Adaptation of the Restoration classic by William Congreve features

Tony Award®-nominated actress Kristine Nielsen

Produced as part of The Women’s Voices Theater Festival

(Washington, DC) – Folger Theatre continues its 2017/18 season with The Way of the World, a new comedy freely adapted from the classic play by William Congreve. Written and directed by renowned author Theresa Rebeck (Mauritus and Seminar and Broadway; co-creator and head writer of TV’s Smash), the production will star Tony Award® nominee Kristine Nielsen (Present Laughter, You Can’t Take It With You, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike on Broadway). 

The Way of the World, part of D.C.’s second installment of The Women’s Voices Theater Festival highlighting new works by female artists, is on stage from January 9 through February 11, 2018. Tickets are available online at www.folger.edu/theatre or by calling the Folger Box Office at
(202) 544-7077.

Mae is a sweet-natured woman with just a little baggage—a $600 million inheritance. When her womanizing boyfriend Henry seduces her aunt, both women become the object of scandal. But Henry has a plan to win the heiress back. In the lush and opulent land of the Hamptons, where money and status determine everything, can love conquer all? This comedy of manners—with no manners at all—is a sparklingly witty physical comedy illuminating the foibles of the upper class.

Alongside Kristine Nielsen, who plays Mae’s ever-watchful Aunt Rene, the cast of The Way of the World features Eliza Huberth as the altruistic Mae, and Luigi Sottile as her inconstant boyfriend Henry. Rounding out the klatch of friends are Brandon Espinoza, Elan Zafir, Erica Dorfler, Ashley Austin Morris, and Daniel Morgan Shelley.

“I am thrilled to bring The Way of the World to Washington, D.C. to be a part of the momentous Womens Voices Theater Festival initiative,” says playwright and director Theresa Rebeck. “For this play, which could most easily be subtitled Lady Wishfort’s Revenge, we have assembled a remarkable, knock-out creative team as well a remarkable cast led by the comedic talents of the incomparable Kristine Nielsen. I am proud of this new work and cannot wait to begin working on it in the intimate surroundings of the Folger Theatre.”

The celebrated creative team includes prolific designers who have worked throughout the D.C. area, across the country, as well as numerous productions Off-Broadway and on Broadway, including Tony Award® nominee Alexander Dodge (scenic design), Tony Award® winners Linda Cho (costume design) and Donald Holder (lighting design), and M.L. Dogg (sound design).

“Continuing Folger’s 2017/18 season of epic tales of power, passion, and politics, it is such a pleasure to welcome the wonderfully insightful work of the remarkable Theresa Rebeck,” Janet Alexander Griffin, Folger Theatre’s Artistic Producer, says. “Adapted from one of the great Restoration comedies, first performed over 300 years ago, this modern-day The Way of the World remains a thought-provoking and hilarious satire of the absurdities and follies of high society. Folger Theatre is once again proud to participate in The Women’s Voices Theatre Festival.”


The Way of the World had its premiere at the Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont in 2016 and was called “a biting and hilarious satire” (Times Argus), as well as “a veritable stage jackpot…theater at its finest and funniest” (Seven Days).

Ticketing Information & Performance Dates:  

The Way of the World is on stage at Folger Theatre from January 9 through February 11, 2018. Tickets are $35-$79. Lower-priced previews and discounts for students, seniors, military, educators, and groups of ten or more are available and may be purchased through the Folger Theatre Box Office at (202) 544-7077 or online at www.folger.edu/theatre.

Related Programming:  

The Pay-What-You-Will performance is on Tuesday, January 9, 7:30pm. Tickets will be available to the public at 5pm. One ticket per person.

Folger Theatre’s Stage Director Talk will take place on Thursday, January 11 at 6:30pm. Learn about the creative process, staging, and vision of The Way of the World with writer and director Theresa Rebeck. $20, includes light fare reception.

