absence of her newly-wed daughter, Mrs. Whitney sets about locating her ne’er-do-well ex, sending her on an odyssey of surprising and sharply-funny encounters. Mrs. Whitney runs March 15 – April 15 at Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Tickets are available online at or by calling 978-654-4MRT. 


Mrs. Whitney will feature Deirdre Madigan as Margaret Whitney, Joel Colodner as Francis, Rebecca Harris as Louisa, Jay Ben Markson as Fin, and Dennis Parlato as Tom Whitney.  Madigan and Harris have graced the MRT stage before, Madigan in Gun-Shy and Harris in The Missionary Position and Fabuloso (also by Kolvenbach).  Colodner, Markson, and Parlato all make their MRT debuts.  Kyle Fabel has previously directed Trying, The Four of Us, Tranced, Fabuloso, and The Persian Quarter at MRT.  The creative team for Mrs. Whitney consists of Campbell Baird (Scenic Design), Deb Newhall (Costume Design), and Paul Hackenmueller (Lighting Design). 


“I'm beyond excited to be working on my third John Kolvenbach play” says director Kyle Fabel who previously directed Kolvenbach’s Fabuloso at MRT, “John's plays are all rich, both with irresistible humor and with deep, complex, compassionate insight into the human soul.  This play has plenty of the former, but perhaps more of the latter than any of his others.  Also, having John more involved in the process this time around has already proven wonderfully rewarding.” 


“The idea for this play comes from a radio station which played American standards in the 70's, WNEW in New York, from the DJ's William B. Williams and Jonathan Schwartz, and from the mid-career albums of Frank Sinatra (Wee Small Hours) and Bob Dylan (Blood on the Tracks and Desire)” says playwright John Kolvenbach. “The play is about romance and loneliness. It's about the notion that love is a cure for the fundamental human difficulty: that we are born and remain alone. It's about how that romantic notion both sustains and betrays us.  It’s a comedy.  About heartbreak.” 


John Kolvenbach has enjoyed a great deal of international success as a playwright.  Author of Goldfish, Love Song, on an average day, Gizmo Love, Fabuloso, and of course Mrs. Whitney, his plays have been performed in Zurich, Melbourne, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Lisbon among many others.  Love Song made its way to the West End in London where it was nominated for an Olivier Award for best new comedy.  On an average day premiered at the Comedy Theatre on the West End in 2002 starring Woody Harrelson and Kyle MacLachlan.  His screenplay Clear Winter Noon was selected for the Black List in 2008, and he is currently writing a screenplay for MGM. 


MRT’s 2011-2012 Season is sponsored by Lowell BankMrs. Whitney is sponsored by Farley White Interests with additional support from Yellow Book. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by theMassachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.  



Deirdre Madigan (Margaret Whitney) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: Gun Shy (dir Charles Towers).Broadway: After the Night and The Music (dir. Daniel Sullivan). Off Broadway: Barbra’s Wedding (dir. David Warren), Major Crimes (dir Arthur Penn) and Jigsaws (dir. Susie Fuller)Regional: Two River Theatre Company’s Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (dir. Ken Rus Schmoll) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at The English Theatre Of Frankfurt, God of Carnage, The Little FoxesMary Stuart, Much Ado About Nothing (dir. Ted Pappas), Spinning into Butter (dir. Eddie Gilbert) and Betty’s Summer Vacation (dir. Munson Hicks) at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. All the Kings Men at the Intiman Theatre (dir. Pam MacKinnon), The Diary of Anne Frank at the Denver Center (dir. Paul Barnes), A Marriage Minuet at Westport Country Playhouse and City Theatre  (dir. Tracey Brigden), Dinner With Friends and Julius Caesarat Pioneer Theatre Company (dir. Charles Morey), Lips Together, Teeth Apart at George Street Playhouse (dir. Michael Morris). TV & Film: Law and Order, Law and Order C.I. The Good Wife. 

Joel Colodner (Francis) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut. Broadway: They Knew What They Wanted, A Memory of Two Mondays, The Beggars Opera, Measure for Measure. Off Broadway: How I Learned to Drive, Do I Hear a Waltz? Regional: Threepenny Opera, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis;Streamers, Comedians, Hamlet, Arena Stage; The American Clock, Measure for Measure, Wild Oats, Mark Taper Forum; The Rainmaker, Guthrie Theatre; Da’arlin Juno, Long Wharf; A Christmas Carol, Alliance Theatre; The Seagull, Pittsburgh Public Theatre; Is There Life After High School?, Hartford Stage. TV: L.A. Law, Moonlighting, Remington Steele, Cagney and Lacey, St. Elsewhere, 21 Jump Street, Law and Order, Perry Mason – Case of the Avenging Ace, Mrs. Columbo, Eight is Enough, Highway to Heaven, Another World/Texas. Film: The Kirlian Witness, Arthur – On the Rocks, Who is Julia?, Betrayed by Innocence, Not My Kid, Malice in Wonderland. Education: BA, Cornell University. MFA, Southern Methodist University. 


