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JONATHAN SLAFF & ASSOCIATES
Theatrical Public Relations
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Contents, March 30, 2017:
Upcoming
Now Playing
Footlights
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UPCOMING

Rules
"Rules"

MARCH 31 TO APRIL 30
NEW STAGE PERFORMANCE SPACE, 36 W. 106th STREET, MANHATTAN
"RULES"

New Stage Theatre Company will open its new permanent home, The New Stage Performance Space, with the debut production of "Rules," a work of movement-and-image based theater adapted and directed by Ildiko Nemeth.

The piece is primarily based on "The Rules" by Charles L. Mee, a play from his (re)making project. It is an of-the-moment performance work channeling the anxiety of our time. Faithful to Mee's Collage Theater approach to drama, it brings together voices of the marginalized, objectified, and simply horrified to form an urgent chorus that implores, "What rules inform our new reality? Who is writing them? And what will it mean to fight for cohesion and unity?"

Charles L. Mee is known for his work with SITI Company, for which he wrote "Orestes," "bobrauschenbergamerica," "Hotel Cassiopeia," "Under Construction" and "soot and spit (the musical)." He was Signature Theater's Playwright-in-Residence in 2007-2008.

 

 

APRIL 5 TO 22
THEATRE 80 ST. MARKS
NEGRO ENSEMBLE COMPANY IN "ROSALIE PRITCHETT" AND "THE PERRY'S MISSION"
The Negro Ensemble Company continues the celebration of its 50th Anniversary season in which it is remounting NEC Classic Plays. The company will present two companion pieces, "Rosalie Pritchett" by Barbara and Carlton Molette and "The Perry's Mission" by Clarence Young III. Both plays were produced originally in 1971 at St. Marks Playhouse, a half block from Theatre 80 St. Marks where this production will be staged.

Rosalie Pritchett Perry's Mission
Left: Arthur French (rear), L-R front: Clarice Taylor, Esther Rolle, Francis Foster in debut production of "Rosalee Pritchett." Right: Win Wilford, Katherine McGrath and Charles Grant Green in debut production of "Perry's Mission." Photos by Bert Andrews, 1971.

"Rosalee Pritchett" portrays the women of an upper-class black wives' bridge club, one of whom is raped by lower-class white National Guard troops, in a devastating indictment of the black bourgeoisie. In "The Perry's Mission," a male black militant challenges various people in a bar about their black identities and their conversation grows into fatal conflict. The language and mood of both plays reflect the tautness and alienation of the period in which they debuted.

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Of Mice & Men
Thomas R. Gordon as George (L) and Alexander Kafarakis as Lennie (R). Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

APRIL 7 TO 29
GENE FRANKEL THEATRE, 24 BOND STREET
"OF MICE AND MEN"

The Onomatopoeia Theatre Company, a resident company of Gene Frankel Theatre, presents John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." Director Thomas R. Gordon plans a faithful adaptation of Steinbeck's classic story about George Milton and Lennie Small, migrant ranch workers living rough in northern California, who yearn for home and stability during the Great Depression.

Unlike other down-and-out men, who tended to be loners, this pair are deeply bonded. Lennie is big, dull-witted and incapable of taking care of himself. George, small and quick-witted, has appointed himself the big man's protector and guardian. They are a heart-rendering example of empathy and brotherhood among the powerless. In our present time, this American classic achieves currency and brilliance as an example of understanding and support toward for those who perceive, think, remember and learn differently.

 

 

 

 

The Faculkty Room
Sarah Shah and Kaylin Reed as students who precipitate a lockdown and take refuge in the faculty room. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

APRIL 13 TO 30
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"THE FACULTY ROOM"

Baby Boomers had nuclear air raid drills in school that stamped their souls with the realization that death is always close by. Their children now have lockdown drills, rehearsing what to do when a shooter is on the loose in the school. A nuclear attack never materialized (at least, not yet), but the present generation has Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech and a host of other massacres to remind them of their own mortality. The hard lockdown--when an imminent danger is known--is an unforgettable rite of passage for many people, and it is the setting of "The Faculty Room," the newest play by William Electric Black that is the fourth in his GUNPLAYS series. Directed by the author.

