GLOUCESTER BLUE to Premiere at Gloucester Stage
Gloucester Stage proudly presents the New England Premiere of Israel Horovitz's Gloucester Blue from September 17 through October 3 at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. Directed by Mr. Horovitz, Gloucester Blue takes place in the attic loft of an old industrial building in The Fort section of Gloucester owned by the upscale Bradford Ellis IV also known as Bummy and his wife Lexi. Working class housepainter Stumpy has been contracted to refurbish the building and he has hired Latham, friend-of-a-friend, to help him complete the job. As the play opens, Stumpy and Latham are hard at work, spackling damaged walls and applying fresh plaster and primer. Out of work for the last six months Latham is grateful for the job. When Lexi shows up with paint color samples, a story of intrigue, seduction, betrayal and money is set into motion in this dark comedy. According to author and director Horovitz, "If I look at Gloucester Blue as though someone else wrote it, I would describe it as a very dark, very funny play about class distinctions. In Gloucester-speak, it's The Fort versus Eastern Point. In theatre-speak, I think Gloucester Blue is a really fun evening of theatre." Gloucester Stage Founding Artistic Director Horovitz. directs a cast featuring Lewis D. Wheeler and Esme Allen as the upscale couple Bummy and Lexi, and Francisco Solorzano and Gloucester Stage Interim Artistic Director Robert Walsh as housepainters Stumpy and Latham. "One thing I so appreciate about Israel's work is his intense desire to keep exploring new avenues of style, content, and conflict - all essential pieces of good playwriting," Walsh, a frequent actor in and director of Horovitz's work explains, "For as comfortable as he is with dark comedy, Gloucester Blue represents an even newer pursuit of the tools and nuances of that genre's storytelling components."
Gloucester Blue is the latest in Horovitz's series of Gloucester-based plays that include North Shore Fish, Henry Lumper, Park Your Car in Harvard Yard, Fighting Over Beverley and Sins of the Mother, all of which were first produced at Gloucester Stage and went on to successful runs nationally and internationally. "Gloucester Blue has already found audiences in developmental productions in Seattle, Florida's Delray Beach and New York City," Horovitz says, "I'm delighted to finally bring this play home to Gloucester."
Playwright-director Israel Horovitz's 70+ plays have been translated and performed in as many as 30 languages, worldwide. His plays have introduced such actors as Al Pacino, John Cazale, Jill Clayburgh, Marsha Mason, Gerard Depardieu, and many others. Best-known plays include Line (in its 45th year, off-Broadway, NYC's longest-running play, ever), The Indian Wants The Bronx, It's Called The Sugar Plum, Rats, Morning, The Primary English Class, The Wakefield Plays (Alfred the Great, Our Father's Failing, Alfred Dies, Hopscotch, The 75th, Stage Directions and Spared), The Widow's Blind Date, The Growing Up Jewish Trilogy (Today, I Am A Fountain Pen, A Rosen By Any Other Name, and The Chopin Playoffs), Lebensraum, My Old Lady, Unexpected Tenderness, Fast Hands, 6 Hotels (The Wedding Play, Speaking of Tushy, Beirut Rocks, The Audition Play, Fiddleheads and Lovers, and 2nd Violin), Compromise, and The Secret of Mme. Bonnard's Bath. Recent plays include The Bump, What Strong Fences Make, The P Word, Virtual Alex, Man In Snow, and Out of the Mouths of Babes, which will open in NYC next spring starring Estelle Parsons and Judith Ivey. Screenplays include Author! Author!, The Strawberry Statement (Prix du Jury, Cannes Film Festival), Sunshine (European Academy Award - Best Screenplay), New York, I Love You, James Dean, 3 Weeks After Paradise and My Old Lady, which Horovitz wrote and directed, starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott-Thomas. Horovitz's memoires Un New-Yorkais a Paris were recently published in France, where he is the most-produced American playwright in French theatre history. Awards include OBIE (twice), Prix Italia, Sony Radio Academy Award, Writers Guild of Canada Best Screenwriter Award, Christopher Award, Drama Desk Award, Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters,, Lifetime Achievement Award from B'Nai Brith, Boston Public Library's Literary Lights Award, Massachusetts Governor's Award, and many others. Horovitz was recently decorated as Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France's highest honor awarded to foreign artists. He is Founding Artistic Director of Gloucester Stage, and active Artistic Director of the New York Playwrights Lab, and is co-artistic director of Compagnia Horovitz-Paciotto in Italy. NYC's Barefoot Theatre celebrated Horovitz's 70th birthday by organizing The 70/70 Horovitz Project, a year-long event with 70 Horovitz plays having had readings and/or productions by theatres around the globe.
