Photo Flash: NIGHT SKY At Baruch Performing Arts Center
NIGHT SKY, a play by Susan Yankowitz, will be presented Off-Broadway this spring with previews beginning May 22 prior to its official opening June 2 at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Ave.) in Manhattan.
Directed by Daniella Topol, The Cast of NIGHT SKY will feature JorDan Baker, last seen in NY in the original cast of Edward Albee's THREE TALL WOMEN opposite Marian Seldes and Myra Carter 15 years ago.
NIGHT SKY explores what the noted author and physicist Stephen Hawking has called the two remaining mysteries -- the brain and the cosmos -- as the play looks at what happens to a bright, articulate astronomer, her family and her career when she is struck by a car and loses her ability to speak conventionally, a condition known as "aphasia." As she is left to expresses herself in an alternately funny, poetic, confusing and profound hodge-podge of words, astronomer Anna, her daughter, fiancé and colleagues face uncommon challenges of the mind and spirit as they discover new ways to communicate, and what it really means to listen.
The Cast of NIGHT SKY also features Jim Stanek (LESTAT, LITTLE WOMEN, THE RIVALS on Broadway), Tuck Milligan (GEM OF THE OCEAN, Broadway), Lauren Ashley Carter, Dan Domingues (KING LEAR opposite Alvin Epstein Off-Bway) and Maria-Christina Oliveras
NIGHT SKY is inspired by and dedicated to the memory of the late, revered actor, director, playwright and founder of the Open Theatre, Joseph Chaikin, himself affected with aphasia following a stroke in 1984. Having recovered sufficiently to continue writing, directing and performing until his death in 2003, Mr. Chaikin commissioned Ms. Yankowitz to write NIGHT SKY.
JorDan Baker, who portrays Anna in NIGHT SKY, was last seen in New York opposite Marian Seldes and Myra Carter in the original cast of Edward Albee's 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winning play THREE TALL WOMEN. She previously appeared on Broadway in Tennessee Williams' GARDEN DISTRICT, earning a Theater World Award, and starred in U.K. in the Royal Exchange Theater production of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. Her numerous film credits include "City Hall" with Al Pacino and "Childless" with Joe Mantegna and Barbara Hershey.
Design team for NIGHT SKY is Cameron Anderson (Set Design), Katherine Roth (Costume Design), Nicole Pearce (Lighting Design), and Daniel Baker and Aaron Meicht/Broken Chord Collective (Sound Design).
The month of June, in fact, is National Aphasia Awareness Month. It is estimated that over one million Americans have aphasia -- the sudden inability to communicate, speak, read, write or understand language. In addition to the late Mr. Chaikin, cinematographer Sven Nykvist, poet Ralph Waldo Emerson and composer Maurice Ravel, noted figures who have experienced "aphasia" include ABC-TV reporter Bob Woodruff and Congressmen, Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota.
Susan Yankowitz is a playwright, novelist, lyricist and librettist. Her plays include: PHAEDRA IN DELIRIUM (Classic Stage Company/The Women's Project) winner of the QRL poetic play competition; TERMINAL and 1969 TERMINAL 1996 (collaborations with Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre) Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright; A KNIFE IN THE HEART (West Coast Premiere at Sledgehammer Theatre) O'Neill Conference winner; and THE THUMBPRINT OF MUKHTARAN MAI (presented as part of SEVEN in the United States and abroad). Ms. Yankowitz is the librettist/lyricist of SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT, a gospel-and-blues opera with music by Taj Mahal; CHERI, an opera/music theatre work with Michael Dellaira (finalist for the 2006 Richard Rogers Award and a featured opera at the 2006 Opera America New Works Sampler, to be produced at Long Leaf Opera in 2012); and bookwriter/lyricist of TRUE ROMANCES, a musical fantasia with Elmer Bernstein. Ms. Yankowitz has written the novel, SILENT WITNESS, published by Knopf, as well as several films and television plays. Her teleplay, THE PRISON GAME, was aired on PBS, as was SYLVIA PLATH: ARROW TO THE SUN, which won her a WGA nomination for the best-written documentary of the season.
Daniella Topol's (Director) recent NY credits include: Judith Thompson's PALACE OF THE END (Epic Theatre Company), Sheila Callaghan's DEAD CITY (New Georges), Trista Baldwin's SAND (Women's Project and Productions), the recent productions of HOUSEBREAKING and TOPSY TURVY MOUSE at Cherry Lane Theatre, and Zakiyyah Alexander's SICK? (Summer Play Festival). Upcoming productions include: Susan Bernfield's STRETCH (People's Light and Theatre Company) and is a resident artist at HERE developing a multi-media piece on floods entitled WATER (OR THE SECRET LIFE OF OBJECTS).
Stan Raiff / Power Productions NY, Inc (Producer) is represented this season on Broadway with IRENA'S VOW, a new play by Dan Gordon, starring Tovah Feldshuh. He has produced and directed for ABC and NBC TV Children's Programming, including "Through Children's Eyes" (Emmy Award), along with shows on Broadway and Off Broadway such as RIVERSIDE DRIVE, BUFFALO BILL, CHARLOTTE SWEET and many others. Mr. Raiff established the award winning project The Catskills IDEA (Institute for Development of the Entertainment Arts), which created such major events as Festivals for Irving Berlin and Danny Kaye as well as Rodeo Now and Let's Tango!. His upcoming new musical LOVE INCORPORATED (NEXT STOP LOVE) by Marc Castle will open Off-Broadway in the summer of 2009.
The National Aphasia Association (NAA) is a consumer-focused, not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1987 as the first national organization dedicated to advocating for persons with aphasia and their families. The NAA's mission is to end the devastating consequences of aphasia through increasing understanding of the disorder, encouraging the development of community resources and advocating on behalf of those left, literally, without a voice. The NAA works to reach out to people with aphasia to help them move forward with their lives. This year marks the NAA's 22nd year of promoting public education, research, rehabilitation and support services to assist people with aphasia and their families.
Scheduled May 22nd through June 20th, performances of NIGHT SKY run Tuesdays through Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 3:00pm &8:00pm; and Sundays at 3:00pm (with an added performance on Monday, June 1st at 8:00pm and no performance on Wednesday, June 3rd) at Baruch Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Avenue). All tickets during previews are $45, and will range $65 - $45 - $25 after opening. There will be a limited number of $25 Student Rush tickets available for each performance. Tickets - which are available for purchase beginning May 1st - can be reserved by calling TheaterMania at 212-352-3101 or online at www.NightSkyThePlay.com.
For additional information visit www.NightSkyThePlay.com.
Photo Credit: Michael Portantiere