Chicago's A Red Orchid Theatre and Bisno Productions Launch New Partnership
A Red Orchid Theatre (Kirsten Fitzgerald, Artistic Director; Rebecca Easton, Managing Director), Chicago's critically acclaimed resident theater company, in association with Bisno Productions (Debbie Bisno, Roberta Pereira), have announced the launch of a new collaborative partnership, A Red Orchid NYC. The newly launched initiative, here in New York, fulfills the expanded mission of the Chicago based company to introduce the Ensemble's original new works to a national audience.
A Red Orchid Theatre (Chicago) was founded in 1993 and has been an artistic mainstay of the Chicago theatre community. The Company is known and praised for its powerful ensemble, creative design and gripping, intimate productions - along with a well known founding company member - the Brooklyn based, Oscar Nominated actor Michael Shannon. The resident Ensemble maintains the conviction that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit and that passionately committed theatre will draw passionately committed audiences. A Red Orchid Theatre members include Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.
Bisno Productions is headed by Debbie Bisno and Producer Roberta Pereira, whose recent productions include: Tony-nominated Mothers and Sons; Annie; West End's Olivier-winning Merrily We Roll Along and Passion Play; Broadway's GRACE w/Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, Ed Asner & Kate Arrington; War Horse, (Bway, Toronto, US Tour). BP recently developed a new musical for younger audiences-Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, score by Motown legend Lamont Dozier. Previous Broadway: Merchant of Venice w/Al Pacino; Hair, Priscilla; David Mamet's Speed the Plow. Off Broadway: Through a Glass Darkly starring Carey Mulligan, in association with the Atlantic Theater Company. www.bisnoproductions.com
In making the announcement, Debbie Bisno - who has deep Chicago theater ties - had this to share, "Joining forces with this remarkable team of artists and reconnecting with our theatrical roots is especially exciting. The collaboration is perfectly aligned with a primary focus and passion - reinforcing the bridge between the theatrical community in New York and the exceptional talent on the ground in Chicago." She went on to add, "We envision this partnership as a model to foster a more active pipeline between NYC audiences & the Industry, and the uniquely intimate ensemble work and new writers who are constantly percolating and thriving in Chicago. There's something about how the 'ensemble' approach to theater fuels a certain type of raw talent, and particularly visceral experiences, that audiences don't always experience on the larger stages and commercial platforms."
The inaugural production of the newly formed A Red Orchid NYC, is the New York premiere of the company's hit production of The Opponent, written by Ensemble Member Brett Neveu. There are only fifty-four seats each night - and audiences will literally find themselves "ring-side" at a boxer's gym. Accomplished playwright and A Red Orchid Theatre Ensemble Member Brett Neveu takes a look at the hard scrabble world of boxing from the perspective of a small time gym owner and a young up-and-comer. They come from different worlds, they barely understand each other, but in the ring anything is possible. Questions of loyalty and life's dreams are put to the test in this explosive New York premiere that promises to pull some punches and fearlessly land the others.
Directed by Ensemble Member Karen Kessler, the two-character play will feature Ensemble Members Kamal Angelo Bolden and Guy Van Swearingen who reprise their critically acclaimed roles as Donell and Tre, respectively. Performances begin Thursday, July 31, 2014 for a strictly limited engagement through Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street). Opening Night is set for Wednesday, August 7, 2014.
"Bisno Productions is thrilled to partner with A Red Orchid Theatre (AROT) in launching the NY Premiere of Brett Neveau's celebrated play, The Opponent. AROT typifies the bold, daring ensemble work that distinguishes Chicago as a magnificent theater town," said Debbie Bisno. She concluded with, "And, 59E59 is the perfect home for this exciting debut."
The Opponent scored a knock out with Chicago critics and audiences at A Red Orchid Theatre's 2012 world premiere. Chris Jones from the Chicago Tribune called it, "a great new play that dances, parries and, most important, lands some killer punches." Hedy Weiss of the Sun-Times said The Opponent was "a superb blend of physical and psychological warfare."
The Opponent marks the third production originally produced by A Red Orchid Theatre charting a path to New York City: Tracy Lett's Bug, and Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made, both starring A Red Orchid Theatre company member Michael Shannon, had their world premieres in Chicago, and subsequently had successful New York debuts at the Barrow Street Theatre.