Category Archives: Events

LET’S GO–DRUIDSHAKESPEARE: RICHARD III, DIRECTED BY GARRY HYNES (ONLY UNTIL 11/23) ·

The darker side of human nature is on display in DruidShakespeare: Richard III, a chilling story of power and ambition in a wickedly comic production from Ireland’s Druid theater company and director Garry Hynes, opening on November 9. The production stars Aaron Monaghan, who appeared as Estragon in Druid’s acclaimed Waiting for Godot in the 2018 White Light Festival.

In Richard III, Shakespeare depicts one of the world’s greatest villains in a chilling and darkly comic story of power and ambition. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, portrayed by Aaron Monaghan, sets about bending the world to his own desires, vanquishing his better angels in pursuit of the crown. The Bard’s ruthless monarch resonates through the ages in this award-winning production from Ireland’s Druid theater company and Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes. A continuation of the company’s exploration of Shakespeare’s kings, the production reunites the creative team and members of the Druid ensemble behind the celebrated DruidShakespeare: Richard II, Henry IV (Pts. 1 & 2) and Henry V, which played Lincoln Center in 2015. Druid’s acclaimed run of Waiting for Godot, also directed by Hynes and starring Monaghan as Estragon, was featured in the 2018 White Light Festival.

White Light Festival: As in prior years, the 2019 White Light Festival will offer opportunities for audiences to delve further into the themes of the festival with pre- and post-performance artist talks, as well as a special panel discussion moderated by John Schaefer. White Light Lounges follow many performances: these receptions are exclusive to White Light Festival ticketholders and provide opportunities to mingle with artists and fellow audience members while enjoying a complimentary glass of wine or sparkling water.

Tickets for the 2019 White Light Festival/Richard III are available online at WhiteLightFestival.org, by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or at the David Geffen or Alice Tully Hall Box Office (Broadway and 65th Street).

The White Light Festival is one of many programs offered by Lincoln Center that annually activates the campus’s indoor and outdoor spaces across a wide range of the performing arts. Additional presentations include the Mostly Mozart Festival, Great Performers, American Songbook, Midsummer Night Swing, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, ongoing free performances at the David Rubenstein Atrium, and Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts that reach beyond the iconic campus. Lincoln Center also presents a myriad of education programs and presentations for families throughout the year.

DruidShakespeare:Richard III (U.S. production premiere)

Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm (preview performance)

Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7:00 pm (preview performance)

Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Friday, November 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 2:00 and 7:00 pm

Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Friday, November 22, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College

 

Directed by Garry Hynes

Produced by Druid

Starring Aaron Monaghan as Richard III

Francis O’Connor, set and costume design

James F. Ingalls, lighting design

Gregory Clarke, sound design

Conor Linehan, music             

David Bolger, movement and fight choreography

Doreen McKenna, co-costume design

Performance length: Three hours, including intermission

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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community engagement, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of thousands of free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers a variety of festivals and programs, including American Songbook, Avery Fisher Career Grants and Artist Program, David Rubenstein Atrium programming, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Awards, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Vera List Art Project, LC Kids, Midsummer Night Swing, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, the Emmy Award-winningLive From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS, and Lincoln Center Education, which is celebrating more than four decades enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Film at Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, School of American Ballet, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. 

Lincoln Center is committed to providing and improving accessibility for people with disabilities. For information, contact Accessibility at Lincoln Center at access@lincolncenter.org or 212.875.5375. 

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The White Light Festival 2019 is made possible by The Shubert Foundation, The Katzenberger Foundation, Inc., Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, The Joelson Foundation, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, J.C.C. Fund, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Great Performers Circle, Chairman’s Council and Friends of Lincoln Center.

Endowment support is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Blavatnik Family Foundation Fund for Dance.

Public support is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature

NewYork-Presbyterian is the Official Hospital of Lincoln Center

Photo: RICHARD III/Druid–Siobhán Cullen-Aaron Monaghan, credit: Robbie Jack

Press:  Michelle Tabnick

TANIA FISHER INTERVIEW BY LORI BEEDSLER ·

Interview with Tania Fisher, Author of Children’s Book, “Grandma’s Garden”

By Lori Beedsler

 

Briefly, what’s the book about?

