The many faces of Mark Anderson Phillips

Longtime audience favorite Mark Anderson Phillips has enjoyed a long and varied career on the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley stage, appearing in everything from farcical comedies to contemporary dramas to classic period pieces. One of the most recognizable faces in Bay Area theatre, Phillips returns as a conflicted son desperately trying to reason with his aging mother in Eric Coble’s The Velocity of Autumn. As we approach Opening Night, let’s take a look back at just a few of his many memorable roles here at TheatreWorks:

As You Like It

Phillips as Silvius with Juliette Morgan as Phebe in 1995’s As You Like It. Photo by Wilson P. Graham.


Under MilkWood

Phillips as Nogood Boyo with Tanya Shaffer as Lily Smalls in 1996’s Under MilkWood. Photo by David Allen

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Our 2016 New Works Festival Announced!

Attracting theatrelovers from across the country, TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival is the artistic highlight of the summer. An extraordinary opportunity to experience new plays and musicals in their early stages of development, the Festival has launched many new works onto TheatreWorks’ mainstage and on to productions nationally. The acclaimed Fly By Night and Emma came to life in the Festival, as did Broadway’s Memphis, off-Broadway’s hit Striking 12, the off-Broadway play Equivocation, winner of the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, and The North Pool, winner of the Will Glickman Award for Best New Play to Premiere in the Bay Area in 2011.

Check out our lineup for the 15th Annual New Works Festival:

Rajiv JosephArchduke

By Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Giovanna Sardelli

Can one man, one moment, define a century? Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph explores the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, 1914—the flash that lit the fuse of World War I.

Rajiv Joseph is the author of the Broadway play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama. His other plays include Guards at the Taj (recipient of the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play), The North Pool (TheatreWorks 2011), Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, and The Lake Effect (TheatreWorks 2015). Continue reading

The Life of a Freelance Director

Giovanna Sardelli, director of The Velocity of Autumn, is a veritable whirlwind of energy. She would have to be, in order to keep up with the demanding schedule of the life of a freelance director! As our Director of New Works, Gio keeps her finger on the pulse of new works in America, traveling to festivals and showcases around the country. The energy and the new plays she brings us are invaluable to the mission of our New Works Initiative and TheatreWorks as a whole.

gio des pres

Gio at the first rehearsal for The Velocity of Autumn

TWSV: How did you start directing? Was this always your passion?

Gio: I actually began as an actress. My MFA is from the Graduate Acting Program at NYU, and I spent a decade working in theatre and I had a small, recurring role on the soap opera Another World. I never really figured out the business of acting—I didn’t enjoy auditioning, and when I did get a part, I was always more interested in how it all came together rather than just my tiny part of the story telling. Zelda Fichandler was then the chair of the Graduate Acting Program and she had started a directing program with Paul Weidner. It was a year-long, tuition-free program that was an extension of the Grad Acting Program and they invited me to attend. Zelda was the one who told me that I thought like a director. And I’m so grateful to her and to Paul for supporting me in the transition into directing because it is what I love to do! Continue reading

Introducing the cast of THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN

Meet the dynamic mother-son duo of The Velocity of Autumn!

Susan GreenhillSUSAN GREENHILL (Alexandra) is very happy to be making her debut at TheatreWorks and to be working with Giovanna Sardelli again. In New York she was in Crimes of the Heart on Broadway, and in new works at Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Actors Studio Theatre, and Urban Stages, among others. Regionally she has appeared at numerous theatres from Long Wharf Theatre to Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in such plays as The Clean House (Acclaim Award), Sideman (Barrymore Award), Noises Off, Private Lives, Becoming Dr. Ruth, Dinner With Friends (SRQ award), and Dead Accounts (directed by Ms. Sardelli). On TV and film, she has been seen on The Good Wife, Law and Order, The Chappelle Show, Clarissa Explains It All, Guiding Light, Italian Movie, Pecker (Jon Waters, director), Bargain by Hail Street, and New World Order (Sundance Festival).

Mark PhillipsMARK ANDERSON PHILLIPS (Chris) is happy to be back at TheatreWorks, where he was last seen in Fallen Angels. Other TheatreWorks credits include Time Stands Still, The 39 Steps, Opus, Snow Falling on Cedars, Theophilus North, and Proof. Most recently, Mr. Phillips was seen in the off-Broadway production of Ideation at 59e59 Street Theatres, Stage Kiss at SF Playhouse, and As You Like It and The Merry Wives of Windsor with Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Other regional work includes roles with Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle), Arizona Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Word for Word, and Center REPertory Company. Directing credits include The 39 Steps, Sleuth, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike with Center REPertory Company, and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde with City Lights Theater Company.

The cast recently kicked off rehearsals this week with director Giovanna Sardelli:

Velocity First Day

Reserve your seats for The Velocity of Autumn now!



Join us as an 2016 Artistic Engagement Apprentice!

photo 5

Our 2015 TAEAs with “Artistic Director Robert Kelley”

Are you an emerging director, dramaturg, or future Artistic Director?
Have you ever wondered how a large, professional, regional theatre operates?

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is now accepting applications for our Artistic Engagement Apprentices 2016. We are seeking three pre-professionals interested in Directing, Dramaturgy and Artistic Management, to join the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley team for a ten week apprenticeship. Following the apprenticeship, they will be considered for assistant-to-the-director positions on shows later in the season.

This is a remarkable opportunity to observe and participate in the management of a successful professional theatre company. Rather than focusing on a single department, the apprentices will interact with our Marketing, Development, Education, and Artistic staff, working both on our New Works Festival and our mainstage season. At the end of the apprenticeship, they produce a showcase of scenes they have directed and will be considered for assistant-to-the-director positions on shows later in the season.

Here’s what past TAEAs have had to say about the program:

“There was plenty of work, but there was also plenty of joy…The importance of providing theatre to a young audience was brought to my attention in a way I had not witnessed before and I am grateful.”

“Listening to the audience react so positively to everyone’s hard work has been incredibly exciting and reaffirming of the power of theatre to enhance lives.”

“I truly enjoyed that experience, it was a blast!”

TAEA (1)

Our 2014 class of TAEAs

The apprenticeship runs from July 11 to September 16, 2016.
The application deadline is May 16, 2016.

For a detailed information sheet with dates, times, stipend and application details, please contact

TWSV @ the 2016 Tony Awards


Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Heartfelt congratulations are in order for our many friends who picked up nominations for the 2016 Tony Awards this past week!


Diggs backstage at the Lucie Stern Theatre during A Civil War Christmas. Photo courtesy of Heather Orth.

Among the record-setting 16 nominations for Hamilton was a first time nod for actor Daveed Diggs (A Civil War Christmas), for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller directed our reading of The Man in the Ceiling at last year’s New Works Festival while fellow cast members Javier Munoz and Sydney James Harcourt appeared in our 2013 NWF reading of Cubamor. In addition, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler picked up his second Tony nomination for Hamilton. His work was previously seen at TheatreWorks in A Little Princess. Continue reading