Anna Christie

By Eugene O'Neill

Directed by Richard Corley

Winner of the 1922 Pulitzer Prize, Anna Christie is the tale of a mid-western girl who loses and finds her way amid New York's waterfront bars and barges, and the two men who fight for her body and soul. One of the finest female roles ever written, Anna Christie has been played by actresses as diverse as Greta Garbo, Natasha Richardson, Liv Ullman, and Celeste Holm.

Anna Christopherson has just arrived in New York City, fleeing the lonely and dangerous life of a prostitute in the Midwest. For the first time in fifteen years she reunites with her father, Chris Christopherson, the captain of a coal barge just put in to port. Blinded by love, Chris cannot see the hard young woman that Anna has become. He sees only the innocence and beauty of the child he left behind so long ago, lured away by the irresistible pull of his nemesis, the sea. And indeed, when Anna accompanies Chris on a coal run, the sea that torments her father so – “that ole davil, sea” – seems to wash away Anna’s sins and pain – “It makes me feel clean – out here – ’s if I’d taken a bath.” But when she falls for a burly young stoker named Mat Burke, Chris violently opposes the match, fearing that Mat will marry Anna and then abandon her for a life at sea, just as Chris did to Anna’s mother. Seeing the two men that she loves fighting over her future, Anna is forced to reveal the tragic secret of her past. 

Anna Christie, Eugene O’Neill’s poetic masterpiece about defiant young Anna Christopherson, her estranged sea-faring father Chris Christopherson, and her new love, an uncouth stoker named Mat Burke, is the second play in Madison Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Richard Corley’s planned cycle of plays by America’s greatest playwright, Anna Christie was O’Neill’s second full-length play and won him his second Pulitzer Prize.

“I have long loved the plays of Eugene O’Neill,” says Corley, who will direct the production. “Not only did he single-handedly create serious American theatre, but his plays are mythic, powerful, erotic, and risk-taking. They are thrilling for actors, and we have a great trio in Carrie Coon, Lea Coco, and Craig Spidle to ‘walk the high-wire’ of emotions in Anna Christie, the second play in our planned cycle of O’Neill, which began so well two seasons ago with A Moon for the Misbegotten.” UW-Madison MFA graduate Carrie A. Coon, who delighted Madison audiences last season as Emily in Our Town, will play the title role of Anna. “I relish the chance to take on this great role,” said Coon, “Anna must have a worldly edge so that we can believe in her difficult past, and yet she must still be sympathetic so that the audience will feel her readiness for love and change. It is a glorious part!” Since graduating from UW last spring, Coon has been a company member at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI.

Produced by Madison Repertory Theatre in The Playhouse at the Overture Center for the Arts at 1 S, Pinckney St, Suite 340, Madison, WI.

Performances: February 2 - 25, 2007

Students who present a valid Student ID may take 50% off the cost of a full-priced ticket (regular performances only). A limited number of $15 tickets will be available for every performance. There are two special Preview Performances. (Tickets are only $20 on Wednesday, January 31st and $25 on Thursday, February 1st.)

Single tickets are on sale now and may be purchased, in-person, at the Overture Center Box Office, 201 State Street, Madison, by calling (608) 258-4141, or online at Single ticket prices are $39 for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday performances; $47 for Friday and Saturday performances.

Patrons can meet the cast and crew of Anna Christie at post-show Audience Discussions on Wednesday, February 14th and Thursday, February 22nd.

For information on special group rates, please call Jeremy Thomas Poulsen at the Madison Repertory Theatre at (608) 256-0029 x 23.

For all other questions and information, please visit or call George Gonzalez at (608) 256-0029 x 13.

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