To a grown up all that happens in this book is that a child takes a five minute walk in Grandma’s backyard, but you know, I wrote this for children not for grown-ups, and to the child taking that walk, they see it as a special secret adventure.  It’s theirs and they own it.  It’s private; dad has to stay behind inside and drink his tea and it’s just the child and grandma.  The child points out the same items; the broken pot, the bucket with the worms, and loves hearing Grandma tell them where they got it or how it came to be there and hearing her tell those stories over and over again.

Is this story taken from your own personal experiences?

Kind of.  Actually this story has been on my mind for over a decade, maybe longer.  It stemmed from my own relationship with my paternal grandmother.  She was about 60 when she immigrated from Italy to Australia and didn’t really speak any English.  She was about 80 by the time I was seven, so we didn’t do much together really, except that I remember sitting outside with her staring into the garden.  There was a language barrier, so we used to just sit there very quietly together.  It was kind of unusual but really awesome, it was almost like meditation.  I knew a few words in Italian; kind of enough to make small talk with her or ask if she wanted anything, but basically we stared at leaves and flowers together and sighed at the same time when a breeze lifted a leaf, or sometimes I realized that we were focused on the same flower stem that was bending.  It was really a peaceful and kind of a simple and clear way to connect.

What prompted you to write this experience in the form of a children’s book?

I sometimes babysit my neighbor’s children, one of whom is a very smart three year old.  One day her nanny asked that I take her outside so she could get her dose of “fresh air” for the day.  On that particular day I think the playground was closed or something, or maybe she didn’t really want to go out, but I suggested we “walk around the neighborhood and see what’s what.”  She agreed to this so we got outside her building and hand in hand walked the length of a block and back again. That is literally all we did.  This may have taken 15 minutes though, not just because kids at that age walk slow, but because we had such adventures along the way.  I would stop and point out the policeman, then comment on the little dog we passed, then maybe stop to see the children getting on the yellow school bus and talk about that.  A little further on we’d stop at a tree and check out the flowers at its base and talk about the colors and if they smell or not, then a little further on we saw a kitten dart across our path and hide under a parked car.  So on and so on; special red flowers, a tree with lights wrapped around it – but to this day, whenever she and I walk that same stretch of sidewalk, she comments to me about that little kitten and what we think it’s doing right now, and she points out where the red flowers used to be, and where the tree with the lights wrapped around it is, all the while asking me if I remember! It’s too cute!

But anyway, it occurred to me that this was that whole repetition thing that kids do – that gives them that sense of safety and security.  It’s also part of why they love having you read the same book over and over again, I’ve had that experience too.  Perhaps while reading I’ll make an effort to point out something in the illustration, and the next time we read that book together, the child makes sure to point out what I had pointed out previously, and then does it every single time we read that book!

The illustrations are wonderful.  How did you come to collaborate with Riley Hagan?

Like all things in life, little blessings are sent our way when we need them most!  I was discussing “what else I do” with a neighbor whose birds and plants I sometimes look after when she goes away and she had no idea that I was an actor and a writer and a theater reviewer and so on, and when I mentioned I was developing a children’s book, she told me that her step daughter Riley draws and then showed me some of her work that she had around the apartment.  So I contacted Riley and it just couldn’t have been a better match.

 

She’s an amazing woman, she really understood where I was coming from with this book and my motivation and message, and although I had some rough drawings of my own to show her what I was after, she came up with some absolute gems on her own that turned out to be my most favorite illustrations in the book – the hands in the worm bucket I especially love, and the details on the flowers are just amazing too.  Also Riley’s style is very sketch-artist, and I like the black and white strokes, but I insisted that when we got to the garden part of the story that there should be this burst of color.  Then it was Riley who came up with the absolutely ingenious idea of adding color on each illustration that had a nature/garden related item.  So the flowers for example that they bring for Grandma, you’ll see those are in color.  It was really smart of her, and it ties in with what we talked about earlier, about kids pointing things out in illustrations for themselves.  They totally do that when I read them this book.

