Home > live theatre, theater, theatre, theatres > ‘Typhoid Mary’ at the Phoenix Theatre, Apr. 30 to May 24, 2015

‘Typhoid Mary’ at the Phoenix Theatre, Apr. 30 to May 24, 2015

Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

By Ben Rose
Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis announces the World Premiere production of Typhoid Mary opening April 30, 2015 on the Frank and Katrina Basile Stage. This production runs through May 24, 2015, with Bill Simmons serving as director.

Tom Horan wrote Typhoid Mary in 2013 during his first season as the Phoenix Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence.

The play was part of a staged reading at The Lark Theatre in New York in the spring of 2014. Producing Director, Bryan Fonseca, then selected the play as part of the Phoenix Theatre’s 32nd season.

The play was also subsequently selected for a staged reading at the National New Play Network’s National Showcase of New Plays in November of 2014.

“If I’m getting national attention, it’s because this play, and my work in general, was fostered by the theater community here in Indianapolis.” –Tom Horan, Playwright


You’ve probably heard of “Typhoid Mary,” but most of us are unfamiliar with Mary Mallon, the cook behind the name.

In this World Premiere production, Mary—this feisty, vulgar, yet deeply religious Irish-immigrant—meets a host of peculiar people, including bumbling policemen, unsympathetic nurses, a female doctor, a mass of unsettling judges, and a doctor who wishes he was a detective.

This quirky, anachronistic telling of the discovery of Mary’s peculiar disease, as well as her forced quarantine, unfolds in front of a backdrop of changing notions of medicine, morality and cleanliness– Did she willfully infect others? Was she a victim of a misguided medical authority? Or is the truth even stranger?

“In my recent plays, I like to say that I’m taking odd stories from history books and then doodling in the margins. What initially drew me to Typhoid Mary is the strange story.

“Typhoid Mary takes place in the early 1900s, when notions of health and morality – which had been associated with religious cleanliness – were challenged by new scientific understanding of germs.

“I’m fascinated by this moment, where Mary’s disease is so new and different, that there aren’t easy answers, and people are forced to make difficult decisions about the rights of individuals vs. the good of the group …and then live with the consequences.” –Playwright, Tom Horan


Bill Simmons’ relationship with Bryan Fonseca and the Phoenix Theatre began with Durang/Durang in 1998. Since then, he’s acted in or directed more than 20 Phoenix productions including The Action Against Sol Schumann, A Number, End Days, The Most Damaging Wound, Sunlight, My Name is Asher Lev, August: Osage County, Seminar, Clybourne Park, 4000 Miles and North of the Boulevard. As Bogie once said, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”


Lauren Briggeman plays the title character, Mary. Her Phoenix credits include Seminar, In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, and The Housewives of Mannheim. Most recently, she had the pleasure of working alongside Ben Asaykwee in Cabaret Poe with Q Artistry, and last summer she played Hamlet in Acting Up Productions’ Hamlet.

Jolene Moffatt plays Dr. Sara Josephine Baker—the female doctor who twice tracked down Mary Mallon—along with various other roles throughout. Jolene was most recently seen in the new Indy Eleven Theatre at the iNDYfRINGE Building as part of DivaFest 2015. Before that, as Carrie Nation in The Useful Woman as part of iNDYfRINGE 2014. Audiences have seen Jolene on both stages at Phoenix Theatre, The IRT, ShadowApe Theatre Company, The Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, Booth Tarkington Civic, TOTS, and The Edyvean Repertory Theatre.

Ben Asaykwee plays George Soper—the man who discovers that Mary Mallon is an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid—along with several other characters throughout the play. Ben is an actor, director, composer and playwright living in Indianapolis. He is also the Artistic Director of original works organization Q Artistry. His work has been heard and/or seen throughout the midwest at many lovely places, including The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Lilly Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory (Chicago), the University of Indianapolis, Light Opera Works Chicago, and Indy Fringe.


Tom Horan is a Writer, Sound Designer and Co-Artistic Director of the Austin-born theater collective The Duplicates, along with Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, Courtney Sale.

Tom co-founded The Duplicates in 2009 and, with them, he served as Script and Sound Designer for over a half a dozen plays, iIncluding a site-specific spectacle about the Dionne quintuplets entitled “The Fictional Life of Historical Oddities,” a love story told with objects entitled “The Man With the Dancing Eyes,” a playful memorial entitled “september play,” and a drive-in puppet theater about Elvis’ car entitled “Elvis Machine.”

Their latest, The Poison Squad, earned six Austin Critics Table nominations, including Sound Design, Drama Production and New Play, winning awards for Lighting and Ensemble.

His solo toy theater play, The King & The Clockmaker, received Best-of-Week and Best-of-Fest honors at FronteraFest (Austin) and a subsequent production with Great Small Works (New York City.)

He developed his looping ghost story, Static, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, for a workshop production at the University of Texas at Austin, where Tom received his MFA. Also at UT, Tom created an interview driven sound installation entitled Headphone Stories.

Currently, Tom serves as Playwright-in-Residence at the Phoenix Theater in Indianapolis, through a grant from NNPN, and works as Assistant Professor at Earlham College.


Immediately following the performance on Sunday, May 3, there will be a post-show discussion on the ethics of medical quarantine, and other modern-day issues of medical ethics raised within Typhoid Mary.

The panel is co-hosted by the Production Sponsors, Eskenazi Health and the Eskenazi Health Foundation, and will be moderated by Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health.

Other panelists include: Dr. Eric Meslin, Director, Indiana University Center for Bioethics; Tim Stephens, CEO of Managed Emergency Surge for Healthcare Coalition (MESH); Professor Ross Silverman, Professor of Public Health & Law at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. IndyStar Reporter Shari Rudavsky will introduce the panelists.


Tickets for Typhoid Mary are on sale now. The entire first weekend are CheapSeats performances, and tickets are just $20.00 per person.

Remaining performances are $27.00 per person on Thursdays and Sundays, $33.00 per person on Fridays and Saturdays, and $20.00 for anyone 21 & under.

Tickets for Typhoid Mary may be purchased by calling the box office at 317-635-7529 or visit http://www.phoenixtheatre.org/. Curtain times for the production are: Thursdays – 7 pm; Fridays and Saturdays – 8 pm; Sundays – 2 pm.

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