DCPA announces casting for groundbreaking ‘A Doll’s House’ pairing

From left: ‘A Doll’s House’ Director Chris Coleman; the two Noras, Marianna McClellan (‘A Doll’s House’) and Barbra Wengerd (‘A Doll’s House, Part 2); and  ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ Director Rose Riordan.

Repertory milestone offers unique opportunity for audiences as women’s roles are shifting

The DCPA Theatre Company has announced the full casting and creative teams for A Doll’s House and A Doll’s House, Part 2, with performances beginning September 6 in the Ricketson Theatre. The Theatre Company will become the first in the nation to present both Henrik Ibsen’s original masterpiece and Lucas Hnath’s contemporary sequel in repertory.

“The Theatre Company has a long history of not only sharing bold new voices in theatre, but also showcasing renowned classics and taking opportunities to share these productions in new ways,” said Artistic Director Chris Coleman. “I am happy to expand upon that tradition by producing Henrik Ibsen’s groundbreaking drama and Lucas Hnath’s hilarious sequel concurrently, which no other company has yet attempted. Audiences will have the opportunity to attend one or both, allowing them to see how the characters evolve from one play to the next.

“I think this is a really interesting, meaty conversation for us to have with the community. And it’s going to be really, really fun.”

Take a deeper dive into both parts of A Doll’s House

The DCPA’s double-billing will be directed by Coleman (A Doll’s House) and newly named Associate Artistic Director Rose Riordan (A Doll’s House, Part 2). Starring as Nora Helmer are Marianna McClellan in A Doll’s House and Barbra Wengerd in A Doll’s House, Part 2.

Because there is a 15-year gap between stories, Coleman said he wanted different actors to play Nora in the two plays, not only to emphasize the physical changes the character would have undergone, but to underscore the idea that the Nora of Part 2 is a very different woman than the ingenue of Ibsen’s original – “one who is now both hardened and holding forth with enormous confidence in Part 2,” he said.

The only character who will be played by the same actor in both plays is DCPA Theatre Company favorite Leslie O’Carroll (The Whistleblower, A Christmas Carol) as the nanny, Anne Marie. O’Carroll, who has 23 seasons with the DCPA Theatre Company, is currently performing in two summer shows for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Other local actors include Zachary Andrews, who has previously performed in Romeo & Juliet, A Christmas Carol and Three Musketeers for the DCPA Theatre Company; Radley Wright, who played Young Tommy in the DCPA Theatre Company’s The Who’s Tommy; and Anastasia Davidson (DCPA Theatre Company’s Anna Karenina). She will play both Mrs. Linde in the first play and Nora’s grown daughter, Emmy, in the second.

The role of Nora’s husband, Torvald Helmer, will be played by Michael Schantz (Othello, New York Theatre Workshop) in A Doll’s House and Leif Adam Norby (Astoria I & II, Portland Center Stage) in A Doll’s House, Part 2.

Several of the announced cast and creatives were nominated for 2019 Henry Awards, including Coleman (Oklahoma!) and Riordan (Sweat) for Outstanding Direction. O’Carroll was nominated for Outstanding Actress for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s You Can’t Take It With You, along with Costume Designer Meghan Anderson Doyle for the same show.

From left: Zachary Andrews, Anastasia Davidson, Leslie O’Carroll and Radley Wright.

A Doll’s House:

Nora’s life is a picture-perfect portrait, complete with a doting husband, gleeful children and the small pleasures of her 1870s Norwegian home. But underneath her wide-eyed demeanor lies a deceit that she fears will tear her family apart. As the consequences stack up to reveal deeper flaws in her relationship, she slams the door on her marriage to assert her independence in this heart-wrenching and gripping production.

  • Written by Henrik Ibsen
  • Adapted by Frank McGuinness
  • Directed by Chris Coleman (Oklahoma!, DCPA)
  • Nora Helmer: Marianna McClellan (“The Black List;” Stupid F***ing Bird, NYC’s Pearl Theatre; You Lost Me, 2019 Colorado New Play Summit)
  • Torvald Helmer: Michael Schantz (Othello, New York Theatre Workshop)
  • Doctor Rank:  Leif Norby (Astoria I & II, Portland Center Stage)
  • Nils Krogstad/Messenger: Zachary Andrews (Romeo & Juliet, DCPA; Sense & Sensibility, Arvada Center)
  • Kristine Linde: Anastasia Davidson (Anna Karenina, DCPA; Pride and Prejudice, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company)
  • Anne-Marie: Leslie O’Carroll (A Christmas Carol, The Whistleblower, DCPA)
  • Helmer children: Elsianna DeLeon (Letters, Aspen Somers), Jessiah DeLeon and Radley Wright (The Who’s Tommy, DCPA)

A Doll’s House, Part 2:

Fifteen years later, Nora returns to confront her decisions head-on in this Tony-nominated, contemporary sequel. Asking for favors instead of forgiveness, the proudly independent woman demands help from the family she left behind. But as she hilariously roasts the society she has shunned, her husband and children get their long-awaited chance to stand their ground. A Doll’s House, Part 2, snappily filters the still-prevalent pressures of motherhood and self-fulfillment through a modern perspective.

  • Written by Lucas Hnath
  • Directed by Rose Riordan (Sweat, DCPA)
  • Nora Helmer: Barbra Wengerd (Sweat, Dallas Theater Center; To Kill a Mockingbird, Florida Repertory and Syracuse Stage)
  • Torvald Helmer: Leif Norby (Astoria I & II, Portland Center Stage)
  • Emmy: Anastasia Davidson (Anna Karenina, DCPA; Pride and Prejudice, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company)
  • Anne-Marie: Leslie O’Carroll (A Christmas Carol, The Whistleblower, DCPA)

Creatives for both:

  • Scenic design by Lisa Orzolek (The Whistleblower, DCPA)
  • Costume design by Meghan Anderson Doyle (The Wild Party, DCPA)
  • Lighting design by Jason Lynch (The Wild Party, DCPA)
  • Sound design by Lindsay Jones (Macbeth, DCPA)
  • Voice and dialect coaching by Kathy Maes (Anna Karenina, DCPA)
  • Dramaturgy by Lynde Rosario
  • Casting by Harriet Bass and Grady Soapes, CSA
  • Stage management by Heidi Echtenkamp (A Doll’s House), Malia Stoner (Assistant Stage Manager, A Doll’s House), Tess Neel (Apprentice Stage Manager, A Doll’s House), D. Lynn Reiland (Stage Manager, A Doll’s House, Part 2) and Rick Mireles (Assistant Stage Manager, A Doll’s House, Part 2).

A Doll's House and A Doll's House, Part 2Ticket information

  • Dates: Performances September 6-November 24)
  • Where: Ricketson Theatre
  • Genre: Drama (A Doll’s House) and comedy (A Doll’s House, Part 2), performed in repertory
  • Advisory: Contains adult themes
  • Tickets: Start at $30 and can be purchased at 303-893-4100 or in person in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at 14th and Curtis streets or online by clicking here:

Video bonus: Chris Coleman on selecting the two A Doll’s House plays:

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