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Monday, Oct. 28, 2013

Forward Theater’s Sons of the Prophet

Milwaukee’s Angela Iannone stars in Madison production

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The trials and tribulations of a Lebanese-American family form the focal point of Sons of the Prophet, the first production this season by Madison’s Forward Theater Co. Stephen Karam’s comedy-drama offers an original voice for its characters, who struggle with life despite or because of the the fact that they are distantly related to mystic poet Kahlil Gibran.

The gorgeousness of this play is that it is about a family having a very, very bad year, yet not being broken by it,” says Forward Artistic Director Jennifer Uphoff Gray, who also directs the production. “Luckily for the audience, the family in this play handles it with a great deal of humor and affection for each other.”

Set in Nazareth, Pa., Sons of the Prophet tells the story of brothers Joseph and Charles Douaihy in the aftermath of a tragic accident that killed their father. The brothers are forced to take care of an ailing uncle, while Joseph’s eccentric employer is pushing the young man to write a memoir about the family’s distant connection to Gibran, author of The Prophet.

The cast features Milwaukee actor Angela Iannone as Gloria, a disgraced book agent. It will be Iannone’s first appearance with Forward, but not her first time working with Gray, who in 2008 directed her in Milwaukee Shakespeare’s production of Love’s Labor’s Lost.

“As soon as I saw this play, I knew Angela would bring expert comic timing, her sharp tongue, and a genuine heart to this very complex character,” Gray says.

In the end, Sons of the Prophet is a brutally funny tale that delves deep into the complexities of family and life, both its loves and its hardships, and finds a way to tell the tale with strength, hope and humor, both with and without connection the family’s famous relative.

“Whatever your individual feelings may be about Kahlil Gibran's writings, they are an attempt to provide sufferers with a pathway to healing,” says Gray. “I think Sons of the Prophet offers another such pathway.”

Sons of the Prophet runs Nov. 7 – 24 at The Playhouse in Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts. Info: www.forwardtheater.com.

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