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Ensemble Theatre Company Announces the Final Play of the 2016-17 Season, Allan Knee’s ‘Syncopation’

Ensemble Theatre Company at the New Vic announces the final play of the 2016–17 Season, Allan Knee’s Syncopation. 

Set in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1911, Syncopation is a magical blend of drama and dance that tells the story of an unlikely romance between a butcher and a seamstress who, through a series of dance lessons, reach for their dreams of a life far better than the one that is slipping them by. 

Directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, the production runs June 8 to June 25, 2017. 
In Syncopation, Henry leads a solitary life as a meat packer and part-time dishwasher.

Desperate for an escape from the monotony of factory life, he places a classified ad looking for a dance partner who wants to “give their life a lift and dance for royalty.”

When the shy seamstress Anna answers his ad, she finds Henry in a dusty sixth-floor walk-up studio with a broken door.

Her reluctance to buy into Henry’s dreams of becoming a famous ballroom dancer leads to initial tension… but with each tango and foxtrot they are drawn closer together, setting off an unlikely romance.
“Syncopation makes a perfect ending to our season looking at romance,” said Jonathan Fox, ETC’s Artistic Director.  “It’s exciting for us to present a show that spotlights dancing. I’m delighted to bring my friend and colleague, Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, to direct the production.”
Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill makes her ETC directorial debut, coming to the West Coast from Albany, where she serves as the Producing Artistic Director of the award-winning Capital Rep Theatre.

Her direction of Syncopation at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre was lauded for its “flawless direction, inventive choreography, and creative design across the board” by Broadway World. 

Ms. Cahill has served as Producing Director of Urban Stages in New York City, Artistic Director for Theatre Under Glass in Denver, worked at Aspen’s Playwrights Festival, Arena Stage in Washington D.C. and on the staffs of The Women’s Project and Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC. 

She taught acting at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut.

Her directing credits include The Secret Garden, Red, Man of La Mancha, Nora, the world premiere of William Kennedy’s Grand View, Metamorphoses, Race, My Fair Lady, The Taming of the Shrew, and Terra Nova

She received a Directors Project Fellowship from the Drama League of New York and holds an MFA in Directing from Columbia University.
Syncopation premiered at the Long Wharf Theater in 1999, receiving an American Theater Critics Award for Best New Play.

The play has been performed at numerous regional theatres throughout the country, and was slated for a Broadway debut in 2004, before financing issues stalled the production.
Playwright Allan Knee is the author of the New York hit play Schmulnik’s Waltz, as well as Sholom Aleichem Lives, Late Nite Comic, Second Avenue Rag, and the book to the Broadway musical, Little Women.

His most recent play, The Jazz Age, about Hemingway, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald has been produced at 5 E. 55th Street Theatre in New York and at The Blank Theatre in LA to excellent reviews, with a Broadway production planned.

His play, The Man Who Was Peter Pan, became the basis of the award-winning movie Finding Neverland.

Allan is now writing the book for the upcoming Broadway musical of the movie for The Weinstein Company. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, he won a Richard Rodgers Musical Theater Award as well as a Cine Eagle Award from the Washington Film Festival.

His plays have been produced at Jewish Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Long Wharf Theater, Manhattan Punchline, Theatreworks/USA among many others.
ETC’s 2016-17 Season has been generously sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation.
Founded in 1979, Ensemble Theatre Company is Santa Barbara’s leading professional, resident theatre company.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jonathan Fox, ETC has attracted accomplished performing artists from around the country.

The 2016-17 Season launches this September in the New Vic, ETC’s newly renovated 294-seat performing arts venue.

The 2016-17 season includes: Macbeth by William Shakespeare (10/1/16 - 10/16/16); Chapter Twoby Neil Simon (12/3/16 - 12/18/16); The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, composed by George Gershwin with libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks (2/11/17 – 2/26/17); Baby Doll, adapted by Emily Mann and Pierre Laville from the film by Tennessee Williams (4/15/17 – 4/30/17); and Syncopation, by Allan Knee (6/8/17 – 6/25/17).
Performances of Syncopation run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., with a Saturday 4 p.m. matinee performance on June 17, and a Tuesday 7 p.m. show on June 13. Youth tickets are available for patrons, age 29 and under, for only $20 each.

Single tickets are available through the ETC box office at (805) 965-5400, or online at

For group sales information, please call (805) 965-5400. The New Vic is located at 33 W. Victoria Street, Santa Barbara, California, 93101.


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