HOMECOMING SERVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL OPERA STAR JESSYE NORMAN SET WITH 4-DAY WEEKLONG SERVICES AND CELEBRATIONS ·

(via Gwendolyn Quinn)

(New York, NY – October 7, 2019) – The family of international opera star Jessye Norman announces today through the family spokesperson, Gwendolyn Quinn, the Homegoing Service, and the weeklong services and celebrations. The funeral is set for Saturday, October 12, 2019, at the William B. Bell Auditorium712 Telfair Street, Augusta, GA, doors open and seating begins at 12:00 p.m. (there will be a private interment). The four-day, weeklong events start on Thursday, October 10, and runs through Sunday, October 13, 2019, in Augusta, GA. (see full schedule below). In November 2019, there will be a celebration of life event, scheduled in New York City.

The lineup of distinguished performers and speakers will include longtime friend and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan, Michael Eric Dyson, and Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, and Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr., and Augusta’s natives Laurence Fishburne and Wycliffe Gordon, with musical tributes by six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonaldHarolyn Blackwell, and Lawrence Brownlee, and other confirmations expected this week. Musical direction by Damien Sneed, a longtime friend and Augusta native.   

Elder Raymond Sturkey will deliver the eulogy, and Reverend Dr. Clyde Hill, Sr. of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church will officiate the homegoing service, which will include family, friends, dignitaries and special guests, nd seating will be available to the public.

There are two public viewings scheduled for Norman on Thursday, October 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday, October 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 1260 Wrightsboro Road, Augusta, GA 30901. 

On Friday, October 11, the City of Augusta will present the Honorary Street Naming Ceremony to Norman’s family, which is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, 739 Green Street, Augusta, GA 30901.

The weeklong celebration will conclude on Sunday, October 13. The Jessye Norman School of the Arts will present its Annual Benefit Concert: “An Evening with Audra McDonald” at the Miller Theater, 708 Broad Street, Augusta, GA, at 4:00 p.m.

Ms. Norman, 74, passed away Monday, September 30, 2019, at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York, NY, surrounded by loved ones.

Jessye Norman’s Homecoming Service, Public Viewing and Celebration Services

Date:                                    

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Time:                          

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Event:                        

Jessye Norman’s Public Viewing

Location:                   

Mt. Calvary Baptist Church

1260 Wrightsboro Road

Augusta, GA 30901

***

Date:                                    

Friday, October 11, 2019

Time:                         

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Event:                        

Jessye Norman’s Public Viewing

Location:                   

Mt. Calvary Baptist Church

1260 Wrightsboro Road,

Augusta, GA 30901

***

Date:                                    

Friday, October 11, 2019

Time:                          

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Event:                        

Honorary Street Naming Ceremony to Jessye Norman Boulevard

Location:                   

Jessye Norman School of the Arts (JNSA)

739 Green Street

Augusta, GA 30901

*Followed by a reception in the Ann and Ellis Johnson Gallery of Art (at JNSA)

***

Date:                                    

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Time:                          

1:00 p.m.

Event:                        

Jessye Norman’s Homecoming Service

Location:                   

The William B. Bell Auditorium

712 Telfair Street

Augusta, GA 30901

*Doors open and seating will begin at 12:00 p.m.

***

Date:                                    

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Time:                          

4:00 p.m.

Event:                        

The Jessye Norman School of the Arts’ Annual Benefit Concert: “An Evening with Audra McDonald”

Location:                   

Miller Theater

708 Broad Street (Downtown Augusta)

Augusta, GA 30901

Flowers:

Norman Funeral Service

c/o Williams Funeral Home

2945 Old Tobacco Road

Hephzibah, GA 30815

*Please direct resolutions and/or proclamations, cards, and condolences to the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, 739 Green Street, Augusta, GA 30901 to be read at the service and/or provided to the family.

*In lieu of flowers, foundation endowment gifts in honor of Jessye Norman can be made at www.jessyenormanschool.org.

*Donations may be sent to the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, 739 Green Street, Augusta, GA 30901.

 

BRECHT/EISLER: ‘THE MOTHER’ (‘DRAMA ON 3’) ·

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The Mother by Bertolt Brecht with original musical score by Hanns Eisler.
Translated by Mark Ravenhill, from a literal translation by Marc Funda, with song lyrics translated by Steve Trafford.

