For fans of NBC’s celebrated This is Us, Asolo Rep’s production of The Cake will seem familiar. They are both penned by one of today’s most exciting voices for the stage and screen, Bekah Brunstetter, and they both share the rare ability to examine relationships with tremendous intimacy and authenticity. Directed by Lavina Jadhwani, The Cake, which is currently enjoying its off-Broadway premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club, shines a bright light on both sides of the marriage equality debate.
For old-school baker Della, having the chance to make the wedding cake for her late best friend's daughter, Jen, is a dream come true. But reality sets in when she discovers that there will be not one but two brides on top of the cake. When Jen and her outspoken fiancée, Macy, travel from New York to visit Della's North Carolina bakery, their ideas of faith, family, love and marriage collide. Moral quandaries, reality TV and lots of butter form this touching new play told with generosity, humor and more than a few surprises.
“What drew me to The Cake is the way in which it explores the gray area of the marriage equality debate and not the black and white—here are no ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys,’” said Asolo Rep producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards. “Not only is that a refreshing way to examine such a timely and divisive topic, it also lends itself to open and empathetic conversation after the play ends. I know that our patrons will connect with this fresh and relevant play filled with laughter, joy and tremendous heart.”
The cast features Cindy Gold (Della), whose credits include Indecent (Victory Gardens), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Drury Lane), Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare), My Fair Lady (Lyric Opera), and Measure for Measure (The Goodman). Her TV credits include Empire, Chicago Fire and Leverage. Amanda Fallon Smith’s (Jen) regional credits include Aggie Wheeler (The Game's Afoot, Gretna Theatre), Ariel (The Little Mermaid, Gretna Theatre), and Belle (Beauty and the Beast, West Virginia Public Theatre).
Paul Romero (Tim/Announcer) has appeared regionally at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Portland Stage Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Riverside Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theater and more. His film credits include Begin Again with Mark Ruffalo and he has appeared on TV in Spin City, Law & Order, All My Children, The Late Show with David Letterman and more. DeAnna Wright (Macy) is a third year FSU/Asolo Conservatory student who starred in the Conservatory's 2018 Dog Days Theatre production of The Turn of the Screw.
Bekah Brunstetter is currently developing a Broadway musical adaptation of The Notebook with singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. Her other plays include Going to a Place Where You Already Are, The Oregon Trail, Be A Good Little Widow and Oohrah! For television, she has written for MTV, Freeform and Starz, and is the supervising producer on NBC's This is Us.
This season Asolo Rep’s Faces of Change documentary theatre project is inspired by The Cake. Stories will not only showcase LGBT unions, but other "non-traditional" modern marriages, including those with racial and religious differences and blended families. Free performances kick off April 7. www.asolorep.org/faces
The theatre will also host an IllumiNation event for The Cake on April 24 surrounding the 7:30 performance. IllumiNation is a stimulating series of theatre and conversation exploring the topical and social themes threaded throughout our season.
Asolo Rep’s 60th season continues in May with a world-class production of Stephen Sondheim’s triumphant masterpiece Sweeney Todd, directed by Peter Rothstein, who helmed the theatre’s soaring production of Ragtime last season. In June, take the trip of a lifetime with the whole family with Around the World in 80 Days, an innovative new stage adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic story. Special family prices: $17 per person for Saturday matinees (June 8, 15 [Family Day] and 22) $19 per person all other performances. At least one person in the party must be 17 or younger.
For tickets and more information, visit www.asolorep.org