RETURN ENGAGEMENT FOR ACTRESS/COMEDIAN NANCY REDMAN IN HER SOLO PLAY, "A SÉANCE WITH MOM," DIRECTED BY AUSTIN PENDLETON, AT CHAIN STUDIO THEATRE AUGUST 21 TO SEPTEMBER 3
WHERE AND WHEN:
August 21 to September 3, 2023
Presented by Eighteen Productions NYC and George Slessinger
at Chain Studio Theatre, 312 West 36th Street, 4th floor
Twelve evening performances: Mondays thru Saturdays at 7:00 PM.
Six 3:00 PM matinees: Wed 8/23, Sat 8/26, Sun 8/27, Wed 8/30, Sat 9/2, Sun 9/3.
Tickets: $22 in advance; $25 for walkups
Buy tickets: https://tinyurl.com/chu4pafc
Show's website: https://our.show/nancyaseancewithmom
Critics are invited to all performances.
NEW YORK, July 27 – Eighteen séances in April, May and June did not do the trick, so award-winning actress/playwright/comedian Nancy Redman will join forces with iconic director Austin Pendleton for 18 more sessions of "A Séance With Mom" from August 21 to September 3 at Chain Studio Theatre, 312 West 36th Street. In this new solo comedy/drama, a woman named Nadine summons her mother from the grave to tell her a secret that is both important and unnerving.
The piece, a showpiece of comedy writing and character work, is performed at an onstage table with a walker at its side. Its six characters are established with only the actor's tools: voice, gesticulation and imagination. Nadine has prayed to deliver a message to her deceased mother, Gussie, and a hapless rabbi from the spirit world has been assigned to make the connection. This is not easy for him, since the afterlife is populated with so many Gussie Plotnicks. The appearance of the wrong mother is a big part of the fun. When the correct mom is finally located, there's an abrupt recognition scene:
Nadine: "How are you?"
Nadine: "How is death?"
Gussie: "The same."
Nadine learns that Mom is just as busy with doctor visits as she was in life, and as they burrow into their kinship, we witness the closeness, love and dodging that characterize every mother-daughter relationship. Old wounds are revealed, unforeseen changes appear, and the audience comes to an understanding of how such family relationships can continue even beyond the grave. There are touching tales of ancestors and their everyday-to-heroic travails that led to Nadine's life as it is today; these deepen our understanding of the complexities of all families.
The piece has had 18 previous performances in two runs this year, all at Chain Studio Theatre. Reviewing the performance in April, critic Cynthia Darling (Thinking Theater NYC) wrote, "Redman manages multi-faceted character work, each character in conversation with the other, complete with different gestures, accents, and mannerisms. The effect is riveting and, ultimately, deeply cathartic...Redman's comedy surprises and delights throughout." (https://tinyurl.com/42heaxht)
Michael Mraz (nytheatre.com), reviewing two of Redman's previous shows in United Solo Theatre Festival, wrote, "Redman is hilarious and intriguing to watch throughout. She's been described in the past with comparisons to Woody Allen, Richard Lewis, and Jackie Mason; and while I can see the reasoning behind this and this is certainly amazing company to be in, after seeing her solo shows two straight years, she is distinctively herself: none other than Nancy Redman, and I think the comparisons don't quite do her stage presence and craft justice....She is just as fantastic an actor as she is a comedian...more people should be allowed to discover that."
Redman's past one-woman shows, directed by Austin Pendleton, have earned special awards at the United Solo Theatre Festival. She earned the Best Comedian Award for "The Doctor Is Not In" (2014) and "Clutter: I'm Saving My Life and It's Killing Me" (2011) and Best Stand-up for "Emergency á la Carte" (2012). Her solo play "At Wit's End: A Home for Retired Comics," directed by Bill Cosgriff (2019), was a Best of The Decade selection.
An actress, stand-up comic and playwright, Nancy Redman owns a place in the top echelon of the nation's comedians. She has worked regularly as comedian and emcee at Dangerfield's in New York and has opened for Charo, Soupy Sales, Chubby Checker, and Jackie Mason. She entertained the troops for two months after the first Persian Gulf War and was a member of the Comic Strip Improv Group.
She studied acting at HB Studio with Austin Pendleton and Karen Ludwig and playwriting with Donna De Matteo and trained in Improvisation with Second City's Martin Harvey Friedberg, Paul Sills, and Dick Schaal. She has also written comedy for corporate shows, internet companies, and magazines.
Her TV appearances include "Girl's Night Out" (Lifetime), "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "America's Funniest People" (ABC), where she was a two-time prize winner. On film, she was featured as Connie in "Rescuing Desire" with Allison Janney. Recent stage appearances include “Fast Food Voices” by Mark Levine produced by the American Renaissance Theater Company, "Mothballs, Pills, and Pie" and "She Got Off The Couch" at The Dixon Place, the title role in "Meeting Terry Gross" at WorkShop Theater's Mainstage, "Monkey" at La MaMa and "For Art" at HB Studio Playwrights Theatre. She was recently seen as patient Mary Davenport in the web series "Nurses Station" by Nicolas Garr. She was honored in 2021 with a Jerry Kaufman Award by Carol Goldberg and the American Renaissance Theater Company for Excellence in Playwriting for her solo play "At Wit's End: a Home for Retired Comics."
Austin Pendleton (director) is an actor, director, playwright, and teacher. His most recent achievements include receiving an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination and directing "Describe the Night" by Rajiv Joseph at Steppenwolf in Chicago, directing "Between Riverside and Crazy" by Stephen Adly Guirgis on Broadway performing on Broadway in "The Minutes" by Tracy Letts. Pendleton has acted in about 250 movies and appeared several times in such TV shows as "Homicide," "OZ," and the different versions of "Law and Order." Onstage in New York he has acted on Broadway ("Choir Boy" at Manhattan Theatre Club, "The Diary of Anne Frank" with Natalie Portman and as Motel the Tailor in the original cast of "Fiddler on the Roof"); Off-Broadway (Obie winner for "The Last Sweet Days of Isaac"; "Rosmersholm" at Manhattan Theatre Club; "Up From Paradise," a musical by Arthur Miller and Stanley Silverman, at Jewish Rep; "Educating Rita" (with Laurie Metcalf); and Off-off Broadway (title roles in "King Lear," "Hamlet," "Richard The Third," "Richard The Second"), and new plays such as "City Girls and Desperadoes," "Dress of Fire" and "Consider the Lilies."
As a director Pendleton has been represented by the premiere productions of "A Thousand Pines" by Matthew Greene, "Between Riverside and Crazy" by Stephen Adly Giurgis, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize; "Fifty Words" by Michael Weller, with Elizabeth Marvel and Norbert Leo Butz; Chekhov productions at Classic Stage Company including "Three Sisters" (for which he won the Obie and which starred Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jessica Hecht), "Ivanov" with Ethan Hawke, and "Uncle Vanya" with Mamie Gummer; "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur" by Tennessee Williams with Kristine Nielsen and Annette O’Toole, "War of the Roses" (Shakespeare, at HB Studio), "Hamlet' (CSC, with Peter Sarsgaard) and "The Little Foxes" on Broadway with Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton (five Tony nominations, one for direction and three for actors, including Ms. Taylor and Ms. Stapleton). He has written three plays: "Orson's Shadow" (which ran off-Broadway for a year and was then done in London), Uncle Bob" (which ran at the Mint Theatre in New York, and was subsequently done in Paris, translated by Jean-Marie Besset) and "Booth," which was done in New York starring Frank Langella. All of these plays have been published and have been done frequently around the United States. He has taught at HB Studio since 1969.
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Critics are invited to all performances.