When Pelagea Vlassova’s son Pavel becomes involved in political activity her radical action to protect him from imprisonment transforms her into the figurehead for a revolutionary movement. Brecht and Eisler’s iconic drama set in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Vlassova…..Maxine Peake
Pavel…..Andy Coxon
Anton and Sigorski…..Esh Alladi
Ivan…..Nico Mirallegro
Mascha…..Elen Rhys
Andrei and Luschin…..Rupert Hill
Nikolai and Inspector…..William Ash
Vassil and Smilgin…..Kevin Harvey
Karpov and the Landlady…..Christine Bottomley
The Niece…..Nadia Emam

All other parts were played by the company.

Songs by the Chorus of Revolutionary Workers were performed by Kantos Chamber Choir

Directed by Nadia Molinari
Conducted by HK Gruber

A Radio Drama North Production in association with BBC Philharmonic.

Recorded in front of an audience at Middleton Hall in Hull as part of BBC Contains Strong Language Festival.

 

LET’S GO: AUSTIN PENDLETON AND PETER BLOCH RETEAM FOR CHILLING NEW VERSION OF ‘THE GLASS MENAGERIE’ ·

AUSTIN PENDLETON AND PETER BLOCH RETEAM TO HELM CHILLING NEW VERSION OF THE GLASS MENAGERIE TO USHER IN THE HALLOWEEN SEASON AT THE WILD PROJECT

 New York, New York — Ruth Stage is thrilled to present a chilling new take on Tennessee Williams’ seminal play, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, directed by Austin Pendleton and Peter Bloch. THE GLASS MENAGERIE begins performances on Thursday, October 3 for a limited engagement through Sunday, October 20. Press Opening is Wednesday, October  9 at 7pm. The performance schedule is Monday, Wednesday & Thursday at 7pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2pm & 8pm. Please note: there is no evening performance on Sun 10/20. Performances are at The Wild Project (195 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B). Tickets are $35. For tickets and more information, call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.theglassmenagerieplay.com.

After two critically acclaimed runs in 2018 of Wars of the Roses, directors Austin Pendleton and Peter Bloch reunite with actor Matt de Rogatis to take on the American classic, The Glass Menagerie. In this disquieting production, the tormented Tom (de Rogatis) relives the story of his time in the Wingfield’s St Louis apartment, circa 1939, as if he were remembering it through the lens of a spooky dream.

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 this Tennessee Williams masterpiece that orders 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 The Exorcist soundtrack, Sean Haggerty writes the score for this “Wes Craven meets Tennessee Williams” production. Jesse Meckl designs the sound for the Wingfield house of horrors.

BIOS

Austin Pendleton (co-director) is an actor, director, playwright, and, at HB Studio in New York, a teacher of acting. His Broadway appearances include Choir Boy (this past season), The Diary of Anne Frank (with Natalie Portman), Doubles, and the original production of Fiddler on the Roof, in which he was the first “Motel”, the Tailor and played opposite Zero Mostel. He has also appeared extensively off-Broadway (winning an Obie for The Last Sweet Days of Isaac, and currently appearing in Life Sucks) and off-off-Broadway, in which he has played roles like “Hamlet,” “Richard the Third,” “Shylock,” and originated roles in many new plays. He has appeared in about 300 movies, including What’s Up DocMy Cousin VinnyCatch-22, and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, and had recurring roles on TV in Homicide and Oz. On Broadway he has directed The Little Foxes, with Elizabeth Taylor, for which he won a Tony nomination, Spoils of War, with Kate Nelligan (who won a Tony nomination for it), Shelter (a musical by Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford, which won several Tony nominations), and The Runner Stumbles. Off-Broadway he directed three Chekhov plays (Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and Ivanov), in productions which included Peter Sarsgaard, Maggie Gylenhall and Ethan Hawke, and Hamlet, with Mr. Sarsgaard. The plays he has written are Orson’s Shadow (which ran off-Broadway for about a year, and has been produced since all over the country and in London) and Uncle Bob (which has been done off-Broadway twice and played around the country and in Paris, translated by Jean-Marie Besset), and Booth, which played in New York starring Frank Langella, and since been done in many productions in the United States. He also wrote the libretto for the musical A Minister’s Wife, which played at Lincoln Center in 2011 and has since been done around the United States. He is a member of the Ensemble at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. He has acted there, directed there, and his plays have been produced there. He trained (and subsequently worked for many years) at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, under the guidance of its founder, Nikos Psacharopoulos. He was born and raised in Warren, Ohio. 