 

 

 

 

 

Antigone

MAY 16 TO 30
STUDIO THEATRE, THEATER ROW
"ANTIGONE"

Fusion Theatre performs Jean Anouilh's "Antigone," translated by Lewis Galantiere. A ground breaking adaptation merges the worlds of classical theatre and opera, obliterating preconceived boundaries between theses two great theatrical worlds. Fusion Theatre draws its cast from a tiny pool of classically trained actors who are also renowned opera singers. Directed by award winning actress Eilin O'Dea. Features operatic arias as well as the fusion of both the classical play Antigone with the chorus line from the opera Antigone.

 

 

 

 

 

Daughters of the Mock
Michelle Shay, Barbara Montgomery, Olivia Williams and Frances Foster. Photo by Bert Andrews, 1979.

MAY 24 TO JUNE 10
THEATRE 80 ST. MARKS
NEGRO ENSEMBLE COMPANY IN
"DAUGHTERS OF THE MOCK"

The 50th season of Negro Ensemble Company, a year-long retrospective of some of the troupe's signature works, continues with "Daughters of the Mock" by Judi Ann Mason (original production March 3, 1976), directed by Denise Dowse. Three generations of black women from Louisiana battle over tradition and modernity and the grandmother imposes her will through a "mock" (curse) involving an elaborate, writhing Voodoun ritual.

 

 

 

 

Composure

JUNE 1 TO 24
WORKSHOP THEATER, 312 W. 36th STREET
"COMPOSURE"

In this six-character play by Scott C. Sickles, an ill-timed college production leads to a modern-day star-crossed romance between two men whose past tragedies suddenly encroach upon the present.

A year after an on-campus unrequited love murder-suicide, Fletcher Driscoll, 48, returns to his hometown alma mater to direct "Romeo and Juliet," the play selected to commemorate the tragedy. As he attempts to helm a tasteful production, he begins a casual fling with Jeff Landry, 52, a recently out and divorced administrator. Meanwhile, Fletcher encounters a high school acquaintance with whom he shares a disturbing history, while Jeff attempts to maintain a friendship with his ex-wife as they mourn the loss of her brother. Long-held feelings and secrets come to light bringing Fletcher and Jeff closer while threatening to tear them asunder as opening night approaches. It's a romantic drama about the resonance of loss.

"Composure" received two 2016 New York Innovative Theatre Awards for Outstanding Director (Emmy Award winner Fritz Brekeller) and Outstanding Original Full-Length Script. Playwright Scott C. Sickles just received his fifth Emmy Nomination. Directed by Fritz Brekeller, who won Outstanding Director at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards for The Workshop Theater's developmental production of "Composure." He won an Emmy as part of the directing team of "One Life to Live."

 

 


Behind the Mask
Chien-Lun Lee in U.S. premiere of "Behind the Mask-a Play" by Chinese authors Feng BaiMing and Huang WeiRuo, directed by Chongren Fan for Yangtze Rep in 2015. Photo by Maia Sacca-Schaeffer.

JUNE 2 TO 18
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
YANGTZE REPERTORY THEATRE OF AMERICAN IN "410[GONE]"

" 410[GONE]" by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig is a play about love and loss. Seventeen, a Chinese American boy, who has committed suicide wanders into the Chinese Land of the Dead, a dominion ruled by the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and the Monkey King. The time is suspended, and an arcade dance console holds the key to transmigration. His elder sister, Twenty-One, has been reliving the night of the suicide in order to find Seventeen. After a series of hilarious events between the land of the live and the dead, Twenty-One finally meets Seventeen again only to realize she has to set him free. Directed by Chongren Fan, cast of five. In English with Chinese subtitles.

