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Academy Award®-winner in Staged Reading at SOPAC

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Academy Award®-winner Olympia Dukakis will perform with company members of MIDTOWN DIRECT REP (MDR), the resident theater company at South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), in a staged reading of ABSENCE, a new play about memory loss.

Former-actress turned director Margaret Whitton will stage this new work by emerging playwright Peter M. Floyd that was honored by the Kennedy Center’s 2012 Jean Kennedy Smith Award and the 2012 Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition.

The performance, part of MDR’s Theatre in the Loft series focusing on new and innovative American theatre, is Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 7 pm at SOPAC (One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079). Tickets, which are $15, are available at or by calling 973-313-ARTS (2787). The performance will be followed by a discussion with the playwright, the cast and creative team.

In ABSENCE, an excitingly theatrical play about aging, power, grace and imagination, Olympia Dukakis plays Helen, an iron-willed woman who suffers from memory loss. As her sense of self dissolves with her memories, she struggles to find meaning in her new existence.

Following its successful development of Rated P (for parenthood), MDR's Theatre in the Loft aims to do the same for other previously unseen material. Midtown Direct Rep is currently running a Rockethub crowd-funding campaign for this important development series in which MDR presents monthly readings or workshops of new plays and musicals. With a cash bar and post-show discussions with the casts and creative teams, MDR’s Theatre in the Loft fosters a fun and collaborative environment to nurture the development of top-notch theatre. Please consider donating here: and find the campaign on social media at #GiveMDR.

With perhaps more professional theater artists than any suburb of NYC, Maplewood/South Orange (NJ) is “where Broadway comes home to sleep.” MDR, a theatre company created by and for these NJ-based artists, develops and presents relevant, world-class theatre for its community.

Midtown Direct Rep company members include two-time Tony-Winner, Norbert Leo Butz, Tony-Nominee, Christiane Noll, and "Law & Order: SVU" regular, Joel de la Fuente, among many others. The Company is managed by Co-Artistic Directors Sandy Rustin and Jeremy Dobrish, Managing Director Jeffrey Shubart, Producing Director Evan Fleischer, and Artistic Producer Steven Tabakin.


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