Rehearsals for Women's Project Theater's THE ARCHITECTURE OF BECOMING Begin Today
The improbable 90-year history of New York City Center, the Moorish Revival theater on West 55th Street that is home to Fall for Dance and Encores!, is the inspiration for Women's Project Theater's second production of the season. The Architecture of Becoming is the creation of five playwrights and three directors who have intertwined secret societies, silent films, raucous parties, and the greatest performers of our time with five fictional lives woven through the dynamic history of this great landmark.
Rehearsals begin today, January 29.
The Architecture of Becoming begins previews Tuesday, February 25, at 7:30pm for an opening Thursday, March 6, at 6:30pm (for a run through March 23) at New York City Center Stage II, 131 West 55th Street. The Architecture of Becoming is written by Kara Lee Corthron, Sarah Gancher, Virginia Grise, Dipika Guha, and Lauren Yee and is directed by Elena Araoz, Lydia Fort, Lauren Keating. The producers are Deadria Harrington, Jane Jung, Meropi Peponides, Aktina Stathaki, and Lanie Zipoy.
New York City Center was built in 1924 by the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners). As the story goes, the Shriners created too much cigar smoke during their meetings in Carnegie Hall for the comfort of the Hall's managers, so the Shriners bought the Famous Players-Lasky movie studio on West 55th Street and built their own auditorium. The Shriners named it Mecca Temple. John Philip Sousa's band gave the first concert.
The Shriners' financial losses during the Great Depression and unpaid real estate taxes left the building in New York City's charge. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia turned the building into a center for the performing arts and re-opened it in 1943 as the New York City Center of Music and Drama with a concert by the New York Philharmonic (then known as New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra).
Playing multiple roles of the characters weaving in and out of the building's history are Claudia Acosta, Vanessa Kai, Christopher Livingston, Jon Norman Schneider, and Danielle Skraastad.
Scenery and lighting is by Justin Townsend, costumes by Kate Fry, and sound by Elisheba Ittoop.
The playwrights are: Kara Lee Corthron, whose plays include Etched in Skin on a Sunlit Night (InterAct), AliceGraceAnon (New Georges), and Holly Down in Heaven (Forum). Her awards include Princess Grace, Helen Merrill, and MacDowell Fellowships. She's a Julliard alumna. Sarah Gancher has been produced/developed at London's National Theatre, Edinburgh's Traverse, Budapest's Quarter6Quarter7 Festival, PS 122, La Mama, Ars Nova, Telluride Theatre. She is a member Ars Nova Play Group. She holds a 2013 Founder's Award from New York Stage and Film. Virginia Grise awards include the 2013 Whiting Award, 2011 Asuncion Queer Playwriting Award, 2010 Yale Drama Series Award and 2010 Princess Grace Award in Directing. Her published work includes The Panza Monologues (University of Texas Press) and blu (Yale University Press). Dipika Guha's recent plays include The Betrothed (Chester Theatre Company, Wellfleet Harbour Actors Theatre), Passing (Risk Is This Festival, Cutting Ball) and Herculine and Lola (workshops OSF, Wordbridge). She is an Ars Nova Playgroup Alum and Dramatists Guild Fellow. She is currently commissioned by New Georges. Lauren Yee: Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu, Impact), Hookman (Company One), The Hatmaker's Wife (Playwrights Realm, Moxie). Her plays have been developed at O'Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, PlayPenn and her commissions have been from LCT3, Mixed Blood, and Encore.
The directors are: Elena Araoz, whose credits include La traviata (New York City Opera/BAM) and; Phallacy, Three on a Couch, and Thirst Off Broadway. She has also directed Midsummer (Prague Shakespeare), The Power (Beijing), Mac Wellman plays (ArtsEmerson), Lawnpeople (Cherry Lane), and Falstaff (Brooklyn Philharmonic/BAM). Lydia Fort has directed at The McCarter, The Public, freeFall and New Federal Theatre. She is a Drama League Fellow and TCG New Generations Grantee. MFA, University of Washington. Lauren Keating has directed The Harmonious Pimps of Harmony's Last Show (Ars Nova) and Al's Business Cards (AtPlay/Old Vic). She is an NYU/Tisch Alumni and a Drama League Directors Project and a New Directors/New Works Fellow.
The producers are: Deadria Harrington is a Producing Artistic Leader of The Movement Theatre Company for which she is credited with 4 Sustenance (Greener Planet Award Recipient) and look upon our lowliness by Harrison David Rivers (Lead Producer). Jane Jung is General Manager of Ping Chong + Company and producer for Little Lord, a Brooklyn-based theater company. Meropi Peponides is co-founder of radical evolution performance company, producing assistant at The Public Theater and a graduate of the MFA theatre program at Columbia University. Aktina Stathaki is founder of Between the Seas Festival of Mediterranean Performing Arts. She is afreelance actor, director and producer and a graduate of the National Greek Theater and University of Toronto. Lanie Zipoy was associate producer for Bethany (Women's Project Theater). She also produced Universal Robots (ITBA's Best Off-Off Broadway Play), Caroline, or Change (Brooklyn Premiere) and Voices Inside/Out.
FOR SEASON TICKETS
Women's Project Theater memberships for the entire season, which includes all three main stage shows and some special events, start at $60 and may be purchased at www.womensproject.org or by calling 212-765-1706.
FOR SINGLE TICKETS
Tickets can be purchased online at www.NYCityCenter.org, by calling CityTix at 212-581-1212, or at the New York City Center Box Office at 131 West 55th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues).
The Architecture of Becoming performs Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30pm with matinees Saturday and Sundays at 2:30pm. Opening night curtain March 6 is 6:30pm.