Living Room hosts ‘DNR’ to open season


Press Release posted by Bob Evans

DNR is The Living Room’s latest world premiere play by a KC playwright.

With heart and humor, Victor Wishna’s work plumbs the depths of being alone, and being alive.

Gary Neal Johnson, Jennifer Mays, and Shawna Peña-Downing star

The Livin

Amanda, a hospital volunteer with a guardian-angel complex, meets her newest assignment, Bud, a terminally ill patient with very little patience. She’s a single mom with a benevolent soul; he’s an ex-party boy Navy vet with a chip on his shoulder and one last mission to complete—and he insists it’s a solo. With warmth, wit, and bite, local playwright Victor Wishna’s DNR explores the complexities of human connection and asks, what does it mean to be alone? What does it mean to be alive?

The Living Room Theatre presents DNR by Victor Wishna (Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, NPR) in a world premiere production. Typical of Wishna’s style, this KC-original play tells a deeply human story with a deft mixture of pain, wit, love, doubt, and humor that’s sure to stick with you for a long time to come. The Living Room is committed to producing original works created and realized by local artists.

Starring revered veterans of the KC stage Gary Neal Johnson (KC Rep, Kansas City Actors’ Theatre, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival) and Jennifer Mays (KC Rep, New Theatre, The Unicorn) alongside the immensely talented Shawna Peña-Downing (Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, Mesner Puppet Theatre, Rising Tide Productions). Directed by The Living Room’s co-founder and Artistic Director, Rusty Sneary (The Grave, The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe, Down in Mississippi).

Performances will take place September 4 – 22, 2019.
Previews begin September 4th – $20 tickets available
Opening night is September 6th – $35 general admission throughout the run

The Living Room Theatre
1818 McGee St
Kansas City, MO 64108

Run time approximately 80 minutes.

Performance Dates and Times:
Wednesday, September 4 – 8:00pm (Preview)
Thursday, September 5 – 8:00pm (Preview)
Friday, September 6 – 8:00pm (Opening Night)
Saturday, September 7 – 3:00pm
Sunday, September 8 – 8:00pm (Industry Night)

Wednesday, September 11 – 8:00pm
Thursday, September 12 – 8:00pm
Friday, September 13 – 8:00pmSaturday, September 14 – 8:00pm
Sunday, September 15 – 3:00pm

Wednesday, September 18 – 8:00pm
Thursday, September 19 – 8:00pm
Friday, September 20 – 8:00pm
Saturday, September 21 – 8:00pm
Sunday, September 22 – 3:00pm (Closing Matinee)

About the Cast and Creative Team

Victor Wishna (Playwright) Victor is an author, editor, playwright, and commentator, among other things. As a dramatist (and comedist), he has composed nearly a dozen plays, several of which have been produced regionally and locally. His first full-length play, Shearwater—workshopped at TLR in 2017—was a winner of the Panndora’s Box Festival of New Works in Long Beach, Calif., and a finalist in Playhouse on the Square’s New Works @ The Works Playwriting Competition in Memphis. His play DNR was named a semi-finalist in the Blue Ink Playwriting Competition at the American Blues Theater in Chicago. He is also the author of In Their Company: Portraits of American Playwrights (Umbrage Editions, 2006). A graduate of Stanford University and the New School’s creative writing MFA program, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, and other major publications, and is a regular contributor to KCUR-FM, Kansas City’s NPR affiliate.

Rusty Sneary (Director) Rusty Sneary is an actor, producer, and director, serving as co-runner and Artistic Director of The Living Room Theatre. His previous directing credits include Talk Radio, Some Girl(s), Race, Annapurna, The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe, Milking Christmas, Down in Mississippi, and The Grave.

Gary Neal Johnson (“Bud McNamara”) Gary has been a part of Kansas City’s professional theater community for over 45 years, appearing here and elsewhere in more than 220 plays around the city and the country. He is happy to be back in the friendly surrounds of The Living Room for his first production here since Bank Job in 2016. He is most often found on the stage of the KC Repertory Theatre playing the likes of Ebenezer Scrooge, Willy Loman, Harry Truman, Long John Silver, Pizarro, Caesar, Oberon, Gloucester and assorted archbishops, kings, professors, e’er-do-wells and ne’er-do-wells. In San Francisco, he was honored with the Dean Goodman Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the premiere of David Mamet’s adaptation of The Voysey Inheritance. He is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association.

Jennifer Mays (“Amanda Kalowsky”) A long time supporter of The Living Room, this is Jen’s first time joining the company for a mainstage production. She is a graduate of UMKC, and has been a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity for 20 years. Her favorite local theatre credits include August: Osage County, Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (KC Rep); Mamma Mia, Dixie Swim Club, Beau Jest, Barefoot in the Park, and Leading Ladies (New Theatre), Application Pending, Clybourne Park (The Unicorn), MotherFreakingHood (Moonshine Variety), and Picnic (KCAT).

Shawna Peña-Downing (“Dr. Kramer”) DNR is Shawna’s debut performance with The Living Room Theatre. She was last seen in Seven Guitars as Vera (Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre), The Little Prince (Mesner Puppet Theatre), In the Heights as Abuela Claudia (Theatre in the Park), and Elephant (Rising Tide Productions). She loves to spend her time, energy and free spirit being an arts educator, laughing, eating, hanging with her pups, and giving back.

About The Living Room Theatre

The Living Room is an unconventional theatre space in the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City, Missouri, founded in 2010 by Rusty Sneary and Shawnna Journagan. Originally an auto showroom, the two story building was transformed into a performance venue via the blood, sweat, passion and dedication of Sneary, Journagan and their friends and family in the KC community.

Over the past nine years, The Living Room has produced over 50 shows, as well as dozens of staged readings and special theatrical events. In that time, they have organically evolved their mission statement toward a focus on new works written, performed, and realized by local and expatriate Kansas City artists.

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