In the Next Room


Pulitzer finalist launches PICT 2012 season

Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play makes Pittsburgh debut in an electrifying production directed by Alan Stanford


Media Contact: Michelle Belan

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Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre

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Pittsburgh, PA – April 4, 2012. PICT launches its 2012 season with the Pittsburgh premiere of America’s most popular contemporary play, Sarah Ruhl’s Pulitzer finalist In the Next Room or the vibrator play. The production features Brad Heberlee as Dr. Givings, Megan McDermott as Catherine Givings, Jessica Frances Dukes as Elizabeth, and Melinda Helfrich as Sabrina Daldry. Alan Stanford directs.

In the Next Room or the vibrator play is a provocative, funny, touching and marvelously entertaining story about a young doctor and his wife. Dr. Givings is obsessed with the marvels of technology and what they can do for his patients. His wife, Catherine, is only a bystander in her husband’s world – listening at the door from the next room as he treats his female patients. Dr. Givings is not sure exactly how the vibrators help the women he treats – but they do keep coming back. The only woman whose problem is not helped by the doctor is his own wife who longs to connect with him – but not electrically.

Sarah Ruhl’s plays include The Clean House (2005 Pulitzer Prize Finalist; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, a cycle (Pen American Award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play); Melancholy Play; Demeter in the City (9 NAACP Image Award nominations), Eurydice; Orlando; and Late: a cowboy song. Her plays have been produced at Lincoln Center Theater, Goodman Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Cornerstone Theater, The Wilma Theater, Madison Repertory Theatre, and the Piven Theatre, among others. Her plays have also been produced internationally, and have been translated into Polish, Russian, Spanish, Norwegian, Korean, German and Arabic. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award and the Whiting Writers’ Award. She is a member of 13P and New Dramatists and won the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. She is a recent recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright.

In the Next Room or the vibrator play was inspired by Pittsburgh native Dr. Rachel P. Maines’ 1999 book The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” Vibrators and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction. Maines’ book has been translated into Spanish, French and Italian. It was the basis for the documentary film Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm.

Heberlee has performed with The Civilians, as well as with such companies as Pearl Theatre Company, Atlantic Theatre Company, SoHo Rep, Denver Center Theatre Company, Weston Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep and Actors Theatre of Louisville. He holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama.

McDermott just finished an acclaimed co-production of Time Stands Still at Delaware Theatre Company and ACT2 Playhouse in Philadelphia. She has worked with such companies as The Wilma Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and McCarter Theatre Center. She is also a company member in PICT’s Chekhov Celebration.

Dukes reprises the role she played in the wildly successful Woolly Mammoth production. She comes to Pittsburgh straight from Geva in Rochester, where she performed A Raisin in the Sun.

Helfrich played the title role in Ruhl’s Eurydice at Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Her Pittsburgh credits include productions with Quantum Theatre and City Theatre. She is currently performing in City Theatre’s The Monster in the Hall.

One of Ireland’s best-loved sons and a recent transplant to Pittsburgh, Alan Stanford is the PICT 2012 artist in residence.
Stanford made his PICT debut in 2007 with the acclaimed production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome. Since then, his PICT directing credits have included Betrayal and Celebration in the 2010 Pinter Celebration, and last season’s record-breaking blockbuster production of The Mask of Moriarty. Stanford has a long association with Dublin’s famed Gate Theatre, where he has directed numerous productions including Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, and God of Carnage. He has toured the world over the past decade as Pozzo in the Gate Theatre production of Waiting for Godot. Stanford is also a company member in PICT’s Chekhov Celebration, directing Brian Friel’s Afterplay and The Yalta Game, and starring as Count Shabelsky in Ivanov and Svetlovidov in Swan Song.

The production also features Lissa Brennan (Salome), Philip Winters (Synge Cycle, Pride & Prejudice), and Denver Milord in his PICT debut. Scenic design is by Gianni Downs, lighting by Andrew David Ostrowski, Costumes by Pei-Chi Su, and sound design by Mark Whitehead. In the Next Room or the vibrator play performs April 19 through May 5 in the Charity Randall Theatre.

The 2012 Media Sponsors are WYEP and Essential Public Radio. Single tickets are available now through PICT’s new online ticketing system at, or by calling ProArtsTickets at 412.394.3353 for a $1.50 phone fee. A range of options are available for money-saving season subscriptions, and can be purchased on the PICT website at

PICT receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre was founded in 1996 to diversify the region’s theatrical offerings by providing Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania audiences with high-quality, text-driven, affordable productions of classical theatre and the works of classical and contemporary Irish playwrights and to significantly improve employment opportunities for local talent in all facets of theatrical presentation and production.  PICT is a Small Professional Theatre (SPT) affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association, and a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. PICT is the Professional Theatre in Residence at the University of Pittsburgh and PICT productions at the Charity Randall and Henry Heymann Theatres are presented in cooperation with the University of Pittsburgh – Department of Theatre Arts.


FACT SHEET –   In the Next Room or the vibrator play by Sarah Ruhl

Pittsburgh Premiere
Directed by Alan Stanford
The Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial
4301 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Cast: Lissa Brennan, Jessica Frances Dukes, Brad Heberlee, Melinda Helfrich, Megan McDermott, Denver Milord, and Philip Winters

Design Team: Gianni Downs (scenic design); Pei-Chi Su (costume design); Andrew David Ostrowski (lighting design); Mark Whitehead (sound design); George DeShetler (properties)

First Week: Thursday – Friday, April 19, 20, Previews, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 21, Opening, 8:00 p.m. (followed by reception)
Sunday, April 22, 2:00 p.m. (followed by talk-back)

Second Week: Tuesday, April 24, 7:00 p.m. (Professional Tuesday performance)
Wednesday – Saturday, April 24-28, 8:00 p.m.*
Sunday, April 29, 2:00 p.m.
*preshow lectures Wednesday and Thursday, April 25 and 26, 7:00 p.m. Free.

Third Week: Tuesday, May 1, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday – Friday, May 2 – 4, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 5, 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

PICT Special Events   (All Free of Charge)
Preshow Lecture Series
Wednesday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.
What Does Woman Want? Or, the Secret History of Female Pleasure
Kristina Straub, Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies, Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, April 26, 7:00 p.m.
Behind the Scenes with In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
Alan Stanford, Director

Talk Back Series
Sunday, April 22, following the 2:00 p.m. matinee
Featuring the cast and director

Panel Discussion Series
Domesticity, Hysteria and Desire: Then and Now
Sunday, April 29 at noon
Laura Engel, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Duquesne University
Susan Merenstein, Pharmacist and Owner of Murray Avenue Apothecary
Peggy Stubbs, Professor and Chair, Undergraduate Psychology, Chatham University
Gale McGloin, Moderator

Subscriptions: $224 – $252 (10 packages and Flex Plans available)
Single Tickets: starting at $25 ($20 under 26 with valid ID)


Pick, purchase and print your tickets online at,

PICT – Great Stories. Well Told.