College Night will be held on Friday, January 12 at 8pm. Tickets are $15, with a valid student ID. Call the box office at (202) 544-7077 or visit in person to purchase tickets.

Join us for a staged reading of Benhardt/Hamlet, a new play written and directed by Theresa Rebeck for a Free Folger Friday on Friday, January 19 at 5pm. Featuring four-time Helen Hayes Award-winner
Holly Twyford as Sarah Bernhardt, this new work follows the legendary 19th-century actress and her company as she prepares for one of the greatest roles of all time—Hamlet. Presented as part of International Women’s Voices Day and the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. Free; reservations requested.

A Pre-Performance Talk with Folger Director Michael Witmore explores The Way of the World within an overview of the classic Restoration classic by Congreve on Wednesday, January 24 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $20, with light fare included.

Folger Theatre’s Brews & Banter will be held on Thursday, January 26 at 6:30pm. Before the show, quench your thirst and join this lively small group conversation with The Way of the World cast members Luigi Sottile (Henry) and Ashley Austin Morris (Waitress). $20, with beer provided by local brewery Bluejacket and light fare included.

Audience members are encouraged to stay and take part in our Post-Show Discussion with the cast of The Way of the World on Thursday, February 1. This interactive discussion, led by Folger’s Resident Dramaturg Michele Osherow, will follow the 7:30pm performance.

The Open-Captioned performance is Sunday, February 11 at 2pm.

Please check our website at www.folger.edu for a complete listing, including Free Folger Friday pre-show events.

The Way of the World Cast:

Erica Dorfler (Katrina) – Regional: Barrington Stage: THIS; American Repertory Theater: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812; Hollywood Bowl: West Side Story with the L.A. Philharmonic; Abrons Arts Center: Here’s Hoover; New York International Fringe Festival: The Motherline; Alliance Theatre: Bull Durham. Off-Broadway: New World Stages: Avenue Q; Davenport Theater: Forbidden Broadway; York Theatre Company: Silk Stockings. Broadway: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, The Book of Mormon, Memphis, Baby It’s You!, Scandalous. National Tours: Rent, Mamma Mia! Film and television: The Book of Living and Dying, The Family.

Brandon Espinoza (Charles) – Regional: Goodman Theatre: A View From the Bridge. Off-Broadway: St. Lukes: Baghdaddy (The New York Times Critic’s Pick); Atlantic Theater Company: Scarcity; Playwrights Realm: Substitution; ‪Keen Company: Tea and Sympathy; NYSPF: Not Waving; Clurman Theater: What We Wanted. Broadway: Tuck Everlasting, Gypsy, Big, Les Miserables, The Will Rogers Follies. Film and television: The LeftoversThe Mysteries Of LauraThe FollowingElementaryThe Carrie DiariesIt Could Be WorseMiddle of the NightMr. Richardson.

Eliza Huberth (Mae) – Regional: Triad Stage: Vrooommm!; Williamstown Theatre Festival: A Doll’s House, Babs The Dodo, OKAY, Robin Hood, The Gnadiges Fraulein, Camp Monster. Off-Broadway: Ars Nova: Crude. Film and television: The Path, Excuse Me For Living. Artist As Citizen Award.

Ashley Austin Morris (Waitress) – Regional: The Alley: The Other Place; Williamstown Theatre Festival: Romance Novels For Dummies. Off-Broadway: Die Mommie Die, In The Day Light, Reading Under The Influence, Love Loss and What I Wore. Film and television: Divorce, High Maintenance, The Last O.G., The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, Time After Time, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Electric Company, Big Dogs (upcoming), Sully, Premium Rush, Generation Um, Art Machine, Putzel. A writer and standup comedian currently performing a solo show The End of There.

