Next Arena and Mistral Productions Present VINCENT, 10/7-11/18

Next Arena and Mistral Productions Present VINCENT, 10/7-11/18

The Next Arena and Mistral Productions present Leonard Nimoy's Vincent, directed by Paul Stein, performed by Jean-Michel Richaud.

A few days after the death of little known painter Vincent van Gogh, rumors are flying in Paris. Some say he was a penniless madman, a frequenter of prostitutes, a derelict and soon to be forgotten artist of trifling quality. Others denounce him as a wayward priest and a foreigner. Many whisper he took his own life in a moment of insanity. His brother Theo, Vincent's confidante and lifelong supporter, is enraged. Tonight, he hopes to set the record straight.

Leonard Simon Nimoy (Playwright) is a renowned actor, writer, film director, poet, musician and photographer. He is perhaps best known for originating the role of Spock in the Star Trek series, for which he received three Emmy Award nominations and legions of fans. An artist himself, Mr. Nimoy was inspired by the play Van Gogh, by Phillip Stevens to create this work. In writing Vincent, he expanded on Stevens' play and drew on a treasure trove of source material -- over 500 letters written between Van Gogh and his brother Theo in the ten years Vincent struggled to master his art.

Paul Stein (Director) has directed numerous one-person shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Toronto including productions at United Solo NYC, soloNova, Summer Works Festival, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and Hollywood Fringe. Recently directed Antonio Sacre's The Next Best Thing, winner of "Best Storyteller" at United Solo and 2012 LA Weekly Award nomination for Solo Performance; and Alan Aymie's No Child Left Behind at the Beverly Hills Playhouse for Katselas Theatre. Paul is the Artistic Producer and Conceiver of The Car Plays, a site-specific event with past productions at RADAR LA,Segrestrom Center and the La Jolla Playhouse. He is the Artistic Director / Founder of The Solo Collective, CTG's Sherwood Award semi-finalist and works for Comedy Central.

Jean-Michel Richaud (Vincent, Theo) received his MA from Sorbonne University, and studied at Paris's National Conservatory and Columbia University's graduate theater program. He is a founding member of award-winning theater company The Next Arena, starring in many company productions, including No Exit, The Angry Guy in The Pink Hat and Von Bach. Jean-Michel has appeared in numerous film and television shows, including Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, What Just Happened opposite Robert DeNiro, and Bottle Shock opposite Alan Rickman. He is recognized as one the top European voice over talents in Los Angeles. Among the 250+ movies he has dubbed into French, he had the pleasure of voicing Al Pacino in the anniversary edition of Scarface and Academy Award winner Colin Firth in The King's Speech.

About VINCENT-Leonard Nimoy…in his own words:

"Some years ago I was a very active lecturer on the college circuit. The work was hard, travelling every day for two or three weeks, usually taking at least two planes and sometimes even three to make connections to the smaller towns like Billings, Montana. But the pay was an important part of my income and, at least for a while, the events were exhilarating."

"Star Trek was enormously popular on the college campuses and students were eager to hear stories about the making of the original series. But inevitably, I felt repetitive and, as is my nature, I began searching for a new challenge. My hope was that I could develop a one-person show that would employ my acting skills while providing spiritual nourishment."

"In the midst of one of my lecture tours I found the seed of the idea for Vincent. At a small college in upstate New York, I had just completed one of my appearances and was invited by a couple who were faculty members to come to their home for conversation and drinks. My usual pattern was to avoid those gatherings. They often amounted to a draining of energy at the end of a long day of travel and work. Then there would be a night of restless sleep in a new motel room and an early flight in the morning. But somehow these people seemed sympathetic and interesting and I accepted their invitation."

"It was a good evening of conversation. We talked about politics, academia and the arts. I asked them to tell me what other speakers had been on the circuit. Usually, I recognized the names of my fellow travelers, book authors and politicians who were most frequently mentioned, but in this case there was a new and intriguing presentation. An actor had done an evening portraying Theo, Vincent's brother, in a play called Van Gogh written by Phillip Stephens."

"There was a treasure to draw from. Vincent van Gogh had written over 500 letters to his brother Theo over the 10 year period of Vincent's struggle to master his art. Theo was Vincent's total support, financially and emotionally and Vincent's letters, now widely published, were as passionate as his paintings. Both in spiritual and artistic statement, they described Vincent's progress in his life and his art."

"In a short time I was able to contact Phillip Stephens and bought the rights to his play. In my research, I found a letter that Theo had written to his mother after Vincent's death. The mother was ill and unable to travel so Theo described the funeral and told his mother that while others spoke at the service, he himself was too overcome with grief and was unable to express himself. From this I built the idea that Theo was now wanting to say some things about his brother and had invited this audience to come and hear his story."

"It is a great source of pleasure to know that Vincent lives through the performances of talented actors." (Excerpts from VINCENT Dramatic Publishing)

The Next Arena is a theater company dedicated to creating an artistic arena of innovative and unflinching performing arts throughout greater Los Angeles by offering a forum where actors, writers, and visual artists can collaborate to produce daring theater that celebrates the diversity of human experience.

The company, founded in 2004, has numerous critically-acclaimed productions to their credit: Star Wars Saga in 60 Minutes (2012) - Written & directed by Patrick T. Gorman, based on the original Star Wars films. George Lucas called the production "extremely funny", the LA Times said it recalled "the glory days of Second City…", and Variety declared it a "smash hit". Von Bach (2010, revival, 2011) written by Owen Hammer, directed by Scott Rognlien. LA Weekly said "Go!" The Angry Guy in the Pink Hat (2006, extended through 2007) written by Ken Brisbois, directed by Scott Rognlien. The LA Times said "often hysterical and sometimes brilliant!" The Mythology Project: In The Beginnings (2004) Conceived, written & directed by Annie Terry. BackStage West said "these brief myths are as fascinating as they are funny!" Not Dead Yet (2004) – Winner, "Best One Act Playwriting" at the 26th Annual LA Weekly Theater Awards. Written & produced by Aaron Samson. Directed by Paul Stein. Revived in 2005 for the NY Fringe Festival. No Exit (2004) Written by Jean-Paul Sartre. Directed by Scott Rognlien. Critically acclaimed, 60th year Anniversary revival.

Play runs October 7 through November 18. Sundays at 6:00pm. Talk-back Sunday, Oct. 7 after show. VS Theater (formerly known as the Black Dahlia), 5453 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. For tickets, go to www.thenextarena.com or call (323) 417-2170.

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