Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What the Butler Saw at Pittsburgh Irish Classical Theatre

Media Contact: Melissa Hill Grande

412.561.6000 x203


“Let’s put our clothes on and face the world”

PICT’s production of Orton’s comic masterpiece turns morality on its ear!

Pittsburgh, PA – May 29, 2009. PICT turns conventional morality upside down with its production of Joe Orton’s masterpiece What the Butler Saw, a fast-paced, hilarious farce set ablaze with seductions, cross-dressing, mistaken identity, infidelity and blackmail!

The trouble begins as a middle-aged doctor (Douglas Rees) convinces an attractive young woman (Amanda Jane Cooper) to undress during her job interview at a psychiatric hospital. His plans for a quick afternoon seduction are dashed by the unexpected arrival of his harpy of a wife (Helena Ruoti), followed in rapid succession by a randy bell-hop from the local hotel (Sam Trussell), an eccentric government official charged with oversight of mental institutions (Martin Giles), and a dim-witted policeman who gets in over his head (Jeffrey Carpenter)! Separating the mad from the sane becomes an impossible job, as Dr. Prentice runs into one complication after another while trying to keep his wife from finding out about his interrupted infidelity. Leading the pack of lunatics is director Simon Bradbury, with a design team comprised of Gianni Downs (set), Andrew David Ostrowski (lighting), Erin Collins Rittling (costumes), Elizabeth Atkinson (sound), and Jason Strom (properties).

What the Butler Saw skewers a number of sacred cows, including religion, the authority of the government and ruling class, military/political hero worship, and sexual prudery and repression. Because of adult themes and partial nudity, the show may not be appropriate for all audience members.

Pittsburgh native Douglas Rees comes home from New York to play Dr. Prentice. Rees’ most recent Pittsburgh appearance was in the City Theatre Company production of Marriage Minuet. His previous PICT shows include The School for Scandal and Travesties. Helena Ruoti comes to Butler straight off her bravura performance as Eleanor/Esme in PICT’s season opener, Rock ‘n’ Roll. She also appeared in PICT’s critically-acclaimed 2008 production of King Lear, as well as Heartbreak House, A Woman of No Importance and The Seagull.

PICT regular and Pittsburgh favorite Martin Giles plays Dr. Rance. Giles’ most recent PICT productions include Rock ‘n’ Roll, Synge Cycle (as an actor and a director), and St. Nicholas, and he returns to PICT in August for The History Boys. Other recent local appearances include Die Fledermaus with Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh and The Seafarer for City Theatre Company. His play Beautiful Dreamers, with the music of Stephen Foster, will receive its world premiere in a co-production between PICT and Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh in April of 2010.

Jeffrey Carpenter plays the police officer, Sergeant Match. Carpenter was in the PICT production of The White Devil, and he serves as the founder and artistic director of Bricolage. He has been seen in many recent local productions, including barebones’ Take Me Out, Quantum Theatre’s Mouth to Mouth, and City Theatre Company’s The Missionary Position.

Amanda Jane Cooper plays the innocent secretarial candidate Geraldine Barclay. She returns to PICT after performing in Synge Cycle last season, and will be a senior in the musical theatre program at Carnegie Mellon University. She was recently seen as Little Red Riding Hood in CMU’s Into the Woods, and Feste in CMU’s Twelfth Night.

Sam Trussell makes his PICT debut as Nicholas Beckett. A recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, he has been seen in Ring Around the Moon, Evita, and The Phantom Tollbooth. Later this summer, Sam will perform in The Broadway Rising Stars Concert in New York City.

Butler marks Simon Bradbury’s debut as a PICT director, but he has graced the PICT stages numerous times as an actor, most recently in Rock ‘n’ Roll. In previous seasons, Bradbury has appeared for PICT in King Lear, The Pillowman, The Shaughraun, and his own one-man play, Chaplin, among others. Bradbury’s previous directing experience includes The Burning Tree, The Pregnant Pause and the workshop version of Chaplin for the Shaw Festival Academy; Arms and the Man for the University of Toronto and Brock University; and Big Rock Candy Mountain for BackRoad productions, Vancouver.

