Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Moliere's Wit with Modern Sensibilities

Media Contact: Michelle Belan
Marketing Director Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre
412-561-6000 x203



Pittsburgh, PA – November 13, 2012. David Ives’  The School for Lies honors the comedic and linguistic mastery of Moliere’s The Misanthrope in a hip, hilarious update that exploits the English language to the maximum. The School for Lies features an ensemble cast led by Leo Marks as Frank, Nike Doukas as Celimene, Joel Ripka as Philinte and Robin Abramson, making her PICT debut as Eliante. Also starring Martin Giles as Oronte, Helena Ruoti as Arsinoe, Ben Blazer as Acaste, James FitzGerald as Clitander, and Matt DeCaro as Dubois/Basque. This ribald comedy opens in preview November 29th and runs through December 15th.

With a nod to Moliere, The School for Lies portrays the life of Frank, a disillusioned curmudgeon who decides to tell the absolute truth at all times, no matter the consequences.  As Frank insults nearly everyone he meets — the pompous poet Oronte, the heartsick Philinte, the pandering Clitander — he stays true to his convictions.  His resolve begins to waver, however, once he meets beautiful artistocrat Celimene, who is more than a match for his rapier wit. Will Frank continue his commitment to absolute truthfulness, or will love soften his resolve?

Frank is played with rock-star bravado by PICT veteran Leo Marks, who, like many of The School for Lies cast members,  spent the summer in Pittsburgh for PICT’s Chekhov Celebration.  He played  Baron Tuzenbach (Three Sisters), and Dr. Lvov (Ivanov), and as Luka in the Funny Chekhov short, “The Bear” he played opposite his wife and current co-star Nike Doukas. Mr. Marks also directed the Funny Chekhov short “Swan Song.” Other PICT credits include The Importance of Being Earnest, House and Garden, and Antony and Cleopatra. Mr. Marks has performed to critical acclaim around the country at theaters including Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre, and South Coast Rep. He was a founder of New York’s Elevator Repair Service and is a member of LA companies Evidence Room and Antaeus. TV work includes “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Prison Break,” “K-Ville,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Law and Order,” “Six Feet Under,” “NYPD Blue,” “The Practice,” “Frasier,” and “Gilmore Girls.”

Nike Doukas returns to PICT, where she last appeared in the this summer’s Chekhov Celebration, as Olga in Three Sisters, Anna in Ivanov, and as Popova in Funny Chekhov’s “The Bear.”  Previous PICT credits include House and Garden, the Pinter Festival ("Betrayal" and "Celebration");  Mrs. Cheveley  in An Ideal
Husband. She is a member of the Antaeus Company, and has an MFA from the American Conservatory Theatre. She is also a regular at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Southern California, most recently in the world premieres of The Prince of Atlantis and The Happy Ones. Ms. Doukas is the recipient of the 2011 Lunt-Fontanne fellowship and is widely known for her recurring role on "Desperate Housewives."

James FitzGerald (Clitander) rejoins his fellow cast members from Funny Chekhov’s “The Bear.” He played Nikita in “Swan Song” and Pyotr in Ivanov. Mr. FitzGerald has numerous credits with PICT as well as Pittsburgh Public Theater, Quantum Theater and Bricolage, and has performed 16 seasons with Chicago Shakespeare Theater as well as many other nationally-acclaimed theatres. James teaches acting at Point Park University.

Martin Giles (Oronte) is in his eleventh season with PICT, most recently as Lebedev in Ivanov and Andrei in Afterplay, both part of PICT’s Chekhov Celebration. His turn as Dr. Watson in last season’s The Mask of Moriarty helped make that show one of PICT’s highest grossing shows ever. Other PICT credits: House and Garden and The Importance of Being Earnest (2011); Beautiful Dreamers (playwright/director, 2010); What the Butler Saw and The History Boys (2009). Mr. Giles teaches acting at Point Park and Carnegie Mellon Universities.

Helena Ruoti (Arsinoe) finishes her sixth season with PICT. She played Zinaida Lebedev in Ivanov and Sonya in Afterplay, both a part of the Chekhov Celebration this past summer. Previous PICT credits include Trish in House and Garden, Cleopatra in Antony & Cleopatra, Isabel Desmond in The Seagull, Getrude in Hamlet, Hesione in Heartbreak House, Goneril in King Lear, Mrs. Prentiss in What the Butler Saw, and Eleanor/Esme in Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Matt DeCaro (Dubois/Basque) returns to PICT after Chekhov Celebration as well, where he played Borkin in Ivanov and Chubokov in the Funny Chekhov’s “The Proposal.” His previous PICT credits also include The Lieutenant of Inishmore and King Lear. He recently potrayed Gutman in Camino Real at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, and has performed with this company in The Play About the Baby, Romance, Heartbreak House, Boy Gets Girl and Spinning Into Butter, reprising his roles in the last two at Lincoln Center and The Manhattan Theater Club. Additional credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Northlight Theater, and TV credits for “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “House,” “CSI: Las Vegas,” and perhaps most notably, as Officer Geary in “Prison Break.”

