Mara Davi, Sean Dugan, Donna Lynne Champlin Star In Shaw's WHY SHE WOULD NOT 12/14
Gingold Theatrical Group makes history as the first company to present every play (including full-length works, one-acts and sketches) written by George Bernard Shaw with its 44th PROJECT SHAW presentation, WHY SHE WOULD NOT -- the author's final and unfinished play -- on Monday, December 14 at 7pm at The Players Club (16 Gramercy Park South) in Manhattan. David Staller, who has produced and directed all of the Project Shaw readings during its initial four-year series, is set to direct.
In WHY SHE WOULD NOT, a brash and ambitious young man, who happens to be unemployed, saves a woman from being robbed. She introduces him into her wildly successful family business and he eventually comes to run it. She will not however, consent to marry him. Why? Only the play will tell us.
Unfinished at the time of Mr. Shaw's death in 1950, WHY SHE WOULD NOT will be presented along with a newly written final scene by acclaimed playwright Israel Horovitz, best known for his long-running Off-Off Broadway play LINE (now in its record-breaking 35th year), PARK YOUR CAR IN HARVARD YARD, and OBIE Award-winning play THE INDIAN WANTS THE BRONX.
To honor Shaw's background as a theatre critic turned playwright, Gingold Group artistic director David Staller also commissioned noted theatre journalists David Cote (Time Out New York), Michael Feingold (Village Voice), Jeremy McCarter (Newsweek), and Robert Simonson (Playbill) to each write a new ending for WHY SHE WOULD NOT. The writers were given no guidelines other than to keep their work short and to use the characters already established in the play.
All five new endings will be presented. Each writer will narrate his own ending of WHY SHE WOULD NOT.
The evening opens with a reading of Mr. Shaw's short play THE GADFLY, an adaptation of Ethel Voynich's 1897 novel about spies, political maneuverings, and the danger of combining church and state.
The cast includes Jim Brochu (ZERO HOUR), Donna Lynne Champlin (Billy Elliott), Mara Davi (WHITE CHRISTMAS), Sean Dugan (NEXT FALL), Josh Grisetti (BROADWAY BOUND), Simon Jones, Victor Slezak, and Tom Viola.
Tickets for WHY SHE WOULD NOT on Monday, December 14 at The Players Club (16 Gramercy Park South) are $20. Project Shaw readings are open to the public. For reservations, call TheaterMania at 212-352-3101 or visit www.PROJECTSHAW.com
Although the official number of Shaw's plays is generally agreed to be 63, there are also bits of dialogue written by Shaw in some of his celebrated "Prefaces"; as well as other snippets in an interview in which he presses himself with questions regarding his first play, WIDOWER'S HOUSES. All of these: full-length plays, one-acts and sketches will have been presented by the end of the evening on Monday, December 14. Not even Canada's Shaw Festival (in operation since 1962) can make a similar boast!
The Gingold Theatrical Group began its history-making PROJECT SHAW on Monday, January 23, 2006 with concert reading of the author's ARMS AND THE MAN, starring Malcolm Gets, Alison Fraser and Marc Kudish. Over these past four years, and 44 Monday-night presentations, the readings have played to sold-out crowds at The Players Club and starred some of the theatre's most celebrated actors including Bryan Batt, Gary Beach, Kate Baldwin, Reed Birney, Blair Brown, Charles Busch, Michael Cerveris, Veanne Cox, John Cullum, Tyne Daly, Jonathan Groff, Jayne Houdyshell, George S. Irving, Cheyenne Jackson, Daniel Jenkins, Marc Kudisch, Rebecca Luker, John McMartin, Kate Mulgrew, Megan Mullally, Brian Murray, Lorenzo Pisoni, Jane Powell, Charlotte Rae, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Marian Seldes, Carol Shelley, Fritz Weaver, and Karen Ziemba.
Each PROJECT SHAW reading is produced and directed by David Staller, who founded the Gingold Theatrical Group. His inspiration to create the series was in direct response to the re-election of former President George W. Bush. As all of Shaw's plays deal with human rights and the inexorable power of the individual, the time seemed right. In addition to directing, Mr. Staller judiciously edits each play, consulting every available version of the author's plays, notes and letters to create the most comprehensive version for the concert reading.
As Shaw began his theatrical life as a critic, (and since Project Shaw concert readings are not open to reviews), members of the press have also been involved in each reading. Among those who have introduced or acted include Mark Blankenship, David Cote, Adam Feldman, Michael Feingold, David Finkle, Eric Grode, Charles Isherwood, Howard Kissel, Brendan Lemon, Brian Scott Lipton, Jeremy McCarter, Michael Musto, Patrick Pacheco, Rex Reed, Michael Reidel, David Rooney, Frank Scheck, Michael Schulman, David Sheward, John Simon, Raven Snook, Alexis Soloski, and Roma Torre.
Although the initial series of PROJECT SHAW is concluding, on schedule, the wildly popular series will continue indefinitely. In 2010, audiences will be offered many of their Shaw favorites, including MAJOR BARBARA, CANDIDA, MAN AND SUPERMAN, and ARMS AND THE MAN, which will kick off the sophomore series on Monday, January 25.
Next year will also see an expansion into fully mounted productions for The Gingold Theatrical Group.
In addition to Project Shaw, Gingold Theatrical Group (GTG) is also producing a successful new play development program. Named for one of Shaw' inflammatory one-acts, PRESS CUTTINGS: THE NEW PLAYS. The writers are currently on-staff critics or journalists devoted to covering the theater scene. The three writers chosen for the first year's cycle are David Cote, Jeremy McCarter and Robert Simonson. These plays will be developed in a yearlong workshop process. Once their own theatre space is secured, GTG will be presenting a full season including two fully mounted Shaw plays and at least one new play. These plays are to focus on the Shavian precepts involving individual human rights, political and social responsibility and the comic absurdity of daily life. GTG also engages in educational programs, most notably with the Lighthouse International Saturday morning program, which promotes the Shavian precepts to inner-city teens.
The Players Club is New York's most legendary private club. The former residence of Edwin Booth, it became a club for those interested in the arts in 1888.
For more information, visit www.projectshaw.com
Photo credit: Peter James Zielinski