The set is designed by PICT Resident Scenic Designer Gianni Downs. His previous PICT credits include:

Boston Marriage, Stuff Happens, Synge Cycle, and Salome, among others. Lighting is designed by Andrew David Ostrowski (PICT’s King Lear, Private Lives and Hedda Gabler, among others), costumes by Erin Collins Rittling (Rock ‘n’ Roll, Dublin Carol, and St. Nicholas), and sound by Elizabeth Atkinson (Rock ‘n’ Roll, Synge Cycle, BeckettFest, The Pillowman, Henry, Copenhagen, among others). What the Butler Saw plays June 11th through the 27th in the Charity Randall Theatre.

In conjunction with the production, PICT is sponsoring an online photo contest. Participants are asked to submit a photo of what they think the butler saw. Fun, random, and imaginative photos are encouraged; they need bear no direct relation to the play itself. Photos must be jpg format at 300 dpi or greater, and must be submitted to on or before June 14, 2009. Voting will take place on the website from June 17 through June 25. The winner will receive four tickets to any 2009 PICT production, and a signed poster of “What the Butler Saw” (or their photo signed by the cast). An enlarged version of the winning photograph will be displayed in the lobby the closing weekend of the production. Visit the PICT website at for more information.

The Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre was founded in 1996 to diversify the region’s theatrical offerings by providing Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania audiences with high-quality, text-driven, affordable productions of classical theatre and the works of classical and contemporary Irish playwrights and to significantly improve employment opportunities for local talent in all facets of theatrical presentation and production. PICT is a Small Professional Theatre (SPT) affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association, and a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance. PICT is the Professional Theatre in Residence at the University of Pittsburgh and PICT productions at the Charity Randall and Henry Heymann Theatres are presented in cooperation with the University of Pittsburgh – Department of Theatre Arts.

What the Butler Saw FACT SHEET

What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton Joe Orton

Directed by Simon Bradbury

The Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial, Oakland

4301 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh 15213eyHey

Cast: Jeffrey Carpenter, Amanda Jane Cooper, Martin Giles, Douglas Rees, Helena Ruoti, and Sam Trussell

Design Team: Gianni Downs (scenic design), Andrew David Ostrowski (lighting design), Erin Collins Rittling (costume design), Elizabeth Atkinson (sound design), Natalie Baker Shirer (dialect coaching)

Performance Dates and Times:

First Week: Thursday – Friday, June 11, 12, Previews, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 13, Opening Night 8 p.m. (followed by reception)

Sunday, June 14, 2 p.m. (followed by talk-back with the company)

Second Week: Tuesday, June 16, 7 p.m. (Professional Tuesdays performance)

Wednesday – Saturday, June 17 - 20, 8 p.m. *

Sunday, June 21, 2 p.m.

*Preshow lecture series

· Artistically Speaking – Wednesday, June 17, 7:00 p.m.

· Behind the Scenes – Thursday, June 18, 7:00 p.m.

Third Week: Wednesday – Friday, June 24 - 26, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 27, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Ticket Prices

Opening Night: $48 Adults, $45 Seniors

Fri. & Sat. Nights: $46 Adults, $42 Seniors

Wed. & Thurs. Nights, and Sun. Mats: $42 Adults, $40 Seniors

Tues. Nights & Sat. Mats: $42 Adults, $40 Seniors

Preview Thurs. & Fri: $36 (all seats, no Senior discounts)

Youth under 25: $17 all performances, w/valid ID

For tickets, call ProArtsTickets at 412.394.3353 or visit

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre. Great Stories. Well Told.

Melissa Hill Grande

Director of Marketing and Artistic Associate

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre

PO Box 23607

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

412.561.6000 x203

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre.

Great Stories. Well Told.

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