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Frost/Nixon (Drama)

By Peter Morgan

Directed by Christopher J. Murphy

March 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26, 2016

Assorted Breads with Butter
Spinach Mandarin Salad
Pecan Chicken
Roasted Red Potatoes
California Blend Vegetables
Assorted Fruit Pies

"Every decade has its defining TV moment - the Challenger disaster, the Kennedy assassination and O.J.’s Bronco ride, for instance. David Frost’s interviews with former President Richard Nixon, watched by millions, were one such landmark.

The year was 1977. British talk-show host David Frost had become a lowbrow laughing-stock. Richard M. Nixon had resigned the presidency in disgrace over the Watergate scandal. Determined to resurrect his career, Frost risked everything on a series of no-holds barred interviews intended to give Nixon the trial he never received. The cagey former President, however, was equally bent on redeeming himself in his nation's eyes. In the television age, image is king, and both men were desperate to out fox, out talk and upstage the other as the cameras rolled."

British talk-show host David Frost has become a lowbrow laughing-stock. Richard M. Nixon has just resigned the United States presidency in total disgrace over Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Determined to resurrect his career, Frost risks everything on a series of in-depth interviews in order to extract an apology from Nixon. The cagey Nixon, however, is equally bent on redeeming himself in his nation's eyes. In the television age, image is king, and both men are desperate to outtalk and upstage each other as the cameras roll. The result is the interview that sealed a president's legacy.

"Structured as a prize fight between two starkly ambitious men in professional crisis, Frost/Nixon makes it clear that the competitor who controls the camera reaps the spoils." —NY Times.

"…a thoroughly modern Shakespearean tragedy…Peter Morgan has given us a behind the scenes look at a well-publicized event, and used his imagination to create a riveting entertainment…most notably, the midnight phone call from an inebriated Nixon to Frost that, like a show stopping song in a musical or an outstanding opera aria, has the audience bursting into applause." —CurtainUp.

"…ripe entertainment…The cheerily oblivious limey lightweight and the brooding, mortally wounded political animal: Austin Powers vs. Macbeth." —Washington Post.

"…nails the political, media and cultural fever of that era…" —

From Peter Morgan (screenwriter of “The Queen”), "FROST/NIXON is the unbelievable, riveting and often hilarious behind-the-scenes story of the interview that sealed a president's legacy."

Produced through special arrangement with 
Dramatists Play Service, Inc.





Actor Bios

Bob Ahlersmeyer (Jim Reston) Sun bursts on the darkest night. Blinding pain knives my sight. Lost and frightened and cold. No courage to push the bold. My savoir arrives beautiful with grace. Lays a warm, gentle hand on my face. Out of nowhere it came, flew in like a bat. As a matter of fact, it moved like a Cat. My face ravaged, puffy and swollen. “Relax,” said he, “I’m here. I’m Nolan.” “Nolcat,” I cried. “You have saved me from woe.” “Rubbish, old man. Now get up and go.” “But how? I can’t see. “You’re only lost cause you choose to be.” “Don’t leave me, Nolcat, I am at a loss.” He placed his hand on my face and said like a boss. “Forever and ever, I’ll be by your side. Now get off your ass, and I’ll be your guide.” (Bob’s been in things, won things, written things, taught things, but above all, he’s made two very special things.)

Emily Arata (Caroline Cushing) Emily is thrilled to be returning to Arena after her appearance as Meredith Parker in Bat Boy last summer.  She has appeared on Arena’s stage numerous other times, in Company, Laughing Stock, Boeing Boeing, Arsenic and Old Lace and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.  She has also appeared at the Civic as Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and in 9 to 5, in First Presbyterian Theatre’s Escanaba in Da Moonlight and The Foreigner, and in Ruby Bridges and The Veterans Spouse Project at the ArtsLab.  In her real life, Emily is the Drama Teacher at Weisser Park. Thank you to Murphy for being so much fun to work for, and to Joel, Crash, and Deebo for being so excited when I come home from rehearsal!!

Brad Davis (Bob Zelnick) Brad has been singing in groups and musicals just about all his life, in school, church and local theater. The last time on the stage was as Larry in Company right here at Arena. This is actually the very first time that he has auditioned and has been invited to act in a straight drama. When we get to a poignant moment in the story and there is a pause, Brad feels like the music will start and we will break into song! But alas, not this time. Brad is very much enjoying the story, the cast and the process of telling a story without music. Brad says “Thanks, all, for letting me be part of this production, recreating such an important event in our history.”


Sophia D’Virgilio (Ensemble) Sophia is so happy to be joining Arena Dinner Theater for another performance this year. A senior at Homestead High School, Sophia has been performing for many years playing piano, singing, dancing, and doing all of her Circus arts tricks and acts. In the past year she has performed in Catch Me If You Can for USF, Jesus Christ Superstar, Kids Rule!! for Cirque du Soleil TOTEM school, Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike for Arena Dinner Theater (for which she won the best featured actress award), Guys and Dolls and You Can't Take It With You for HHS. She would like to thank her family and friends for all the support they have given her. She wouldn't have done all the shows that she has this year without the support of her Mom and Dad.

