The Wilder Family and Samuel French present STAGING WILDER—A LIVE STREAM CONVERSATION

The Wilder Family and Samuel French present STAGING WILDER—A LIVE STREAM CONVERSATION

As Hello, Dolly! returns to Broadway, The Wilder Family and Samuel French present a conversation on staging Thornton Wilder's works with directors AbiGail Adams (Peoples Light), Theater For A New Audience's Arin Arbus, the Geva Theater's Mark Cuddy, and Columbia University's Gregory Mosher.

The live streamed conversation will be moderated by journalist and theater critic Mark Blankenship, Editor of TDF Stages. The panel discussion will be held in the Samuel French Event Space on Monday, April 24 at 7 PM ET. Facebook will host the live stream, watch here:https://www.facebook.com/ThorntonWilder/

The event, produced in partnership with The Thornton Wilder Society, is part of a series of special conversations celebrating a year of notable Wilder anniversaries, productions and publications including- the 75th anniversary of Pulitzer Prize-winning The Skin of Our Teeth (1943), the 50th anniversary ofThe Eighth Day (National Book Award 1968), Theatre For A New Audience's critically acclaimed production of The Skin of Our Teeth, the musical adaptation of his play The Matchmaker, Hello, Dolly! currently on Broadway, and the publications of the definitive acting edition of The Matchmaker by Samuel French and the first-ever single trade volume of The Matchmaker by HarperCollins.

Tappan Wilder, Wilder's nephew and executor of his uncle's literary estate, said, "Thornton Wilder wrote regularly to his family from Douglas, AZ, his 20-month writing hideout in late 1962 while working on his novel THE EIGHTH DAY. In one letter he wrote, 'I've got one big talent. I listen to what is said to me. It's ra-a-a-re.' I believe it fair to say that there's a lively renaissance of interest in Thornton Wilder's work. Today's readers and audiences are finding levels of entertainment and messages that speak to them that they had perhaps missed before. The time is ripe we think, to listen with ca-a-a-re to what we each have to say about Thornton Wilder. We look forward to a stimulating conversation and encourage everyone to join in."

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was a novelist and playwright whose works celebrate the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience. He is the only writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for both drama and fiction: for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and two plays, Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth. His other nov­els include The Cabala, The Woman of Andros, Heaven's My Destination, The Ides of March, The National Book Award winner The Eighth Day and Theophilus North. His other major dramas are The Matchmaker (adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly!) and The Alcestiad.The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden, PULLMAN CAR HIAWATHA and The Long Christmas Dinner are among his well-known shorter plays. He enjoyed enormous success as a translator, adaptor, actor, librettist and lecturer/teacher and his screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day. Wilder's many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. More information on Thornton Wilder and his family is available in Penelope Niven's definitive biography, Thornton Wilder: A Life (2013) as well as on the Wilder Family website, www.thorntonwilder.com

Selected Biographies

AbiGail Adams is the Artistic Director and CEO of People's Light & Theatre Company. During her 39-year association with People's Light, she has directed more than sixty plays, including The Matchmaker, Auctioning the Ainsleys, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, The Cherry Orchard, The Rainmaker, The Trip to Bountiful, Dividing the Estate, Nathan the Wise, and In the Blood. She has directed readings and workshops of new plays for Circle Rep, New York Stage and Film, and The Public Theatre. Abbey served for ten years on the faculty of Swarthmore College and has also taught at New York University, Bryn Mawr College, Carnegie Mellon University, and The Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Ursinus College.

Arin Arbus is the Associate Artistic Director at Theatre for a New Audience, for which she recently directed The Skin of Our Teeth, and in previous seasons repertory productions of Wilder's version of Ibsen's A Doll's House and David Greig's version of Strindberg's The Father, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing,The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Measure for Measure and Othello. She staged La Traviata for The Canadian Opera Company and The Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at Houston Grand Opera. She was a Drama League Directing Fellow, a Princess Grace Award Recipient and spent several years making theatre with prisoners at Woodbourne Correctional Facility in association with Rehabilitation Through the Arts.

As Theatre Development Fund's Editor of Creative Content, Mark Blankenship edits the magazine TDF Stages and produces and directs Meet the Theatre, a film series about theatre companies in New York City. He recently produced TDF's Performeteria (an immersive off-Off-Broadway theatre festival) and hosts the pop music podcast Mark and Sarah Talk About Songs. He writes regularly for Playbill and American Theatre, and he has contributed to The New York Times, Variety, NPR, The Village Voice, Backstage, and many others. Both he and his husband have competed on game shows.

Mark Cuddy is in his twenty-second season as Artistic Director of Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY - the largest regional theater in New York State. This season, in addition to Noel Coward's Private Lives, he directed Sylvia and his adaptation of A Christmas Carol for the seventh year. Recently at Geva he directed To Kill a Mockingbird, Good People, and the world premiere of Cass Morgan's The Road to Where. Among his other Geva Theatre Center productions have been Our Town, the world premiere of Thornton Wilder's Theophilus North which was also seen at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., The Miser, the East Coast premieres of both House and Garden, Famous Orpheus (world premiere musical) with Garth Fagan Dance, Clybourne Park, Hamlet, That Was Then(American premiere), Convenience (world premiere musical), Pride and Prejudice (which he also co-adapted), A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, You Can't Take It With You, Splitting Infinity (world premiere), Company, Superior Donuts, Fences, Sweeney Todd, and State of the Union. Prior to his tenure at Geva Theatre Center, Mr. Cuddy directed a number of world and American classics while Artistic Director of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and the Sacramento Theatre Company.

Gregory Mosher is the director and/or producer of over 200 plays at the Lincoln Center and Goodman Theatres (both of which he led), on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, and in the West End. Colleagues have included playwrights Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, David Mamet, Richard Nelson, Spalding Gray, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, John Guare, David Rabe, and Edward Albee; countless leading actors, and directors including Peter Brook, Jerome Robbins, and Mike Nichols. Notable premiere productions include Six Degrees of Separation, John Leguizamo's Freak, David Rabe's Hurlyburly, Richard Nelson and Sean Davey's James Joyce's The Dead, the South African township musical Sarafina, and the premieres of over twenty plays by Mr. Mamet. His production of MR. Wilder's Our Town won the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Revival.

Amos Tappan Wilder (known as Tappan) is Thornton Wilder's nephew and has served as his uncle's literary executor since 1995. In this role, he manages Wilder's intellectual property, promotes interest in the literary and dramatic subsidiary rights of the works, and speaks widely about his uncle's life and artistic legacy. In recent years he is proud to have overseen the re-issue of all of his uncle's novels and major plays (to which he contributed the Afterwords), the key volume of Wilder's selected letters, The Library of America's three Wilder volumes, and the definitive biography of Wilder by Penelope Niven. He has also fostered new plays, operas, and even one modern dance based on his uncle's works. Tappan is a graduate of Yale College and holds advanced degrees in history from the University of Wisconsin and American Studies from Yale. He is a member of P.E.N. (American Center), a former Trustee of the Yale Library Associates, a member of the National Council of Graywolf Press, and is Honorary Chair of The Thornton Wilder Society. He lives in Northern California.



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