I do also have to mention that the image of the child in this book is based on my very special friend, Benji Carvalho.  Riley wanted an image of a child to work from so I gave her photos of Benji and actually her first drawings looked so much like him that I had to ask her to manipulate them a little because I needed the child to appear non-gender specific.  I like all my books to have non-gender specific child characters so that any child can relate and not feel left out.  But when I read this book to Benji he could still tell it was him in the illustrations and that was a really nice moment for both of us.

“Grandma’s Garden” written by Tania Fisher, illustrated by Riley Hagan

Suitable for ages 3 to 6.

On sale now at Westsider Books 2246 Broadway New York NY 10024, and Shakespeare & Co bookstores, or online at: 

http://bit.ly/GrandmasGarden 

Interview by Lori Beedsler

MARTIN SCORSESE: I SAID MARVEL MOVIES AREN’T CINEMA. LET ME EXPLAIN. ·

(Martin Scorsese’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/6.)

When I was in England in early October, I gave an interview to Empire magazine. I was asked a question about Marvel movies. I answered it. I said that I’ve tried to watch a few of them and that they’re not for me, that they seem to me to be closer to theme parks than they are to movies as I’ve known and loved them throughout my life, and that in the end, I don’t think they’re cinema.

Some people seem to have seized on the last part of my answer as insulting, or as evidence of hatred for Marvel on my part. If anyone is intent on characterizing my words in that light, there’s nothing I can do to stand in the way.

Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry. You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament. I know that if I were younger, if I’d come of age at a later time, I might have been excited by these pictures and maybe even wanted to make one myself. But I grew up when I did and I developed a sense of movies — of what they were and what they could be — that was as far from the Marvel universe as we on Earth are from Alpha Centauri.

For me, for the filmmakers I came to love and respect, for my friends who started making movies around the same time that I did, cinema was about revelation — aesthetic, emotional and spiritual revelation. It was about characters — the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, the way they can hurt one another and love one another and suddenly come face to face with themselves.

(Read more)

Photo: Flipboard.com

PETER BROOK INTERVIEWED ·

(Stuart Jeffries’s article appeared in the Spectator, 11/2.)

‘THE ONLY PLACE I CAN’T GET MY PLAYS ON IS BRITAIN’: PETER BROOK INTERVIEWED

Stuart Jeffries talks to the loquacious 94-year-old director about the parlous state of British theatre, Brexit and how he wishes more politicians were like Putin

‘Everyone of us knows we deserve to be punished,’ says the frail old man before me in a hotel café. ‘You and I for instance. What have we done this morning that is good? What have we done to resist the ruination of our planet? Nothing. It is terrifying!’

Peter Brook fixes me with blue eyes which, while diminished by macular degeneration that means he can make me out only dimly, shine fiercely. But for the genteel surroundings and quilted gilet, he could be Gloucester or Lear on the heath, wildly ardent with insight.

‘Think of Prospero. He’s a bad character, hell-bent on revenge for his brother’s wrong, a colonialist who dominates Caliban and the rest of the island. Only when he sees love growing between Miranda and Ferdinand does he learn humility and tolerance. He knows he deserves to be punished. And if we are honest — you and I, everybody — then we can say with Prospero “Me too”. But we are not that honest.’

I’d asked the 94-year-old theatre director to explain to me, as we sit knee to knee in South Kensington, the puzzling final words of Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest. Prospero, his books drowned, his charms o’erthrown, addresses the audience:

And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

Brook seemed worth asking, since The Tempest howls through his life. It is 62 years since he directed John Gielgud as Prospero clad not in magician’s robes but half-naked, a hermit in hemp on a bare stage — Brook startling Stratford with his lifelong love of less. In 1990, at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, his Parisian base since the 1970s, the walls flayed raw by time and the stage scattered with a carpet of sand, he conjured up theatrical magic again, stripping theatre bare to get to the play’s essence. And in his book on Shakespeare The Quality of Mercy, he reflects on the soliloquy.

What is Prospero on about, I ask Brook? ‘Oh, don’t put me on the spot!’ he wails. ‘I can’t tell you the meaning, all I can do is invite you to share the sense of wonder beyond words that those words open up. That is what theatre does.’

