The Oldest Boy


by Sarah Ruhl
directed by Sarah Rasmussen
featuring Christina Baldwin, Tsering Dorjee Bawa,
Eric "Pogi" Sumangil, Masanari Kawahara, 
Randy Reyes, and Yeshi Samdup

Tuesday – Thursday 7:30pm
Friday – Saturday 8:00pm
Sunday 2:00pm & 7:30pm

Buy your tickets!

Preview performances - General Admission, $15
Wednesday, November 2, at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Buy preview tickets

The Oldest Boy runs approximately two hours,
including one 15-minute intermission.

A moving and delightful exploration of love and letting go by one of today's most celebrated playwrights.

The story centers around an American mother whose young son is believed to be the reincarnation of a high Buddhist Lama. When Tibetan monks arrive unexpectedly, asking to bring her child to India for a life of spiritual training in India, she and her Tibetan husband must make a life-altering choice that will test their faith and their hearts.

An emotional tsunami, 
an extraordinary story from a
singular voice in American theater”

— The Hollywood Reporter

Photos by Dan Norman, 2016 |


Visit our #JUNGLEREADS page to see the curated book list for The Oldest Boy! We have six wonderful books to round off our 2016 Season of reading with our friends at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Sarah Rasmussen, Director

Sarah Rasmussen currently serves as the Artistic Director at the Jungle Theater; there, she has directed In the Next Room, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Oldest Boy. Other directing credits include shows at the Guthrie, Dallas Theater Center, Actors Theater of Louisville, Humana Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Marin Theater Company, Women’s Project Theater, Zach Theater, Hangar Theater, Ten Thousand Things, and Mixed Blood. Rasmussen is a Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and SoHo Rep Lab alum, and served as Resident Director for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab, a new work development program. Rasmussen is the former head of M.F.A. Directing at U.T. Austin. She is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award, Austin Critic’s Circle Best Director, two Ivey Awards for Overall Excellence, Drama League and Fulbright fellowships. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and a B.A. from St. Olaf College.

Sarah Ruhl, Playwright

Sarah Ruhl’s plays include Stage Kiss, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee for best new play), The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, (Pen American award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes award); Melancholy Play (a musical with Todd Almond); Eurydice; Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP nomination), Late: a cowboy song, Three Sisters, Dear Elizabeth, and most recently, The Oldest Boy and For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, off-Broadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, with premieres often at Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. Her plays have also been produced internationally and translated into over twelve languages. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. An alum of 13P and of New Dramatists, she won a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2006. She was the recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright, the Whiting Writers award, the Feminist Press’ 40 Under 40 award, and a Lilly Award. She proudly served on the executive council of the Dramatist’s Guild for three years, and she is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama. Her book of essays on the theater and motherhood, 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Sonya Berlovitz, Costume Designer

Sonya Berlovitz designed costumes for over 50 productions at Theatre de la Jeune Lune between 1980-2008 including Carmen, Medea, Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Magic Flute, The Miser, Hamlet, Don Juan Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, and Maria de Buenos Aires. Productions elsewhere have included The Moving Company, South Coast Repertory, Playmakers Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, the Guthrie Theater, American Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ten Thousand Things Theater Company, Theatre Latté Da, Arena Dances, TU Dance, Zenon Dance Company, and Minnesota Dance Theatre. She is a graduate of La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and The School of the Art Insitute of Chicago. Ms. Berlovitz has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including The Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Best Costume Design award (The Green Bird 2000), Bay Area Theatre Award (Tartuffe 2016), Minnesota State Arts Board Initiative Grant (2005 and 2013), and a McKnight Theatre Artists Fellowship (1999 and 2016). In 2011, she was a recipient of a Sage Award for Outstanding Design in Dance. In 2015 she was selected for participation in Costume at the Turn of the Century 1990 – 2015 held at the Bakrushin Museum (Moscow, Russia).

Sean Healey, Sound Designer

Recent credits include Le Switch, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Annapurna, Gertrude Stein and a Companion, On Golden Pond, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and The Heiress, (Jungle Theater); Choirboy, Vanya And Sonya And Masha And Spike (Guthrie Theater); Seedfolks, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, The Wizard of Oz, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, The Cat in the Hat, and Cinderella (Children’s Theatre Company); The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Learning Fairy, Something Is Nothing, Strumply Peter, The Clumsy Man, Milly and Tillie, Refreshments, Dummy, and To the Moon (Open Eye Figure Theatre); “C.”, Steerage Song, Aida, Song of Extinction (Theatre Latté Da). Mr. Healey is the recipient of an Ivey Award for his work on The Jungle Theater’s production of Shipwrecked! and holds a B.F.A. from The California Institute of the Arts.