Peter Bloch (co-director) last co-directed Wars of the Roses with Austin Pendleton. Off Broadway: The Contrast for the Mirror Rep, H6R3 at the Promenade Theatre, Divine Fallacy by Tina Howe (World Premiere) for Hunter Playwrights. For the National Arts Club: Vieux CarreSuddenly Last SummerThe Lion In Winter, and The Potting Shed

Matt de Rogatis (Tom Wingfield) New York theater credits include “Ken” in Red (Jim Kempner Fine Art Gallery), “Frederick Clegg” in the United States premiere of The Collector (59E59 Theaters), “Roy” in Lone Star (Wild Project/The Triad/13th Street Rep) and “Richard III” in Austin Pendleton’s Shakespearean mashup, Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III, also directed by Pendleton and Peter Bloch (124 Bank Street Theater). Other favorite NYC and regional credits include the title role in Hamlet, “Stanley Kowalski” in A Streetcar Named Desire and “The Elephant Man” in The Exhibition.

Ginger Grace (Amanda Wingfield) National Tour: The Presidents (opposite Rich Little). Off-Broadway:  The Saintliness of Margery Kempe (Perry Street Theatricals); Miss Julie (The Pearl); Elektraand Faust (CSC). NY Theater: New Perspectives Theatre, Mother of Invention, Mississippi Mud. Regional: The First Ladies Coalition (written by Ms. Grace; directed by Austin Pendleton); Inside Emily Dickinson: Her Poetry & Her Life (written by Ms. Grace); The Belle of AmherstEleanor Roosevelt: Her Secret Journey, and The Color of Light (Schoolhouse Theater); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Penobscot Theater); Doubt (WSCC).  New plays in New York: Jason Jung’s PANIC!, Jenny Lyn Bader’s In Flight, Fengar Gael’s Devil Dog Six, Deborah Savadge’s The Favor.  Film:  Wedding March (Winner: Hollywood International Moving Pictures Festival), 6-minute MomFrat Star, SHEER.   

Alexandra Rose (Laura Wingfield) makes her professional theater debut with this production of The Glass Menagerie. Previously, she has worked professionally as an actress in both film and commercials in New York and LA. She has trained in the drama department at Vassar College as well as the T. Schrieber School under Pamela Scott and HB Studios, in New York, under Austin Pendleton.

Spencer Scott (Jim O’Connor) is a proud member of The Greenhouse Ensemble. Recently he starred as “Romeo” in Romeo & Juliet. Some other credits include, “Anthony” in The House of Yes, “Demetrius” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and “Barry” in The Boys Next Door.

Visit: www.theglassmenagerieplay.com

Press: Karen Greco

GILLIAN SLOVO: LETTER FROM INSIDE ·

Gillian Slovo

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Novelist Gillian Slovo’s letter to her mother, the anti-apartheid activist, Ruth First. Part of a series in which writers from around the world read letters on the theme of imprisonment, inspired by Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis.

Oscar Wilde was incarcerated in Reading Prison between 1895 and 1897, enduring the Separate System, a harsh penal regime designed to eliminate any contact between prisoners. Wilde’s imprisonment led to one of his last great works – De Profundis, an extended letter to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas written by Wilde in his prison cell.

Gillian Slovo’s novels include Ice Road, Red Dust and 10 Days.

Produced by Barney Rowntree and Jeremy Mortimer
Executive Producer: Joby Waldman

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Photo: The Guardian

 

DIAHANN CARROLL, ACTRESS WHO BROKE BARRIERS WITH ‘JULIA,’ DIES AT 84 ·

(Margalit Fox’s article appeared in The New York Times, 10/4; via Pam Green.)

Diahann Carroll, who more than half a century ago transcended racial barriers as the star of “Julia,” the first American television series to chronicle the life of a black professional woman, died on Friday at her home in West Hollywood, Calif. She was 84.

Her publicist, Jeffrey Lane, said the cause was complications of breast cancer. Ms. Carroll had survived the cancer in the 1990s and become a public advocate for screening and treatment.

