Mark Lamos Directs Wedekind's LULU at Yale Rep

Yale Repertory Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director James Bundy and Managing Director Victoria Nolan, presents Frank Wedekind's shocking classic drama Lulu as translated by Carl R. Mueller, adapted for this production by Mark Lamos and Drew Lichtenberg, and directed by Mark Lamos, from March 30 through April 21. (Press night is Thursday, April 5 at 8 p.m.).

Who is Lulu? Is she the virgin or the vamp, the femme fatale or the eternal feminineor is she the reflection of every man's desire? As Lulu climbs from the gutter to the heights of society, she intoxicates a succession of lovers, some who will kill for herand some who will die for her. From the author of Spring Awakening, Lulu is sexy, scandalous, and like the woman herself, unforgettable. Due to nudity, violence, and sexual situations, Lulu is for mature audiences only.

Tony Award nominee Mark Lamos (who staged Yale Rep's 2003 revival of The Taming of the Shrew) promises a visceral staging of this controversial and rarely-produced masterpiece. Working from translations of Wedekind's "Lulu plays" by Carl R. Mueller, Lamos and dramaturg Drew Lichtenberg have created a single evening of theater out of the original Monster Tragedy (1894), Earth Spirit (1895), and Pandora's Box (1903).

According to Lamos, "When James Bundy suggested Wedekind's Lulu as a possibility for my return to Yale Rep, I hadn't read it for many years. What struck me most was how different the play was from G.W. Pabst's silkily sensual silent film starring the legendary Louise Brooks. It also bore only passing resemblance to Alban Berg's operatic incarnation. Wedekind worked from a tradition of cabaret, vaudeville, and the political club scene of his time. The original Lulu is much more absurdist, more knockabout than the famous film and the lushly atonal operatic masterpiece. His work inspired artists in all mediums, including Bert Brecht, whose experimental mixing of styles and tones became a staple of the 20th century avant-garde."

With the recent Criterion DVD release of Pabst's Pandora's Box (1929) and the hit Broadway musical adaptation of Wedekind's Spring Awakening, now is the time to rediscover this highly influential playwright.

Mark Lamos is a director of plays, musicals, and operas. From 1980 to 1997, he was artistic director of Hartford Stage, where he staged 14 Shakespeare plays and an Ibsen cycle that included the complete Peer Gynt. His Broadway credits include Our Country's Good (Tony nomination), The Deep Blue Sea, and The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm; Off-Broadway credits include Big Bill, Tiny Alice (Lortel Award, Drama Desk nomination), and Measure for Measure (Lortel Award). He has worked extensively at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and the opera companies of San Francisco, Santa Fe, St. Louis, Seattle, and Munich, among others. Lulu is his second production at Yale Rep.

The title role of Lulu will be played by Brienin Bryant (who has appeared at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Cherry Lane Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, Guthrie Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and Trinity Repertory Company, as well as at The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival). The cast features Louis Cancelmi (Broadway and West End: Vincent in Brixton); Jordan Charney (Slapstick Tragedy, Talley's Folly, and The Birthday Party on Broadway); Felicity Jones (The Ladies of the Camellias at Yale Rep, Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, Measure for Measure, and The Odyssey, Mark Lamos's Cymbeline at Hartford Stage, and Athol Fugard's Captain's Tiger); New Haven native and Yale School of Drama graduate John Bedford Lloyd (whose film credits include Nixon, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Manchurian Candidate); Jesse J. Perez (Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, and Yale Rep's The Cherry Orchard and The Taming of the Shrew); Charles Socarides (Primary Stages production of A.R. Gurney's Indian Blood directed by Mark Lamos, and the Lincoln Center Theater production of Awake and Sing!); and Joe Vincent (Elephant Man on Broadway, King of Hearts at Goodspeed Opera House, and former artistic director of California Shakespeare Festival).

Completing the cast are Alexander Beard (Roundabout Theatre and The Public Theater in New York, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Rep's The Cherry Orchard, 2005); Michael Braun (fall 2006 recipient of both the Princess Grace Foundation-USA Award and its Grace Le Vine Theater Award); Sarita Covington (title role in Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks at Yale School of Drama, 2007); Laura Esposito (Camino Real at Yale School of Drama, 2007); Joseph Gallagher (title role in Yale Rep's Brundibar, 2006); Brianna Hill (Marat/Sade at Yale School of Drama, 2006); and Erica Sullivan (Camino Real at Yale School of Drama, 2007).

Lulu features scenic design by Rumiko Ishii, costume design by Christina Bullard, lighting design by Burke Brown, sound design by David Thomas, choreography and musical staging by Sean Curran (founder of the Sean Curran Company, lead dancer for Bill T. Jones, original cast member of Stomp), dramaturgy by Catherine Sheehy and Drew Lichtenberg, and fight direction by Rick Sordelet.

Lulu will be performed at the Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street (at York). Evening performances are Monday through Saturday at 8 p.m. (no Monday performance on April 9 or April 16); matinees are at 2 p.m. on Saturday (except March 31) and on Wednesday, April 11.

Lower-priced previews are March 30 through April 4 at 8 p.m. Opening night is Thursday, April 5 at 8 p.m. with a cast party following the performance at Zinc (964 Chapel Street).

"Talk Back," a program of insightful conversations with members of the cast and creative team, will be held after the April 7 matinee, April 10 evening performance, and April 14 matinee. "Talk Back" is sponsored by the New Haven Advocate.

For seniors, the Wednesday, April 11 matinee features a pre-performance conversation with members of the creative team at 1 p.m., including complimentary dessert, courtesy of Atticus Bookstore and Caf. On Thursday, April 12, join the "Before & After" crowd with a 6 p.m. pre-show pizza party and mixer at BAR (254 Crown Street) and a post-show "Talk Back."

The Open Captioned performance of Lulu is Saturday, April 14 at 2 p.m. Open captioned performances offer patrons a digital display of the play's dialogue as it is spoken. Open captioning is provided for Yale Rep by c2inc.

The Audio Described performance is Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. Audio description offers a live narration of the play's action, sets, and costumes for blind or low vision patrons via headset. Pre-show description begins in the theatre at 1:45 p.m. The number for teletype orders is (203) 432-1521.

Ticket prices range from $35 to $55, with discounts available for students, seniors, and groups of ten or more. For tickets or more information, visit www.yalerep.org or call (203) 432-1234.

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