The Public and Theater for a New Audience Announce the Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project
The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Patrick Willingham) and Theater for a New Audience (Founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz; Managing Director Dorothy Ryan and Chairman of the Board, Henry Christensen III) will present THE Wallace Shawn-ANDRÉ GREGORY PROJECT in 2013, a celebration of the remarkable 40-year collaboration between Wallace Shawn and André Gregory. The two plays, THE DESIGNATED MOURNER and GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS, will offer a long overdue retrospective of Shawn's work as well as an opportunity for him to appear on the New York stage again under Gregory's direction. The Public Theater presenTed Shawn's first play in New York, Our Late Night, in 1975, directed by Gregory.
In this two-part event, the acclaimed masterwork, THE DESIGNATED MOURNER, will run Friday, June 21 through Sunday, August 25, 2013 at The Public's Shiva Theater for its first New York revival. The cast will include Shawn as well as Deborah Eisenberg and Larry Pine – original company members from the 2000 New York production.
GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS, which had its world premiere at The Royal Court Theatre in 2009, will have its American Premiere at The Public's Shiva Theater next fall with Shawn, Emily McDonnell and Jennifer Tilly repeating their roles in this acclaimed production. GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS will run Tuesday, October 8 through Sunday, November 10.
"Wally Shawn, André Gregory, and Eugene Lee have been creating one of the most unique and exciting bodies of work in the American Theater for the last 40 years," said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "The Public is proud to collaborate with Theatre for a New Audience in bringing this remarkable repertory to the New York audience. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the work of these seminal artists in its most perfect expression."
"It's thrilling to be co-producing The Wallace Shawn-André Gregory Project with The Public Theater and celebrate this remarkable theatrical collaboration," said Jeffrey Horowitz, Founding Artistic Director of Theatre for a New Audience. "Wallace Shawn is one of America's most significant playwrights, long overdue for a major retrospective. André Gregory, his My Dinner With André co-star, has been directing Shawn's plays for 40 years. This season, we are producing Shakespeare, Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett along with Shawn. What connects these authors is that they all use language in pointed and inimitable ways that makes us think critically about who we are and how we live."
THE DESIGNATED MOURNER is a monologue-triptych in which three artist-intellectuals describe their experiences as their once-liberal country sinks into totalitarianism. A famous poet-intellectual, his daughter, and her husband-people made of very different moral fiber despite their shared highbrow background-observe the subtle and flagrant transformations to everyday life, public affairs and personal relationships as their government brutally cracks down on anyone suspected of subversion. This searing and disturbing drama, prescient of much that occurred during the George W. Bush years and afterward, has been called Shawn's masterpiece.
Shawn's most outlandish work to date, GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS, is a disturbing and anomalously beautiful play that touches on almost every imaginable form of sexual expression while spinning a dystopian fantasy about ecological disaster. Ben, the play's central character, is a doctor who believes he has solved world hunger when he figures out how to rejigger the metabolisms of animals to tolerate eating their own kind. He ends up ruining the global ecosystem. Yet GRASSES OF A THOUSAND COLORS is no mere social drama. Instead of exclusively dwelling on social disaster, it also explores the riotous sexual imaginations of Ben, his wife, and his lovers.
Wallace Shawn (Playwright/Performer). His plays include The Designated Mourner; Grasses of a Thousand Colors; The Fever; and Aunt Dan & Lemon and Marie and Bruce. With André Gregory, he wrote the film My Dinner With André, and with Tom Cairns he wrote the film Marie and Bruce. Scott Elliott directed Aunt Dan & Lemon and direcTed Shawn as an actor in Hurlyburly. Shawn was the editor of "Final Edition," which contained work by Deborah Eisenberg, Mark Strand and Jonathan Schell, and Shawn's interview with Noam Chomsky.
ANDRÉ GREGORY (Director) has directed numerous productions at The Public including Jinxs Bridge, Alice in Wonderland, Our Late Night, and The Seagull. A director, producer, and actor, he has appeared on Broadway in Rumors and Off-Broadway in The Middle Ages and Time to Go. Gregory wrote the screenplay for Vanya on 42nd Street and co-wrote Dinner with André with Wallace Shawn. His select film credits include My Dinner with André; Author! Author!; The Mosquito Coast; The Last Temptation of Jesus Christ; Street Smart; Goodbye Lover; and Celebrity.
The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Patrick Willingham, Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals, and productions of classics at its downtown home and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public Theater's mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day onstage and through extensive outreach programs. Each year, more than 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe's Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public Theater's productions have won 42 Tony Awards, 158 Obies, 45 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. Fifty-four Public Theater Productions have moved to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; For Colored Girls…; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring In 'da Noise, Bring In 'da Funk; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Passing Strange; the revival of HAIR; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Merchant of Venice. www.publictheater.org.
THEATRE FOR A NEW AUDIENCE, (Jeffrey Horowitz, Artistic Director; Dorothy Ryan, Managing Director) founded in 1979 by Mr. Horowitz, is a modern classical theatre whose cornerstone is Shakespeare. The Theatre is dedicated to the language and ideas of authors and produces Shakespeare alongside other classic and contemporary plays. It has played Off and on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally. In 2000, the Theatre's production of The Green Bird directed by Julie Taymor transferred to Broadway. In 2001 Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline, directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC; in 2007, Theatre for a New Audience was invited to return to the RSC with The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham and directed by Darko Tresnjak. In 2011, Mr. Abraham reprised his role as Shylock for a national tour. The Theatre's productions have been honored with over 80-Tony, OBIE, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations. Last season, the Theatre played to 49,000 people, an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural background. The Theatre created and runs the largest program in the New York City Public Schools to introduce Shakespeare, and has served more than 123,000 students since the program began in 1984. In June, 2011, Theater for a New Audience celebrated the groundbreaking for its first home, a center for Shakespeare and classic drama adjacent to BAM in the new Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District. The new Theatre will open in fall 2013.