OLYMPICS ÜBER ALLES Begins Performances Tonight at St. Luke's Theater
Samuel J. Bernstein and Marguerite Krupp's Olympics Über Alles Begins a Limited Engagement tonight, August 27th atSt. Luke's Theater Debra Whitfield Directs this Story of Jewish-American Runners Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller at the 1936 "Nazi Olympics".
Franaleo Productions will present the Off-Broadway premiere of Samuel J. Bernstein and Marguerite Krupp's Olympics Über Alles, beginning a limited engagement on Wednesday August 27th at St. Luke's Theater (308 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues). Debra Whitfield directs a cast that features Jim DiMunno Tim Dowd, Michael Engberg, Amy Handra, Darrell Purcell, Joshua Quat, Stewart A. Schneck, and Jenn Susi. This limited run continues through September 21st only. Olympics Über Alles will have scenic and lighting design by Duane Pagano with costume design by Janice O'Donnell and sound and projections design by Paul Bourgeois. The show runs two hours including intermission.
Olympics Über Alles tells the story of the 1936 "Nazi Olympics," when Jewish-American runners Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller became victims of hatemongering. As Jesse Owens made the news, Marty and Sam, on the same U.S. track team, went unnoticed, while American and Nazi officials apparently conspired to bar them from the race of their lives. Why were these young men denied the opportunity to compete? Fast-forward to the present and follow a Jewish professor and a Catholic museum curator investigating the Glickman-Stoller incident, as they struggle against the prejudices of their upbringing, for the truth amid some murky Olympic history, and with the meaning of their own developing relationship. In this evocative new play, politics, religion, sports, relationships, and the roots of World War II come face-to-face in a theatrical whirlwind that will challenge and inspire.
Samuel J. Bernstein is Professor of English at Northeastern University, where he specializes in dramatic literature and creative writing. He is the author of The Strands Entwined, a study of the merging of absurdist and realistic strains in American drama. Besides his scholarly endeavors, Professor Bernstein has written several dramatic and musical works that have been performed in the Boston area as well as in New York City. Most recently, his play Yank, a musical adaptation of The Hairy Ape, was staged at the Boston Center for the Arts. His play, Immortal Journey: Ponce de Leon and the Spring of Life, based upon The Fountain by Eugene O'Neill, was presented as a staged reading/concert performance at the Beckett Theatre on Theater Row. Professor Bernstein's short story "The Sonderburg Saga" won the DeKalb Literary Arts Journal national short story competition. He has lectured across the United States and throughout the world on O'Neill and other figures in American drama, most recently in Australia, China, and India.
Co-author Marguerite Krupp brings the Catholic perspective to Olympics Über Alles. Marguerite is a professional writer and researcher, a lecturer at Northeastern University, an amateur historian, and a docent for the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. This is her first New York production. Marguerite has also written several technical and general interest articles and is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication.
Debra Whitfield is an award-winning director, actress, and writer. She has worked at The Mint Theater, Florida Studio Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Dorset Theatre Festival, Two River Theater Company, Hartford TheaterWorks, the Depot Theatre, and the Bickford Theatre, among others. Debra helped to develop and directed The Banana Monologues for its successful Off-Broadway run last summer at the Acorn Theatre. Her production of Trifles, at the Looking Glass Theatre, won the Beaux Arts Da Vinci Award for Best Revival in New York. Debra directed In the Belly of the Beast, for Florida Studio Theatre, which was awarded Best Play of the Year by Sarasota Magazine and named one of the top ten plays of the year by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. She also directed and choreographed the world premiere musical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Bennett House, by Eric Dente and Broadway lyricist/composer, David Aaron Austin (Beaches). Other acclaimed productions include Brighton Beach Memoirs, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Witness for the Prosecution. Debra's favorite acting roles include Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra and Natasha in the musical, Rough Crossing. She has won Best Actress awards for her work in How I Learned to Drive, Relatively Speaking and The Adjustment. TV work includes recurring and featured roles on The Edge of Night and As the World Turns. Debra had a supporting role in the feature film Lost Revolution starring Academy-Award winner, Melissa Leo. Her writing credits include: Duck Sauce Can Be Dangerous, Tech Support, The Man in the Window, and Champagne, all produced in New York City. Debra was an Associate Producer on the new Off-Broadway musical, National Pastime. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Algonquin Theater Productions and is on the Board of Directors for The Shaw Project. DebraWhitfield.net
Jim DiMunno most recently had been gracing the boards at Theater For The New City in Color, and has been seen variously in other Off-Off Broadway theatre (Men In White, Satire Off Broadway, Woyzeck, The Session), the regions (The Three Musketeers, In The Beginning, West Side Story), summer stock (Crossing Delancy, Blithe Spirit), and festivals (Orpheus Descending). He studied the craft at The Stella Adler Studios. www.jimdimunno.com.