Mina Kinukawa, Scenic Designer

Mina’s work as a scenic designer has been seen with Mu Performing Arts, Stages Theatre, SteppingStone Theatre, and Pangea World Theater. She has also worked with East West Players, Echo Theater Company, Company of Angels in Los Angeles, Northwest Children’s Theater, and Profile Theatre in Portland, Oregon. She is exited to be part of such a fantastic creative team at the Jungle.

Karin Olson, Lighting Designer

Karin Olson has been lighting the Twin Cities in venues of all scale, such as the Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center, and the Southern Theater. She has worked with loads of great theater companies including Mixed Blood, Frank Theatre, Theatre Mu, and with dance companies Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Threads Dance and TU Dance. She has also designed regionally for Syracuse Stage and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her favorite recent designs include TU Dance’s Footprints at The O’Shaughnessy, Threads Dance’s Warriors of the Light at the Cowles Center, and Mu Performing Art’s You For Me For You at the Guthrie. Upcoming designs include SPDT’s Matinee, West Side Story at Ordway, and Fuente Ovejuna at Trinity Rep. More info at

Katherine Pardue, Assistant Director

Katherine Pardue is a director and theater educator and Artistic Associate at the Jungle. Most recent directing credits include: Girls In White Dresses (Phoenix Theater), Agokwe (New Native Theater), and Dandelions (Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College). As assistant director: The Two Gentleman of Verona (Jungle Theater). Katherine and playwright Cristina Florencia Castro received a 2016 residency at New Works Lab Stratford to develop How the Colds Were Razed (As Told by Gorilla Girl). Katherine was a core artistic staff member and Associate Education Director at New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College from 2010-2016. She has worked extensively in devised theater and new work development with directors Tomi Tsunoda, Maureen Towey, Roger Copeland, and Emily Mendelsohn. Training: Brooklyn Soundpainting Company and Siti Company, B.A.: Oberlin College.

John Novak, Stage Manager, Properties

John has worked at the Jungle since 1997. He enjoys the roles of Season Stage Manager, Prop Manager, and Sound and Lighting Operator for four shows every season. Prior to working at the Jungle, he was a stage manager and assistant director for regional opera companies in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Dallas, Boston, Tulsa, and Pittsburgh. He has also worked as a technician at many Twin Cities venues.

"A fluid production of a smart and funny new play.” — Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press

"Director Sarah Rasmussen's elegantly evocative production invites us into different ways of seeing ourselves and our world.” — Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

"The Oldest Boy is a strong and satisfying conclusion to Rasmussen’s first full season as the Jungle’s artistic director.” — Pamela Espeland, MinnPost

"...a meditation on love, loss, faith, community, and the power of tradition.” — Jay Gabler, City Pages

"The Oldest Boy...delves into themes and problems that have no easy answers, and plays with the audience’s sense of what happens.” — Basil Considine, Twin Cities Arts Reader

"The Oldest Boy is a sweet, funny, poignant play about understanding other cultures and oneself.” — Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spooon

"...the play and production offer a bounty of riches, opening a window into Tibetan culture...” — Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

"The Jungle Theater is quickly becoming a place where I feel like I can’t (and don’t want to) miss a single show. It’s been a while. Thanks for that.” — Matthew Everett, Single White Fringe Geek

"Good art instructs and entertains. It speaks volumes that every production I have seen from Sarah Rasmussen finds the crux of the story, builds characters, and invites reflection from the theatergoer. The Oldest Boy excels in all aspects, so I recommend it wholeheartedly.” — Adam Schenck, Southside Pride

"...a wonderful production of a terrific, thoughtful show that challenges us to consider the cultural context of the lives around us in a deep way... I can't imagine a better production.” — Carly, Minnesota Theater Love

"The Oldest Boy is an uncommon work, one that captures the textures that we assign to our various perceptions of the eternal.” — Quinton Skinner, Minnesota Monthly

"The Oldest Boy is heartfelt and thoughtful. There's so much depth, it offers something for everyone and will touch every person differently.” — Tracy Jo Blowers, What Stirs Your Soul?

