The North Plan – Press Release

Media Contact: Max Vasapoli • (215) 218-4022 •

Theatre Exile Presents
The North Plan
By Jason Wells
Directed by Joe Canuso
Latvian Society, 7th & Spring Garden

For Immediate Release:

Philadelphia, PA – Theatre Exile will present the third show of their 16th season with the Philadelphia premiere of The North Plan by Jason Wells. Directed by Exile’s own Joe Canuso, of South Philadelphia, and featuring veteran Philadelphia actors Madi Distefano, Dan Hodge, Robert DaPonte, Aimé Kelly, Carl Granieri and Mark Cairns. The North Plan will run from February 13 to March 3, with the official press opening on February 16 at 8pm.

The revolution starts now. As martial law is declared by the government, federal bureaucrat Carlton Berg scrambles to protect the highly classified list of those American citizens to be detained – branded as "national security threats." His great escape lands in the podunk town of Lodus, MI in the heart of the Ozarks where the nation’s last hope lies in the unlikeliest of line ups: an unsympathetic police chief, an ambivalent administrative assistant and a foul mouthed redneck who’s turned herself in for drunk driving and thinks Skynyrd should be on the new money.  

Wells’ sharp and dynamic script balances the subsequent suspense and hilarity as martial law is declared and military commanders take charge of state and local governments. Berg (Hodge) flees with the new regime's top secret enemies list hunted by two DHS agents (DaPonte and Granieri) and lands himself in a police station in the Ozarks town of Lodus where the local police chief (Cairns), administrative officer (Kelly) and a fellow prisoner (Distefano) thwart his efforts to prevent the impending doom.

Director Joe Canuso assembled a strong design and production team to bring the small-town prison to life at the The Latvian Society of Philadelphia at 7th and Spring Garden. Set Designer Meghan Jones (A Behanding In Spokane, Hunter Gatherers) converts the performance space into two rooms of the jail with both acts of the production played against different sets trimmed by Lighting Design by Maria Shaplin, the Sound Design of Michael Kiley (A Behanding In Spokane, The Aliens, Glengarry Glen Ross, That Pretty Pretty, Killer Joe, Red Light Winter), the Costume Design of Katherine Fritz and Fight Choreographer Michael Cosenza (A Behanding In Spokane).


Cast and Crew

Theatre Exile continues their legacy of bringing Philadelphia its first taste of the world’s most exciting and adventurous playwrights. They have introduced Philly to Tracy Letts, Rajiv Joseph, Noah Haidle, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Annie Baker and many other nationally acclaimed playwrights. Now, Exile will be the first company in Philadelphia to bring you The North Plan from the mind of Jason Wells, an actor and playwright making a name for himself after several successful productions. Wells’ first play, Men of Tortuga, debuted at Steppenwolf Theatre’s First Look Repertory of New Work and went on to acclaimed productions at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, Profiles Theatre, Apollinaire Theatre Company, Furious Theatre Company, Purple Heart Theatre and Street Corner Arts. His second play, Perfect Mendacity, was a finalist for the American Theatre Critics Association’s Steinberg/New Play Award. The North Plan debuted at Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory of New Works, premiered at Portland Center Stage and was subsequently produced at Theater Wit.

Madi Distefano is the Founding Artistic Director of Brat Productions where her original one-woman show, Popsicle's Departure, 1989, won Best Solo Show at the Edinburgh Festival and a Fringe First for new writing. Madi holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Temple University, where she is an adjunct professor.

Dan Hodge is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Artists Collective where he most recently starred as Adolf in Creditors during the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Previously with Theatre Exile,  he received a Barrymore Award for Best Ensemble in a Play for Glengarry Glen Ross. Dan holds an MFA in Acting from the Old Globe Theatre and his BFA in Acting from the University of Evansville.

Robert DaPonte will make his fifth appearance with Theatre Exile, having previously performed in Mr. Marmalade (Barrymore Nomination for Best Ensemble), dark play or stories for boys,  American Buffalo, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Robert has also performed with the Wilma Theater, Flashpoint, EgoPo Classic Theater, Philadelphia Young Playwrights and multiple productions in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Robert studied acting at Bradford College and The National Theater Institute at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

Aimé Kelly is a graduate of The University of the Arts where she obtained her BFA in Acting. Recent credits include: 1812’s This Is The Week That Is, Macbeth with Epic Theatre Ensemble, Dividing the Estate at Peoples Light &Theater, Run Mourner Run at Flashpoint Theater Company and Othello with Epic Theatre Ensemble. Aimé is a senior Teaching Artist with Philadelphia Young Playwrights and will premiere her play Planta me en la Tierra with Flashpoint Theater Company this June.

Carl Granieri is pleased as punch to be making his Exile debut in The North Plan.  Last season he appeared in Mauckingbird’s The Temperamentals (Dale)Tiny Dynamite's The Country (Richard) and Simpatico’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Gordon); off-stage he worked as assistant director on PTC’s Outgoing Tide As an actor, Carl has also worked with Act II, Amaryllis, BCKSEET, Philadelphia Dramatists,Madhouse, and the Cardboard Box Collaborative.  He holds an MFA in Acting from Temple University, where he appeared in the inaugural seasons of Temple Rep, and worked behind the scenes as the dramaturg for Shepard’s Buried Child.  He also holds an MA in dramaturgy from Villanova University, where he was honored as an acting scholar, Irene Ryan nominee, and Brian Morgan Award winner.  His work on Beautiful Confusion’s production of Necropolis was named among the ten-best of the international Prague Fringe festival.  Carl is a Consultant for New Play Development with the Arden Theatre and teaches acting, theatre history, and rhetoric at Temple and Rowan Universities.