(Read more)

 

“DAVID’S PLAY” BY TOM ROWAN TO BE PERFORMED AT THE NYC INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL.  ·

“David’s Play” by Tom Rowan to be performed at the NYC International Fringe Festival. 

 

Express Lane Productions is proud to present David’s Play, a new play by Tom Rowan (Kiss and CryThe Second Tosca) that will be presented October 27 to November 3 as part of this year’s NY Fringe BYOV Festival. The show will play at the Chain Theatre Main Stage, 312 West 36th Street in Manhattan, which is serving as a Fringe venue for the first time this season.

 

A close-knit group of college friends reunites in New York several years after graduation to celebrate a milestone. Can a recently discovered manuscript get their lives back on track? David’s Play is a serious comedy about love, loss, musical theatre, and the power of friendship. 

In an art-imitates-life (or is it the other way around?) approach, this production casts the play mostly with a group of young actors who really did go to school together—at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, one of the nation’s top BFA Acting programs. 

“David’s Play” will be performed at 

Chain Theatre Main Stage

312 W. 36th Street New York, NY 10018

(between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)

Fourth Floor

 

Performance dates are:

October 27th at 8:00 PM

October 29th at 6:00 PM

October 31st at 8:30 PM 

November 2nd at 2:00 PM 

November 3rd at 4:00 PM 

 

CAST

AMANDA: Callee Miles* 

MOLLY: Katie Ailion*

LEO: Joseph Dean Anderson

IAN: Morgan Hahn

BARRY: Alex Gagne

JOSHUA: Will Valles

DAVID: Avery Whitted*

 

CREW

Tom Rowan: Playwright 

Greg Pragel*: Director 

Dickson Lane*: Producer 

Robert Neapolitan*: Stage Manager

*AEA members – “David’s Play” is an approved AEA Showcase. 

 

For tickets please visit:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/davids-play-fringebyov-tickets-70867615947

 

Please follow “David’s Play” on Instagram: @DavidsPlay2019 and through their Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1212565342261131/?ti=icl

 

For more information please visit: http://www.tomrowan.net/davidsplay/

 

THEATER RESOURCES UNLIMITED TRU LOVE BENEFIT, SUNDAY, DEC. 8 ·

Theater Resources Unlimited
TRU Love Benefit:
Follow Your Art, Fulfill Your Dreams
Honoring James Morgan and Haley Swindal
Sunday, December 8, 2019

(via Michelle Tabnick)

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) presents the 2019 TRU Love Benefit: Follow Your Art, Fulfill Your Dreams, on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 12noon at Caroline’s on Broadway, 1626 Broadway (between 49th & 50th Streets). Tickets start at $85 (show only, and two drinks). For additional information and ticket tier pricing, please visit https://truonline.org/events/2019-tru-love-benefit/.