 

 

 

JUNE 18 (FATHER'S DAY)
SYMPHONY SPACE
THE CAPITOL STEPS

In these trying political times, Dad needs a good laugh, right? For Father's Day, take him to Symphony Space for The Capitol Steps!

America's premiere political-musical-satire troupe will offer a brand-new vaudeville-like comedy show with a mix of song and standup, lampooning our modern political leaders and taking on the major issues of the day. The show will include excerpts of the troupe's newest album, "Orange is the New Barak."

Capitol Steps Orange is the New Barak

This is the group that puts the "MOCK" in Democracy! Originally made up of congressional staffers, the past decade has seen the "Steps" harvest the talent of finely-tuned musical-theatre professionals from around the country.

They've been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, and can be heard twice a year on National Public Radio stations nationwide during their Politics Takes a Holiday radio specials.

 

 

 

 

NOW PLAYING

Wizard of Oz
L-R: Dexter Thomas-Payne (Lion), Derrick Montalvado (Scarecrow), Ben Harburg (Tin Man), Taylor-Rey Rivera (Dorothy). Photo by Remy.S.

THROUGH MAY 27
HARLEM REPERTORY THEATRE
TATO LAVIERA THEATRE, 240 E. 123RD ST.
"THE WIZARD OF OZ"

Harlem Repertory Theatre presents "The Wizard of Oz," co-produced by the Yip Harburg Foundation, for young (and young-at-heart) audiences. This production of the classic musical has a multi-racial cast, a jazzy underscore and authoritative dramaturgy by representatives of the Yip Harburg Foundation. The schedule is all Saturday matinees for the convenience of family audiences.
Director/choreographer is Keith Lee Grant, Artistic Director of Harlem Rep, who is in the midst of a four-year project of presenting four classic musicals that have lyrics by E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, who was known in his lifetime as the "social conscience of Broadway."

 

 

 

THROUGH APRIL 9
LA MAMA
"BENGHAZI - BERGEN-BELSEN
"
An epic romance retrieves from oblivion the lost story of the Holocaust of Libyan Jews in "Benghazi Bergen-Belsen," a play by Lahav Timor that is inspired by the Brenner Prize-winning 2016 novel of the same name by Yossi Sucary, the first book about Jews in World War II Libya. The play is translated from Hebrew by Inbal Timor and directed by Michal Gamily. La MaMa Theatre is presenting its world premiere run in its Downstairs Theater, 66 East Fourth Street.

Benghazi Bergfen-Belsen Benghazi Bergen-Belsen
L: Veracity Butcher (below) as Silvana Hajaj, an ambitious young Jewish feminist from Benghazi, Libya, and Lily Leah Azrielant (above) as Rebecca, a young Dutch Jew whom she bonds with in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. R: Mohammad Bakri, Mouna R'Miki, Ayelet Kaznelson, Giacomo Rocchini, Vincent Santwoord. Photos by Jonathan Slaff.

The production has a contemporary approach. By citing the marginalized racial politics of the Holocaust, it urges a reconsidering of both historical and contemporary religious, cultural, and racial oppression and violence. Its multicultural cast is led by Mohammad Bakri, who plays Silvana's father--the head of a Jewish family. Bakri is an Arab/Palestinian actor from Israel who is also known for his starring role on HBO's "The Night Of." The original score is by Avi Belleli, composer of HBO's "In Treatment." Lighting design is by Avi Yona Bueno ("Bambi"), one of Israel's most prominent lighting designers, who is renowned for his work with Batsheva Dance Company. Costume design is by Angela Wendt (of Broadway's "Rent").

 

 

 

Dead Man's Dinner
L-R: Annalisa Loeffler as Petra, Zohra Benzerga as Olympia

THROUGH APRIL 9
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"DEAD MAN'S DINNER"

Dead Man's Dinner
Kate Garfield as Petra's lover, Jackie.

Squeaky Bicycle Productions, a resident company of Theater for the New City, in the world premiere of "Dead Manís Dinner" by W.M. Akers. When the chips are down, are we men or beasts? That's the question of this new tragicomedy, to be directed by Kathryn McConnell.

