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Waterworks announces cast for ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’

Area actors Craig Challender and Leigh Lunsford will join Richmond artists Happy Mahaney and Hunter Parker in the next Waterworks production of Edward Albee’s iconic work “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

“This play,” Director Dudley Sauve said, “is a challenge to stage; the work challenges actors to think and explore the motives and minds of complex characters.”

Craig Challender is cast as George, a member of the history department at New Carthage University and married to Martha in what was once a loving relationship that is now frequented by acrimony.

Leigh Lunsford, who spars with Challender as Martha, is a familiar face to southside audiences for numerous appearances in Waterworks productions. Lunsford said, “George and Martha know just how to push each other’s buttons with my character having an acid tongue and a quick, sometimes malicious mind.”

Happy Mahaney returns to the Waterworks stage after a 20-year absence to tackle the challenging role of Nick, a new member of the biology faculty at New Carthage University and colleague of George. During his time away from Virginia, Mahaney traveled the country in the second national “MAMMA MIA!” tour.

“My character Nick is from the Midwest,” Mahaney said, “who is ambitious and looking to climb up in the world, not unlike most persons my age.” Married to Honey, Nick is confident and focused on his future and the power of science.

Hunter Parker makes her Waterworks’ debut as Honey, the petite, mousy, and anxious wife of Nick. Prior to moving to Virginia, Parker resided in Hartford, Conn., as a resident teaching artist for the Hartford Stage. “Playing Honey is challenging my acting muscle as I generally direct shows than being a character,” Parker said.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is thought-provoking and deals with controversial topics,” Sauve said. “It also holds your attention like the unpredictability of a reality show. Albee has done a superb job of creating a dialogue full of suspense.” 

Tickets for the play are $12, and performances are at 8 p.m. on Feb. 12, 19 and 20. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 13. Tickets can be purchased by going to the Waterworks’ web site: waterworksplayers.org or calling the theatre at (434) 392-3452.