Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women
Trying to Keep Him Alive
By Selina Fillinger
Directed by Stephen Kaliski
Featuring Jennifer Adams*, Marla Brown, Iris DeWitt, Sarah Molloy,
Iesha Nyree, Katy Shepherd, Valerie Thames
Production Manager Carrie Cranford
Production Stage Manager Kathryn Harding
Costume Design Ashleigh Poteat
Fight Choreography Allison Collins
Intimacy Choreography Sarah Provencal
Lighting Design Gordon Olson
Scenic Design Chip Davis
Sound Design and Original Music Matt Sherwin
Technical Director Joshua Murray
Scenic Artist Gina Belmont
Portrait Artist Eva Crawford
Assistant Costume Design Allie Hildebran
Graphic Design Alan Buttar/Muse Graphic Design
Digital Media Morgan Henderson
*Appears courtesy Actors' Equity Association
Chip Davis (Scenic Design) is thrilled to be joining CCT for his first production. Chip returns to Charlotte via Davidson after receiving his MFA in Technical Direction from Indiana University in 2018. Prior to Indiana, Chip was the Technical Director and in house designer for Northwest School of the Arts as well as La Muscia Lirica Opera. Chip currently serves as Technical Director for the Davidson College Theatre Department and Common Thread Theatre Collective where he teaches and designs. Recent projects include set design for Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at Davidson College Theatre, Violet and Barbecue at Common Thread Theatre, and Andy and the Orphans with 3 Bone Theatre.
Gordon W. Olson (Lighting Design) (Senior Lecturer in Lighting Design at UNCC) Gordon’s lighting design efforts in the Charlotte area include; Annie, Madagascar: The Musical!, School House Rock Live!, and Batboy: The Musical at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, The Producers, The Addams Family, Spring Awakening, Jesus Christ Superstar and Footloose at Theatre Charlotte, Grease!, Side by Side, and Our Town with Providence Day, Spamalot, Annie and Chicago with Davidson Community Players, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Spring Awakening, The Seagull, and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and over 50 music and dance concerts at UNC-Charlotte. Regional credits; City of Angels at Theatre Raleigh, Hansel and Gretel at Detroit Opera, Associate LD for A Christmas Carol at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Pagliacci at San Antonio Opera, and New Voices in Dance at James Madison University. Before assisting on the Broadway productions of Good People (World Premiere) and Jerusalem (Tony Nominated - Best Lighting Design) in 2011, Gordon spent three years as Resident Lighting Designer with Florida Grand Opera where his designs for Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor and Cosi fan tutté won critical praise. Between 2006-2008 Gordon served as the Lighting Supervisor for Houston Grand Opera where he designed the lighting for a world premiere production of Hansel and Gretel. To date, Gordon has been involved with the lighting of over 130 productions in his professional career. Gordon received his BFA from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his MFA from the University of Texas - Austin in 2004.
Ashleigh Poteat (Costume Design) is a costume and scenic designer based out of South Carolina. She has designed costumes and scenery for Off-Broadway, regional and professional shows around the country and internationally. Ashleigh completed her undergraduate BA in Design & Production at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and her MFA in Production Design at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada. Ashleigh has taught courses in fashion, costume, scenic and properties design and production at UNLV, LaGrange College, Centenary University and Coastal Carolina University.
Matt Sherwin (Sound Design & Original Music): Based in New York, Matt’s credits include the Obie Award-winning Born Bad at Soho Rep, as well as productions Off-Broadway with The New Group, 59e59 and Ensemble Studio Theater. Regional and university credits include productions with Williamstown Theatre Festival, Barrington Stage, TheatreSquared, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale University. Matt was the recipient of an Innovative Theatre Award in Outstanding Original Music for his work on Gluten!, also directed by Stephen Kaliski. He is a veteran singer-songwriter, holds an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Musical Theatre Writing and currently teaches songwriting at SUNY Purchase and with Lincoln Center Theater's Songwriting in the Schools Program.
The play you’re about to see is smartly stupid, or stupidly smart, however you choose to look at it. As an avid consumer of political culture, from podcasts to cable news to prestige television (Veep fans, you’re in the right place), I am not the least bit surprised that POTUS succeeded as a widely appealing Broadway comedy. Its seemingly paradoxical standoffs of brilliance vs. incompetence, actual power vs. deserved power, and vulgarity vs. esteem all feel profoundly familiar in our Age of Spiraling. You don’t need me to explain it to you. You will get it.
It is largely because of this crowd pleasing (and crowd-guffawing) commercial zest that I believe POTUS is the perfect second play for Charlotte Conservatory Theatre. For those of you who don’t know us, we are brand new to the city as a producing organization, but our wide-ranging team of artists are all seasoned Queen City veterans. We are all deeply aware of our city’s troubled history in sustaining professional local theatre companies–I’ll remind you that Charlotte, world class in almost every way, is the only city of its size WITHOUT a true professional regional theatre. We abound with talent, but impasses and bottlenecks between creators and funders have stymied theatrical development. How can we fix this?
Let’s start by putting it in writing. Charlotte Conservatory Theatre strives to become a professional regional theatre for you. It’s daunting yet possible.
But we can’t do it alone. As we are just getting started and organized, I want to encourage you to consider how you might take some agency in this process. Individual donations are of course helpful and necessary, but business and community connections are also indispensable. Talk us up. Help us breathe ourselves into existence. If you would like to see more powerhouse plays like POTUS brought to top-shelf life by your local artists, connect us to the decision-makers at your work. Your team can become one of the key stakeholders in our shared cultural goals.
We aren’t punting responsibility on initiative–we’ll still be approaching you, don’t worry :)--but we believe that the Gordian knot of Charlotte theatre can only be untied by grit and determination within both the producer AND the audience. As the cast of POTUS shows us, it takes a village (or at least seven badass women) to undo historic structural obstacles. We’re in this together. Let’s call it CHARLOTTE: Or, Behind Every Top-20 American City are Thousands of People Trying to Make it a Theatre Town.
And also, be careful about quoting this play in mixed company. So sorry about that.
Founding Member, Charlotte Conservatory Theatre
Jim Brown, Davidson College Theatre Department, Davidson Community Players, Savannah Deal, Loren Harrison, Zoe Harrison, BJ Havens, Jim Kallo, Anne Lambert and Charlotte’s Off-Broadway, Page Leggett, Tim Miner, Mike & Darlene Morton, Sylvia Schnople, Alan Singerman, Kellee Stall, Breanna Suarez, Roger Watson, Hank West and Metrolina Theatre Association, Gina Belmont, Mackenzie Hornbeck, Michael Knight, Ron and Carol Cranford, Chip Decker, Mike Snow, Dan Grogran, Matt Levitsky, IATSE Local 322
Thank you to our sponsors!
Hank West, Frances Bendert, Frances Fairley Graham, Alan Singerman, Sylvia Schnople, Alan and Sue Kaliski, Glynnis O’Donoghue, Rachel McPhee, David & Cynthia Crane