#onlinedating | Stars of stage and screen will grace Zoom for new Mile Square Theatre plays | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

It may be virtual. but there will still be some new theater to see this fall even though Broadway and local theaters remain dark.

Mile Square Theatre has commissioned seven new plays written specifically for the Zoom format. The four-part series titled “Given Circumstances,” begins Sept. 18, and runs every weekend through Oct. 11.

The series begins with Lia Romeo’s play, “Sitting and Talking,” directed by James Glossman, which follows a man and woman in their 60s as they navigate the vulnerable, awkward, and sometimes hilarious path to companionship via online dating during quarantine. Appearing in Romeo’s play are stars Dan Lauria and Wendie Malick.

Wendie Malick takes the role of Enid in “Sitting and Talking.” She gained prominence on the small screen as Nina Van Horn in “Just Shoot Me” which earned her a Golden Globe and two Emmy nominations. She also starred in “Hot in Cleveland,” earning a People’s Choice Award and SAG nomination for Best Ensemble as well as “Dream On,” earning 4 Cable Ace Awards. Her theater credits include Off-Broadway renditions of “Burleigh Grimes” at the Kirk Douglas Theater; “The Underpants” at the Geffen; “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Helen Gahagan Douglas” at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; and “Closure” at the New Jersey Repertory Theatre. Malick is also known for her animal and humanitarian efforts with the Board of The Environmental Media Association, The Humane Society of the United States, and Return to Freedom, a wild horse sanctuary and advocacy group.

Dan Lauria, who plays Charles in “Sitting and Talking,” is most recognized as the John “Jack” Arnold on the highly acclaimed Emmy-winning ABC television show, “The Wonder Years.” He has appeared as a guest star in over 70 television episodic programs and more than 20 Movie of the Week productions, plus a score of motion picture credits. Lauria has performed, written, and directed over 50 professional stage productions. In 2010 and 2011, he was seen on Broadway as the legendary coach Vince Lombardi in the long-running production of “Lombardi,” directed by Thomas Kail of “Hamilton” fame.

This isn’t the first time Lauria and Malick have performed together. They appeared in the play “The Guys” by Anne Nelson, about first responders, for numerous theaters and fire departments around the country. They also performed in “Love Letters” as a fundraiser for regional theaters, for the development of new plays.

While Romeo’s play will stand on its own, the rest of the Given Circumstances lineup will be paired up, providing audiences with two different short plays when they tune in.

The weekend of Sept. 25, viewers can see new plays by Nandita Shenoy and Kevin R. Free; Oct. 2 brings plays by Audley Puglisi and Cary Gitter; and the series commences the weekend of Oct. 9 with work by Dustin Chinn and Chris O’Connor. Directors and casts will be announced at a later date.

“The term ‘given circumstance’ is a theatrical term used by practitioners to describe the circumstances defined by the playwright, which frames the play,” says Chris O’Connor, Mile Square Theatre Artistic Director. “We thought the term was apt to describe the circumstances that are defining theatre in the time of COVID. A monumental circumstance these days is that we now live in a digital world, chiefly defined by Zoom calls. All of these commissions have asked the playwrights to set their plays on the Zoom platform as a central ‘given circumstance.’ We are thrilled to have this impressive lineup of writers and theatre collaborators.”

Tickets are $15 to $20 and are available at www.milesquaretheatre.org. Once purchased, audience members will be emailed a link through which the stream may be accessed.


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