Joel Ripka (Philinte), who earned his BFA at Point Park University, returns to Pittsburgh and the PICT stage, where he performed in the world premiere of Beautiful Dreamers, as well as Jane Eyre, Crime & Punishment, Pride and Prejudice, The School for Scandal, and Henry. Other local credits include  The Clockmaker, Mezzulah, 1946 (The City Theater); Harry's Friendly Service, Amadeus (Pittsburgh Public Theater); Cymbaline, Le Grande Meaulnes, The Wild Duck (Quantum Theatre); Ah, Wilderness!, The Real Thing, FBI Girl, A View From The Bridge, Hamlet, One Flea Spare, King Lear (Pittsburgh Repertory Company). Mr. Ripka now resides in New York City.

Robin Abramson, also a Point Park alumna, makes her PICT debut as Eliante. Ms. Abramson was most recently seen at City Theatre in Maple & Vine. Her work in Blackbird and Mary’s Wedding (both at City Theatre) earned her the 2009 Performer of the Year award from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the youngest performer to receive such an honor. Other noteworthy credits include: The Electric Baby, When the Rain Stops Falling, and Twelfth Night (Quantum); Othello (Unseam’d Shakespeare Company); FBI Girl (Playhouse Rep) and Orange Flower Water (No Name Players).

Ben Blazer (Acaste) is returning for his 5th season with PICT, previously appearing in The Mask of Moriarty, Othello, Playboy of the Western World & Synge Cycle, and Henry IV, parts I&II. Mr. Blazer is a native of Pittsburgh and has worked with several local companies over the years as an actor, director, and scenic carpenter. Ben holds an MFA in Acting from the University of South Carolina and is currently teaching at Point Park University and CCAC South Campus Theatre’s actor training programs, at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

Scenic design is by Gianni Downs, costumes by Joan Markert, sound composition by Elizabeth Atkinson, and lighting design by Andrew Ostrowski.

The 2012 Media Sponsors are WYEP and Essential Public Radio. Single tickets and flex passes are available now through PICT’s new online ticketing system at, or by calling PICT at 412.561.6000 ext. 207 (phone fee may apply). Patrons are welcome to email with questions or concerns.

PICT receives arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, an agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as funding from the Allegheny County Regional Assets District.

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 Council. 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.

Pittsburgh Premiere

FACT SHEET -  The School for Lies by David Ives

Directed by Andrew S. Paul
The Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial
4301 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Cast: Robin Abramson, Ben Blazer, Matt DeCaro, Nike Doukas, James FitzGerald, Martin Giles, Leo Marks, Joel
Ripka, Helena Ruoti.

Design Team: Gianni Downs (scenic design); Joan Markert (costume design); Andrew Ostrowski (lighting design); Elizabeth Atkinson (sound design); George DeShetler (properties)

First Week: Wednesday, November 28, 10:00 a.m. - Student Matinee
Thursday – Friday, November 29-30, Previews, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 1, Opening, 8:00 p.m. (followed by reception)
Sunday, December 2, 2:00 p.m. (followed by talk-back)

Second Week: Wednesday, December 5, 8:00 p.m. (Pre-show lecture at 7 p.m. Lecture is free.) Thursday, December 6, 8:00 p.m. (Pre-show lecture at 7 p.m. Lecture is free.) Friday, December 7, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 8, 8:00 p.m. Sunday, December 9, 2:00 p.m.

Third Week: Tuesday, December 11, 7:00 p.m. (Professional Tuesday performance) Wednesday, December 12, 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 13, 8:00 p.m. Friday, December 14, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 15, 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

For student matinees, call 412-561-6000: Gale McGloin (x. 204) or Michelle Belan (x. 203)

2013 Season subscriptions now available – call 412-561-6000 ext. 207 or email

Pick, purchase and print your tickets online at, or call PICT at 412.561.6000 x. 207
PICT - Great Stories. Well Told.
Posted on behalf of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates.  Joyce Kane is the owner of Cybertary Pittsburgh, a Virtual Administrative support company, providing virtual office support, personal and executive assistance, creative design services and light bookkeeping.  Cybertary works with businesses and busy individuals to help them work 'on' their business rather than 'in' their business.

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