Follow Your Art, Fulfill Your Dreams will honor James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director of The York Theatre Company, and recipient of the TRU Spirit of Theater Award; and performer and producer Haley Swindal, recipient of the TRU Entrepreneur Award. The benefit starts with cocktails, followed by luncheon, a live auction and performances celebrating these honorees who have enriched the theater community as artists who help artists. A live auction will include Yankee Legends Suite baseball tickets, and a seven night, eight day Uniworld European River Cruise for two including transfers and shore excursions. Performances and award ceremony will be directed by Will Nunziata with music direction by  Tracy Stark.
     What is ‘TRU Love’? In 2001, TRU created the Spirit of Theater Award to recognize members of the theater producing community who have shown exceptional generosity of spirit, helping TRU itself and also giving opportunities to up-and-coming members of the theater community, with a special focus on aspiring producers. The TRU Entrepreneur Award was created in 2010 to acknowledge and encourage self-producing artists; the intention has broadened to recognize the initiative of a range of successful producing artist members of the community.
     In the words of Bob Ost, president of TRU, “We are giving our 2019 “TRU Spirit of Theater Award” to passionate musical theater enthusiast James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director of the York Theatre Company for 22 selfless years, and a guiding force of the company for 45 years. He led The York into its unique dual mission of producing and developing new musicals as well as rediscovering significant works from our musical theater history, and has helped assure the future of musical theater by nurturing new writers through York’s Developmental Reading Series, NEO (new/ emerging/ outstanding) concerts, and other programs. We salute his positive spirit and genuine love of this singular art form, as well as his own great artistic gifts as a scenic and graphic designer and occasional director.”
     Ost continues, “Our 2019 TRU Entrepreneur Award goes to artist and producer Haley Swindal, for successfully balancing her career as a theater, film and concert performer with a passion for producing. Haley has spent the last year starring as Mama Morton in Chicago on Broadway and giving concerts while simultaneously producing two shows in London. She is upbeat, generous and business savvy, with a creative flair and warmth that infuses everything she does, a multi-faceted Renaissance woman and an inspiration. And she has generously given her time and insights to members of TRU’s producer development program.”
     Will Nunziata (director)is a New York City based theatre and concert director. The concert director for Platinum recording artist Jackie Evancho, Tony Award winner Lillias White, Broadway’s Haley Swindal, and Soul Train Award winner Nicole Henry, Will is also developing a slew of new plays and musicals with writers and composers in New York City, London, and Los Angeles. He recently conceived and directed the critically-acclaimed off-Broadway theatre revue Our Guy, Cy: The Songs of Cy Coleman starring four Tony Award winners who all worked with the late-great composer Cy Coleman – Lillias White, Cady Huffman, Randy Graff, and Judy Kaye. A few years ago, Will directed a revised version of the Kander & Ebb musical The Act starring Julia Murney, Randy Graff, Cady Huffman, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Parris, Karen Mason, Stacie Bono, and more. This past year Will collaborated with Tony Award winner Cady Huffman and wrote and directed a one-woman musical about Peggy Lee. A graduate of Boston College with a B.A. in Theatre, he is also a professional singer and entertainer who recently headlined Carnegie Hall with the NY POPS alongside his twin brother, Anthony. Will is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). He is repped by Paradigm.
