Magical ‘Almost Holy Picture’ to top off season at Everyman Theatre

Heather McDonald's Pulitzer Prize–nominated play explores the depths of a father's love for his child.

Heather McDonald’s magical play An Almost Holy Picture will be the final show in Everyman Theatre’s ambitious and nontraditional 2020–2021 season, announced Founder and Artistic Director Vincent M. Lancisi and Managing Director Marissa LaRose.

A Pulitzer Prize–nominated play, An Almost Holy Picture is a sometimes poignant, sometimes comedic journey of faith, devotion, and redemption. It premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in 1995 featuring venerable actor David Morse and went on to be a hot regional theater staple throughout the country. In February 2002, it appeared on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre starring Kevin Bacon.

At Everyman, this one-man tour de force will feature Resident Company member Bruce Randolph Nelson as Samuel Gentle. Directed by Everyman Associate Artistic Director Noah Himmelstein, An Almost Holy Picture will be available to stream July 12 through August 22, 2021.

Nelson, a theatrical treasure in Baltimore, bears it all in this transcendent play. As a member of the Resident Company, he’s known for his work in such plays as Dancing at Lughnasa, The Book of Joseph, M. Butterfly, Noises Off, Great Expectations, Death of a Salesman, A Streetcar Named Desire, I Am My Own Wife, plus dozens more, and in such notable roles as artist Mark Rothko in Red, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, and most recently as celebrated sleuth Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s thriller, Murder on the Orient Express. 

Said Himmelstein: “It was exhilarating to collaborate with playwright Heather McDonald and Bruce Randolph Nelson on this remarkable play, exploring the depths of one father’s love for his child, particularly after a year where we’re reminded not to ever take our family for granted. The breathtaking work of this entire team in conjunction with Bruce’s amazing performance takes us from his garden to Cape Cod to the Ceboletta Mountains of New Mexico and through many years, in the way we can only do in the theater. The play is also a love letter to parents everywhere, doing the best they can with an impossible task, and a father’s devotion to raising and protecting his child from the dangers of the world. This really felt like a great metaphor for caring for a disabled child or a sick kid. Heather took something challenging and made it kind of magical, but the journey of acceptance is the same as any of those or any number of other mountains a parent must climb.”

Bruce Randolph Nelson as Samuel Gentle in ‘An Almost Holy Picture.’ Photo courtesy of Everyman Theatre.

An Almost Holy Picture opens in the garden of the Church of the Holy Comforter with former pastor now groundskeeper Samuel Gentile (Nelson) recounting the story of his life and raising his daughter because he has committed an egregious mistake as a parent and now risks losing his daughter and wife forever. As he wrestles with his choices in raising a gifted child, he struggles with the hard but necessary road to redemption and reconciliation. Ultimately, he realizes what he must do to fix things and get his family back in this nuanced and relatable play.

Baltimore resident Heather McDonald is an American playwright, director, librettist, and professor. She has published nine plays, two screenplays, and a libretto, and her work has been seen all over the world. Additionally, she has been a featured artist at the Sundance Institute on two occasions, and has been a regular teacher at the Kennedy Center Intensive in DC. McDonald is also a full-time professor at George Mason University, teaching courses in playwriting, advance playwriting, and screenplay writing. She pioneered the Ten-Minute Play Festival, where students produce, direct, and act in 10-minute plays written by other students.

In addition to McDonald and Himmelstein, the creative team for An Almost Holy Picture includes set design by Paige Hathaway, lighting design by Harold Burgess, sound design by Megumi Katayama, and costume designs by David Burdick. Cat Wallis serves as Stage Manager.

Video on Demand (VOD) tickets for An Almost Holy Picture are on sale now at $30 per household, allowing for an unlimited number of viewers at home, July 12 through August 22, 2021. Subscriptions for the newly announced 2021–2022 season at Everyman Theatre start at $123 and are also available by visiting or calling 410.752.2208. Box office hours are Monday to Friday from 9 am until 6 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am until 5 pm.

Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Paige Hernandez, continues to stream through July 11, 2021.

Everyman Theater is a professional Equity theater company celebrating the actor, with a Resident Company of Artists from the Baltimore/DC area. Founded in 1990 by Vincent M. Lancisi, the theater is dedicated to engaging the audience through a shared experience between actor and audience seeking connection and emotional truth in performance. Everyman is committed to presenting high-quality plays that are affordable and accessible to everyone. The theater strives to engage, inspire, and transform artists, audiences, and communities through theater of the highest artistic standards and is committed to embodying the promise of its name, Everyman Theatre. Everyman Theatre is a proud member of the Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District, the Market Center Merchants Association, and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. Lancisi partners with Managing Director, Marissa LaRose in leading the organization.

Everyman Theatre stands in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and AAPI communities and is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive atmosphere at every level of our organization. To learn more, visit our website at


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