Group Theatre to Celebrate 80th Anniversary, 6/4
On the occasion of The Group Theatre's 80th anniversary, the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (Frank Hentschker, Executive Director) presents a day of readings, panels, rarely-heard recordings and screenings of unseen footage all dedicated to understanding "The Group Theatre and How it Changed American Culture." All events are free, first-come-first-served, and take place in the Elebash Recital Hall at the Graduate Center, CUNY, at 34th Street and 5th Avenue.
In 1931, three theatrical visionaries-Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, and Cheryl Crawford –created America's first permanent company of actors, The Group Theatre. Modeled on the Moscow Art Theatre, The Group Theatre presented timely plays using Constantin Stanislavsky's System of Acting with an ensemble that included Stella Adler, Sandy Meisner, Bobby Lewis, Sidney Lumet, and Elia Kazan. The Group Theatre premiered many legendary American plays over a ten year period, among them Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing, and their influence continues. Co-creators Mel Gordon and Ronald Rand have organized a day of spectacular insight into the Group, welcoming special guests like Lee Grant, Wendy Smith, John Strasberg and Ellen Adler.
During the day, we will highlight the extraordinary accomplishments of three of the Group's titans-Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and Harold Clurman-which will be followed by an evening event that will combine new work with a panel discussion on The Group Theatre's influence in American culture and society.
A screening of a 1982 interview with Lee Strasberg, a reading of a 1932 affective memory exercise with Robert Ellerman, slide presentations of exercises conducted by the Group and the 1933 performance Men in White
A screening of a 1985 interview with Stella Adler, actual recordings of Adler in Success Story (1932) andAwake and Sing (1935), a reading from Adler's 1934 notes to Constantin Stanislavsky (and Stanislavsky's response), and a radio broadcast of The Group in Clifford Odets's Sarah Bernhardt
Video interviews on Clurman from Karl Malden and Lee Strasberg, a slide presentation and stage recording ofGolden Boy (starring Luther Adler and Frances Farmer,) and rare footage of Group actors reprising their Golden Boy roles
6:30pm: PERFORMANCES AND REPERFORMANCES
Readings from the original 1931 Group Theatre Diary, a reading from Ronald Rand's play "The Group!" with Fritz Weaver, and screenings of The Group Theatre on Film (including 1936 screen tests for Success Story, Awake and Sing and others)
7:00pm: PANEL DISCUSSION: The Group Theatre and How it Changed American Culture