Photo Flash: AMERICAN BUFFALO At TheeatreWorks Hartford
In the raw, urgent, riotous "American Buffalo", three small-time crooks plot to steal a priceless coin collection. Strategizing from the confines of a pathetic Chicago junk shop, the would-be masterminds each try to control the logistics of their ill-fated scheme. But along the way they make virtually every mistake imaginable and their outlandishly bad planning, stupidity and ego ultimately make for just about the most poorly concocted heist of all time.
Exploding onto the cultural landscape, the previously unknown playwright David Mamet established his place as a seismic force in theater with "American Buffalo". Mamet?s other well known plays include "Glengarry GLen Ross", "Speed-the-Plow", and "Oleanna". TheaterWorks presents the contemporary masterwork, "American Buffalo", in an all-new production featuring audience favorites Andrew Benator (Lobby Hero, Proof, The SantaLand Diaries) and John Ahlin (The Lonesome West and The Seafarer), along with newcomer Zachary Spicer.
"American Buffalo" runs September 11 through October 18, 2009 at TheaterWorks in Downtown Hartford?s City Arts on Pearl at 233 Pearl Street. (The play opens to press Friday, September 18 at 8 p.m.) The history of "American Buffalo" has been marked by many by triumphs and at least one fiasco. The play was first presented in 1975 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in a production that launched the career of William H. Macy.
Its first Broadway run in 1977 brought together Robert Duvall in the star role of "Teach", along with John Savage and Kenneth McMillan. Al Pacino made his own mark as "Teach" in a 1981 Off-Broadway revival that reappeared on Broadway in 1983. Surprising many, Dustin Hoffman appeared as "Teach" in a little-seen 1996 film version of the play. Most recently, full-scale disaster struck
as a Broadway revival starring John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer played for only 8 performances before closing under the weight of devastating reviews.
David Mamet is the author of the plays Boston Marriage, Faustus, Oleanna, Glengarry GLen Ross (1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 2005 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play), American Buffalo, The Old Neighborhood, A Life in the Theatre, Speed-The-Plow, Edmond, Lakeboat, The Water Engine, The Woods, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Reunion and The Cryptogram (1995 Obie Award). His translations and adaptations include Faustus, Red River by Pierre Laville, and The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekov. His films include The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, The Untouchables, House of Games (writer/director), Oleanna (writer/director), Homicide (writer/director), The Spanish Prisoner (writer/director), Heist (writer/director) and Spartan (writer/director). Mamet is also the author of Warm and Cold, a book for children with drawings by Donald Sultan, and two other children?s books, Passover and The Duck and the Goat; Writing in Restaurants, Some Freaks, and Make-Believe Town; three volumes of essays, The Hero Pony and The China Man, a book of poems; Three Children?s Plays, On Directing Film, The Cabin, and the novels The Village, The Old Religion and Wilson. His most recent books include the acting books True & False and Three Uses of the Knife.
