Chatting with the Tea Party
by Rich Orloff, at ACT, July 16 – 31

chatting2Ashland Contemporary Theatre presents “Chatting with the Tea Party” by Rich Orloff and directed by Artistic Director, Jeannine Grizzard, runs July 16 – 31.

Playwright Rich Orloff, a self-described liberal New Yorker, is on a mission of discovery: “Who are the people in the Tea Party?!”  In this documentary style play, “Rich” travels America interviewing grassroots Tea Party leaders from all walks of life at over twenty gatherings.  The result is more than he bargained for. In collecting over sixty hours of interviews, the surprises for Rich just keep coming.

Orloff, who has 15 full-length plays to his credit, began his career as a reporter, so nothing the dozen and half interviewees say is made up.  Rich’s liberal New York friends chime in throughout the play with encouragement and consternation, as he visits town after town digging into “the beliefs that create the soil in which opinions grow.”  How have these personable and (mostly) well-mannered people come to hold their passionate (and often radical) political views about the role of government in our lives?

“Chatting with the Tea Party” affords ACT’s actors the opportunity to inhabit a  highly contrasting collection of characters as they create the Tea Partiers, the New York liberals, and even a few Founding Fathers.  Jeannine Grizzard directs an ensemble cast of eight led by Daniel Sessions Stephens as the playwright, Rich.

Orloff says of his journey: “At different times, I was surprised, amused, frustrated, appalled, challenged and even moved.  I could never predict what the next person would say to me, which created a delicious suspense.  I hope that audience members, regardless of their politics, will leave the theater feeling they’ve had an intimate, revealing, and honest look at a fascinating group of people.”

“Chatting with the Tea Party” plays at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way in downtown Ashland.  Performances are Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm and 8pm, July 16th to the 31st.  Tickets are $15, available at Paddington Station, Grocery Outlet and online at  For more information call: 541-646-2971.