A major hit of the 1990 off-Broadway season and a successful motion picture starring Russell Crowe, The Sum of Us is about a widowed father, Harry Mitchell, and his 24-year-old gay son, Jeff, and their search for love in working class Melbourne, Australia. Jeff, an amateur footballer and plumber, wants to get a relationship going with Greg, a young public works gardener he met at a local pub. Harry, after fourteen years of mourning his late wife, is ready to take the plunge once again and begins Joyce, a woman he met through a service. It's a story about hopes and dreams, laughter and sadness, but most of all about the power of love. With terrific dialogue and characters you care about, The Sum of Us will "speak to any child who failed to measure up to a parent's expectations and every parent who was obliged to change the yardstick." (New York Times)
The Sum of Us is directed by Robert D. Estrin. The cast includes Michael D. Graham (Match, Appetite Theatre; Love! Valour! Compassion!, Hubris Productions; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are , Piccolo Theatre), Joel Gross (High School Musical, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre; Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Actors Workshop Theatre; Henry IV (part 2), American Theatre of Actors, New York City), Matt Hays (recent graduate of Central Michigan University and two-time Irene Ryan Award nominee for Arms and the Man and An Evening with Hal n' Dave) and Mary May Johnson (Our Town, The Hypocrites; Elton John's Glasses, Appetite Theatre; P.S. Your Cat Is , Stage Two Theatre Company). The production staff includes assistant director Mary May Johnson, scenic designer Daniel Milsk, costume designer Darcy Elora Hofer, lighting designer Kyle Anderson, composer Ted Harris, stage manager Amanda Bobbitt, assistant stage manager Lee Strausberg and dialect coach Eva Breneman. The Sum of Us is produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. Running time is approximately two hours, including one intermission. For director Estrin, The Sum of Us marks a return to directing since retiring from Winnetka's New Trier High School in 2005 as a theatre educator, designer and director. "Even though I was busy doing graphic and scenic design, I missed the creative spark, energy and enthusiasm that happen when you're discovering a play with a cast of talented actors," Estrin explains. "When the opportunity to direct The Sum of Us was presented to me, I accepted without hesitation since I have long been a fan of both the play and the film. This work speaks to me as a father of two grown boys, a son whose relationship with his own father was tumultuous and as a gay man who is fortunate enough to be in a committed relationship. This play is about love and acceptance. It's an honor to direct it."