Cygnet Theatre opens 2015 with ‘Sons of the Prophet’ at Old Town San Diego

Cygnet Theatre in Old Town San Diego continues its run of presenting Southern California premieres with “Sons of the Prophet” (Jan. 15-Feb. 15, 2015), the latest work by Stephen Karam (“Speech and Debate”).

Premiering at New York’s Roundabout Theatre in 2011, Karam was hailed as “a major new voice in American Theater.” His brutally funny and explosive comedy was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and has received multiple other awards, including the 2012 Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel and Hull-Warriner Awards for Best Play.

Inspired by an actual news story about a high school prank gone wrong, Karam’s contemporary tale about two gay brothers dealing with a family tragedy in a run down area of Nazareth, Pennylvannia deals with themes of family, culture and resilience. Two brothers are on their own after their father dies of a heart attack two weeks after a car accident, leaving them alone to take care of themselves and their aging uncle. What unfolds is a comedy about human suffering, love, strength and hope.

Director Rob Lutfy returns to Cygnet after a critically acclaimed mounting of “The Motherfker with the Hat” last season. Lutfy is the 2014-2015 National New Play Network Producer-in-Residence at Marin Theatre Company. He has worked on plays in development at The Kennedy Center, The O’Neill Theatre Center and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. He was the 2012-13 William R. Kenan, Jr. Directing Fellow at The John F. Kennedy Center. He is a graduate of the directing program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts School of Drama where he returns annually to teach acting as guest faculty.

“We see so much humor and pathos in these layered people,” Lutfy said. “Karam portrays a uniquely American phenomenon. It’s an immigrant story. The world of ‘Sons of the Prophet’ is just as complicated as the conflict in the Middle East: present over past, the new world over the old world and a fall from a more prosperous, meaningful past.”

The nine-member cast includes a majority of actors making Cygnet Theatre debuts as well as two actors in a long line of University of North Carolina School of the Arts graduates to gravitate to fellow alumni and Cygnet Artistic Director Sean Murray here in San Diego.

The production team includes costume design by Veronica Murphy, set design by Sean Fanning, lighting design by Chris Rynne, sound design by Matt Lescault-Wood, and properties design by Syd Stevens.

• Cygnet Theatre: Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m., Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets from $32 at (619) 337-1525 or or the Old Town Theatre box office at 4040 Twiggs St., San Diego in Old Town State Historic Park.