A Double Bill from Playwright Ellen Byron
One ticket, two short plays!
First, Graceland, a touching comedy about Rootie and Bev, two ardent superfans of Elvis Presley a generation apart in age, camping out at the entrance of his Memphis Graceland mansion three days prior to its June 7, 1982 public opening as a house museum. Revealing the funny and complicated sides of their lives, the women vie to be the first to step into the sacred space. Who will get the honor? The resolution is a triumph of human compassion.
Then, after intermission, Asleep on the Wind. This lyrically evocative companion to Graceland finds Rootie ten years earlier with her favorite brother Beau in their secret “special place” that Rootie speaks about in Graceland. Their brother-sister bond is magical, with Beau sharing life-changing news that informs why Rootie must go to the Graceland opening a decade later. A heart-melting preamble to Graceland.
Benny Sato Ambush ‡
Benny Sato Ambush is a veteran director, institutional theatre leader, educator, published commentator and consultant. He has been Artistic Director of TheatreVirginia (Richmond, VA) and Oakland Ensemble Theatre (Oakland, CA).
Previously, he was Associate Artistic Director of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater; Acting Artistic Director of Providence, RI’s Rites and Reason Theatre Company; Co-Artistic Director of San Francisco Bay Area Playwrights Festival; PEW Charitable Trust/TCG Director-In-Residence for Manalapan, Florida’s Florida Stage; and Associate Artistic Director of Anna Deavere Smith’s Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard University.
He has directed with numerous professional regional theatres including Old Globe Theatre; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland; South Coast Rep; Alabama Shakespeare Festival; American Conservatory Theater; Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company; Magic Theatre; Geva Theatre; Playwrights Horizon; Ford’s Theatre; Triad Stage, American Repertory Theater Institute; Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays; Lincoln Center Theater Institute; Heart of America Shakespeare Festival; Indiana’s New Harmony Project; Actors Guild of Lexington, KY; Alaska Theatre of Youth; International Theatre Festival of Chicago; Sacramento Theatre Company; National Black Theatre Festival; Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre; Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Gloucester Stage Company; The New Rep; TheatreSquared, The Lost Colony; Underground Railway Theater, Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival, and Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.
Ambush has a BA in Theatre Arts and Dramatic Literature from Brown University and an MFA in Directing from the University of California, San Diego. In 2020, he was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre.
* indicates member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)
‡ indicates member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)