Full Company to Set Sail in Lookingglass Theatre Company's Moby Dick at Arena Stage

Nov 18, 2016
Moby Dick

Set sail on an epic adventure this holiday season with a dramatically reimagined production of Moby Dick. Adaptor and director David Catlin brings his daring new adaptation of the classic seafaring tale to Arena Stage, using bold trapeze and acrobatic work to bring to life Captain Ahab's harrowing quest for the legendary great while whale.

Hailed by the Chicago Sun-Times as "a triumph of grand theatrical imagination, deep thought, superb acting and eye-popping, ingeniously deployed physical daring" for its acclaimed 2015 debut at Lookingglass Theatre Company, the production fuses innovative staging with aerial storytelling.

Based on the book by Herman Melville, Moby Dick is a co-production with the ALLIANCE THEATRE and South Coast Repertory and runs November 18-December 24, 2016 in the Kreeger Theater.

Reprising their roles from the celebrated Chicago production are Jamie Abelson as Ishmael, Christopher Donahue as Ahab, Anthony Fleming III as Queequeg, Kasey Foster as Fate/Widow, Raymond Fox as Stubb/Captain Boomer/Captain Gardiner and Javen Ulambayar as Mungun. They are joined by Kelley Abell as Fate/Inkeeper, Walter Owen Briggs as Starbuck/Father Mapple/Dr. Bunger, Cordelia Dewdney as Fate/Crone, Micah Figueroa as Cabaco/Captain of New Bedford Whaling Ship and understudies Adeoye (for Queequeg/Mungun) and Chris Mathews (for Ahab/Ishmael/Stubb/Starbuck/Cabaco).

"Moby Dick begs to be reimagined, and who better than David Catlin and the creative team from Lookingglass," shares Artistic Director Molly Smith. "The story doesn't just come alive in this production, it flies in the air all around you. Prepare to be amazed."

"Moby Dick is both a rollicking sea adventure and meditation on madness," says Catlin. "Even if we haven't read the novel, we know the first line, 'Call me, Ishmael.' We understand Ishmael-a self-titled "isolato"-unmoored and rudderless. Haven't we all, at some point in our lives, felt that way? Enter Ahab, his quest is noble, impossible and entirely compelling-to dive deeper; to slay the beastly White Whale and rid the world of 'evil incarnate.'"

Tickets for Moby Dick are $40-90, subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. For information on savings programs such as pay-your-age tickets, student discounts, Southwest Nights and hero's discounts, visit arenastage.org/shows-tickets/single-tickets/savings-programs. Tickets may be purchased online at arenastage.org, by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth St., SW, D.C.

Special Events:

Moby Dick: From Classic Novel to Novel Play-Sunday, December 11 following the 2:00 p.m. performance Herman Melville's Moby Dick, originally published in 1851, is widely considered one of the hallmarks of great American literature. Now, 165 years later, this story comes to us in a bold new production. How does this new staging relate to the original text? How does this production both remain true to-and deviate from-the original source? Melville scholars and local artists join in a discussion about the original novel and telling this beloved story in a daring new way onstage.

Post-Show Conversations Connect with our shows beyond the performance at a post-show conversation with artists and staff-November 30, December 14 and December 20 following the noon performance; December 20 following the 7:30 p.m. performance; and December 22 following the 8:00 p.m. performance.


Kelley Abell (Fate/Inkeeper & Others) makes her Arena Stage debut. Chicago credits include Moby Dick and Peter Pan (Lookingglass), 42nd Street and Fiddler on the Roof (Paramount Theatre), Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play (Theater Wit), Dorian (House Theatre) and Bat Boy: The Musical and Titanic (Griffin Theatre). She has also worked with Goodman Theatre and Marriot Theatre and is a graduate of Northwestern University. Gratitude to Graham and the family.

Jamie Abelson (Ishmael) makes his Arena Stage debut. Recent theater credits include Moby Dick and Peter Pan (Lookingglass), Red Kite Blue Sky (Chicago Children's Theatre), The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Northlight), Eurydice (Victory Gardens), Scenes from the Big Picture (Irish Theatre of Chicago), As Told by the Vivian Girls (Dog & Pony), columbinus (Raven Theatre) and Hope Springs Infernal and Dorian (House Theatre). Jamie received his B.F.A. in drama from the Tisch School at NYU.

