Maria Rizzo and Rachel Zampelli to Star in The Gulf World Premiere This Fall at Signature Theatre

Aug 17, 2016
The Gulf

Virginia's Tony-Award winning Signature Theatre presents the world premiere of The Gulf by DC playwright Audrey Cefaly. Directed by Signature's Director of New Works Joe Calarco (Signature Theatre's The Flick, Gypsy), The Gulfcontinues Signature Theatre's commitment to producing regional and local premieres of important new plays. The production stars Maria Rizzo (Signature's Gypsy, West Side Story) and Rachel Zampelli (Signature's The Fix, Dying City), and runs September 13 - November 6 in Signature Theatre's intimate ARK Theatre.

"Signature is proud to present the world premiere of The Gulf by DC playwright Audrey Cefaly as the next installment in our long history of producing exciting world premiere plays," said Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "The Gulf received a reading as part of our SigWorks Monday Night New Play Readings Series and I couldn't be more thrilled that the show will continue its journey at Signature. Audrey has a unique contemporary voice and she promises to have a huge future in the American theater."

Betty and Kendra waste away a languid summer day fishing on the Alabama Delta. Suddenly, their lazy afternoon turns to chaos when the motor breaks, stranding the two, and their tumultuous relationship, in the Gulf.

"The minute I read Audrey Cefaly's The Gulf, when she submitted it for our SigWorks Monday Night Reading Series I fell in love with it and I wanted it to be the first of the series," said director Joe Calarco. "The response was wonderful and the next morning Eric said, 'We need to produce this.' I can't wait for audiences to see Rachel Zampelli and Maria Rizzo, two powerhouse actresses, in this beautiful and funny play."

The Gulf won the 40th Annual Samuel French OOB Festival and a series of her plays were published by Samuel French in the collectionLove is a Blue Tick Hound: And Other Remedies for the Common Ache. Her play Maytag Virgin was produced by Quotidian Theatre Company as part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival.

The creative team includes Scenic Design by Paige Hathaway; Costume Design by Frank Labovitz; Lighting Design by Andrew Cissna; Sound Design by Kenny Neal; Fight Choreographer Casey Kaleba; Production Stage Manager Julie Meyer; Production Assistant Sophia Lewin Adams.

Performances run Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $40. Single tickets are available in person at the Signature Box Office at 4200 Campbell Avenue in Shirlington, by calling 703-820-9771, and online at

This production's Pride performances are scheduled for September 30 and October 21. Post-show discussion performances are scheduled for September 28, October 4 and October 5. Open captioned performances are scheduled for October 23 at 2PM and October 25 at 7:30PM.

Audrey Cefaly (Playwright) OFF-OFF-BROADWAY: Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival: The Gulf (Winner); Ensemble Studio Theater Marathon of One-Act Plays: The Gulf (Finalist); Riant Theater Strawberry One-Act Festival: Fin & Euba (Winner); Emerging Artists Theater EATFest: Clean (Winner). DC AREA: Quotidian Theatre Company: Maytag Virgin (Women's Voices Theater Festival, Helen Hayes Recommended); Mill Town Girls; Theater Alliance: Alabaster, Hothouse New Play Series (October 2016). AWARDS: Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award; Boomerang Fund Artist Grant. PUBLICATIONS: Samuel French: Love is a Blue Tick Hound, Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival Plays - 40th Series; Applause Books: Best American Short Plays 2015?2016 & 2004-2005; Smith & Kraus: Best Men's Stage Monologues 2016 & Best Women's Stage Monologues 2016. UPCOMING: Terrific New Theatre: Love is a Blue Tick Hound (World Premiere December 2016).

Maria Rizzo (Betty) SIGNATURE: West Side Story, Cabaret, Gypsy (Louise, Helen Hayes nomination), Spin, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Xanadu (u/s). REGIONAL: Arena Stage: Fiddler on the Roof; Olney Theatre Center: Evita, Grease!, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown (u/s); Keegan Theatre: Cabaret (Sally Bowles, Helen Hayes nomination), The Sunshine Boys, Spring Awakening; Studio Theatre:Carrie the Musical; 1stStage: Bat Boy; Toby's Dinner Theatre: Hairspray, Nunsense, Cinderella. EDUCATION: The Catholic University of America, BM, Musical Theatre. @mariarizz9o

Rachel Zampelli (Kendra) SIGNATURE: The Fix, Dying City, Brother Russia, Chess, See What I Wanna See, Holiday Mayhem, LaChiusa's Ladies, December Divas II, Anyone Can Whistle in concert, The Happy Time, Saving Aimee. DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: Evita,Avenue Q, Godspell; Studio Theatre 2ndStage: Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson; POP! (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actress); Jerry Springer: The Opera; Reefer Madness; No Rules Theatre Company: Stop Kiss; Folger Theatre: The Comedy of Errors, Orestes: A Tragic Romp, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Adventure Theatre: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas; Ford's Theatre: Shenandoah. REGIONAL: Two River Theatre Company: Orestes: A Tragic Romp; New Repertory Theatre: Into the Woods, Romeo and Juliet; Greenbrier VAlley Theatre: Nevermore; BLACK SWAN Theatre: Special Appearance, Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Breast Entanglements. EDUCATION: Santa Clara University.

Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 44 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces.

In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Sheryl Crow, Barry Levinson, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Kathleen Marshall, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 97 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 386 nominations.