"The Oldest Boy is simply stunningly original... [I am] so grateful for Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen for choosing to produce [Sarah Ruhl's] plays; three cheers for doing more original pieces and supporting more women in theater in all positions.” — Becki Iverson, Compendium

"The visual beauty and balance of the play was able to carry the beauty and balance of the story itself, culminating in an ending that sent shivers up my spine.” — Laura Kulm, Twin Cities Stages

"[The Oldest Boy] captures a certain mystery about children – how they seem to know things that they seem too young to have learned – and plays with the idea that maybe there’s a more spiritual reason for this.” — Gina Musto, The Room Where It Happens

"The Oldest a delightful little production that reminds us, love — especially love within a family — runs deep.” — Aly Hutcherson, Say Entirely

YOUR NAME HERE: Tell us what you think of the show! Email us at, comment on our Facebook, Tweet us @JungleTheater, and follow us on Instagram @jungle_theater.

Janet: What an extraordinary show! So beautiful.

Jean: We like the way you are stretching the dialogue in theater and exploring new works and ideas.

Kathleen: Powerful!!! So little "plot" and so much emotion; thanks.

Kathryn:, thought provoking, impeccably acted and most creative. I loved it. What a fabulous theater.

Naomi: A fabulous production - marvelous subject and tone to start the holidays. Thank you.

Dave: The Oldest Boy sure brought in more of the community this season than before... Looking forward to another season of designated date nites and conversations that are keeping our life alive with after play conversations too.

Gary: We enjoyed this movnign play very much. We continue to be great fans of the Jungle.

Marc: A wonderful production! We all loved it. The story was so tender, so thoughtful and so funny...

Charles: The superb script is funny and moving, quietly teaching things about Tibetan Buddhism we didn't know. Your staging of it is delightful, with oustanding acting, sets, and costumes. Congratulations to the whole company.

John and Barbara: This is a memorable show... We agreed it was a remarkable experience and enjoyed it very much.

Kim: I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and made a point of recommending the show to several friends.

Greg and Marcia: The story was riveting and teh casting, including the puppetry, was amazing.

Rebecca: We LOVED the play! Fascinating story and wonderful acting. You folks are terrific!

Colleen: The child, played by a puppet under the masterful execution by Masanari Kawahara, was not only not strange, it was beautiful!... [The play] is not traditional holiday fare, but it really did feel like a treat and a gift.

Sondra: Thank you for a peak expereince. Sacred, and beautiful. I bow to the writer, players and director. Another Jungle 10.

Eric: Christina Baldwin is usually excellent, but I thought she outdid herself in this role. Pogi Sumangil was hysterical. Awesome cap to a fabulous season.

Marion: It was extraordinary, and I wouldn't have missed it. Thank you.









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Christina Baldwin (Mother)

Christina Baldwin is an actor and singer engaging audiences both onstage and in the concert setting. She is an advocate of new work and serves as Artistic Associate, Music Director and performer with The Moving Company. Christina’s frequent Guthrie Theater collaborations range from multiple Shakespeare works and contemporary plays, to musical theater and operetta (PBS national broadcast of HMS Pinafore). A collaborator with Theatre de la Jeune Lune for nearly 10 years, she co-adapted and performed the title role in their critically-acclaimed touring production of Carmen. She has been a soloist and recording artist with the Minnesota Orchestra. Christina has appeared with other companies such as The Jungle Theater, Park Square Theater, Great American History Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, American Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Ex Machina Baroque Opera Ensemble, Nautilus Music-Theater, Skylark Opera, Minnesota Opera, The Schubert Club, Vocal Essence, and the Astoria Music Festival. Christina wrote and performed opera outreach programs for the young, appeared on the public radio show Wits, performed on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and lent her voice to animated short films by the Dutch filmmaker Rosto A.D (Cannes Film Festival award-winner). Christina is a co-creator and performer with “The Obligation,” an improv/music/comedy creation with John Moe, Mike Fotis, and Janey Winterbauer. Christina appears next in The Moving Company’s re-mount of Liberty Falls, 54321 at the Lab Theater.

Tsering Dorjee Bawa (A Monk, production's Cultural Consultant)

Tsering Dorjee Bawa has studied and performed Tibetan performing arts for nearly three decades. He has a Masters in Tibetan performing arts from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), Dharamsala, India, and a Certificate in acting from Barbizon International School of Acting and Modeling, San Francisco, USA. He has worked in several notable films including the 1999’s Oscar nominee movie Himalaya. Tsering Dorjee collaborated with many notable composers such as Michael Becker, with whom he created the original soundtrack for the 2009 Emmy Award-winning documentary The Woman of Tibet - A Quiet Revolution. Especially during his stay at TIPA, Tsering had the privilege of learning arts from some of the legendary Tibetan artists of our time and had toured many parts of the world to perform Tibetan arts. Tsering appeared in the off-Broadway show The Oldest Boy by Sarah Ruhl at the Lincoln Center Theater. He was nominated twice for the same play: for the 2016 TBA Awards as an Outstanding Choreography at Marin Theater Company, California, and as an Outstanding Featured Performance in Play (Male) at the 2015 Craig Noel Awards for his performance with the San Diego Repertory Theatre. Tsering Dorjee’s upcoming work is an independently produced feature film, My Son Tenzin by Seykhar Films in which he will play the lead. Tsering is also a regular guest on all the major Tibetan TV, radio, social media, and other platforms to talk and comment about Tibetan arts and culture. For more information about Tsering Dorjee and his work, please visit

