Amy Herzog’s dramedy, “4,000 Miles,” opens tonight at Key City Playhouse in Port Townsend. It stars Anthony Lee Phillips as Leo, at left, and Diane Thrasher as his grandmother Vera. (Key City Public Theatre)

Amy Herzog’s dramedy, “4,000 Miles,” opens tonight at Key City Playhouse in Port Townsend. It stars Anthony Lee Phillips as Leo, at left, and Diane Thrasher as his grandmother Vera. (Key City Public Theatre)

‘Dramedy’ opens at Key City Playhouse tonight

Tickets for “4,000 Miles” are $24 and are available at or at the playhouse box office in Port Townsend.

PORT TOWNSEND — Amy Herzog’s “4,000 Miles” opens at the Key City Playhouse at 7:30 tonight.

The play explores human interaction and communication, said director Connor Zaft, who describes it as a “dramedy,” a combination of drama and comedy.

“ ‘4,000 Miles’ is, at its core, about people — about who we are in the small spaces, about how we heal through connecting with others [and] about how we grow, adapt and adjust to constraints life places on us mentally, physically and emotionally,” Zaft said.

Tickets are $24 and are available at www.keycity or at the playhouse box office at 419 Washington St. A preview was staged Thursday.

“I think there is always a magic on opening night,” Zaft said, inviting the public to the show.

“The actors are always facing their first audience, ostensibly — at least their first official audience. There is a certain buzz in the air I find mystifying.”

And, because it is the first official performance, “there is something special and exclusive to that,” Zaft continued.

After tonight’s performance, “4,000 Miles” will run Thursdays through Sundays for three weekends, ending Oct. 23

Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with a 2:30 p.m. curtain for Sunday matinees.

Ticket prices are $20 for Thursdays and Sundays, and $24 for Fridays and Saturdays.

Pay-what-you-wish performances, sponsored by the Port Townsend Arts Commission, are slated for Oct. 9 and 13.

In the play, generational gaps create tension between 21-year-old Leo Joseph-Connell — portrayed by Anthony Lee Phillips — and his feisty grandmother, Vera Joseph — a member of the Communist Party portrayed by Diane Thrasher.

Rounding out the cast in this four-person production is Maggie Buckley as Bec and Laura Dux as Amanda.

After suffering a major loss while he was on a cross-country bike trip, Leo seeks solace from his grandmother in her West Village apartment in New York City.

Leo is left standing on the porch after traveling all this way to see the no-nonsense 91-year-old matron because she is unable to hear the doorbell.

When Vera finally comes to the door, Leo cannot understand her because she is not wearing her dentures.

These failures of communication are the perfect introduction to the relationships that Herzog explores in her play, according to Christopher Clow, marketing director for Key City Public Theatre.

“It’s a story that really goes to the heart of relationships that spans across generations,” Clow said.

“It spans across lifestyles. It spans across the divide between rural and urban people. It is a play that has a very uplifting message at the heart of it.”

The play explores people who are flawed and at times hard to like but also in need of being vulnerable in the most painfully human ways possible, Zaft said.

“I think really what the show brings out of both its main characters is this desperate need for compassion, for empathy and for another person to lean on,” he said.

“Part of the tragedy — in moments of the play — is their refusal to ask for it. I think part of this show talks about how a person learns both how to empathize and to give compassion, but also how to ask for it and to admit that someone needs it.”

Those are both “learned skills,” Zaft continued, “and you don’t learn them until you have to, and it can be painful.”

The play debuted off-Broadway in June 2011.

It won the 2012 Obie Award for the Best New American Play, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2013 and was named the No. 1 New Play or Musical of 2012 by Time magazine.

For more information, call 360-385-KCPT (5278).


Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@

More in Entertainment

Stuart Elway
What do polls really tell us?

Veteran pollster to offer guidance

Sponsors step up for 2024 Sequim Sunshine Festival

SEQUIM —Three local organizations have once again agreed to be title sponsors… Continue reading

Dramas, comedy on tap this weekend

Plays, comedy and music are highlighted this weekend on the North Olympic… Continue reading

Family concert to be presented Saturday

The Sequim Community Orchestra and the Sequim Community Youth Orchestra… Continue reading

Comedy night offered in Port Angeles

Cougar Wolf Comedy will present Comedy Night at Bourbon… Continue reading

(Northwind Art Richard Coletta) 
Richard Coletta of Port Townsend admires Caryl Fallert-Gentry's quilt titled "Electric Snails," part of the "Burst of Color" exhibit at Jeanette Best Gallery.
Final ‘Burst’ in Port Townsend

This is the final weekend for “Burst of Color,”… Continue reading

Jenner Fox of Bainbridge Island and singer-songwriter Jermey Elliott are set to debut their one-day-old CD, “The Moon That Moves the Sea,” at Concerts in the Woods in Coyle for a matinee show on Saturday.
Fox, Elliott to play at Concert in the Woods on Saturday

Jenner Fox of Bainbridge Island and singer-songwriter Jermey Elliott will… Continue reading

Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra to perform February concert Sunday

The Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra will present its February… Continue reading

Chicago Bob Longmire, on left, and George Yount will conduct a three-day harmonica workshop.
Harmonica workshop offered in Port Townsend

Chicago Bob Longmire and George Yount will conduct a… Continue reading

The Candlelight Concert this month will feature classical pianist Mike Carroll.
Michael Carroll offers an evening of classical piano

Classical pianist Michael Carroll will perform at Trinity United… Continue reading

From left to right, Richard Lionheart, portrayed by Sean Stone of Port Angeles, and Prince John, portrayed by Charlie Medlong of Sequim, at a recent rehearsal.
‘The Lion in Winter’ opens this weekend

The Port Angeles Community Players will open its winter… Continue reading

Small Island Big Song brings artists of Taiwan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and Tahiti to the Field Arts & Events Hall in Port Angeles on Sunday.
Field Hall presents Small Island Big Song’s ‘Our Island’

International tour supports Maui Strong Fund