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Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) announced today that critically acclaimed Boston actress Karen MacDonald will star next April in Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End by Allison Engel and Margaret Engel, and Terry Berliner, MRT’s Interim Artistic Director, will direct.
A one-woman tour-de-force, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, which runs from April 22 to May 17, 2020, celebrates the life of one of the 20th Century’s most beloved humorists, who wrote more than 4,000 columns for 900 newspapers and 30 million readers.
Berliner, who will make her MRT directing debut with Erma, said, “”A model housewife goes rogue, has a house party, promises good times and lots of laughs, and invites you. Do you RSVP and say yes? Of course, you do!”
MacDonald, one of the Boston area’s most popular and prolific actresses, has appeared at MRT in Home of the Brave, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and countless other roles over the past 20 years. A founding member of American Repertory Theatre, where she appeared in 73 productions, her most recent credits include Universe Rushing Apart: Blue Kettle & Here We Go at Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Calendar Girls at Greater Boston Stage Company. MacDonald understudied roles on Broadway in The Glass Menagerie and The Night of the Iguana. She will appear in The Children at SpeakEasy Stage Company just prior to taking on Erma Bombeck.
A freelance director based in New York City, Berliner’s Broadway credits as resident and assistant director include The Lion King, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, and The Sound of Music. She has developed new plays and musicals Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, and in universities across the country working with such award-winning writers as Michelle Elliott, Danny Larson, Kirsten Guenther, Amy Fox, Dipti Mehta, Bobby Cronin, Frank Wildhorn, Rinne Groff, Robin Lerner, and David Foster.
The creative team for Erma includes sound designer Scott Stauffer (A Free Man of Color, Contact, Marie Christine), lighting designer Joel Shier (Oklahoma!, Mean Girls, King Charles III), and Set and Costume Designer Daniel Zimmerman (After the Blast, Kill Floor, Suicide Incorporated).
Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End rejoices in the life of a woman, considered to be one of America’s funniest moms, who championed the everyday lives of housewives with a daring truth few of her generation were willing to tell. Born in 1927, Bombeck is ranked among the great humorists of the 1900s, along with Garrison Keillor, Will Rogers, Fran Lebowitz, David Sedaris, and Bombeck’s longtime friend and fellow columnist Art Buchwald. She started her column in 1964, published her first book in 1976, and continued writing until just before her death in 1996. Her many bestsellers include The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank; If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?; Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession; At Wit’s End; and Family – The Ties that Bind . . . and Gag!