Walter Owen Briggs (Starbuck/Father Mapple/Dr. Bunger) makes his Arena Stage debut. Chicago credits include Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo and The North China Lover (Lookingglass), Hit The Wall (Steppenwolf), Sucker Punch (Victory Gardens), All Our Tragic (The Hypocrites) and The Glass Menagerie (Mary-Archie). He has worked regionally at American Repertory, The Getty Villa (Los Angeles), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Goodman Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. TV/film credits include Chicago Med, The West Wing, The Express, Jessica, Older Children, Ballad and A Good Person. Love to Chloe.

CORDELIA DEWDNEY (Fate/Crone & Others) makes her Arena Stage debut. A Chicago based actress, she received her degree in theater from Northwestern University and can be seen in a recent episode of Chicago Med. She is happy to be represented by Stewart Talent. Many thanks and much love to my mother, my family in Vermont and dear friends who have helped along the way.

Christopher Donahue (Ahab) makes his Arena Stage debut. New York credits include Dogeaters, Measure for Measure (The Public/NYSF), The Notebooks of Leonardo DaVinci (Second Stage), Monster (Classic Stage Company, Obie Award) and Metamorphoses (Circle in the Square). He has appeared in many productions across the country. "But even so, amid the tornadoed Atlantic of my being, do I myself still forever disport in mute calm; and while ponderous planets of unwaning woe revolve around me, deep down and deep inland there I still bathe me in eternal mildness of joy."-Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Micah Figueroa (Cabaco/Captain of New Bedford Whaling Ship) makes his Arena Stage debut. He is a Chicago-based actor, choreographer and director. Chicago credits include Moby Dick and Lookingglass Alice (Lookingglass), The Winter Pageant (Redmoon) and Distance to the Moon (First Floor Theater). Regional credits include The Farnsworth Invention and Wild Oats (Theatre Three), Coriolanus, Cyrano de Bergerac and Macbeth (Shakespeare Dallas), Titus Andronicus (Kitchen Dog Theater), Sense and Sensibility (Stolen Shakespeare) and In The Beginning and Henry IV (Dallas Theater Center). B.F.A, Southern Methodist University and the British American Drama Academy.

Anthony Fleming III (Queequeg) makes his Arena Stage debut. Select theater credits include a national tour of Lookingglass Alice (McCarter, New Victory Theater, Arden Theatre Company, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Syracuse Stage); Clybourne Park (Arizona Theatre Company); Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Milwaukee Repertory); Camino Real (Goodman); The Glass Menagerie (Steppenwolf); Denmark (Victory Gardens); and Fences (Court Theatre). TV/film credits include Chicago Fire (NBC); Prison Break (FOX); and Divergent (Summit). Anthony is an ensemble member with Lookingglass and received the 2015 Jeff Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Queequeg in Moby Dick.

Kasey Foster (Fate/Widow & Others) makes her Arena Stage debut. She has been performing, singing, directing and producing in Chicago since 2004. She has worked with Chicago-based theater companies including Lookingglass, Manual Cinema, Chicago Children's Theatre, Blair Thomas & Co., Redmoon, Dog & Pony, Trap Door, Theater Wit, Red Tape, Oracle and Collaboraction. Kasey sings with Chicago bands Grood, Babe-alon 5, Old Timey and This Must be the Band. She has directed/choreographed over 30 original works and produces an annual series called Dance Tribute. Foster was most recently seen in Mary Zimmerman's Treasure Island (Berkeley Repertory). Thanks to all for supporting the arts! They make everything better.

Raymond Fox (Stubb/Captain Boomer/Captain Gardiner) returns to Arena Stage, where he previously appeared in Metamorphoses, a play he performed as part of the original Broadway (Circle in the Square) and Off-Broadway (Second Stage) casts and numerous productions elsewhere. His notable regional credits include Simon Craig in Blood and Gifts (TimeLine Theatre, 2013 Equity Jeff Award, Supporting Actor, Play), Prince Hal in Henry IV (Court Theatre) and Valentine Coverly in Arcadia (Meadow Brook Theatre). Raymond is an ensemble member of Chicago's Lookingglass where he co-adapted The Old Curiosity Shop with Laura Eason and Heidi Stillman (shared 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award, New Adaptation). Raymond was a member of the Young Company of the Stratford Festival (Ontario) in 1996. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and the A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University.

