Theatre for a New Audience's Season To Feature Five Works

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Theatre for a New Audience's 32nd season features boldly diverse plays by William Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, John Ford and a joyful klezmer musical adapted by Robert Brustein from the stories of Nobel-winning Isaac Bashevis Singer.

As described by Jeffrey Horowitz, founding artistic director, "These works couldn't be more different, but each author explores with humor, irony and humanity worlds turned upside down." Mr. Horowitz noted that Theatre for a New Audience itself is poised for major change as this is its last season before moving to its first permanent home in the BAM Cultural District in downtown Brooklyn.

The discovery of Fiasco Theater's Cymbeline began two years ago when Jeffrey Horowitz saw the production in a 70-seat loft and invited Fiasco Theater to continue to develop their staging. In January, 2011, Theatre for a New Audience presented the Off-Broadway debut of Fiasco Theater and their Cymbeline at the New Victory Theater. Reviewing the production, Ben Brantley wrote "the comedy, poignancy and unlikely magic of Cymbeline surface gently and naturally." The production sold out.

Now for the first time, Theatre for a New Audience is partnering with seasoned Broadway and Off-Broadway commercial producers Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian and Tom Wirtshafter (Our Town directed by David Cromer) to present the original company of Fiasco Theater's Cymbeline. Co-directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, Cymbeline is performed by six actors playing fourteen roles: Jessie Austrian, Paul L. Coffey, Andy Grotelueschen, Emily Young, Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld.

The 18-week engagement begins at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street at Seventh Avenue. Performances begin August 27 with an opening September 8.

Fragments by Samuel Beckett directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne

Following acclaimed performances internationally, Theatre for a New Audience in association with Baryshnikov Arts Center presents the New York Premiere of C.I.C.T. / Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's Fragments from the texts by Samuel Beckett.

Directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, Fragments features Jos Houben, Kathryn Hunter and Marcello Magni. The three artists have worked extensively with Théâtre du Complicité.

In another of his exquisitely crafted, late-career creations, Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne interpret Samuel Beckett, the 20th century's greatest playwright. Samuel Beckett was acclaimed in part for his incomparable concision, his unique mastery of the breathtakingly profound short work. Fragments assembles the five Beckett shorts Rough for Theatre I, Rockaby, Act without Words II, Neither and Come and Go.

"Beckett was a perfectionist," writes Mr. Brook, "but can one be a perfectionist without an intuition of perfection? Today, with the passage of time, we see how false were the labels stuck on Beckett­despairing, negative, pessimistic. Indeed, he peers into the filthy abyss of human existence. His humor saves him and us from falling in, He rejects theories, dogmas, that offer pious consolations, yet his life was a constant, aching search for meaning."

Fragments plays November 9 through December 4 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street.

Shlemiel the First, the Klezmer Musical, in its First New York Revival

Shlemiel the First, conceived and adapted by Robert Brustein (2010 National Medal of Arts awardee, Founder and Artistic director, American Repertory Theater (ART)) from Nobel Prize Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer's folk-tale, premiered in 1994 at ART to rave reviews. The New York Times celebrated Shlemiel as "A mix of comic misadventure, mysticism and sensuality" and John Lahr wrote "Shlemiel is busting its buttons with joy."

Shlemiel went on to delight audiences nationwide. Peak Performances at Montclair State University produced Shlemiel the First January, 2010 at the Alexander Kasser Theater in association with National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene. Previous productions have also appeared at Philadelphia's The American Music Theater Festival, San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater and Serious Fun! at Lincoln Center among other prestigious venues.

Theatre for a New Audience, National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene, New York University's Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and Peak Performances at Montclair State University are proud to present the first New York revival of Shlemiel the First since only four performances at Serious Fun! nearly twenty years ago.

Lyrics are by Arnold Weinstein (Dynamite Tonite! and Casino Paradise), music composed, adapted and orchestrated by Hankus Netsky; arrangements and additional music by Zalmen Mlotek and editorial supervision, direction and choreography by David Gordon.

In Chelm, a village of fools, the naive beadle Shlemiel is sent on a pilgrimage to spread the wisdom of the local sages. His simple-minded folly turns an already absurd world hilariously, and redemptively, topsy-turvy. Half sad-sack clown, half accidental messiah, Shlemiel's charm is in his childlike innocence, and the charm of this musical is in its playfulness and unapologetic, unalloyed delight. With a cast of eight, a live Klezmer band and topsy-turvy set, it gently mocks the lavishness of other musicals.

Shlemiel the First plays at New York University's Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, just south of Washington Square Park, for 24 performances, December 13 through 31.

The Broken Heart by John Ford Off-Broadway Premiere

The Broken Heart, a 1629 tragic-comic gem written by John Ford, (Tis Pity She's a Whore), is set in ancient Sparta, but Ford's world more closely resembles the 17th Century court of Charles II. A young woman forced to marry a ridiculously jealous codger. A cruel nobleman bent on frustrating his sister's happiness. A princess who tries to stand aloof from the emotional discord, but lives to feel love ruining her composure. These are the main plot engines.

The Broken Heart will be directed by Selina Cartmell in her American debut. Ms. Cartmell, a British artist living in Ireland, was the 2007 protégé to Julie Taymor as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Ms. Cartmell has directed at the Royal Shakespeare Company (Marina Carr's Cordelia's Dream) and has been commissioned by The Abbey Theatre to create a new version of W.B. Yeat's Deidre. For her production of Medea, she was the Winner of the 2010 Irish Times Best Director Award.

Ms. Cartmell calls The Broken Heart Ford's "most experimental play," pointing to its unique "black humor" and surprising twists on the revenge genre that steer the action to "places the audience never anticipates. It confronts timeless issues of 'perverse' sexual and gender relationships. The play is both ancient and modern - it's a world where dance, music and silence are interwoven seamlessly with the text, voice and character."

Theatre for a New Audience's production of The Broken Heart will be its Off-Broadway Premiere and will star Annika Boras as Penthea (Lady Macbeth in Theatre for a New Audience's 2011 Macbeth).

The Broken Heart plays February 4 through March 4 at The Duke on 42nd Street, a new 42nd Street® project, 229 West 42nd Street.

Arin Arbus directs Taming of the Shrew

Fresh from her triumphs with the tragedies of Othello and Macbeth starring John Douglas Thompson, Theatre for a New Audience's associate artistic director Arin Arbus turns to comedy. For Ms. Arbus, in The Taming of the Shrew, "Shakespeare depicts a rough world where everyone is out for themselves -- scheming, fooling and hiding beneath disguises. Kate and Petruchio are the only characters who see things as they are. The play is an intimate, brutal, hilarious negotiation between a husband and wife about the terms of their contract, about their respective roles and responsibilities. What's remarkable about their relationship is not that they fight, but that through their wars, they find love and mutual admiration. As Harold Bloom writes 'Kate and Petruchio...are clearly going to be the happiest married couple in Shakespeare.'"

The Taming of the Shrew plays at The Duke on 42nd Street, a new 42nd Street® project, 229 West 42nd Street, March 17 through April 20. The production is sponsored by Deloitte.

Theatre for a New Audience's production of The Taming of the Shrew is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

Box Office
A five play subscription play package for $236 will be available beginning mid-August and may be ordered from Theatre for a New Audience at www.tfana.org. Single tickets will be available in the fall. Visit www.tfana.org for ticketing information.

$10.00 New Deal tickets, ages 25 and under or full-time students, may be purchased in advance on a first come, first served basis. See www.tfana.org for details. Valid ID listing proof of age or enrollment as a full-time student required.

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