Austin Shakespeare presents Noel Coward’s classic comedy DESIGN FOR LIVING

· Long Center
· Wednesday, February 6, 2013 to Sunday, February 24, 2013
· Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm. Special low-cost preview Wednesday, February 6 a

Austin Shakespeare is proud to announce their professional (Actors’ Equity) production of Noel Coward’s provocative 1930’s comedy Design for Living, February 6 – 24 at the Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center, 701 West Riverside Drive.  


From one of the world’s most popular wits, the story involved three friends tangled in a complicated, comic, and loving, relationship.  Popular, award-winning actors Martin Burke and Helen Merino team up to compete in romance with Michael Miller (Pride and Prejudice's Mr. Darcy) in the Paris, London and New York of Art Deco period.


“What a trio of lovers for Noel Coward! This play is more timely than ever.  We know we are all in for lots of surprises. We can't wait to see what happens, when we bring such a great script to life.  We know it will have a new life with this wonderful ensemble -- we strive for both authentic passion and stylish comedy, too!” says Ann Ciccollella, Artistic Director of Austin Shakespeare.


To help set the mood of the period, Austin chanteuse and actor Kara Bliss will perform Noel Coward songs live, accompanied by Austin pianist Jason Conner.  Bliss has appeared in numerous Austin productions including Closer at Zachary Scott Theatre, The Music Man and Austin Shakespeare’s 1960’s rock musical style Shakespeare: Dream. Conner is also a familiar face in the Austin music scene having accompanied in numerous productions also at Zachary Scott Theatre among other Austin music venues. 


Design for Living was written by Coward in 1932 and concerns a trio of artistic characters, Gilda, Otto and Leo, confronting their complicated relationship. The play was premiered on Broadway in 1933, yet not performed in Coward’s home city of London until 1939, where it was censored, thought to have risqué content. The play was adapted into a film in 1933 starring Fredic March, Gary Cooper and Miriam Hopkins.

Lead actor Helen Merino (Gilda) returns to Austin from New York and is a familiar face to Austin audiences. Austin credits include Hamlet in Austin Shakespeare’s Hamlet both at the Rollins Theater (2011) & Zilker Park (2001). Helen also created the role of “Liberty” in Austin Shakespeare’s new adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Anthem.

Co-star Marin Burke (Leo) has been delighting audiences at ZACH for more than ten years with shows such as The Santaland Diaries, Fully Committed and The Mystery of Irma Vep.  Michael Miller (Otto) in addition to recently playing Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice for Austin Shakespeare, also played Tybalt in Austin Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Richard III in Wars of the Roses. The cast also includes Michael Dalmon, Sarah Cormier, Kathy Lagaza and Ben McLemore.


For more information and to purchase tickets visit or call (512) 474-5664.