The cast for "American Buffalo" includes two TheaterWorks? veterans and one brand new face. Andrew Benator ("Teach") returns to Hartford having appearing previously in Lobby Hero, Proof, and The Santaland Diaries. Off-Broadway credits include Things You Shouldn?t Say Past Midnight, Valparaiso, and Flu Season. Benator?s regional credits include Eurydice (Atlanta?s Alliance Theater), Room Service (Atlanta?s Theatre in the Square), Dog Opera (San Francisco?s Magic Theater), Brooklyn Boy, and Hank Kimmel?s Shorts (Atlanta?s Jewish Theater of the South),
This is Our Youth (Sacramento?s B. Street Theater) and Sister?s Rosensweig (San Jose Rep). John Ahlin ("Donny") starred in TheaterWorks? productions of The Seafarer and The Lonesome West. Broadway credits include Waiting for Godot, Journey?s End (2007 Tony Award for Best Revival), The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Voices in the Dark, One Mo? Time, Whoopee! and Macbeth. Off-Broadway Ahlin was Orson Welles in Austin Pendleton?s Orson?s Shadow. Regional theater appearances include The Drawer Boy at Studio Arena in Buffalo, The Tempest at Pittsburgh Public, Floyd Collins at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Old Globe Theatre and Goodman Theatre and as Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace. John has appeared as Falstaff six times, most recently in Henry IV at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. As a playwright, his award-winning Gray Area received its highly acclaimed New York premiere last year with The Barrow Group. Zachary Spicer ("Bobby") rounds out the cast of "American Buffalo" in his TheaterWorks debut. He was trained at Indiana University and subsequently at Circle in the Square Theater School in NYC. New York credits include The Irish Play (Irish Arts Theater), Anna Christie (Metropolitan Theater), Measure for
Measure, The Seagull, and Much Ado About Nothing. Spicer?s regional credits include Tape, Arms and the Man, Slow Dance with a Hot Pickup, and Arcadia. "American Buffalo" is directed by TheaterWorks? Artistic Director, Steve Campo. The production design team includes Adrian W. Jones (sets) and Matthew Richards (lighting). Production Manager is Michael Lenaghan. "American Buffalo" runs September 11 through October 18, 2009 at TheaterWorks at City Arts on Pearl - 233 Pearl Street in Downtown Hartford (wheelchair accessible). Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. with weekend matinees at 2:30 p.m. (The play opens to press on Friday, September 18th at 8:00 p.m.)
Tickets for "American Buffalo" are $38 for weeknights and matinees; $48 for Friday and Saturday evenings. Seating is general admission. Center reserved seats are $12 extra. College-age student rush tickets are $12 at show time with valid school ID (subject to availability). Discounts are available for groups of 12 or more. A limited number of complimentary tickets for residents of downtown Hartford are available for select performances, thanks to United Technologies. Discounted parking is available to TheaterWorks? patrons for $5 at CityPlace Garage (diagonally up Pearl Street from TheaterWorks) or the outdoor A & A Lot (corner of Asylum and Ann Street, across from Mayor Mike's Restaurant).
For complete information and reservations, call TheaterWorks at (860) 527-7838.
Visit TheaterWorks at www.theaterworkshartford.org. On Sunday, October 11th at 7:30 p.m. CONCORA, Connecticut's premier professional choral organization, will debut its brand new cabaret series, On The Town!, on the set of TheaterWorks? production of "American Buffalo". CONCORA On the Town! features Broadway songs, contemporary pop songs, and jazz standards woven together with dialogue, taking inspiration from TheaterWorks? production. Tickets for the October 11th performance of CONCORA On the Town! are available by calling (860) 224-7500 or can be
ordered online at www.concora.org.
A completely free matinee for college students and faculty is offered on Saturday, September 26th at 2:30 p.m. TheaterWorks "ALL-FREE" matinee is hosted by Trinity College Department of Theater and Dance.
Free seats are also available to students ages 16 - 18 for select performances of "American Buffalo" thanks to Lincoln Financial Foundation. Throughout the run of "American Buffalo" a stunning exhibition titled "Urban Impulse" will be presented by New Britain Museum of American Art in TheaterWorks? Gallery of American Art. TheaterWorks? Main Lobby and Gallery of American Art open 90 minutes prior to performances of "American Buffalo" for audiences to enjoy works drawn from New Britain Museum of American Art. The Gallery of American Art is sponsored by The Hartford. Bistro cuisine and wine from bin228 are available in the Gallery.
Subscriptions for TheaterWorks? upcoming five-play 2009-2010 Season are now available for $124 - less than $25 per play. For details call TheaterWorks at (860) 527-7838. Visit TheaterWorks at www.theaterworkshartford.org. TheaterWorks' Season is sponsored by Aetna. TheaterWorks' City Arts Producer is United Technologies. Free tickets for high school students courtesy of Lincoln Financial Foundation. The Gallery of American Art is sponsored by The Hartford. TheaterWorks also receives support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, The Hoffman Foundation, and HartFord Foundation for Public Giving.
Zachary Spicer and John Ahlin
Andrew Benator and John Ahlin
Zachary Spicer, Andrew Benator and John Ahlin (seated)
Zachary Spicer, Andrew Benator and John Ahlin (seated)
Andrew Benator, Zachary Spicer and John Ahlin