Kristine Nielsen (Rene) – Regional: A.R.T.: FINGERSMITH. Off-Broadway: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hir, Why Torture Is Wrong and the People Who Love Them, How I Spent Last Summer, Omnium Gatherum, Our Leading Lady, Betty’s Summer Vacation (Obie Award), Dog Opera (Obie Award). Broadway: Present Laughter, You Can’t Take It With You, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award), Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Spring Awakening, The Greenbird, Jackie, The Iceman Cometh. Film and television: Theresa Rebeck’s Trouble, Happyish,  Elementary, Morning Glory, The Savages, Small Time Crooks, Political Animals, NBC’s Sound of Music Live!, Amazon’s Zelda.  

Daniel Morgan Shelley (Lyle) – Regional: Hartford Stage: The Piano Lesson; Chester Theatre Company: Skeleton Crew; Repertory Theatre of St. Louis: Safe House (St. Louis Theatre Circle Award Nomination); Geva Theatre and Cleveland Playhouse: Clybourne Park; Playmakers Repertory Theatre: A Raisin In The Sun; Contemporary American Theatre Festival: The Insurgents; Pioneer Theatre Company: Find & Sign; Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival: King Lear, The Three Musketeers, Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labor’s Lost. Off-Broadway: Classic Stage Company: Hamlet; Oberon Theatre Ensemble: Othello; Classical Theatre of Harlem: Romeo and Juliet, Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death; The ArcLight: The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller. Film and television: Sidney Hall, Mr. Robot, Bull, Law & Order: SVU, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest, Law & Order.

Luigi Sottile (Henry) – Signature Theatre: Sex With Strangers; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Zombie: The American. Regional: Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Shakespeare in Love, Othello, The Tempest; Steppenwolf Theatre Company: Buena Vista; Arden Theatre Company: The Three Sisters, Cyrano; Philadelphia Theatre Company: Seminar; Walnut Street Theatre: An Ideal Husband; Wilma Theater: Angels in America, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, Leaving; People’s Light and Theatre: The Cherry Orchard, Nathan the Wise; Utah Shakespeare Festival: Much Ado About Nothing, The Three Musketeers; Milwaukee Repertory Theater: A Christmas Carol; Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival: The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Lantern Theater: The Hothouse, The Lonesome West.

Elan Zafir (Reg) – Ford’s Theatre: Ragtime; Adventure Theatre: Jumanji; Shakespeare Theatre Company: Romeo and JulietOthello, Salomé (Helen Hayes Award, Ensemble); Signature Theatre: Tender Napalm; The Welders: Happiness (and other reasons to die); Rep Stage: Venus in Fur; Capital Fringe: Ben & Lucille. Regional: New York International Fringe Festival: Leaf in the Mailbox (Best Ensemble Award); Riant Theatre: This Is Your Life; Wings Theater: Raft of the Medusa. International: Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The Unaccompanied Minor, Super Earth; Television: The Making of the MobHouse of Cards.


The Creative Team:

Theresa Rebeck (Playwright and Director) – is a prolific writer with success spanning theater, television, film, and literature. She has been named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek and The New York Times has referred to her as “one of her generation’s major talents.” Broadway: Seminar, Mauritius, Spike Heels, Bad Dates, Dead Accounts, Omnium Gatherum, (Pulitzer Finalist, co-written with Alex Gersten). Off-Broadway: The Understudy, The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann, Collection and Our House, The Butterfly, View of the Dome. Regional: San Francisco Playhouse: Seared; Denver Center for the Performing Arts: The Nest; Dorset Theatre Festival: The Way of the World; Mark Taper Forum/Primary Stages: Poor Behavior. Television: Smash (creator), Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, Maximum Bob, First Wave, Third Watch, Canterbury’s Law, Smith, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue. Film: Poor Behavior, Trouble (upcoming), Harriet the Spy, Gossip, Sunday on the Rocks, Seducing Charlie Barker. Novels:  Three Girls and Their Brother, Twelve Rooms With a View, I’m Glad About You. Awards: National Theatre Conference Award, William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award, PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, IRNE Award for Best New Play, Eliot Norton Award, Writer’s Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama, Hispanic Images Imagen Award, Peabody Award.

