Actors Theatre of Louisville reprises its world premiere production of THE GLORY OF THE WORLD at New York’s BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music)

by on December 22, 2015

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BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) and Knight Blanc will present Actors Theatre’s original production of ‘The Glory of The World’ by Charles Mee in its New York Premiere this January.


Contact Sara Durham
502.584.1265 ext. 3145



Louisville, KY – BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) and Knight Blanc will present Actors Theatre’s original production of The Glory of The World by Charles Mee in its New York Premiere, Actors Theatre’s Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein announced today. The Glory of the World—an exuberant theatrical celebration of renowned Kentucky-based mystic and Catholic monk Thomas Merton—was commissioned by Actors Theatre on the occasion of Merton’s 100th birthday and received its world premiere during the 39th Humana Festival of New American Plays in March 2015. Locally, the production was hailed as “one of the finest, most startling pieces of theater,” by LEO Weekly, and The Courier-Journal exclaimed, “Waters deserves accolades for coordinating such a rush of energy, words and bodies on stage to create a work that resonates.”  This New York remount will reunite the original cast and creative team from the play’s Louisville premiere under the direction of Les Waters at BAM, previewing January 16- 20, opening January 21 and running through February 6, 2016.

Actors Theatre is thrilled to see The Glory of the World receive its New York premiere at BAM—one of America’s preeminent performing arts venues.  Located in Brooklyn, New York, BAM is an acclaimed home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas and a leading presenter of work with world-renowned programming in theater, dance, music, opera, film, and much more.

The Solo cups are overflowing at Merton’s centennial birthday celebration as 17 men in party hats assemble to toast Merton’s many faces, asking: What makes a man? What makes a saint? What if nothing is sacred—and everything is? As the night devolves, each facet of Merton’s contested image—silent monk, poet, spiritual anarchist, social activist—inspires more speeches, slow dances, make outs, fist fights, and silent reflections, amassing a layered portrait of what it means to be a human being, full of contradictions and brimming with life.

Les Waters will reprise his role as A Man during previews and opening for The Glory of the World. During the remainder of the run, Louisville-based internationally renowned singer-songwriter Will Oldham, better known by the stage name Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, will replace Waters in the role. The cast will also feature, Eric Berryman (Roland), Ryan Bourque (Arnold), Andrew Garman (Benny), Aaron Lynn (Robert), Bruce McKenzie (Albert), Barney O’Hanlon (Bobby), Conrad Schott (Conrad), David Ryan Smith (Cameron), and Cameron Benoit, Josh Bonzie, John Ford-Dunker, José Leon, Joe Lino, Max Monnig, Collin Morris, Brian Muldoon, Blake Russell and Lorenzo Villanueva as Ensemble.

The creative team for The Glory of the World  features Barney O’Hanlon as movement director and Ryan Bourque as fight director, and includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey, costume design by Connie Furr Soloman, lighting design by Mark Barton, sound design by Christian Frederickson, media design by Philip Allgeier and dramaturgy by Amy Wegener. Serving as Consulting Producer is Jessica R. Jenen.

The Glory of the World is the sixth collaboration between Actors Theatre and playwright Charles Mee, whose relationship dates back to the world premiere of Big Love directed by Les Waters during the 24th Humana Festival. Prior to premiering The Glory of the World in 2015, Actors Theatre has previously premiered Big Love (2000), bobrauschenbergamerica (2001), Limonade Tous les Jours (2002), Hotel Cassiopeia (2006), and Under Construction (2009). Mee’s plays have been performed at the Signature Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, American Repertory Theater, and other theatres around the country as well as in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna, Istanbul and elsewhere. All his plays are available on the Internet at Among other awards, Mee is the recipient of an Obie, the Lifetime Achievement Award in drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a BAM Next Wave Fisher Award.

Currently the Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville, Les Waters’ recent directing credits include Luna Gale, The Glory of the WorldThe ChristiansGnit, GirlfriendOur TownLong Day’s Journey into Night and At the Vanishing Point. Waters’ production of The Christians by Lucas Hnath—commissioned and premiered by Actors Theatre in 2014—is currently onstage at Playwrights Horizons and will transfer to Los Angeles in December for a run at Center Theater Group. Waters made his Broadway debut with Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) in 2009, and has numerous credits in New York including BAM, Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, the Public Theater, Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, Connelly Theater, and Clubbed Thumb. Regional credits include Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, and American Repertory Theater.

The Glory of the World was commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville and premiered at the 39th Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2015. The commission was supported by the 50th Anniversary NCTF/Ford Foundation Fund for New Work and was developed at the 2014 Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Actors Theatre’s production of The Glory of the World was underwritten by Mr. Owsley Brown III.

The Humana Festival is supported by The Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana, Inc. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The full lineup of the 40th Humana Festival of New American Plays will be announced in November, 2015.


Listing Information

BAM and Knight Blanc present

The Glory of the World

By Charles Mee

Directed by Les Waters

Actors Theatre of Louisville


BAM Harvey Theater

651 Fulton St, New York

Jan 16, 19—23, 26—30, Feb 2—6 at 7:30pm; Jan 17, 24, 31 at 3pm

(opens Jan 21)

Tickets: $30, 50, 70 (weekday); $35, 55, 75 (weekend)

(Ticket prices subject to change after Nov 15)


Associated events:

BAM Gathering: The Glory of the World

With Charles Mee and Les Waters

Led by Bryan Doerries

Jan 20, post-show (free for same day ticket holders)



About Actors Theatre of Louisville

Les Waters, Artistic Director

Jennifer Bielstein, Managing Director

Now in its 52nd Season, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the State Theatre of Kentucky, is the flagship arts organization in the Louisville community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Les Waters and Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein, Actors Theatre serves to unlock human potential, build community, and enrich quality of life by engaging people in theatre that reflects the wonder and complexity of our time.

Actors Theatre presents almost 350 performances annually and delivers a broad range of programming, including classics and contemporary work through the Brown-Forman Series, holiday plays, a series of free theatrical events produced by the Apprentice/Intern Company, and the Humana Festival of New American Plays—the premier new play festival in the nation, which has introduced nearly 450 plays into the American theatre repertoire over the past 39 years. In addition, Actors Theatre provides more than 15,000 arts experiences each year to students across the region through its Education Department, and boasts one of the nation’s most prestigious continuing pre-professional resident training companies, now in its 44th year.

Over the past half-century, Actors Theatre has also emerged as one of America’s most consistently innovative professional theatre companies, with an annual attendance of 150,000. Actors Theatre has been the recipient of some of the most prestigious awards bestowed on a regional theatre, including a Tony® Award for Distinguished Achievement, the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, and the Margo Jones Award for the Encouragement of New Plays. Actors Theatre has toured to 29 cities and 15 countries worldwide, totaling more than 1,400 appearances internationally. Currently, there are more than 50 published books of plays and criticism from Actors Theatre in circulation—including anthologies of Humana Festival plays, volumes of ten-minute plays and monologues, and essays, scripts and lectures from the Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival. Numerous plays first produced at Actors Theatre have also been published as individual acting editions, and have been printed in many other anthologies, magazines and journals—making an enduring contribution to American dramatic literature.





Actors Theater of Louisville
316 West Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Box Office: 502.584.1205
502.371.0956 TDD

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