The piece is an absurdist adventure story set in a dystopian future. New York has been under siege for ten years and three women are struggling to survive in a frigid, rent-stabilized apartment on the Upper West Side. Olympia and her daughter Petra have spent years surviving any way they can. When Petra falls in love with Jackie, an injured soldier, their food supplies are stretched to the limit. Death creeps closer and each woman is torn between love and hunger. Hunger always wins.

 

 

THROUGH APRIL 1
GENE FRANKEL THEATRE, 24 BOND STREET
"MARTY'S SHADOW" BY STIG DAGERMAN (SWEDEN) AND "JOURNEY IN LIGHT AND SHADOW" BY STIG DALAGER (DENMARK)

Journey
JOURNEY IN LIGHT AND SHADOW -- Carol Carter, Lauren Smith, Fergus Scully.

August Strindberg Rep presents two mystery plays by modern Scandinavian playwrights. Stig Dagerman, the acclaimed Swedish playwright, poet, novelist and journalist, was first in Paris after the liberation and the first in Berlin after the fall of the Third Reich. His play, "Marty's Shadow," is a tale of the aftermath of the resistance and is based on actual characters he met in Paris. Translated by Nancy Pick with Lo Dagerman and directed by Whitney Gail Aronson. "Journey in Light and Shadow" by Danish dramatist Stig Dalager is a play-within-a-play with three actors. Are they rehearsing, are they performing or are they not actors at all? Is it the present, the past, or in the future? The piece is something of an examination of playwriting process, with strains of Strindberg and Pirandello sewn in. Adapted by Natalie Menna from the Danish ttranslation by Robert Greer, directed by Mr. Greer.

Marty's Shadow Marty's Shadow Marty's Shadow
MARTY'S SHADOW -- Ivette Dumeng, Jackie Maruschak and Jimi Stanton

 

 

THROUGH APRIL 1
WORKSHOP THEATER, 312 W 36TH ST.
"THROUGH THE DARKNESS"

"Through the Darkness" by Alan C. Breindel recounts the unimaginable journeys and true stories of four courageous men and women who left everything behind, including their loved ones, so that they might stay one step ahead of the Holocaust. They are composite characters that playwright Breindel built from interviews with Holocaust survivors. Three of the four characters managed to avoid the horrors of the concentration camps and remained free, even if freedom was no more than the right to die on their own terms. Chaos was inescapable, freedom was motion, and the only safe place was any place other than where they were. Each of the characters repeatedly come face to face with seemingly insurmountable obstacles to daily survival and show us that when life is vastly different, life is still livable.

Through the Darkness
L-R: Alex Dmitriev, Jed Dickson, Emily Zacharias, Tracy Newirth, Robert Meksin. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

 

 

 

TERRA DEI FUOCHI / LAND OF FIRES
Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation.

THROUGH APRIL 2
LA MAMA
TERRA DEI FUOCHI / LAND OF FIRES
"Terra dei Fuochi / Land of Fires" is an environmental performance project blending modern dance, music and documentary theatre to tell the story of Campania Felix, an area in Italy north of Naples that suffered devastating loss of life due to a toxic waste disaster and scandal. Accompanying the performance will be panel discussions with local environmentalists regarding land and water contamination issues facing our global community. Accompanying the performance, a lobby display provides information about the toxic waste afflicting Campania Felix and how this situation can be compared to others around the world. The aim is to provide further education in the increasing land and water contamination issues facing our global community. Directed and Choreographed by Bianca Falco (Napoli, Campania- NYC, USA); composed by Alberto Falco (Napoli, Campania). World Premiere.

TERRA DEI FUOCHI / LAND OF FIRES TERRA DEI FUOCHI / LAND OF FIRES
Left: Laura Orfanelli, Bianca Delli Priscoli, Bianca Falco. Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation R: Lobby display.

