Monthly Archives: May 2012


(Miriam Elder's article appeared in the Guardian, 5/31.)

Riot police on the stage of the Mariinsky, missiles rolling across the Bolshoi – opposition to Vladimir Putin's rule has suffused Russian culture to such a degree that it has reached the stages of the country's most vaunted theatres.

Last weekend, the latest production to allude to the opposition protests that have brought tens of thousands onto the streets of Moscow opened at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Putin's hometown.




Ars Nova’s fifth annual festival of new talent includes offerings by Joe Tracz (“Bea Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table”), Tim Girrbach (“Birthday Sax”), and the sketch group Political Subversities. Opens June 1. (511 W. 54th St. 212-352-3101.)



The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park season begins with Daniel Sullivan’s production, starring Lily Rabe, Stephen Spinella, and Oliver Platt. With an original bluegrass score by Steve Martin. Previews begin June 5. (Delacorte, Central Park. Enter at 81st St. at Central Park W. 212-539-8750.)



Second Stage Theatre Uptown presents a comedy by Alena Smith, in which a group of childhood friends reunite for a summer barbecue. Directed by Hal Brooks. In previews. Opens June 4. (McGinn/Cazale, 2162 Broadway, at 76th St. 212-246-4422.)



The Atlantic Theatre Company presents Fernanda Coppel’s play, in which a woman goes on a bender after her fortieth birthday. Directed by Jaime Castañeda. In previews. Opens June 3. (Atlantic Stage 2, at 330 W. 16th St. 212-279-4200.)

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(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 5/28.)

It is 10 years since the playwright John McGrath died; 46 since this play was last seen in London. Both the man and his work are honoured in this superb revival by Robert Hastie of a piece that, like Arnold Wesker's Chips with Everything, uses National Service to expose the futility of our so-called military preparedness.



Stage Voices’ continued interest in all-out, all things O’Neill takes us to the work of Jo Morello. Currently, she is readying her play on the Nobelist for a reading on June 2 with the Reston Community Players in Herndon, Virginia. A lifelong writer, Jo operates a small public relations agency in Sarasota. She also is the editor of the Eugene O’Neill Society Newsletter and board member of the Eugene O’Neill Society.   

Jo Morello became a playwright in response to a challenge from her husband, playwright Jack Gilhooley. He believed she could combine her talent . . . with her three-year experience as managing director of a summer stock theatre company to create new work for the stage. He was right: She won two national contests with her first attempt and has continued to produce winning scripts ever since.

She has also drawn on her playwriting knowledge to create feature articles in the media including “O’Neill, Lost and Found,” American Theatre magazine, December 2011, p. 14; “Before Breakfast: The Journey of a Minor Play, Eugene O’Neill Society Newsletter, November 2011, pp. 29-30; and “From the Ashes: Yale University to print more than half-century old play,” Syracuse Daily Orange, Syracuse University, November 2, 2011 (interviewed by contributing writer Andrew Muckell).

Jo’s plays have been winners or finalists of dozens of competitions including three individual Artist Fellowships and three Artist Enhancement Grants from Florida's Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center Young People's Drama Project; two Choate Rosemary Hall Discovery contests; and the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Children’s Theatre competition.

Among Jo’s plays are full-length dramas, comedies, plays with music, historical plays and one-act, intergenerational plays for families and young audiences. Her newest play, MA, MOONFLOWERS & ME, is subtitled “A Comedy For People Old Enough To Know Better.” Jo has written this family-friendly, full-length comedy primarily for mature actors and older audiences. She is also adapting this stage play for the screen.

Other recent dramatic activity includes the Dallas Hub Theater’s production of THE CRASH AT CRUSH, Jo’s historical play with music, and the selection of her murder mystery, DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL (then titled THE MARKHAM MYSTERY) by Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) for its 28th Annual SCRIPTFest.

Jo is a member of Dramatists Guild and the American Association of Community Theatres.

Visit Jo Morello’s Web site:

Visit the Web site of the Reston Community Players:

The above bio is from Jo Morello’s Web site.

Stage Voices highlights playwrights and performers–and their work. If you have had or been in a professional production, we will consider a 4-5 minute demo or audition tape for inclusion on this blog.  Please e-mail: with an easily uploadable file or link–YouTube is best.  Also send a short, written biography (a paragraph or two with info on how someone can reach you via e-mail). If we determine that your background/materials meet our qualifications, we will contact you within several weeks–our decisions are final. Help us alert others to your talent(s) today!)        


Ranjit Bolt's reworking of Pierre Corneille's classic comedy. An old man seeks his estranged son with the help of a wizard. The magician shows the grieving father the boy's recent life in the form of an action-packed comedy adventure.

Listen at:\

Matamore ….. John Sessions
Alcandre ….. Richard Johnson
Clindor ….. Michael Maloney
Isabelle ….. Hattie Morahan
Goronte ….. Benjamin Whitrow
Adraste ….. Pip Torrens
Lyse ….. Rosie Fellner
Pridamant ….. Paul Moriarty
Dorante ….. Simon Bubb
Jailer ….. James Lailey
Page ….. Jonathan Forbes
Empress, Queen ….. Victoria Inez-Hardy

Original music composed and performed by Russell Taylor and Steve Cooke

Director: Peter Kavanagh.

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(Ruth Franklin’s article appeared in Bookforum, April/May 2012.)

Lillian Hellman was once a star. She was one of the most successful playwrights of her time, with her first produced work, The Children's Hour, running for two years on Broadway. As a screenwriter in the 1930s, she earned the top rate of $2,500 a week to write two films of her choice per year. The three volumes of her memoirs—An Unfinished Woman (1969), Pentimento (1973), and Scoundrel Time (1976)—were best sellers.