Mark Cairns recently appeared in EgoPo’s Diary of Anne Frank, Luna’s How to Disappear and in The Lantern’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  He has also appeared in the the Wilma Theater’s Macbeth where he also performed in Leaving (Albin), and Rock’N’Roll (Milan). Other credits include Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival’s Romeo and Juliet and Pericles, Plays & Players’ Oleanna and Flashpoint’s Faculty Room.

Director Joe Canuso is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Theatre Exile. Canuso has directed numerous Theatre Exile productions including That Pretty Pretty, or The Rape Play, Mr. Marmalade, Red Light Winter, Full Figured/Loves to Dance, The Philly Fan, Last Call, The Gin Game, Cryptome, Burkie, Amputation Nation, Big Blonde, Live at the Apollo Diner, The Frankenharry Plays, Belmont Avenue Social Club and most recently A Behanding in Spokane. He was nominated for the Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play for Killer Joe and was part of the Barrymore Award-winning ensemble of Glengarry Glen Ross. In 2009, he was named Best Director by Philadelphia Weekly for Exile’s Blackbird. Mr. Canuso has performed in several Theatre Exile productions including the dreamer examines his pillow, Parking, Rocketman, Princess Ivona, Bug, American Buffalo, the world premiere of Any Given Monday by Bruce Graham and most recently in the Philadelphia premiere of Saturn Returns by Noah Haidle.

Cast, director and designers are available for phone or email interviews;
please contact Max Vasapoli at 215.218.4022 to schedule.


The North Plan by Jason Wells  
Directed by Joe Canuso

The North Plan looks at the dangerously real scenario of DHS agents arresting federal officials with incriminating information. This sharp political comedy takes you on a thrill ride to a small town jail in The Ozarks, where nation’s future lies in the hands of a federal bureaucrat, a local sheriff an a foul mouthed redneck heroine.

The Latvian Society of Philadelphia         
531 North 7th Street (7th and Spring Garden Sts.)
Philadelphia, PA 19123

February 13 – March 3, 2013
Preview performances: February 13 – February 15
Opening night: 8pm Saturday, February 16, 2013                 

$10 - $37 depending on the performance chosen
Group discounts available for 10+
Student Rush tickets at the door only an hour before curtain for $10, pending availability

Madi Distefano – Tanya Shepke                   Robert DaPonte – Bob Lee
Carl Granieri – Dale Pittman                         Dan Hodge – Carlton Berg
Aimé Kelly – Shonda Cox                           Mark Cairns – Chief Swenson

Joe Canuso – Director    Katherine Fritz – Costume Designer        Michael Kiley – Sound Designer
Meghan Jones– Set Designer       Maria Shaplin – Lighting Designer             Michael Cosenza – Fight Choreographer


Wed Feb 13 at 8pm              Tue Feb 19 at 8pm                Mon Feb 25 at 8pm
Thu Feb 14 at 7pm               Wed Feb 20 at 8pm              Wed Feb 27 at 8pm         
Fri Feb 15 at 8pm                  Thu Feb 21 at 7pm               Thu Feb 28 at 7pm
Sat Feb 16 at 8pm                  Fri Feb 22 at 8pm                  Fri Mar 1 at 8pm
Sun Feb 17 at 3pm                Sat Feb 23 at 8pm                Sat Mar 2 at 3 & 8pm      
                                               Sun Feb 24 at 3pm                Sun Mar 3 at 3pm                                                                                                                  


Reviewing members of the press are invited to all opening nights and may reserve tickets through
Max Vasapoli at


Theatre Exile’s 2012/2013 season includes:

The Edge of Our Bodies by Adam Rap – September 6 – September 30, 2012
The English Bride by Lucile Lichtblau – November 8 – December 2, 2012
The North Plan by Jason Wells – February 13 – March 3, 2013
North of The Boulevard by Bruce Graham – April 18 – May 19

The North Plan previews begin on Wednesday, February 13 and run through Friday, February 15. Opening night is set for 8pm on Saturday, February 16 at 8pm. Closing is set for Sunday, March 3 at 3pm.

Single ticket prices are $10-$37, with discounts available for seniors, students, neighbors and industry professionals. Groups of 10+ enjoy significant discounts; please call to inquire about group rates. Call the Theatre Exile Box Office at 215.218.4022, order online at, or visit the box office at 1340 South 13th Street in South Philadelphia (13th & Reed).

 2 Show X-Pass subscriptions for the 2012/13 season are still available. Subscribers enjoy significant savings on tickets, early seating and a liberal ticket exchange policy. Call Theatre Exile’s Box Office at 215.218.4022, order online at or visit the box office

Theatre Exile is a nonprofit theater company dedicated to enhancing the cultural experiences of all Philadelphians through the staging of works that engage the imagination. We produce risky and challenging plays that contain a sense of true Philadelphia grit and passion. We are constantly striving to reach out to new theater audiences throughout the community by presenting both new works as well as established plays that are often reinterpreted in original ways and/or held in unique site-specific locations. We believe in freedom of expression formulated through innovation, exploration and provocation. At the same time, we provide a safe and creative environment in which local artists can grow and experiment and ultimately, find their own voice.

Theatre Exile has proven to be a place where local artists can take their biggest risks. Exile matches challenging scripts with Philadelphia’s top talent, continually bringing immediate and dangerous performances to our audiences. Theatre Exile approaches the craft with a no-nonsense, no-holds-barred style of storytelling. The stories that Exile brings to its audiences demand that actors live in a moment of truth, despite the peril and the violence that such honesty demands. Armed with a bare-knuckled acting style, Theatre Exile brings you the voices of today’s most gifted playwrights with cutting-edge scripts that challenge the expectations of a commercial theater.