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YMCA Writer's Voice Hosts Staged Reading Of THE GREAT MAN 5/11

The West Side YMCA Writer's Voice will host a staged reading of Charlie Schulman's latest play: The Great Man, on May 11 at 4pm. Directed by acclaimed director Matt August (of How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the Broadway musical, and others), the play is loosely inspired by James Atlas's decade-long experience writing the biography of the Nobel Prize winning author Saul Bellow.

Schulman's The Great Man tells the story of a "Biographer's" quest to be the true heir and guardian of his literary hero's (The Great Man) legacy by writing the definitive biography that will link the two men's names together for all of eternity. However, when fierce competition from six fellow writers ensues, questions about the relationship between life and art; what it takes to be a "great" writer and a good person; and who can be the rightful heir to greatness arise. The show is underwritten by a grant from the New York University Adjunct Professor Career Development Fund.

Admission to the reading will be granted with a $10 per person donation for benefit of the West Side YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign. The West Side YMCA is located at 5 West 63rd Street (between Broadway and Central Park West). Accessible Trains: A, C, B, D, 1 to Columbus Circle. To RSVP or for more information on The Writer's Voice, please contact Literary Arts Coordinator Brian Kelly at (212) 875-4124, or by e-mail at bkelly@ymacnyc.org.

"Charlie Schulman is a long-time friend of the West Side YMCA and an instructor in our Writer's Voice program," said Kimberly Loren Mulvaney, Director of the Arts, West Side YMCA and Artistic and Managing Director, The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater. "We're honored that he will utilize his NYU grant to produce a staged reading for benefit of the West Side YMCA Strong Kids Campaign."

"Charlie's talent and generosity stands as an inspiration to our Arts students," said Mulvaney. "The mission of the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater is to encourage the creative spirit in young people by connecting them with the opportunities, experiences and professionals that can enable their theatrical dreams and ambitions to take flight. With our Strong Kids Campaign, we're opening the door to youth and families in need. We encourage New Yorkers to join us for an evening of theater and to support this very worthwhile cause."

CHARLIE SCHULMAN teaches Playwriting and Screenwriting at The Writers Voice and New York University. He and composer/lyricist Michael Roberts are the creators of the musical "The Fartiste" (Best Musical NYCFringe 2006) He recently received a commission from The New Musical Development Foundation. Charlie is a three-time winner of The Avery Hopwood Award from The University of Michigan and the Paulette Goddard Fellowship from NYU. He is the recipient of The Charles MacArthur Award for Comedy from The National Playwrights Conference. His plays have been produced Off-Broadway and in Regional Theaters. His chapter on Playwriting is included in "The Portable MFA in Creative Writing" (Writers Digest). This reading is underwritten by a grant from the New York University Adjunct Professor Career Development Fund.

"THE GREAT MAN" is loosely inspired by James Atlas's decade-long experience writing the biography of the Nobel Prize winning author Saul Bellow. The "Biographer" is selected to write a profile for a magazine of his literary hero: the reclusive, cantankerous, seventy-something year old "Great Man," whose long-awaited new novel is about to be published. The profile (that is, puff piece) morphs into a contract to write the Great Man's biography. Over time, the Biographer's sycophantic view of the great author sours, as he delves further into the Great Man's life and begins to contemplate the human wreckage that lies in the wake of "greatness." Nevertheless, the Biographer seeks to be the true heir and guardian of the Great Man's legacy by writing the definitive biography that will link the two men's names together for all of eternity. He soon discovers that he must contend with several competitors who have similar designs of their own, including the Great Man's young sixth wife, his unscrupulous agent, his best friend/lawyer, his off-stage literary protégé (based on Philip Roth) and others. Twists and turns ensue as the play explores questions about the relationship between life and art; what it takes to be a "great" writer and a good person; and who can be the rightful heir to greatness?

Matt August is currently developing musicals of Secondhand Lions for Warner Brothers/New Line Theatricals, My Man Godfrey for East of Doheny scheduled for 2010, and Liberty Smith for Ford's Theatre, scheduled for 2011. He is the Director for the annual record-breaking Broadway production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas- the Musical! Recent credits include: Speech and Debate (LA Theatre Works/NPR); Two Gentlemen of Verona (Old Globe- LA Times Top 10 List for 2007); Pig Farm (Old Globe); Jesus Moonwalks on the Mississippi (Sundance Lab); Baby Taj (TheatreWorks- Bay Area Critics Award, SF Chronicle Year End Top 10 List); A Christmas Carol (Annually at Ford's Theatre, DC); The Full Monty (Australia, Helpmann Award nom-Best Director) The Real Dr. Strangelove (L.A. Theatreworks); Searching for God in Suburbia (Huntington Breaking Ground Festival); Two Gentlemen of Verona (Acting Company); Sixteen Wounded staring Martin Landau (Long Wharf), Time Flies, Food Chain (Old Globe); All in the Timing, Complete History of America Abriged, The Tempest (Hangar Theatre); Sixteen Wounded (Cherry Lane); Mimesphobia (SPF); Meet John Doe (also co-author-Ford's Theatre, NYMF); True Romances (CAP 21); Romeo and Juliet (National Shakespeare Co.); Judith (HERE); Merry Wives of Windsor(Acting Co.) Other work at Mark Taper Forum, NY Stage and Film, Huntington Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Next Stages, etc, and as an Associate Director on multiple Tony Award winning Broadway shows and National Tours. He is a Drama League Fellow, a Phil Killian Directing Fellow (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), former Staff Repertory Director for The Acting Company in NYC and holds an MFA from CalArts.

The West Side YMCA Writer's Voice is one of New York's longest-running and most respected writing programs. Founded in the early 1980s, in addition to the Visiting Author Series, the Writer's Voice program features multi-week workshops in writing for performance, playwriting, screenwriting, fiction, memoir, poetry, journalism, dialogue, and multiple-genre classes for students of all levels- and more recently, of all ages.

Workshops are open to the public, and are discounted for members of the YMCA of Greater New York. Additionally, one-day intensives on varied topics, from dealing with "writer's block" to "Meditations for Writers," as well as one-day workshops on the business side of the literary world, are offered. Recently, The Writer's Voice has introduced writing classes and readings for youth, as well as for older adults. For more information about the Writer's Voice program and upcoming readings, call Brian Kelly, West Side YMCA Writer's Voice Coordinator, at 212-875-4124.

The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA hosts affordable performances for all age groups, with an emphasis on inspiring youth and families to learn about and appreciate the theatrical arts. Having recently undergone $2-million in renovations, the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater boasts new raked seating with handicap accessibility; professional grade flooring and rigging; state-of-the-art lighting, audio-visual equipment (including movie screen) and acoustics, a centrally located sound-proof control booth and more. For more information, contact Kimberly Loren Mulvaney, Artistic and Managing Director, The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, at 212-875-4292.

The West Side YMCA is a member of the YMCA of Greater New York, a community service organization that promotes positive values through programs that build mind, body and spirit. Every year, the West Side YMCA serves more than 20,000 New Yorkers, including 12,000 kids from throughout the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Supported in part through contributions to the Strong Kids Campaign, the West Side YMCA provides membership assistance and scholarships to programs like summer camp, child care and teen activities, ensuring that no family or youth is turned away due to financial difficulties.

For more information on West Side YMCA programs and services, visit www.ymcanyc.org/westside or call (212) 875-4101.


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