     Pianist/Arranger/Conductor/Singer Songwriter, Tracy Stark is an 11-Time MAC Award winner (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs), in the categories of Music Director, Piano Bar Entertainer, and Song of the Year.  She is also a Bistro Award winner for Musical Direction and has won Cabaret Hotline’s Songwriter of the Year Award. Tracy has worked with Sarah Dash (Labelle), Randy Jones (Village People), Lesley Gore, Phoebe Snow, Karen Black, Barb Jungr, Brenda Braxton, Eric Millegan (Bones), Tonya Pinkins, Nathan Lee Graham, and hundreds of other rock, jazz, and broadway vocalists.   She stays busy creating and music directing 75-100 different shows per year and has 3 CD’s of original music in her catalogue. She has conducted, played, and sung at all the finest and the sleaziest venues all over the world. She has played/conducted on numerous television shows, including The Today Show. Her songs are included on at least 20 different compilations and have been winning accolades in songwriting competitions for the past 2 decades. Her 3rd CD of original music, “Shades of Beautiful,” was released on the Miranda Music label, exquisitely produced by Richard Barone, with world class vocalists, including Lillias White, Nona Hendryx, Ann Hampton Callaway, Lesley Gore, Jane Monheit, Janis Siegel, Karen Black, Barb Jungr, and other great artists.
     The Benefit Producing Committee includes chair Cheryl Davis, producers Merrie L. Davis and Sandford Silver, York associate producing director Amber Wallace, and TRU board members Bob Ost, producer Cody Lassen and Courtney Sweeting.
     The illustrious committee assembled to support these beloved honorees includes Pat Flicker Addiss, producer (Tony winner for Vanya & Sonia & Masha & SpikeDesperate Measures, A Christmas StoryPromises Promises, Spring Awakening); Catherine Adler, producer (Tootsie, Tony winner for Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, A Gentleman’s Guide…, Skylightrevival, Angels in America revival, The Ferryman); Nancy Anderson, actress (Broadway: A Class Act, revival of Wonderful Town; York Theatre: Fanny Hill, Jolson & Co., Yank!); Mary Cossette, producer (Broadway: Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Bonnie & Clyde; off-Broadway: Desperate Measures, Nevermore); Jamie deRoy, cabaret legend, producer (Tony winner for The Norman Conquests, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, A Gentleman’s Guide…,  Angels in AmericaOnce on This Island, The Band’s VisitThe Ferryman; currently: The Inheritance, Slave Play, Tina, The Great Society, Beetlejuice, Tootsie, Ain’t Too Proud, To Kill a Mockingbird); William Franzblau, producer (Rocktopia, Tony Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, American Buffalo and Wonderland on Broadway; off-Broadway This One’s for the GirlsSistas, Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical); Evans Haile, music director-conductor, producer, Executive Director of the York Theatre Company; Pamela Hunt, director (Musical of Musicals at the York, Outer Critics Circle winner Carnival at the York); Riki Kane Larimer, lead producer (Cagney the musical in New York, LA and Salt Lake City), co-producer (On the TownGigi on Broadway; Bright Colors, Bold PatternsGeorgie off- Broadway; Enter Laughing at The York), York Board Member; Jim Kierstead, producer (Hadestown, The Inheritance, Ain’t Too Proud, Tony awards for Kinky Boots and Pippin revival, Yank!, Thrill Me – the Leopold and Loeb Story)Richard Maltby Jr.,Tony winning director (Ain’t Misbehavin’, Fosse), lyricist (Starting Here, Starting Now, Closer Than Ever, Baby, Big, Miss Saigon); Gerry McIntyre, actor (Once on This Island, The Audience,  Anything Goes, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), director-choreographer (Hallelujah Baby at the York, Spamilton); W. David McCoy, Chairman of the Board of The York Theatre Company; Charlotte Moore, artistic director/co-founder Irish Repertory Theater; Jana Robbins, actress (Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Gypsy), producer (Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, Company in London and Broadway, Ragtime revival, Little Women); Dominique Sharpton, producer, actor and activist; Joan Ross Sorkin, playwright, librettist, lyricist, President of the Board of the York Theatre; Elisa Loti Stein, actress, York Board Member; Jack Tantleff, Head of Theatre Literary and Content Department, Paradigm Talent Agency; Cheryl Wiesenfeld, producer (The Great Society, Ain’t Too Proud, Tony winner for Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, The Gershwin’s Porgy and BessVanya & Sonia & Masha & SpikeAll the Way); Stuart Wilk, producer (Yank! at the York, Meet Me in St. Louis at Irish Rep); and Charles Wright, writer & editor, Co-President of The Drama Desk. 
Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-seven year old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies.
     TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab; programs for actors include the Annual Combined Audition.
     Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by the Montage Foundation and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation.
     For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org.
(Photo: Broadwayworld.com)

