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Contemporary American Theater Festival to begin at WV's Shepherd University

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The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University has announced the directors, actors, and designers for its 23rd season, to be held July 5-28.

The company includes director Jon Jory—the founder of Long Wharf Theatre and the Humana Festival of New American Plays during his 31 year stint as Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville—who will helm the world premiere of the CATF-commissioned play "H2O" by Jane Martin.

The cast for this play, to be produced in the Festival's intimate 90-seat experimental space CCA-112, includes Diane Mair and Alex Podulke, both of whom have worked previously with Jory on his adaptation of "Sense and Sensibility."

Kent Nicholson, director of musical theatre and literary associate at Playwrights' Horizon in

New York City, will direct the world premiere of Liz Duffy Adams's "A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World," featuring Cassie Beck (Broadway: Picnic, 2013; CATF: The Insurgents, 2011), Rod Brogan (Broadway: Mauritius; National Tour of Doubt), Becky Byers, Joey Collins (Broadway: The Glass Menagerie with Jessica Lange, Rock n Roll, The Lonesome West; CATF: In a Forest Dark and Deep, Captors, 2012), Susannah Hoffman (Maryland native) and Gerardo Rodriguez.

Noted playwright Mark St. Germain will also direct the world premiere of the Festival's second commissioned play, "Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah," which he also wrote. The three-person cast will include Brogan as Ernest Hemingway and Collins portraying F. Scott Fitzgerald. Angela Pierce (Broadway: The Norman Conquests, A Streetcar Named Desire) rounds out the cast.

CATF Founder and Producing Director Ed Herendeen will direct two of the season's plays, including Sam Shepard's new work "Heartless." Beck and Hoffman are joined by veteran stage actors Kathleen Butler (World Premieres: Edward Albee's Three Tall Women, Occupant, and Marriage Play) and Michael Cullen (Broadway: Bus Stop; Off-Broadway: title character in Lee Blessing's Cobb).

Stage, film, and television actor Robyn Cohen, originally from Maryland, completes the cast. Cohen's screen credits include a leading role in Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou," numerous roles in films written and directed by James Franco and appearances on television shows such as "The Mentalist," "The Closer," "Angel" and "LAX." She also appeared on-stage opposite Jeff Goldblum in "The Exonerated."

The fifth play of the season is Jon Kern's "Modern Terrorism, Or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them," also directed by Herendeen. Its cast consists of Royce Johnson, Mahira Kakkar, Omar Maskati (most recently appearing in the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Disgraced at Lincoln Center") and Kohler McKenzie. This play will premiere Shepherd University's new venue, the Stanley C. and Shirley A. Marinoff Theater.

The Festival's 2013 design team includes: John Ambrosone (lights); David M. Barber (sets); Trevor Bowen (costumes); CATF Associate Producing Director Margaret A. McKowen (costumes); Devon Painter (costumes); Traci Klainer Polimeni (lights); David Remedios (sound); Eric Shimelonis (sound; DC-based); Christina Smith (sound); Luciana Stecconi (sets; DC-based); and D.M. Wood (lights).

Matinee and evening performances are held Wednesday-Sunday throughout the festival. Single ticket prices to the 2013 repertory are $57. Four-show and five-show subscription discount packages (Rep Passes) are available, ranging from $100-$235. Additional ticket savings are available for military personnel and families (as part of the Blue Star Theater Program), students, seniors, patrons 30 and younger and West Virginia residents. All performances take place at various venues on the Shepherd University campus. Pay-What-You-Can Previews will be held on July 3 and July 4.

Performance tickets can be purchased through the Theater Festival Box Office, which is open off-season Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., by calling 800-999-CATF (2283), or online by visiting www.catf.org/boxoffice.