Press Release - Zealot

World Premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Riveting Zealot at South Coast Repertory

Set in Mecca, Saudia Arabia, Where a Life Hangs in the Balance
From the Award-Winning Creator of “Smash” and the Playwright of

COSTA MESA, Calif. (Sept. 25, 2014)—South Coast Repertory will produce a new work by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Peabody Award-winning writer Theresa Rebeck. Her play Zealot is on SCR’s Segerstrom Stage Oct. 17-Nov. 16, directed by Artistic Director Marc Masterson. Tickets are available now at

“Zealot is the fifth play by Theresa that I have worked on,” said Masterson.  “I admire her prolific dedication to craft, the wide range of styles that she has explored, and the fierce intelligence that shines through everything that she does. She is passionate, articulate, and committed to making great theatre.”

Zealot is set in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The British consul pours tea for the American undersecretary of state, avoiding her questions—with answers to ones she hasn’t even asked—that’s diplomacy at work. Meanwhile, in the street below, a group of women set in motion a carefully planned protest. The results are devastating enough to ignite a battle of wills and wits—now that a life hangs in the balance.

 A prolific Broadway veteran, Rebeck is a widely produced playwright. Her New York productions include Dead Accounts, Seminar, The Understudy, Mauritius, The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection, Spike Heels, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann, View of the Dome and Omnium Gatherum (co-written, Pulitzer finalist). Her publications include her Collected Plays Volumes I, II and IIIFree Fire Zone, all with Smith & Kraus; and two novels, Three Girls and Their Brother and Twelve Rooms With a View, with Random House/Shaye Areheart Books. Her films include Harriet the Spy, Gossip and the independent features Sunday on the Rocks and Seducing Charlie Barker (adapted from her play The Scene). Her awards include the Writer’s Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama and a Peabody Award for her work on “NYPD Blue.” She is the recipient of the National Theatre Conference Award, the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, the Athena Film Festival Award, an Alex Award, a Lilly Award and, in 2011, she was named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek. She is the creator of the NBC drama, “Smash.”

But even with all of those credits, Rebeck says writing for the stage is a distinctive experience. She told National Public Radio, “I find it unimaginably beautiful to see language and humanity and lights and sound all come together in this moment of storytelling, which is so potently in relationship to the audience, the presence of the audience. When theater works at its best, your heart is moved by the trials of or joy of somebody acting a story out for you on the other side of the stage lights.”

The cast for Zealot includes Demosthenes Chrysan, Adam El-Sharkawi, Nikki Massoud, Alan Smyth and Charlayne Woodard.

The design and creative team includes Ralph Funicello, scenic design; Alex Jaeger, costume design; Russell Champa, lighting design; and Cricket Myers, sound design. The show’s dramaturg is Kelly L. Miller, the production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Sue Karutz.

Zealot is generously supported by Honorary Producers Yvonne and Damien Jordan.  It also is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays award. It was presented as a staged reading during SCR’s 2014 Pacific Playwrights Festival.

Tickets start at $22. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit:

Related Information for Zealot

 May be purchased online at, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the Box Office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run Oct. 17-Nov. 16. Ticket prices start at $22. Low-priced preview performances run Oct. 17-23.

Performance Dates, Times: 

  • Previews
    • Friday and Saturday, Oct. 17-18, at 8 p.m.
    • Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 19, 21 and 22, at 7:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m.
      Note: Friday, Oct. 24, is an invitation-only performance
  • Regular performances
    Special notes: There are no Monday performances.
    There is no evening performance on Sunday, Nov. 16

  • Evening Performances:
    • Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Oct. 26, 28 and 29, Nov. 2, 4-5, Nov. 9, 11-12, at 7:30 p.m. 
    • Thursdays-Saturdays, Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 1, Nov. 6-8, and Nov. 13-15, at 8 p.m.
    • Saturdays-Sundays, Oct. 25-26, Nov. 1-2, Nov. 8-9, and Nov. 15-16, at 2:30 p.m.
  • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, Nov. 15, at 2:30 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussions: Wednesday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Nov. 4. Discuss the play with cast members of Zealot during free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Segerstrom Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, Nov. 1, from, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session features in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from SCR's production staff, revealing secrets and offering insights into SCR’s production of Zealot. The event includes a guided tour of the set. Segerstrom Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Current/Upcoming Productions:  Venus in Fur, Oct. 5-26; Zealot, Oct. 17-Nov. 16; Charlotte's Web, Nov. 7-23; and A Christmas Carol (the 35th Anniversary), Nov. 28-Dec. 27.  More information is available online:

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.