Debra Jo Rupp will star in the Echo Theater Company world premiere of The Cake.
Debra Jo Rupp will star in the Echo Theater Company world premiere of The Cake.
(© David Gordon)

Debra Jo Rupp (That '70s Show) will lead the world-premiere cast of The Cake, a new play by Bekah Brunstetter (NBC's This Is Us), which continues Echo Theater Company's 20th anniversary season. Jennifer Chambers directs the production, set to run at Atwater Village Theatre from July 1-August 6.

Rupp stars as Della, a baker who makes cakes, not judgment calls — those she leaves to her husband (Joe Hart, Bonnie and Clyde). But when Jen, the girl Della helped raise (Shannon Lucio, American Horror Story), comes back home to North Carolina to get married and the fiancé turns out to be another fiancée (Carolyn Ratteray), Della's life gets turned upside down. She can't really make a cake for such a wedding, can she? For the first time in her life, Della has to think for herself. The cast also includes the voice of Morrison Keddie as the host of the Great American Baking Show.

"This play is my attempt to humanize conservative values," says Brunstetter, who hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "I feel there's a lack of empathy, especially in our liberal pocket, a sense of dismissiveness towards people we don't agree with. There are people in my life who have these values, who I love, who I am always trying to understand."

The creative team includes set designer Pete Hickok, lighting designer Pablo Santiago, sound designer Jeff Gardner, costume designer Elena Flores, and photographer Darrett Sanders.

Following its world premiere at the Echo, The Cake is scheduled to open at Playmakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in September; Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, South Carolina in December; La Jolla Playhouse in February 2018; and Houston's Alley Theatre in June 2018.