ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK's Todd Susman to Star in WHEN BLOOD RAN RED at KulturfestNYC
Orange is the New Black mainstay cast member Todd Susman, who plays Harold Bloom, father of series lead Larry Biggs in the Netflix hit, helms the casting of this new drama along with Tony Award nominee Jonathan C. Kaplan, (Falsettos, The Diary of Anne Frank), Opera icon Lawrence Craig (Baz Luhrmann's La Bohème) at Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand St, New York, NY 10002, on Monday, June 15 at 5:30pm.
When Blood Ran Red chronicles the relationships between African-American actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson (Craig) and European Jewish leaders, including famed Director of the Moscow State Jewish Theatre Solomon "Shloyme" Mikhoels (Susman) and leading Journalist Lev Akselrod (Kaplan), set in a growingly anti-Semitic Soviet Union following the aftermath of WWII.
Premiering as part of KulturfestNYC, the weeklong first-of-its-kind international Jewish Performing Arts festival, the direction for When Blood Ran Red will come from veteran producer and director Kenneth Ferrone, of NBC's Smash. Ferrone had this to say in a statement, "Ben's play is truly unique. There is a lot of taboo when it comes to the things that happen behind closed doors during and in the aftermath of WWII. This play that takes historical characters and true events and creates authentic situations which weave together a story about human nature and the ability to find friendship, forgiveness and love in even the most trying times. Ben's writing style encapsulates not only the period but the soul of Paul Robeson and Mikhoels as they stood against the Iron Curtain's intolerance, bigotry and genocide."
KulturfestNYC will assemble concerts, theatre, dance, film, cuisine, lectures, Family Programs and more from across the Globe, June 14-21 as part of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's [NYTF] centennial season.
"This is the genesis of something new. And genesis is always something exciting," said When Blood Ran Red producer Chris Massimine, NYTF's COO and Executive Producer, who at age 29 serves as one of the Broadway Community's youngest executives. "We don't know where the wheels on this artistic vehicle are going to lead, or where it'll settle down on the road. What we do know is what we've assembled an incredible team to bring this story life and we are doing our homework to make sure it's spot on dramaturgically correct, but make sure each character has a predesigned arc and that whether that arc leads somewhere new or comes full circle, it'll be a damn-well intriguing journey. Ben has tremendous potential as an author and this play has legs that could carry it far."
Joining Susman, Kaplan, and Craig are Broadway actors Alexander Sokovikov (House of Cards), Heidi Armbruster (Time Stands Still and LCT3 Disgraced), Max Rhyser (Chaser), Peter Reznikoff (Irena's Vow), Remy Zaken (Ragtime and Spring Awakening), and Russell Fischer (Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys.)
Conceived and curated by Stuart and Judith Friedman Rosen, and administered and cast by Jamibeth Margolis, C.S.A., the David and Clare Rosen Memorial Play Contest received approximately one hundred applicants whose works were selected for semi-final evaluation by readers spanning from Professors to Publishers, and five finalists that would be judged by an unprecedented Blue Ribbon Panel comprised of Tony Award-winning Broadway producers Emanuel Azenberg and Jane Dubin; playwright and TV series writer Jeff Baron; Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist and orchestrator Jason Robert Brown; playwright and Pulitzer Prize Finalist Jon Marans; and Drama Desk Award-Winning Playwright Israel Horovitz.
KulturfestNYC is presented in collaboration with UJA-Federation of New York, Capital One Bank and is supported by hundreds of companies, non-profits, foundations and individuals.