JAVEN ULAMBAYAR (Mungun) makes his Arena Stage debut. His circus career has given him the opportunity to work with companies including Lookingglass, The Actors Gymnasium and Midnight Circus. He attained his skills in variety of performing acts at Juventas circus school in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Tumbling, teeterboard, acro and Russian bar are among the skills he attained, but above all, he specializes in aerial straps and Chinese pole, performing with male and female partners. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2012, with a degree in kinesiology with emphasis on clinical movement and science.

ADEOYE (u/s Queequeg/Mungun) makes his Arena Stage debut. Chicago credits include Lookingglass Alice, The Little Prince, Peter Pan, Icarus and Black Diamond (Lookingglass), The Magnificents (House Theatre), The Unmentionables (Steppenwolf) and The Lost Boys of Sudan (Victory Gardens). Regional credits include Lookingglass Alice (Denver Center), A Raisin in the Sun (The Guthrie/Penumbra Theatre) and Intimate Apparel (Clarence Brown Theatre). TV credits include Detroit 1-8-7, Leverage and Prison Break. Film credits include #Vengeance is Mine and Chicago Overcoat. He earned his M.F.A. at The Academy for Classical Acting with Shakespeare Theatre Company/George Washington University. Love and gratitude to his family.

CHRIS MATHEWS (u/s Ahab/Ishmael/Stubb/Starbuck/Cabaco) makes his Arena Stage debut. He is a company member with House Theatre of Chicago, where he regularly writes and performs. With Nathan Allen and Jake Minton, he co-wrote The Sparrow (Jeff Award, New Work) and Rose and the Rime. With Allen, he co-wrote The Hammer Trinity (House Theatre and the Adrienne Arsht Center). He has also written and directed original circus theater plays for family-friendly audiences at The Actors Gymnasium. As an actor, he has performed with House Theatre, Lookingglass and The Actors Gymnasium, among others. Chris provides motion capture performance for video game maker Netherrealm Studios, having been featured in the "Mortal Kombat" franchise titles (Johnny Cage) and "Injustice: Gods Among Us" (Batman). Thanks for hosting us, come visit us in Chicago!

David Catlin (Adaptor, Director) is a founding ensemble member of Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company, the recipient of the 2011 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Regional directing/writing credits include Lookingglass Alice at Lookingglass Theatre, McCarter Theatre, New Victory Theater, Arden Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Syracuse Stage (SALT Award, Production), ALLIANCE THEATRE (Suzi Bass Award, Best Ensemble), Adrienne Arsht Center and Denver Center and Moby Dick at Lookingglass Theatre (four Jeff Awards including Production, Large, and nominations for direction and adaptation) and ALLIANCE THEATRE. Additional Lookingglass credits include The Little Prince, Icarus, The Idiot (Jeff Award, Adaptation), Black Diamond (co-direction), Kafka's Metamorphosis, The Master and Margarita (co-direction) and West. David teaches theater at Northwestern University.

The creative team for Moby Dick includes Aerial/Acrobatic Choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Set Designer Courtney O'Neill, Costume Designer Sully Ratke, Lighting Designer William C. Kirkham, Sound Design & Original Music by Rick Sims, Rigging Designer Isaac Schoepp, Dialect Coach Kathy Logelin, Stage Manager Mary Hungerford and Assistant Stage Manager Marne Anderson.

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Molly Smith and Executive Director Edgar Dobie, is a national center dedicated to American voices and artists. Arena Stage produces plays of all that is passionate, profound, deep and dangerous in the American spirit, and presents diverse and ground-breaking work from some of the best artists around the country. Arena Stage is committed to commissioning and developing new plays, and impacts the lives of over 10,000 students annually through its work in community engagement. Now in its seventh decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 300,000. Visit arenastage.org for more.