A THURBER CARNIVAL Reading and More Set for Pearl Theatre Opening on 42nd Street Today, 10/1

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Today, October 1, The Pearl Theatre Company celebrates the opening of The Pearl Theatre (555 West 42nd Street), its first permanent home, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a benefit reading of James Thurber's A Thurber Carnival, arranged and directed by Michael McKean, who will also perform. The reading's all-star cast also includes Jason Butler Harner, Jackie Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel, Dakin Matthews, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, and Annette O'Toole.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 3pm, followed by A Thurber Carnival at 7:30 pm and a reception with the cast and The Pearl's Resident Acting Company at 8:45pm. Benefit tickets are priced at $200, $500, and $1,000 and can be reserved by calling 212.598.9502 or visiting pearltheatre.org. Proceeds from the event will go toward The Pearl Theatre Company's New Stage for the Classics Campaign.

Author and cartoonist James Thurber delighted his readers with fantastical stories and puckish portraits of everyday life. The Tony Award-winning A Thurber Carnival offers a first-class sampling of his sparkling wit including "The Last Flower," "File and Forget!" and the incomparable "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." The original 1960 Broadway run met with considerable success and was widely hailed. "Both the freshest and funniest show on Broadway," said Brooks Atkinson in the The New York Times. "Sheer delight," said Walter Kerr in the New York Herald Tribune, while Kenneth Tynan in The New Yorker called it "easily the funniest show on Broadway."

The Pearl Theatre Company has secured a 20-year lease on 555 West 42nd Street, having performed at New York City Center Stage II since 2009, when it left the location it had occupied since 1994: Theatre 80 on St. Mark's Place in the East Village.

The Pearl's Artistic Director, J.R. Sullivan, shared his enthusiasm about his company's new home: "This move to 42nd Street marks a tremendous opportunity for The Pearl and its audiences. The former home of the Signature Theatre Company is justly renowned as a great space for great plays. It is convenient, comfortable, and offers audiences an intimate relationship to an especially fine stage space. It will prove a perfect fit for the classics to come from The Pearl."

The Pearl Theatre Company's 2012-13 season begins on October 19 with Figaro, a fresh adaptation by Charles Morey. The work is based on Beaumarchais'' 1778 play The Marriage of Figaro, the comedy that preceded the Mozart opera. In the winter, the company will present the New York premiere of writer-performer James DeVita's In Acting Shakespeare, the personal, playful story of one man's journey from the fishing boats of Long Island to a life as a classical actor. Next, The Pearl will stage Henry IV Part 1, Shakespeare's tale of a headstrong prince teetering between two very different fates. The play picks up where Richard II (produced by The Pearl in the 2011-12 season) leaves off. The season will culminate with the world premiere of And Away We Go, a new play written expressly for the The Pearl by four-time Tony Award-winner Terrence McNally.

Founded in 1984 by a small troupe of artists in Chelsea, The Pearl has grown into a renowned Off-Broadway company. The Pearl connects audiences to timeless classic plays, while providing an artistic home to theatre professionals, especially its core company of resident actors. As New York's only classical resident company, The Pearl has produced a body of work encompassing the full breadth of theater history, from ancient Greek tragedy to contemporary works rooted in the classics.

The Pearl has garnered numerous awards, including, most recently, a special 2011 Drama Desk Award for "notable productions of classic plays and nurturing a stalwart resident company of actors" and a 2011 Lortel Award nomination for Best Revival (for The Misanthrope).

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