Rebecca Harris (Louisa) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: Fabuloso, The Missionary Position.  Off Broadway: LIFEGAME, Enter the Night. Off-Off-Broadway: True Crimes, Gint!, American Silents, B & G and Voyage of the Carcass. Regional: The 39 Steps, Mother Teresa is Dead, The Missionary Position, Mezzulah 1946, A Picasso, Fiction, String of Pearls, City Theatre in Pittsburgh; Scramble, Westport Country Playhouse; Centennial Casting, Virginia Stage; Mauritius, Bad Dates, Theater Squared; Frame 312, The Alliance Theatre; The Play About the Baby, The Alley Theatre; Last Chance for a Slow Dance, New York Stage and Film; The Exonerated, The Birthday Party, The Real Thing, Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre.Television: Three Rivers, Life on the Line, Sex and the City, Law and Order. Film: Road, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Unstoppable, Don’t Back Down. Education: MFA, Columbia University, New York.

Jay Ben Markson (Fin Whitney) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut. Regional: Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet, Dromio of Ephesus, A Comedy of Errors, Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, MaineStage Shakespeare.  Educational Credits: Arnholm, The Lady from the Sea, title character, Macbeth, Karl, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Brad, The Rocky Horror Show. Education: BA, Dartmouth College.

Dennis Parlato (Tom Whitney) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut. Broadway: John the Baptist, Salomewith Al Pacino; Lawrence Jameson, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Mr. Robinson, The Graduate; Captain von Trapp, The Sound of Music; CIA Agent Walter Anderson, Chess; Rooster, Annie; Zach, A Chorus Line. Off Broadway & Regional: Franklin Woolsey, GHOST-WRITER, ETC in Cincinnati. Title roles in Cyrano de Bergerac; Barrymore; J.B; The Master Builder; Christopher Columbus; Beethoven, 33 Variations; Julian Marsh, 42nd Street; Oliver, The Vertical Hour; Prospero, The Tempest; Big Daddy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof;Scrooge, A Christmas Carol; Uncle Peck, How I Learned to Drive; Sky Masterson, Guys and Dolls. TV & Film: Delocated, Law and Order, One Life to Live, Loving, Tom De Cillo’s Johnny Suede and Delirious,Eddie Muller’s Dillinger’s Dead, Greg DeFelice’s Bury the Evidence, RickStarting Out in the Evening andBride Wars. 



Pay What You Can Night – March 15 at 7:30PM.  Patrons may purchase tickets in cash at the Box Office between 4:30PM-7:30PM and name their ticket price.  Following the performance, there will also be aDirector’s Dialogue, where the director and designers field audience questions and describe how the play was staged.  Lowell Night – March 17 at 8PM. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10 at the box office from 5PM-8PM. Proper ID required.  Opening Night – March 18 at 7PM. Audience members are invited to join Merrimack Rep’s staff and cast after the show in raising a glass of champagne to celebrate the opening of the production.  Cookie Matinee – March 21 at 2PM. Patrons enjoy complimentary cookies and coffee in the lobby before the show, courtesy of Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus.  Post Show Forums – March 22, March 29, and April 5 at 7:30PM.  Audiences can stay after the performance to learn the inside scoop and chat with the actors. Sponsored by Yellowbook. 


TICKETS: Tickets to all productions in the 2011-2012 Season are on sale on now.  Tickets begin at $24.  Discounts are available for students, seniors and groups.  Tickets may be purchased online at merrimackrep.orgor by calling the Box Office at 978-654-4MRT (4678). Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s Box Office is located at 50 E. Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA.  


SUBSCRIPTIONS: Don’t miss a single show! Subscription packages are now on sale for the remainder of  MRT’s 2011-2012 Season. All subscriptions include exclusive subscriber-only benefits, including free parking, restaurant and theatre discounts, lost ticket insurance and free, unlimited ticket exchanges.  For season or subscription information, call 978-654-4678 or visit 

For more information, bios, interviews, or photos, please contact Dan Berube at 978-654-7595 or 

For MRT show times, tickets, season information, directions, or to request a brochure, please or call the Box Office at 978-654-4MRT (4678). 


The Persian Quarter by Kathleen Cahill, September 15 – October 9, 2011

This Verse Business by A.M. Dolan, October 20 – November 13, 2011

Reduced Shakespeare Company ® in The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, November 25 – December 18, 2011

The Voice of the Turtle by John Van Druten, January 5 – January 29, 2012

Daddy Long Legs - book by John Caird, music and lyrics by Paul Gordon, based on the novel by Jean Webster, February 9 – March 4, 2012

Mrs. Whitney by John Kolvenbach, March 15 – April 8, 2012

Ghost-Writer by Michael Hollinger, April 19 – May 13, 2012. 


Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Performance Space: 

Liberty Hall (adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)

50 E. Merrimack Street

Lowell, MA 01852

Box Office:  978-543-4MRT (4678) 



The Donahue Center in Bagshaw Mills 

132 Warren Street

Lowell, MA  01852

Front Desk:  978-654-7550