 

 

 

 

FOOTLIGHTS

Richard Skipper
Richard Skipper

RICHARD SKIPPER CELEBRATES E.Y. "YIP" HARBURG
Richard Skipper will be joined by Karen Oberlin, Leslie Orofino, Maureen Kelley Stewart and a very special celebrity Mystery Guest to celebrate Yip Harburg's 121st birthday on Saturday, April 8 at 1:00 PM at The Laurie Beechman Theatre’s West Bank Cafe. It's a 1:00 PM "Bottomless Brunch" show--with 90 minutes of Yip's best songs.

 

 

 

Wynn Handman
Wynn Handman (right), with APT co-founder Sidney Lanier (center), receiving the Margo Jones award at City Hall in 1966 from Mayor John Lindsay (left).

DOCUMENTARY FILM, "IT TAKES A LUNATIC," WILL SPOTLIGHT WYNN HANDMAN
Wynn Handman, now a young 94, is teaching actors at his usual pace and continues to run The American Place Theatre's Literature to Life program, which has merged with Young Audiences New York. His assistant and long-time student, Billy Lyons, together with a few collaborators, is crowdfunding to complete a feature length documentary film about Mr. Handman his American Place Theatre titled "It Takes a Lunatic." Sources for the film include numerous hours of footage of Handman in his acting studio, at The American Place Theatre and elsewhere, plus interviews with former students, playwrights and friends including Norman Lear, Sydney Pollack, Michael Douglas, Olympia Dukakis, Tony Roberts, James Cann, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Tom Strelich, Sidney Lanier and Sam Shepard.

The current fundraising campaign is dedicated to completing nearly two dozen remaining interviews, logging and transcribing numerous hours of footage, and hiring the most talented editing team. Contributions are tax-deductible through the film's fiscal sponsor, Film Forum, NY's leading non-profit cinema. To learn more and view the trailer, please visit the IndieGoGo page.

 

 

 

Handbook

NEW HANDBOOK FOR ACTORS
The Professional Actor's Handbook (Rowman & Littlefield) has been published by Julio Agustin, who directed the groundbreaking Latino version of "Sweet Charity" that was presented at Aaron Davis Hall by New Haarlem Arts Theatre in 2012. Agustin is now Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance at James Madison University. He has performed in Broadway's Chicago and Fosse and runs a monthly audition studio in New York City, the Transition Workshop. Co-author is Kathleen Potts, an academic, dramaturge, and award-winning playwright on faculty at CUNY. Pre-order here.

 

 

 

 

 

PETER SHAFFER MEMORIAL
Stars of stage and screen will gather Monday, April 3 at 5:00 pm at the American Airlines Theatre to celebrate the life and legacy of Sir Peter Shaffer, much-beloved English playwright and screenwriter known for such iconic works as Equus, Amadeus, and Lettice and Lovage. Shaffer, a Manhattan resident for his last 40 years, died last May at 90, leaving behind loving family and friends, and a body of work that has shaped and influenced the theater scene for decades.

General admission tickets are just $10. All proceeds will be used to defray the cost of the event, with any remaining funds going to The Peter Shaffer Award fund, a yearly award started with Sir Peter’s blessing, given to a promising, young international playwright. More information

 

 

LAURA STRAUSFELD MOUNTS A CHEKHOV CELEBRATION
The Seventh annual Chekhov Celebration will be held Saturday, April 8 at 8:00 PM at Actors Temple Theater, 339 West 47th Street. It's produced by Chekhov fanatic Laura Strausfeld, who adapted Chekhov’s early, funny stories for the event. This year's celebration is billed as a “Chekhov vs. Trump” and will celebrate Chekhov’s subversive politics. Appearing will be Lauren Pritchard and cast members from the Off-Broadway musical "Songbird" (based on Chekhov's "The Seagull"). The Chekhov Celebration began in 2010 for the author's 150th birthday. Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, where Strausfeld is a Visiting Scholar, began sponsoring the event in 2015. Last year, Margo Jefferson wrote, "Wear black if you must. But come, commiserate and celebrate.”

 

 

 

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