Alexander Dodge (Scenic Design) – Shakespeare Theatre Company: School for Lies, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Measure for Measure, The Heir Apparent, The Liar, The Dog in the Mange; Arena Stage: Noises Off, On The Jump. Broadway: Anastasia, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Awards Nominations), Present Laughter (Tony Award Nomination), Old Acquaintance, Butley, Hedda Gabler. Tours and international: Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the La Jolla and Paper Mill Playhouses, also Japan and Germany; All New People for London-West End, Manchester and Glasgow. Opera: LA Opera: The Ghosts of Versailles; Minnesota Opera: Dinner At Eight; Deutsche Opera Berlin: Il Trittico. Television: Julie’s Greenroom.

Linda Cho (Costume Design) – DC: Arena Stage (selected): SovereigntyGood PeopleThe Book Club PlayNoises OffAwake and Sing;  Shakespeare Theater Company: Measure for MeasureThe Dog in the Manger. Regional: Goodman Theatre: Home From The Wars; Goodspeed: Rags; La Jolla Playhouse: Wild Goose Dreams; ACT: A Thousand Splendid Suns; Hartford Stage: Rear Window; The Old Globe: October Sky; McCarter Theater: A Christmas Carol; Berkeley Rep: Aubergine; Chicago Shakespeare: Othello. Broadway: Anastasia (Tony; Drama Desk; Outer Critics Circle nominations); A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award); Velocity of Autumn. Opera: Los Angeles Opera:  Die VogelGhosts of Versailles; Metropolitan Opera (upcoming): Samson et Delila. Awards: Irene Sharaff Young Master Award; Ruth Morley Design Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Donald Holder (Lighting Design) – Shakespeare Theatre Company: Salome (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lighting Design). Regional: Productions at Center Stage, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Long Wharf, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Huntington, South Coast Repertory, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Indiana Repertory, many others. Broadway: Over fifty productions, two Tony awards (The Lion King and South Pacific) and twelve Tony nominations. Broadway projects include: Anastasia, Oslo, In Transit, She Loves Me, Fiddler On The Roof, The Father, The King and I, On The Twentieth Century, The Bridges Of Madison County, Golden Boy, Spiderman- Turn Off The Dark,  Ragtime, Movin’ Out, The Boy From Oz, Thoroughly Modern Millie’, many others. Television: Smash, Seasons one and two: (NBC Dreamworks).

M.L. Dogg (Sound Design) – Regional: Seattle Repertory Theatre: Here Lies Love; Huntington Theatre: The Who And the What, after all the terrible things I do, Smart People, Sons Of the Prophet; A.R.T.: In the Body Of the World, The Shape She Makes; Actors Theatre Of Louisville: Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival), Tribes; Geffen Theatre: The Power Of Duff, Rapture, Blister, Burn; Milwaukee Repertory Theater: The Diary Of Anne Frank. Broadway: Oh, Hello On Broadway, The Pee-Wee Herman Show. Off-Broadway: New Group: Downtown Race Riot; Women’s Project: What We’re Up Against, transFigures; Signature Theatre: Jesus Hopped the A Train, The Open House; Playwrights Horizons: Aubergine; Roundabout Theatre: Little Children Dream Of God; Ars Nova: Jacuzzi, The Lapsburgh Layover; Public Theater: Here Lies Love (co-design, Lortel Award); Second Stage Theatre: Modern Terrorism.

