The Understudy
by Southwest Theatre Productions

Aug. 25 - Sep. 09, 2017


Franz Kafka's undiscovered masterpiece in its Broadway premiere is the hilarious and apropos setting for Theresa Rebeck's exploration of the understudy rehearsal for the production, Roxanne finds her professional and personal life colliding when Harry, a journeyman actor and her ex-fiancé, is cast as the understudy to Jake, a mid-tier action star yearning for legitimacy. As Harry and Jake find their common ground, Roxanne tries to navigate the rehearsal with a stoned lightboard operator, an omnipresent intercom system, the producers threatening to shutter the show and her own careening feelings about both actors and her past. Will the show go on? THE UNDERSTUDY is a dazzling and humanistic look at people trying to do what they love in the face of obstacles that mount until all anyone can do is dance.

Directed by Joni Lorraine


"…deliver[s] a clever indictment of contemporary theatre while making the characters' personal circumstances ever more Kafkaesque: They are no more in control of the forces of celebrity, art, money, and Broadway than they are of their own fates." —The New Yorker.



**** With the plethora of movie stars on Broadway these days it was only a matter of time before someone wrote a comedy about what it’s like to be the poor schmo standing by for the likes of Jude Law, Hugh Jackman, or Daniel Craig. You’ll probably never get the chance to go on, and if you ever do, most of the audience will likely walk out. Theresa Rebeck, one of our most prolific playwrights, tackles the subject in a witty three-

hander called, “THE UNDERSTUDY”. ~ Backstage


**** The primary object of Ms. Rebeck’s comic scorn – the corruption of the American theater by the public’s and the industry’s obsession with celebrity is certainly both dart-worthy and timely. ~ New York Times



**** Not that the humor is about Kafka, though some of it is. “THE UNDERSTUDY”, draws most of its comedy and its more serious matter from the rites of live theater. ~ San Francisco Chronicle.



Theresa Rebeck is a prolific theater, screen, and television writer. Her past productions on Broadway include Mauritius, The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann, Spike Heels, Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection, View of the Dome and Omnium Gatherum which was co-written, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2003. Her play The Understudy, premiered at the Williamstown Theatre in the summer of 2008, with a cast including Reg Rogers, Bradley Cooper and Kristen Johnson, and ran in New York at the Roundabout Theatre from October 2009 - January 2010, featuring Julie White, Justin Kirk, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar in the cast. The off-Broadway and regional theatre hit comedy had its premiere in Portland, OR, at Artists Repertory Theatre in September 2015.Her play Seminar played on Broadway starting in October 2011, and starred Alan Rickman. In May 2014, Seminar premiered in San Francisco and received outstanding reviews.

In television, Rebeck has written for Dream on Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, Maximum Bob, First Wave, and Third Watch. She has been a writer/producer for Canterbury’s Law, Smith, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and NYPD Blue. She was one of the executive producers for the NBC musical series Smash, which she created, which debuted on February 6, 2012. Her feature film screenplays include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent feature Sunday on the Rocks.

She has received awards including the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, and the Peabody Award, all for her work on NYPD Blue. She has won the National Theatre Conference Award (for The Family of Mann), and was awarded the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award in 2003 for The Bells. Mauritius was originally produced at Boston’s Huntington Theatre, where it received the 2007 IRNE Award for Best New Play as well as the Elliot Norton Award, in 2010; Rebeck was honored with the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an American playwright in mid-career.



Joni Lorraine (Director) joins Southwest Productions after a lengthy sabbatical from the Central Texas theatre community, where she has worked with companies that include the Temple Civic Theatre, The Georgetown Palace and Austin Children's Theatre. She is the previous founder and leader of the NxNW Theatre Company, former member of Austin's premiere professional children's theatre company, Pollyanna Theatre, and former board member of Sam Bass Theatre in Round Rock. As a director her credits include the B. Iden Payne award winning I LOVE YOU YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, AGNES OF GOD, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU and STEEL MAGNOLIAS. As an actor, she has appeared in numerous productions including Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, and CRIMES OF THE HEART. Currently, she is a reviewer for Broadway World Austin and member of the Austin Critic's Table.


Kristin Chiles (Roxanne) is excited to collaborate again with Southwest Theatre Productions! Recent productions in Austin include Crimes of the Heart (The City Theatre) Rapture, Blister, Burn (Southwest Theatre Productions) and A Delicate Balance (The City Theatre). Additional credits include The Pavilion (Los Angeles), King Lear (New York), and Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Hyde Park Theatre).  Kristin is a graduate of the University of Texas and studied Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.   


Devin Finn (Jake)  received his BFA in acting from Texas State University. He is the executive director and co-founder of Austin based theatre company, Theatre Synesthesia. Some regional credits include Pride and Prejudice, Hamlet, As You Like It, The Winters Tale with Austin Shakespeare Company. Bull, The Great God Pan with Street Corner Arts.


Nicholas Kier (Harry) is a Texas State graduate and co-founder of Austin theatre collective, Theatre Synesthesia. Previously seen in "Butcher Holler Here We Come" (KBUS), a Theatre Synesthesia and Aztec Economy co-production, "Mary Poppins" (Robertson Ay) at ZACH theatre and "Love's Labour's Lost" (Berowne) with Present Company. 



The Understudy
by Theresa Rebeck
Southwest Theatre Productions

August 25 - September 09, 2017
unspecified in Austin
somewhere in Austin
to be announced
Austin, TX, 78700

August 25, 2017 - 8:00 p.m.

CANCELLED: Saturday, August 26, 2017 because of inclement weather

August 27th – 4:30 p.m.

August 31st, September 1st, 2nd – 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 3rd – INDUSTRY NIGHT – 15.00 TICKETS!!

September 7th, 8th & 9th – 8:00 p.m.

Santa Cruz Center for Culture, E. 7th Street, Austin

Tickets $22 and $25 plus service fees, available via

Southwest Theatre Productions "THE UNDERSTUDY" is a sponsored project of Austin Creative Alliance, a non-profit arts service organization s well as Cultural Arts, City of Austin Economic Development.