The Off-Broadway smash hit “The City of Conversation,” a rousing story of a political family over three decades of change by Anthony Giardina, makes its East Tennessee premiere at Encore Theatrical Company, opening on January 13.
Washington D.C. was once a place where people actually talked to each other…where adversaries fought it out on the Senate floor and then smoothed it out over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. In this play spanning 30 years and six presidential administrations, Hester Ferris is the savvy and elegant doyenne of Georgetown dinner parties whose influence in politics is legendary. But when her beloved son suddenly turns up with an ambitious girlfriend and a shocking new world view, Hester must choose between preserving her family and defending the causes she’s spent her whole life fighting for. Follow the Ferris family from the end of the Carter presidency, through the Reagan era, and into the inauguration of Obama.
Encore’s production stars Kathy Jones-Terry as Hester Ferris. Kathy is an Encore company member and has been involved in local theatre for over 35 years. More recent credits include Barbara in “August: Osage County,” Dinah in “The Dixie Swim Club,” Violet in “9 to 5,” M’Lynn in “Steel Magnolias,” and many more. She is joined onstage by Cindi Sedlack Husk, who plays Jean Swift, Hester’s sister. Cindi is also an Encore company member, and was last seen in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.”
Husband and wife duo Alex and Lindsey Davis plays Colin Ferris and Anna Fitzgerald. Alex was last seen in “Follies” where he made his Encore debut. This production marks Lindsey’s 11th show with Encore, having been in shows like “Rock of Ages,” “Hairspray,” and “One Man, Two Guvnors.” Eric Bullard returns as Chandler Harris. Bullard was last seen as the Black Knight in “Spamalot.”
Larry Bunton and Linda High play Senator George and Carolyn Mallonee. They were both onstage in Encore’s production of “August: Osage County,” and High was recently seen as the Bird Woman in “Mary Poppins.” Ben Bean returns to the Encore stage as Donald Logan, and was last seen as Donkey in “Shrek.” Making his stage debut is Joey Stibler, playing the role of young Ethan Ferris. Joey is a second grade student at West Elementary School.
The production is directed by Encore’s Artistic Director Micah-Shane Brewer. The production team includes Amy Nichols Webb, Frank Williams, Debbie Bennett, and David Burnette.
“If there ever was a timely and relevant play to experience, ‘The City of Conversation’ is that,” said Artistic Director Micah-Shane Brewer. “It is such a timely, funny, and relevant piece that will speak to so many people, regardless of your politics. It’s hard to imagine a time when politicians and leaders actually came together to work things out, and ‘City” opens up a great discussion of how do we, as a society, return to a world of civility and conversation. I know this production will speak to many of us as we work to heal our world after a divisive and bitter election season.”
Performances of “The City of Conversation” run for two weeks only January 13-22 at the Judge William H. Inman Humanities Theatre located on the campus of Walters State Community College in Morristown. Evening performances are January 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 8:00 p.m. and Matinee performances are January 15 and 22 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.etcplays.org or by calling 423-318-8331.