Paul R. Faulkner (Swifty Lazar) Paul is thrilled to be back at Arena, previously appearing in The Mousetrap and Laughing Stock. Most recently he was seen in Ruby Bridges for Fort Wayne Youtheatre; prior to that he was an Apostle in Jesus Christ Superstar for Saint Francis. Paul began this season playing the Bank Chairman/Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins at Civic. Paul has a B.A. in Theatre, from Concordia University Chicago. Favorite Chicago-area credits include Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, Bellomy in The Fantasticks, and Mayor Shinn in The Music Man.  Paul is an organist for two Lutheran congregations and an amateur photographer. Standing at 6ft 2in and 35 years old, Paul is sure most viewers won't even realize the actual Irving Paul Lazar was 5 ft, had a trim figure, and was 70 at the time of the play. 


Todd Frymier (David Frost) Todd is thrilled to return to the stage after having his ankle monitoring bracelet removed. He has been deemed “rehabilitated” and ready for re-entry into society. However, he wasn’t lying around doing nothing. In fact, while on “hiatus,” he became fluent in Swahili with the help of Rosetta Stone, renovated his entire house strictly incorporating ideas from HGTV, and became a master chef thanks to the Food Network (13 ways to cook corn!). Spending a lot of time watching television, he recorded and submitted online video applications to be considered for Survivor, Real Househusbands of Fort Wayne, Hollywood Squares as the “center square,” MTV’s Real World, and as a contestant on Ink Master. Finally, he assures those in attendance, and his parole officer, that he “has learned his lesson” and “he will not be going back.” (Editor’s Note: Todd didn’t get his bio in on time, so the cast wrote this one for him.)


Stuart Hepler (Jack Brennan) Stuart is excited to be participating in this production of Frost/Nixon. This is his first time on the Arena stage but he is not new to the theater scene of Fort Wayne. He has portrayed Javert in Les Misérables, Tony in West Side Story, and Ludwig Van Beethoven in 33 Variations at the Civic Theater. He also performed the role of Attorney Christopher Darren in The Ryan White Story with the Fort Wayne Youth Theater. His most recent role was Agent Hulbert in Ruby Bridges, the Youth Theater’s newest production. Other shows he has been involved with have been Oliver, Candide, and Secret Garden. Stuart is thankful for family and friends who have patiently supported his continued ventures on the stage.


Quentin C. Jenkins (John Birt) This is Quentin's second appearance on the Arena stage.  He was also in Bat Boy last summer and helped backstage for Company and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged.   You may have also seen him previously on the University of Saint Francis stage in shows like Jesus Christ Superstar, Catch Me if You Can, and Willy Wonka.  Quentin works at Media 401 as the Key Grip and is currently single (just saying).


Caleb Meyer (Ensemble) Caleb is a freshman at The University of Saint Francis. He is very excited to be making his first apperance on the Arena stage! Caleb has performed with USF in Jesus Christ Superstar and Shakespeare from the Heart in such roles as Romeo, Demetruis and Florizel. He would like to thank his family, friends, and cast-mates for their endless support and encouragement; he loves you all very much.


Evan Moore (Manolo Sanchez) Evan Moore is pleased to return to the stage after a three-year absence, during which he interned with a major entertainment company in Florida. He last appeared on stage as Menas in First Presbyterian Theater’s Antony and Cleopatra, and at Arena as Father White in The Butler Did It! Evan is excited to perform this play in an election year, causing the questions it ask to be especially relevant. He is even more excited, to be able to perform onstage with his uncle Jeff, who got him interested in acting, thus fulfilling a long held goal. Evan would like to dedicate this to his parents, for their continuing, unwavering support; and his girlfriend Rachel.


Jeff Moore (Richard Nixon) Jeff is pleased be back at Arena, having last acted here in Critic’s Choice (2011). Other credits include roles at First Presbyterian Theatre, IPFW, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne Civic, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Jeff lives in Fort Wayne with, and is kept on his toes by, his wife Heather; their daughters Hannah, Zoe, Ren and Ella; and their dog and cat. He is grateful to them, and to the cast & crew of Frost/Nixon for favors granted.


Christopher J. Murphy (Director) returns to the Arena director's chair after appearing (as a pompous, egotistical hack "version" of himself) in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [revised].  His works have been seen on such local stages as Arena Dinner Theatre, First Presbyterian Theatre, the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre and the Fort Wayne Youtheatre.  Most recently, he directed FPT’s Escanaba in da Moonlight by Jeff Daniels and Arena’s Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike by Christopher Durang.  He also works regularly as a producer and director and host for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.  A great lover of history and politics, Murphy is thrilled to combine those passions with his love of theatre in bringing Frost/Nixon to life.  He dedicates this show to his uncle, Steve Condon, and his late grandfather, Louis T. Condon, for inspiring his love of politics.  

Ben Wedler (Stage Manager) Ben is happy to be back at Arena. He has stage managed other great Christopher J. Murphy show here at Arena including, See How the Run, Boeing, Boeing and The 39 Steps. His acting credits include Cinderella’s Father in Into the Woods, Bun Foo in Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Rev. Harry Harrison in Shadowlands, The Minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress and received an Anthony Award for Horton the Elephant in Seussical at the Civic. He has music directed Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, Dracula Baby, And the World Goes Round, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Company and led the orchestra for Violet and Bat Boy at Arena Dinner Theatre. He has recently music directed Catch Me if You Can, Willy Wonka, Will Rogers Follies, and All Shook Up at the University of St. Francis. He was recently elected to the board of directors at Arena Dinner Theatre. By day he is the music and liturgy director for St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. Ben would like to thank his wife Leah and children Evelyn and Henry for their support and letting me play!






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