Tim Dowd is the co-founder of Plan Z Productions. Tim's recent theatre credits include Is He Dead?, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Good People among others. He was trained at Binghamton University and at Shakespeare and Company under Dennis Krausnik. He has recently wrapped his first feature length film Threeway. www.timdowd.com
Michael Engberg recently played the starring role, Bradley in the feature film Airtight, to be released in 2014. His New York theater credits include Look Homeward, Angel directed by Austin Pendleton at the Abingdon Theatre, Henry V with The New York Classical Theatre, As You Like It with The Storm Theatre, and Fireface with The Studio New York. Michael has studied acting under Wynn Handman and Austin Pendleton, and received his BA in theater from Indiana University.
Amy Handra is making her Off-Broadway debut. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, she earned a BFA in Acting from Wright State University and an MFA in Acting from The University of Alabama. She has performed in New York City at The Strawberry One-Act Play Festival (The Commitment Cure) with Riant Theatre Company and regionally at The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The Dairy Center for the Arts, Landmark Children's Theatre, and Kincaid Regional Theatre. Internationally, she has performed in Spanish at the Teatro Nacionale in Havana, Cuba in a production of Beyond Therapy, and with members of the Maxim Gorky Theatre from Vladivostok, Russia in a bi-lingual production of The Inspector General. In addition to her theatrical work, Amy has been in commercials for Verizon Wireless, Hyundai Motor Corporation, and Healthgrades.
Darrell Purcell is a graduate of East Carolina University and New York Film Academy. Darrell has lived in NYC off and on for 2 years and made his NYC debut in The Pestilence is Coming at Magic Futurebox in Brooklyn. Favorite credits include Cinderella (AFT national tour), Black Journey (nat'l tour), Peter Pan, Clybourne Park, Hairspray, 42nd Street, Shrek the Musical, Tarzan, Cats and Young Frankenstein.
Joshua Quat is an actor and musician currently based out of Brooklyn, NY. He most recently appeared in Miracle on 34th Street at the Jenny Wiley Theatre in Kentucky. New York theatrical credits include Bohemian Lights (Live Source Collective), The Arab (Manhattan Rep), and The Law of Remains (LaMama). He just finished shooting the pilots for two new web series, and will be featured in the upcoming indie film Straight Outta Tompkins.
Stewart A. Schneck's credits include The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer's Night Dream at the Shakespeare Theater of NJ; Enchanted April at the Women's Theater Co.; The Cutting Room at the Soho Playhouse; Ira Zimmer in Brooklyn Boy at the Bergen County Players; Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at CAI Players. TV credits: "Unusual Suspects," Investigation Discovery; "Heckle U," CBS Interactive; "Too at Moneyball," "Get Your Father to Do Your Taxes," and "If All the Presidents Got High," Jest.com. StewartSchneck.com
Jenn Susi's favorite roles include The Queen from Alice Unraveled (NYMF), Satin from Biblical Bitches (Kraine Theatre, NYC), Maureen in Rent (Tour), and Siobhan in Mythos: The Crimson Chorus (Toronto). Jenn has been the host of "Ward's Past, Present, and Future" on YouTube as well as recently finishing the film, The Clinic (Tribeca Film Festival Submission). BFA in Theatre: Adelphi University; MSED in Education/Theatre Education: Lehman College.
Performances for Olympics Über Alles will be Wednesday matinees at 2PM, Thursday evenings at 8pm, and Sunday matinees at 1PM. Tickets from $39.50 (including a $2.00 Facility Fee.) are available at Telecharge.com or by calling 212/239-6200.