Michele Osherow (Resident Dramaturg) – Folger Theatre: Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, As You Like It, Sense and Sensibility, District Merchants, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2006, 2016), texts&beheadings/ElizabethR, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Mary Stuart, Julius Caesar, Fiasco Theater Co.’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet (dramaturg and actor), Twelfth Night, Henry V, The Conference of the Birds, The Taming of the Shrew, The Gaming Table, Othello (2011, 2001), Cyrano, The Comedy of Errors, Henry VIII, Hamlet, Orestes: A Tragic Romp, Much Ado About Nothing, Arcadia, The Winter’s Tale, 1 Henry IV, Macbeth, The Tempest, Measure for Measure (dramaturg and actor). Regional: Quotidian Theatre Company: Afterplay (actor), A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (actor), Captain Drew on Leave, Dublin Carol, The Carpetbagger’s Children, The Mollusc, Tomorrow (actor), The Seagull (actor), Valentine’s Day (actor), While We Have the Light (actor), Uncle Vanya (actor), A Little Trick (actor); Jewish Repertory Theatre: The Dybbuk (actor). Arden Theatre Company: The Chosen, As You Like It (actor), Love’s Labors [sic] (actor); Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

About Folger Theatre and Folger Shakespeare Library:       

The Folger Shakespeare Library, opened in 1932, featured the first replica in North America of an Elizabethan theater, a 250-seat space designed to suggest the inn-yard playing spaces. Founders Henry and Emily Folger envisioned it as a place for the performance of plays in Shakespeare’s style, and the first nationally televised broadcast of a Shakespeare play in the U.S. was Julius Caesar from the Folger stage in 1949. Director of Public Programs Janet Alexander Griffin established Folger Theatre in 1991 and has since, as Artistic Producer, produced more than twenty-five seasons of Shakespeare, other plays from the period, and new works, including commissions, inspired by the period. Folger Theatre premiered the original Shakespeare for My Father, Lynn Redgrave’s reminiscence of her theatrical family, as well as Roger Rees’ What You Will; co-produced Teller and Aaron Posner’s magical Macbeth, released on video; was the first Washington venue to present a production from Shakespeare’s Globe from London; and has collaborated with the Classical Theatre of Harlem, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Guthrie, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and other theaters across the country.    

Since 1991, Folger Theatre has been honored by the Helen Hayes Awards with 30 awards and 146 nominations for excellence in acting, direction, design, and production—including the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Play in 2007 for Measure for Measure, 2011 for Hamlet (a year in which all three of Folger’s theatrical productions were nominated in that category), 2013 for The Taming of the Shrew, and most recently, for the 2016 staging of Sense and Sensibility (which garnered four Helen Hayes Awards).

Folger Shakespeare Library is a renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts. Home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for research material from the early modern period (1500-1750), Folger Shakespeare Library is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K-12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs —theatre, music, poetry, exhibits, lectures, and family programs. A gift to the American people from industrialist Henry Clay Folger, Folger Shakespeare Library—located one block east of the U.S. Capitol—opened in 1932 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more at www.folger.edu.


The Women’s Voices Theater Festival is dedicated to highlighting the scope of plays being written by women and the range of professional theater being produced in the nation’s capital region. The Festival’s debut in 2015 featured world premiere plays by female playwrights on stages across Washington, D.C. and was heralded as a landmark in striving for gender parity in American theater. Led by seven of Washington’s largest theaters—Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, Round House Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company—the Festival leverages collaboration among regional theater producers to create a platform for the nation’s most talented and innovative female and female-identifying playwrights and their newest plays.

Allison Janney is the Honorary Chair of the 2018 Women’s Voices Theater Festival.

To learn more, visit WomensVoicesTheaterFestival.org. #WomensVoicesFest

Production Sponsors:

This production of The Way of the World is made possible in part by the generous support of:

Season Sponsors —       Helen and David Kenney and Family, Neal T. Turtell, and Scott and Liz Vance

Contributing Sponsors —   Denise Ferguson

Associate Sponsors —      Stephen and Anne Black, Louis and Bonnie Cohen, Andi H. Kasarksy

Carl and Undine Nash, Carolyn and Mark Olshaker

Media Sponsor —           Maryland Public Television

Photo: the Chicago Tribune



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