Her personal life was equally glamorous. After a brief early marriage, she flitted from romance to romance, courted by everyone from theater producers to diplomats to writers. The last category included Dashiell Hammett, who was the love of her life despite the fact that for most of their thirty-year affair he was married to someone else. She played elegant hostess to literary luminaries at her Upper East Side town house, her upstate New York farm, and her Martha's Vineyard beach house. In 1976, at age seventy-one, she joined the likes of Raquel Welch and Diana Ross as a model for the Blackglama furs advertising campaign, with the famous tagline "What becomes a legend most?"

View 'A Difficult Woman' at Amazon:



(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 5/22.)

At one point in "When the Rain Stops Falling," the deeply moving Australian play by Andrew Bovell now in a richly textured and searingly honest production from director John Gawlik at the Circle Theatre in Oak Park, a battered and melancholy young woman remarks on the cruelty of parents. At another juncture in this oft-devastating play, a pained older woman is moved to observe that there's nothing crueler than a child.

Both, I suppose, can be true. Both comments, in this play, are made by the same character at different points in her life. But every parent is a child first. One kind of cruelty invariably begets the other.,0,4696147.column



(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 5/24.)

Hope has broken loose in Athol Fugard’s “My Children! My Africa!,” and those eager to embrace it had best beware. In the Signature Theater Company’s stirring revival of Mr. Fugard’s 1989 tale of friendship in the twilight of apartheid, a schoolmaster in a small South African township describes hope as “a dangerous animal,” one he usually keeps penned up, along with brutes like anger and despair.


Shakespeare in the Park is one of New York City's most beloved summer traditions. New York natives and visitors alike have been enjoying free Shakespeare since performances began in 1954. Now 50 years after the opening of Shakespeare in the Park's permanent home at the Delacorte Theater on June 18, 1962, The Public Theater is proud to continue to produce Shakespeare in the Park.

This summer, Daniel Sullivan, who directed acclaimed productions of All's Well That Ends WellThe Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night in the Park, will return to direct As You Like It in June with Lily Rabe as Rosalind. The second show of the 50th Anniversary summer season will be Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's beloved musical Into the Woods, directed by Timothy Sheader with co-direction by Liam Steel, beginning performances at the end of July.

June 5 – 30
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Daniel Sullivan

Featuring Brendan Averett, Andre Braugher, Donna Lynne Champlin, Grantham Coleman, Jon DeVries, MacIntyre Dixon, Susannah Flood, David Furr, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Andrew Hovelson, Robert Joy, Jesse Lenat, Erik Mathew, Omar Metwally, Oliver Platt, Lily Rabe, Will Rogers, Michael Rudko, Justine Salata, Paul Saylor, Anna Phyllis Smith, Stephen Spinella, and Brendan Titley

Scenic Design by John Lee Beatty
Lighting Design by Natasha Katz
Costume Design by Jane Greenwood
Sound Design by Acme Sound Partners
Original Music by Steve Martin
Additional Music by Greg Pliska

In As You Like It, Rosalind, Shakespeare's most breathtaking heroine, and her boyfriend Orlando find themselves in the enchanted Forest of Arden, where all the world's a stage, and where sudden infatuation is as confusing as it is beautiful.  Along with other "country copulatives," they discover that nothing transforms, redeems, or enriches experience quite as powerfully as love. As You Like It has everything we adore about Shakespearean comedy: mistaken identity, cross-dressing, madness, mayhem, rage, lust, laughter, and of course plenty of romance, both heartbreaking and joyous. 


July 23 – August 25
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Directed by Timothy Sheader
Co-Directed by Liam Steel
Featuring Amy Adams, Jack Broderick, Gideon Glick, Cooper Grodin, Ivan Hernandez, Tina Johnson, Josh Lamon, Jessie Mueller, Donna Murphy, Laura Shoop, and Tess Soltau

Scenic Design by John Lee Beatty and Soutra Gilmour
Costume Design by Emily Rebholz
Sound Design by Acme Sound Partners
Originally Directed on Broadway by James Lapine

In Into the Woods, a witch's curse condemns the Baker and his Wife to a life without children. They embark on a quest to find the four items required to break the spell: the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. Will they succeed?  And what happens after "happily ever after?" A Tony Award-winning masterpiece by musical theater giants Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Into the Woods is a witty and irreverent reimagining of beloved classic fairytales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella.

This production is based on the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre London Production produced by Timothy Sheader and William Village for Regent's Park Theatre Ltd.

Tickets to Shakespeare in the Park are FREE and are distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park at 1:00 p.m. the day of the show. Free tickets will also be available through our Virtual Ticketing lottery, available on this website on the day of the show. More information coming soon. 

In honor of five decades at the Delacorte, The Public Theater is launching the 50th Anniversary Fellows Program to help support free Shakespeare in the Park for years to come.  For more information on the Fellows Program, please call 212-967-7555 or visit the SUPPORT page.

The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is accessible by entering at 81st Street and Central Park West or at 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.


 (Kate Kellaway’s article appeared in the Guardian, 5/22.)

If all the theatre in Georgia comes anywhere close to the standard of the Marjanishvili company, then the job of theatre critic there must be the most covetable in the land. At the end of its irresistible As You Like It, they got a standing ovation (at least from those not on their feet already). Its conception of Arden is of a small, makeshift stage – theatre within theatre. Throughout, you see the cast offstage: their camaraderie, chess games, squabbles, vanities. It's charming but also fitting, because As You Like It is partly about escape as a means to self-knowledge.