A situation comedy broadcast on NBC from 1968 to 1971, “Julia” starred Ms. Carroll as Julia Baker, a widowed nurse with a young son. The show featured Marc Copage as Julia’s son, and Lloyd Nolan as the curmudgeonly but broad-minded doctor for whom she worked. (“Have you always been a Negro or are you just trying to be fashionable?” he asks Julia in an audacious, widely quoted line from the first episode.)

(Read more)

 

‘THIS IS WHY WE LIVE’ AND ‘OEDIPUS, SEX WITH MUM WAS BLINDING’ (REVIEWS FROM NEW YORK) ·

By Bob Shuman  

A cello stands at the center of This Is Why We Live, at La Mama, which closed September 29 and Oedipus, Sex with Mum was Blinding, at BAM Fisher, which also ended on that date, two international pieces—one based on the poetry of Wisława Symborska and the other after Sophocles, with a classical and jazz score by Tilemachos Moussas & Julia Kent.  Both are directed by women and focus, primarily, on women’s themes and talents, down to a string’s last pluck and bow. 

When she won the Nobel Prize in 1996, Symborska drew the attention, and hearts, of the world with something almost as small—the modesty of her Polish life (at the time, Edward Hirsh, writing for The New York Times, described the apartment where she lived: a fifth-floor walk-up, in “a nondescript building”; the living room, “where she writes, doubles as her bedroom”).  Today (Symborska died in 2012), twenty-one of her poems are acted earnestly, in Open Heart Surgery’s Canadian- and Polish-backed production (direction is by Coleen MacPherson, and the evening is performed by Elodie Monteau (France), Alaine Hutton (Canada) and Dobrochna Zubek (Poland/Canada) to music written by Zubek. Musical development and dramaturgy are by Tatiana Judycka and Dobrochna Zubek. Set and costume design are by Helen Yung.  Lighting design is by Rebecca Picherak.  The show is played in English, Polish, and French, using subtitles.

L-R: Alaine Hutton, Elodie Monteau, Dobrochna Zubek. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Men have contributed editorially, even if they are not in the show:  the French translation is by Piotr Kaminski; English translation is by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak; Dramaturgy and translation support is by Viktor Lukawski—all of which might have confounded the poet: ”I think that dividing literature or poetry into women’s and men’s poetry is starting to sound absurd,” Symborska states in the Hirsh interview, ”Perhaps there was a time when a woman’s world did exist, separated from certain issues and problems, but at present there are no things that would not concern women and men at the same time.”  New Yorkers have been watching the crystallization of women’s theatre in the city’s arts scene, though, even when co-opting writers, such as Symborska, who might be philosophically opposed to such a conceptualization.  Her work, playful and ironic (“Don’t blame me for borrowing big words and then struggling to make them light”) does not find itself dramatically in the current production, despite the skill and dedication of the Butoh and Lecoq-trained theatremakers.  Yet her writing is reflective of the issues being explored today by women in the arts and nonfiction–eating disorders are alluded to in one segment of This Is Why We Live, for example, as one of the dancers stuffs herself with cake.  The self-deprecation, penetrating self-criticism is apparent in a piece like “Under One Small Star,” ideas which will reappear in Greek director Elli Papakonstantinou’s goth Oedipus.

My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second /

My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first /

Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home /

Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger /

I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths /

I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today /

Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time . . .

Unless it is deeply, painfully ironic, laughter is not associated with Jocasta, the wife and mother of Oedipus. If Papakonstantinou (she also conceived and wrote the immersive opera) is to be believed, the ancient queen’s self-recriminatory behavior is also well-known in the lives of women today—and is an issue for men as well. ODC Ensemble’s Oedipus, Sex with Mum was Blinding is an intensification of Szymboska’s examination of women’s guilt, as well as a deep-dive into the psychology of the ancient queen (the seer Teireias also appears, who lived life both as a woman and a man). The grunge immersion—the often grainy cinematic environment is by Stephanie Sherriff–uses singing and technology, pop culture and neuroscience (advised by professor Manos Tsakiris), even an m.c., a keyboardist for the show, Misha Piatigorsky, who combines Joaquin Phoenix in Joker and Joel Grey in Cabaret.  Other men in the cast include Lito Messini as Oedipus, Elias Husiak, and Tsakiris. Papakonstantinou may seem indiscriminate, because she can pull from everywhere—she is unafraid of postmodernism, myth, and onstage cameras–the kind many Americans will recognize having seen work by Ivo van Hove—music (Kent plays the cello onstage)—including Philip Glass sounds and an excerpt from “Nature Boy”–languages, social media, and politics—“this country is based on racism.” Debatably, she shapes the work into the story of three women, an actor (Nassia Gofa) and two singers (Anastasia Katsinavaki, Theodora Loukas), one classical and the other jazz, who might seem to be refracting the same character, in guilt and trauma. Papakonstantinou is never exactly clear in her excursion through the subconscious—but she understands and elicits the feelings Symborska transcribes, in, as another illustration, the baldly titled poem:  “In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself”:

The buzzard never says it is to blame. /

The panther wouldn’t know what scruples mean. /

When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame. /

If snakes had hands, they’d claim their hands were clean.”

The poet finishes:  “On this third planet of the sun / among the signs of bestiality / a clear conscience is number one.”

Current women’s theatre explicates, however, that no human, at least, has one.

© 2019 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved.

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THIS IS WHY WE LIVE

Design Assistant: Judie Plaza
Set Design Assistant: Kevin Yung
Lighting Design by Rebecca Picherak
Lighting Associate: Nic Vincent
Projection Design by Wesley McKenzie
Stage Management by A.J. Morra

Dramaturgy and Translation Support by Viktor Lukawski
Poetry by Wisława Szymborska
French Translation by Piotr Kamiński
English Translation by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak
Artistic Support by Yearime Castel Barragan and Sallie Lyons

This project is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Polish Consulate (Canada) & The Polish Institute

Press:  Jonathan Slaff

OEDIPUS, SEX WITH MUM WAS BLINDING

ODC Ensemble (Athens, Greece) with
The Directors Company

OEDIPUS:
Sex with Mum Was Blinding

An Immersive Opera
Conceived, written and directed by
Elli Papakonstantinou

Original Music Composed by
Tilemachos Moussas
and Julia Kent

Cinematic Environments by
Stephanie Sherriff

Lighting design: Elli Papakonstantinou
Mask concepts, design and materialization: Maritina Keleri & Chrysanthi Avloniti
Costume Design: Jolene Richardson

Featuring
Nassia Gofa, Elias Husiak, Anastasia Katsinavaki, Theodora Loukas, Lito Messini, Manos Tsakiris, Julia Kent (cello), Misha Piatigorsky (piano), Hassan Estakhrian, Barbara Nerness (electroacoustic environments), and Stephanie Sherriff (live cinematic environment)

Scientific Advisor: Professor Manos Tsakiris

Press:   Michelle Tabnick

Photos–This Is Why We Live: Jonathan Slaff; Oedipus: Carol Rosegg

       

REVIEW: A SPELLBINDING ‘ANTIGONE,’ BOTH TIMELESS AND URGENT (SV PICK, NY) ·

(Laura Collins-Hughes’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/26; via Pam Green.)

An easily legible production of the ancient Greek tragedy borrows from the tradition of Noh theater at the Park Avenue Armory.

They make the gentlest rippling sound, these candlelit figures gliding ever so slowly through the water, perambulating around a spare scattering of boulders. In a vast, shallow pool, beneath the high-arched ceiling of the Park Avenue Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall, the hems of their filmy white kimonos trail along the surface.

The tableau is so tranquil that you might not even notice, as you take your seat, that you’re already being drawn into the ethereal, meditative otherworld where Satoshi Miyagi’s spellbinding “Antigone” will unfold.

An ancient Greek tragedy by way of Japan, it is visually and aurally splendrous — a large-cast spectacle, with hypnotically paced choreography borrowed from the tradition of Noh theater. Most of the principals here are played by two actors: one, kneeling in the water, to speak the dialogue; the other, on a nearby rock, to perform the movements.

(Read more)

 

CONSTANT STANISLAVSKI (38) ·

The fantastic is a glass of foaming champagne. . . . In The Snow Maiden there is exceptionally beautiful Russian epos, and in The Blue Bird an artistically interpreted symbol.

It is engaging to invent something that has never happened in life but is nevertheless a truth that lives in men and nations forever.  (MLIA)