For Immediate Release 
Contact: David Henderson, 860-520-7250

“If you do this, I will own you forever.”

Hartford Stage Presents The Body of an American by Dan O’Brien

Featuring Michael Crane and Michael Cumpsty
Directed by Jo Bonney

HARTFORD, CT — November 4, 2015 — Hartford Stage will present Dan O’Brien’s bold, radically theatrical and poetic true story, The Body of an American, with direction by Jo Bonney and featuring Michael Crane and Michael Cumpsty, from January 7-31, 2016.

Winner of the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize, the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play and the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, The Body of an American is a co-production with Primary Stages in New York that will also play a limited engagement Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre in February and March of 2016. Tickets for the NY engagement will go on sale at a later date.

“If you do this, I will own you forever.” Canadian photojournalist Paul Watson is haunted by the words he heard a dead soldier say as he took the photo that would win him the Pulitzer Prize and reshape American foreign policy. Playwright Dan O’Brien, struggling with ghosts of his own, reaches out to Watson, and the two forge a friendship as they reckon with the traumas that have shaped their lives.

A playwright, poet and librettist, O’Brien’s plays include The Cherry Sisters Revisited, The Dear BoyThe Voyage of the Carcass, Moving Picture, The House in Hydesville and Key West. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, O'Brien wrote the libretti for Jonathan Berger's Visitations: Theotokia & The War Reporter, two chamber operas.

O'Brien's most recent collection of poetry, New Life, was published this month by CB Editions in London. His debut poetry collection, entitled War Reporter, received the 2013 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection and was shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Hartford Stage Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson said, “Dan O’Brien is an extraordinary writer, and this is one of his most compelling plays yet. I was blown away by The Body of an American from the moment I heard its first reading at the Playwrights Center 5 years ago, and am delighted to be producing it here at Hartford Stage.” She will serve as Dramaturg for the production.

Crane’s most recent credits include Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) at American Repertory Theatre, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, King Lear and Richard III, all at The Public Theater. He has also appeared at Pioneer Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre and Williamstown Theatre Festival. He is known to television audiences for his recurring role on the NBC series “Kings.”

A Tony Award-nominee for End of the Rainbow in 2012, Cumpsty has appeared in many Broadway productions, including La Bête, The Heiress, Copenhagen, The Constant Wife, Machinal, 1776 and Sunday in the Park with George.  His television credits include recurring roles on “Boardwalk Empire,” “Star Trek Voyager” and “L.A. Law.”

Recipient of the 1998 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Direction, Bonney most recently directed the critically acclaimed productions of Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) at The Public Theatre and American Repertory Theatre. Off-Broadway credits include Small Engine Repair, Lost Girls, subUrbia, Fat Pig, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, for which she was nominated for the Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards.

The Body of an American’s creative team also includes Set Designer Richard Hoover (After the Fall and Not About Nightingales on Broadway); Costume Designer Ilona Somogyi (An Opening in Time and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Hartford Stage); Lighting Designer Lap Chi Chu (Gem of the Ocean at Hartford Stage, Emotional Creature Off-Broadway); Sound Designer Darren L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher and the upcoming Misery on Broadway); and Projection Designer Alex Koch (Irena’s Vow on Broadway, Buyer & Cellar Off-Broadway).

Lori Ann Zepp will be the Stage Manager; Alisa Zeljeznjak, Assistant Stage Manager.

The 2015-16 Season is sponsored by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

Special Dates
Previews begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 7, 2016
Press Night: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Opens: 8 p.m. Friday, January 15, 2016
Closes: 2 p.m. Sunday, January 31, 2016

Season Subscriptions

Subscriptions begin at $90 and include four shows: The Body of an American; Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, directed by Darko Tresnjak, February 11 to March 20, 2016; Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years by Emily Mann, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delaney and A. Elizabeth Delaney with Amy Hill Hearth, March 31 to April 24, 2016; and Anastasia, A New Musical, book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahern, inspired by the Twentieth Century Fox Motion Pictures, choreography by Joshua Bergasse; directed by Tresnjak, May 12 to June 12, 2016. 

Tickets & Performances
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun at 7:30 p.m.—Fri, Sat at 8 p.m.—Sat, Sun at 2 p.m.
Wed matinee at 2 p.m. on January 20 only
Weekly schedules vary. For details, visit

Tickets for all shows start at $25. For group discounts (10 or more), contact Theresa MacNaughton at 860-520-7114.

For all other tickets, please call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit

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Special Events

Sunday Afternoon Discussion, January 17, 2016
Enjoy a lecture from artists and scholars connected with the production immediately following the 2 p.m. matinee. FREE

AfterWords Discussion
Tuesdays, January 19 & 26 and Wednesday, January 20
Join members of the cast and our Artistic staff for a free discussion, immediately following select 7:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday or the 2 p.m. Wednesday matinee. FREE

Open Captioned Performances, January 24, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. performances
For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. FREE

Audio Described Performance, January 30, 2 p.m.
For patrons who are blind or have low vision. FREE

Michael Crane

Michael Cumpsty


Now in our 52nd year, Hartford Stage is under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts. One of the nation’s leading resident theatres, Hartford Stage is known for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals, including 70 world and American premieres, as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches more than 20,000 students annually.

Since Tresnjak’s appointment in 2011 the theatre has presented the world premieres of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Tresnjak; Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez; An Opening in Time by Christopher Shinn; and Rear Window, adapted for the stage by Keith Reddin, based upon the story by Cornell Woolrich. “Rear Window” by Cornell Woolrich

Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1988 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans' Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger's Children; and Tea at Five.

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