UMass Lowell Connector Logo

Press release: Merrimack Repertory Theatre opens 2023-2023 season with “Gaslight”

(Photo courtesy of Merrimack Repertory Theatre site) “Promotional picture for the Theatre’s rendition of the play ‘Gaslight’.”

Lynn Sullivan
Connector Contributor

The Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) is proud to begin its 2023-2024 season with the world premiere of award-winning playwright Steven Deitz’s Gaslight. Produced in partnership with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, this new psychological thriller opens October 18th through November 5th at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall.

Based on the acclaimed 1939 play by Patrick Hamilton that inspired the modern definition of the 2022 Word of the Year, Gaslight has never been more relevant to modern audiences as Dietz sheds new light onto themes of psychological abuse, gender oppression, and truth. Director Courtney Sale states, “History reflects very real social dynamics that are alive and well in our time. It’s a safe way to examine frightening topics… While Bella’s situation is extreme, it can be a container for the ways gaslighting plays out in today’s world in both large and small ways.”

Steven Dietz has had his thirty-plus plays produced at over a hundred regional theatres across the country, as well as Off-Broadway and in twenty-five countries internationally. He has been recognized with many awards, including but not limited to the American Theatre Critics Association’s Steinberg New Play Citation for Bloomsday, and the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. He also has an upcoming film, What Happens Later, directed by Meg Ryan that is adapted from his play, Shooting Star, with playwright Kirk Lynn.

Gaslight features seven professional actors, including Kristin Yancy (The Cher Show and Summer, The Donna Summer Musical on Broadway), Tom Coiner (Law and Order: SUV), Jim Hopkins (CSC’s All the Way), Karen MacDonald (Founding Company Member of the American Repertory Theatre), and Candice Handy (CSC’s Education Director). The show also features a professional design team including Samantha Reno for Scenic Design (CSC’s Romeo and Juliet), Rainy Edwards for Costume Design (CSC’s The Winter’s Tale), Laura Glover for Lighting Design (Resident Lighting Designer for Dance Kaleidoscope), Robert Carlton Stimmel for Sound Design (CSC), and Kara Eble Trusty for Properties Design (CSC).

After the production’s opening in Cincinnati, reviewers are left raving. Liz Eichler from the League of Cincinnati Theatres praises the cast, but specifically says, “Jim Hopkins is the highlight of this show. His Inspector Rough (in his “saucy shirt”) needs a sequel–we want more.” Kirk Sheppard from the Sappy Critic says, “Every production element adds depth to this gripping tale… Guided by Courtney Sale’s direction, the play captivates with moments so intense that they elicit audible gasps from the audience.”

Related posts