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Museum of New York's Joel Grey Exhibit Opens Tomorrow


The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) (1220 Fifth Avenue), in its all-new exhibition Joel Grey / A New York Life, examines the enduring impact that legendary actor Joel Grey and his adopted city have made on each other. Through rare artifacts from his stage and screen career, objects from his personal collection, and his own photography, MCNY offers a unique look at New York through Grey's eyes as well as a visual retrospective of his career. A private opening night reception will take place this evening, which also happens to be Grey's 79th birthday. It will open to the public tomorrow, and remain on display through Sunday, August 14.

Susan Henshaw Jones, the Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum previously commented: "Joel Grey has transformed himself, through his extraordinary talent, into characters that seduce, surprise, and amaze us. This exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the performer's psyche, in which we can see that New York City has seduced, surprised, and amazed him. We are thrilled to share this work with our audiences."

The exhibition is an overview of Grey's artistic life in New York City. It includes photographs, posters, playbills, and costumes from several of Grey's productions, including the iconic Emcee costume from Cabaret, a crown worn in Goodtime Charley, and an original costume sketch for George M!. Original caricatures of Mr. Grey by legendary artist Al Hirschfeld are also on view.

Grey, also an acclaimed and internationally-exhibited photographer, has been photographing New York City for decades. A selection of these photos are featured in the exhibition, focus lovingly on small details of the urban environment, including graffiti, architectural details, and sidewalks. In accentuating the forgotten detritus and the multitude of everyday details of the city, Grey's photographic work provides a quiet and poignant counterpoint to his life in the spotlight.

The exhibition caps a landmark year for Grey, who is represented with two concurrent Broadway productions this spring: starring in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Anything Goes and directing the Broadway premiere of The Normal Heart.

In a career that was launched in the early 1950's, Joel Grey has created indelible stage roles each decade since: as the iconic Emcee in Cabaret (1966, Tony Award), as song and dance man George M. Cohan in George M! (1967, Tony nomination), as Charles VII in Goodtime Charlie (1975, Tony nomination), as Jacobowsky in The Grand Tour (1979, Tony nomination), as Olim in New York City Opera's Silverlake (1981), as Amos Hart in the landmark revival of Chicago (1996), and as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Wicked (2004).

Grey's non-musical stage roles include John Guare's Marco Polo Sings a Solo (1975) at The Public Theater; the title role in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of Chekhov's Platonov (1978); Larry Kramer's seminal The Normal Heart (1986) at The Public Theater; The American Repertory Theatre's production of Ibsen's When We Dead Awaken (1991) at the Sao Paulo Biennale, directed by Robert Wilson; Herringbone at Hartford Stage (1992); John Patrick Shanley's A Fool and Her Fortune (NY Stage and Film, 1992); and in the Roundabout Theatre production of Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do! (1999), for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Grey's film credits include Cabaret (Academy Award); Frank Perry's Man on A Swing (1974); Robert Altman's Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976); Herbert Ross' The Seven Percent Solution (1976); Guy Hamilton's Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985, Golden Globe Nomination); Steven Soderbergh's Kafka (1991); Altman's The Player (1992); Phillip Haas' The Music of Chance (1993); Michael Ritchie's adaptation of The Fantasticks (2000); Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (2000) with Bjork and Catherine Deneuve; and Clark Gregg's Choke, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Grey's recent television credits include "Alias," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Brooklyn Bridge" (Emmy Award-nomination), "Oz," "Law and Order: Criminal Intent," "House," "Brothers & Sisters," "Private Practice," and "Grey's Anatomy." In April 2010, The Paley Center for Media in New York presented "An Evening with Joel Grey," celebrating Joel's remarkable, multi-decade career in television.

Grey is also an internationally exhibited, acclaimed photographer. He has had three photography books published: Pictures I Had to Take (2003), Looking Hard at Unexamined Things (2006), and 1.3: Images from My Phone (2009).

Joel Grey is one of the only two actors to have won the Tony, Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe awards for the same role (as the Emcee in the stage and screen versions of Cabaret). In 1984, he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and has received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also the recipient of the Distinguished Artist Award from the Los Angeles Music Center. In 1993, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis presented Grey with the Municipal Arts Society medal naming him a Living New York Landmark. In October 2009, Grey performed at Carnegie Hall, alongside Lady Gaga, Bono, Rufus Wainwright and more to benefit (RED) to help stop AIDS in Africa.

This spring Grey will be represented on Broadway with two conCurrent Productions: starring (opposite Sutton Foster) in Anything Goes and directing The Normal Heart.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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