Metropolitan Playhouse's Gilded Stage Festival to Run 1/13-26

Metropolitan Playhouse, Obie Award winner for exploring American culture through theater, hosts The Gilded Stage Festival, the theater's ninth annual Living Literature Festival of performances inspired by the lives and works of American writers and creators. The Festival is a collection of nine new works by artists and companies from near and far, taking their inspiration from the writings, causes, and lives that defined The Gilded Age. (Project descriptions and schedule follow.)

Performances take place daily from January 13 to 26, 2014 at the Metropolitan Playhouse.
Opening Reception: January 13 at 8:30 pm.

Tickets may be purchased online at, or by phone at 800-838-3006.
Tickets for all programs are $18, with discounts available for seniors, students, children, and pass buyers.

The Gilded Stage Festival includes one-act and full-length plays, ranging from adaptation to biographical fantasy. Each production receives 4 performances, and there are 28 presentations over two weeks. The work by various artists and companies is drawn from sources as diverse as Edith Wharton, Henry James, Jack London, L. Frank Baum, Frederick Law Olmstead, and Thomas Edison.

Previous years' festivals were the Poefest (2006), Twainathon (2007), Hawthornucopia (2008-"exhilarating", and Melvillapalooza (2009 "divine.... put the life and works of Melville in a new light" - New Theatre Corps), Another Sky (2010), and A Harlem Renaissance Festival (2011 - "very satisfying indeed" --, The Horatio Alger Festival (2012), The Founder's Festival (2013 - "cogent and up to the minute" -- Metropolitan Playhouse explores America's theatrical and cultural moment. Metropolitan has earned accolades from The New York , The Village Voice, BackStage, and Notable productions include Self, The Boss, Both Your Houses, The House of Mirth, The Jazz Singer, From Rags to Riches, One-Third of a Nation, The Great Divide, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Drunkard, Dodsworth, The Return of Peter Grimm, Year One of the Empire, The Pioneer: 5 plays by Eugene O'Neill, and Denial.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS (In order of first festival presentation.)

Edith Wharton's Roman Fever and Gilt on the Gold (A reading and a new play)
Producers: Michele LaRue and Haring Productions
Michèle LaRue presents a dramatic reading of Edith Wharton's "Roman Fever," in which closely held secrets unravel when privileged matrons revisit the scene of their Gilded Age girlhood.

In the new play Gilt on the Gold, Frederick Law Olmsted at the end of his life in 1898 relates the "particular accidents" of his life that astonishingly led to his Central Park.

Bunner Sisters (A staged reading of a new adaptation)
by Linda Selman, based on the story by Edith Wharton
Producer: Many Hats Productions
Wharton's first novella about the poor, the immigrant, and the disenfranchised: a tale of surreal vulnerability for women on their own at the end of the nineteenth century.

A Thousand Deaths and Gold Coast (A new adaptation and a new play)
Producers: Core Creative Productions and Stages on the Sound
In A Thousand Deaths, by Jack London, adapted to the stage by Anthony P. Pennino, Joshua believes he has found a cure for death. He needs to test his theory, though, and uses Henry as his guinea pig...over and over and over again.

Gold Coast, created by Stages on the Sound, evokes the culture and personalities of the Gilded Age with a focus on the stylized entertainments of the era. Stories of gold and glamour told by the poorest of the poor.

The Tragic Muse (A new staged adaptation)
by Mark Dundas Wood, based on the novel by Hanry James
Producers: Mark Dundas Wood and Anthony La Russo
The tale of an ambitious young actress whose comet-like ascent disrupts and transforms the life of a political family.

Edison's Elephant (A new play)
by David Koteles and Chris Van Strander
Producer: Joe Trentacosta
In 1903, on Brooklyn's Coney Island, Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant. Moreover, he filmed it, for all to witness. Based on historic accounts: the life and death of Topsy, the Circus elephant who, after much abuse, retaliated against those who harmed her, and who was ultimately executed for her actions-then made the subject of Edison's film Electrocuting an Elephant.

Joan and the Gentleman Juggler (A new play)
by Gabrielle Sinclair, Thom Wall, and Ric Walker
Producers: The Adventure Collective
A fantastical coming-of-age adventure that mixes found interviews and virtuosic juggling with the friendship of two very different teenagers in the spirit of America's best loved storyteller for children.

Fifty Shades of Gilded (A new play)
By David Lally
Producer: David Lally and Ross Lorin
P.T. Barnum, looking to create one last great spectacle before he passes to the great beyond, creates a live staged competition, "The Greatest Reality Show On Earth". Luminaries of the Gilded Age from Nellie Bly to Nikola Tesla duke it out amongst the singers, dancers, jugglers and other circus performers to see who can be the most outrageous, the most ostentatious, and who is the champ at "gilding the lily" on the world's very first reality show.

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