 

LET’S GO:  ‘SUGIMOTO BUNRAKU SONEZAKI SHINJU’ (OCTOBER 19–22, 2019 AT LINCOLN CENTER’S FREDERICK P. ROSE HALL) ·

The Love Suicides at Sonezaki

U.S. production premiere

October 19–22, 2019 Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall

At the turn of 18th-century Japan, a clerk and a courtesan committed suicide in the forest of Tenjin. The Love Suicides at Sonezaki, a tragic play based upon these events, was banned after its 1703 premiere for more than two centuries. For this U.S. production premiere, renowned artist Hiroshi Sugimoto presents a bold, contemporary interpretation of the classic drama using bunraku puppet theater with music by Living National Treasure Seiji Tsurusawa and video by Tabaimo and Sugimoto. The puppets, imbued with life, captivate audiences with their lively movements rivaling the eloquence of actual human beings.

“Sugimoto breathed souls into the lifeless wooden puppets.”

– Le Monde

 

 

 

“TONYA PINKINS’ TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION: WOMYN WORKING IT OUT!” AND “THE GLASS MENAGERIE” (REVIEWS FROM NEW YORK) ·


By Bob Shuman

Director Tonya Pinkins asked six American women of multi-cultural backgrounds to compose one-acts on the theme of women oppressing women—her seven actors are all women, too—a counterintuitive assignment given the age of #MeToo and #TimesUpNow, as contraindicated as hearing Meryl Streep observe, in May, that “women can be pretty fucking toxic.” While the unexpected results appeared as Tonya Pinkins’ Truth and Reconciliation: Womyn Working It Out! for three days, at The Tank in early October, concurrently, The Glass Menagerie, directed by Austin Pendleton and Peter Bloch, opened at the Wild Project–which some might conclude is a play about a woman oppressing her daughter (especially if the work is considered biographically). Both open a larger discussion about how men and women dramatists think about domination, even if each would recoil from the issue itself: for the women, the subject is considered in a social and political light, a topic which can—and should—be placed under authority and governance; noticeably, none of their plays take place in homes. For Tennessee Williams (and Ibsen, in Hedda Gabler, or Ingmar Bergman, in a film like Autumn Sonata, to name three—white men of different nationalities and sexualities) the issue is familial, taking place in the homestead; any oppressor, whether one has been exchanged for another, is too many, even if goals are esteemed necessary for the common good. The distinctions do not end there, though, because of the importance of political issues to the Arts today, where many have come to believe that theatre is politics—an idea which would have been anathema to the still highly relevant acting theorist Constantin Stanislavki (1863-1938), who in My Life in Art writes, “Everyday cares, politics, economics, the larger part of general social interests—these make the kitchen of life. Art lives higher, observing from the height of its birdlike flights all that takes place beneath it.” The idea is still alive in his Russia today, expressed by Evgeny Mironov, one of that country’s acclaimed contemporary actors, who agreed with the thought that art is above politics, while talking about his portrayal of Ivanov, in June 2018. Even at the time of the 1900 massacre in Kazansky Square, when he was playing Dr. Stockman in An Enemy of the People in St. Petersburg, Stanislavski felt, “We who knew the true nature of the theatre, understood that the boards of our stage could never become a platform for the spread of propaganda, for the simple reason that the very least utilitarian purpose or tendency, brought into the realm of pure art, kills art instantly.” If he is right, most of today’s Off-Off Broadway theatre is a parade of ghosts.

Stanislavki considered the subject of politics further when he was evaluating Gorky’s The Lower Depths, in 1902. He believed that the spectator could make his own conclusions . . . from what he receives in the theatre”—yet today’s world of clear, automatic, correct answers, from behind the proscenium arch and on social media, are didactic, even for those who have a tendency to agree with them. An example of this is apparent in, but not limited to, Jaisey Bates’s “To History,” in the Pinkins’ project, a presentational piece on the personal damage wrought by misappropriation of mascots, emblems usually based on power symbols. Even though female participants would probably wear a pink pussyhat to a reading of this play, if requested, the presentation of the work is timely given the response of St. Louis Cardinals rookie Ryan Helsley, who is part Cherokee, and needed to pitch after hearing the Atlanta Braves’ “Tomahawk Chop,” a chant he found to be “a disappointment” and “disrespectful,” as did the Georgia native tribes.  Subsequently, when it was announced that he would be playing again, plastic tomahawks were not placed on seats for fans.  Another example is Lucy Thurber’s retro and injured writing in “Bank,” about a teller, a Georgian, from the country, who never met a lesbian before. Pieces like these are faits accomplis, which do not allow contemplation within the safe confines of theatrical experience and seem strident to those who are not part of the communities involved—and who would be excluded from voicing opinions about them, in any event. There is something of the Living Newspaper, from the Depression’s WPA Theatre, in at least three of the evening’s plays, as well, perhaps acting as substitutes for disappearing History classes in colleges and schools. “Tierra De Las Flores,” by G. Kadigan, describes a hidden, vengeful solution for wife beating in St. Augustine, Florida, during the early 1800s; “Law 136,” by Carmen Rivera, chronicles forced sterilization of women in Puerto Rico, during the twentieth century, in a dramatic situation that is reminiscent of sickening moments in a Tennessee Williams play, and “The Grandmothers,” by Kristine M. Reyes, which confronts the legacy of comfort women in Korea during World War II–a subject this reviewer included in a 2009 scene book, in writing by Lavonne Mueller, because the horror of the subject had been going virtually uncovered. Two more one-acts make up Truth and Reconciliation—one, “The Proposal,” by Nandita Shenoy, about the legacy of sexual abuse re-emerging on a school campus after many years and a two-part piece by Jasmine McLeish, “Other,” on the dubious nature of racial characterization. Pinkins incorporates dance (Briana Reed is the choreographer), song (by Amanda Green and Shaina Taub), and whimsy into the show, which allows moments of lightness, but the point that emerges is that when women oppress other women, there is a man, institution, or government entity behind it, which a feminist like Camille Paglia would find unacceptable (“stop blaming men”). Males can be fired, devastated, and brutalized, too, and their careers shattered, but in dramatic terms, at least, they may respond differently than women, even if they have become universal scapegoats.