Eric "Pogi" Sumangil (A Lama)

Eric “Pogi” Sumangil has been one of the most often-mispronounced names in the Twin Cities theater community for the past 16 years. Thrilled to be making his Jungle Theater debut, he recently appeared as John Jones in the Twin Cities premiere of The Realistic Joneses at Park Square Theatre. Other regional credits include tot: The Untold yet Spectacular Story of (a Filipino) Hulk Hogan, and Twelfth Night (Mu Performing Arts); The Seven, and Salsalandia! (La Jolla Playhouse); Cowboy Versus Samurai (Mo’olelo Performing Arts); Disney’s Mulan, and The Monkey King (Children’s Theatre Company); Pride and Prejudice (Guthrie Theater); Anything Goes (Ordway Center); West Side Story, HAIR, and Altar Boyz (Chanhassen Dinner Theatre); The Pajama Game and Bill of (W)Rights (Mixed Blood Theatre). As a playwright, he co-founded The Unit Collective, a collective of playwrights from underrepresented communities. His plays have received staged readings in Minneapolis and New York City, and his play The Debutante’s Ball premiered at History Theatre in 2015. Upcoming projects include Flower Drum Song and Macbeth, both at Park Square Theatre. A native Minneapolitan, he is a proud member of AEA, a two-time recipient of the Playwrights’ Center’s Many Voices Fellowship, a recipient of the Fil-Minnesotan Association Excellence in the Arts Award, and he once got his name on a plaque for eating a three-pound steak. For more information:, @WilyFilipino.

Masanari Kawahara (The Oldest Boy, production's Puppet Designer and Creator)

Masanari Kawahara is a performer, puppeteer, puppet and mask maker, painter, educator, and Butoh practitioner. His latest work as a performer/writer/designer was the solo performance piece Little Boy, commissioned and developed by Pangea World Theater’s Alternate Vision series, performed in fall 2014 at Pillsbury House Theatre. Masanari is currently a resident teaching artist at Pillsbury House Theatre and teaching artist for Upstream Arts. He is also an associate artist with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, most recently collaborating and performing in the shows Queen (2016) and The Story of Crow Boy (2016). He is a member of the Butoh group Nenkin Butoh Dan, which received a 2015 Sage Award for outstanding dance ensemble for Fu.Ku.Shi.Ma. Masanari Kawahara is a Playwrights’ Center McKnight Theater Artist Fellow (2010-2011).

Randy Reyes (Father)

Randy is very happy to be making his Jungle debut after 11 years in the Twin Cities. He keeps busy acting, directing, and teaching, while serving as the Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts. Randy has worked at the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Ten Thousand Things, Pillsbury House, Park Square, History Theatre, University of MN, St. Olaf, Macalester, University of Utah, NYU, and other great institutions. Randy represents Mu as a member of the Twin Cities Theatres of Color Coalition (with Penumbra Theatre, Pangea World Theatre, Teatro Del Pueblo and New Native Theater), the Board President of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA), and on the board of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL). He trained at the University of Utah, where he received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award, and The Juilliard School. Randy is deeply indebted to the love and support of his wife, family, and Tilly.

Yeshi Samdup (Musician, Dancer, Monk)

Yeshi Samdup began his training in traditional and contemporary Tibetan dance, music, and opera as a young boy at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in Dharamsala, India. TIPA was founded by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama in 1959 after he was exiled to India, to preserve Tibetan artistic heritage, especially opera, traditional dance, and music. During the course of 18 years with TIPA, Yeshi trained intensively and performed Tibetan traditional dance and opera in all the Tibetan communities throughout India multiple times. TIPA also performed in Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand and many Asian countries including Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Bhutan. He is particularly well known for his Herdsman of Yak in the traditional Yak Dance. He worked full-time with TIPA until he moved to the United States in 2014. He was a lead performer in KIPO! by Tenzin Ngawang, directed by Markell Kiefer and Tyson Forbes at TigerLion Arts.