Amanda Wingfield is not afraid to say that she knows “all about the tyranny of women” in The Glass Menagerie, a drama that Pendleton and Bloch have not chosen to embalm, in their current production, which plays until October 20. Their Tom, Matt de Rogatis, is not playing a great artist-in-the-making, as some would perceive the role to be. Instead, he seems like someone who can actually work at a warehouse, even if he isn’t a very good employee—he may not even be able to write that well, either. Jobs, however, can dumb a person down, and they can be boring—and one would go to the movies, or drink, or find illicit sex, or yearn for adventure or the Merchant Marines. This is the only production of the play in memory where one might actually think, “I hope he sends money back to the family when he leaves.” Ginger Grace’s Amanda may be providing the least gothic interpretation, too—and, for once, you can actually believe that she was really a popular debutante. An interesting parallel, a kind of family resemblance emerged, by noting that just as Amanda does not go to her DAR meeting, Laura has not been going to Rubicam’s Business College. But the constructions, in this RuthStage production, want to be contemporary–Sean Hagerty‘s music refers to Mike Oldfield‘s score for The Exorcist. You can not believe that Amanda has never talked to Laura about finding a man to marry before, maybe in any production–and one wonders if history, the Depression, of older ways of being parents and children need to be informing the text more and causing rifts. If you want to see Stanislavski in motion, though, go. There is the restraint, there is the natural pace. Alexandra Rose makes a lovely, oversensitive Laura—and the directors’ concept of keeping her onstage while other actors are playing is arresting. Spencer Scott, as the Gentleman Caller stays in tune with the production’s naturalism.

Of course, Tom leaves St. Louis, and does not send money home, and it is naive of me to imagine that it could be any other way. Looking at the male dramatists, escape from oppression must be total.

(c) 2019 by Bob Shuman. All rights reserved.

 

Visit “The Glass Menagerie”: http://www.theglassmenagerieplay.com/

Visit The Tank: https://thetanknyc.org/

Photo Credits–Pinkins: (From top) ShowShowdown; SkinthePlay; The Tank; Menagerie: Chris Loupos; Wild Project 10/5/19, Shuman

 

Truth and Reconciliation: Womyn Working It Out! is a collective piece of theatre that includes multiple 10-minute plays and songs by and about womyn. Each play contains different ways womyn oppress each other and how we find ways to heal.
The performance will run approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.
Directed by
Tonya Pinkins

Written by
Jaisey Bates
Glory Kadigan
Jasmine McLeish
Tonya Pinkins
Kristine M. Reyes
Carmen Rivera
Nandita Shenoy
Lucy Thurber
Choreography
Briana Reed

Featuring
Mary Teresa Archbold
Siho Ellsmore
Akiko Hiroshima
Tonya Pinkins
Lina Sarrello
Lili Stiefel
June Ballinger

The Glass Menagerie

The cast, led by Ginger Grace as the iconic Amanda Wingfield, consists of Matt de Rogatis as her son Tom Wingfield, Alexandra Rose as Laura Wingfield, and Spencer Scott as The Gentlemen Caller. Set designer Jessie Bonaventure, who was the assistant Set designer on the Broadway musical Hadestown, which garnered four Tony Awards, including Best Scenic Design, collaborates with lighting designer Steven Wolf to create a version of Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece that borders on horror.

Dimly lit and surrealistic, the set itself will consist of props made of glass and the actors will live in a chilling, dreamlike world. Taking inspiration from The Exorcist soundtrack, Sean Hagerty writes the score for this “Wes Craven meets Tennessee Williams” production. Allison Hohman designs the sound for the Wingfield house of horrors.

Press, “Womyn”: Emily Owens; “Glass Menagerie”: Karen Greco