Robert Walsh is the Gloucester Blue Fight Director in addition to playing Latham. Mr. Walsh's off-Broadway credits include Big Maggie at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, and Penelope at the Perry St. Theatre as well as serving as a company member of both the Theater of the Open Eye and Riverside Shakespeare Company. Mr. Walsh has appeared at Gloucester Stage in Sins of the Mother, The Subject Was Roses, The Barking Sharks, and Two for the Seesaw. Other Boston: area credits include: a Founding company member of Actors' Shakespeare Project where he played a variety of roles including Theseus, Wolsey, Agamemnon/Pandarus, Falstaff, Bottom, Antonio, Titus, Polonius, Brutus and Ah, Wilderness! and Hamlet with Huntington Theatre Co.; Our Town, Mass Appeal, and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Merrimack Rep, ART, and The Cocktail Hour with New Repertory Theatre, Next Fall at Speakeasy Stage, and Coriolanus, Macbeth, and Henry V with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Regionally he has been seen in Streamers at Arena Stage; Anna Christie at StageWest; Romeo and Juliet at Portland Stage Co.; Peter Pan with Barter Theatre; and The Children's Hour at American Stage Festival. On television his credits include Body of Proof on ABC; Matty's Waltz; One Life To Live; The Guiding Light; and Another World. His film appearances include Black Mass, and Hollygrove (soon-to-be-released), Evening; State and Main; Amistad; Eight Men Out; The Spanish Prisoner; In Dreams; and Turk 182! Mr. Walsh is on the faculty at A.R.T/M.X.A.T. (Harvard) and Brandeis University.
Francisco Solorzano has led the award-winning, critically acclaimed ensemble, Barefoot Theatre Company for the past 16 years. He is also one of the newest members of the prestigious Actors Studio Playwright Directors Unit. Off-Broadway he has been seen in the world premiere, stage adaptation of Dog Day Afternoon. He appeared in Israel Horovitz's Sins of the Mother at Gloucester Stage and Florida Stage. Most recently, he acted in and co-produced two short films with Barefoot Studio Pictures, The Girl with the Jacket, written and directed by Caitlin FitzGerald, and Floating Sunflowers (directed by Solórzano as well) with Anna Chlumsky, Lynn Cohen, and Christopher Whalen. Mr. Solorzano collaborated on award-winning revivals, New York premieres and world premieres with some of the most prolific companies in the country including: Labyrinth Theater Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Florida Stage, Gloucester Stage, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Stella Adler Theatre, and Theatre Row Theatres. He received a BFA in Acting from CUNY's Brooklyn College; and is a recipient of CUNY's Alumnus of the Year Award.
Lewis D. Wheeler has appeared in Doubt: A Parable and An Ideal Husband and directed Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth at Gloucester Stage. Mr. Wheeler's regional credits include No Man's Land at American Repertory Theater; Long Day's Journey Into Night, Pattern of Life, and Muckrakers at New Repertory Theatre; Chosen Child at Boston Playwrights' Theatre; The Importance of Being Earnest, A Number, and The Glass Menagerie with Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Arcadia, and Troilus and Cressida with the Publick Theatre; five seasons at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre (WHAT); as well as productions at American Stage (Florida), the Nora Theatre Company, Underground Railway Theater, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Stoneham Theatre, Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, Wheelock Family Theatre, and Shakespeare Now! Theatre Company. A founding member of Harbor Stage Company, Mr. Wheeler performed in The Seagull and Hedda Gabler and directed David Rabe's Sticks and Bones for the company. His film and television credits include PBS' Louisa May Alcott and the films The Company Men, Pink Panther 2, and the upcoming films Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Whitey Bulger saga Black Mass. Mr. Wheeler earned his BA in Theatre and Film Studies at Cornell University and an MFA from American Film Institute.
Esme Allen last appeared at Gloucester Stage in 2013 in Horovitz's North Shore Fish. Her Boston area credits include Muckrakers, The Elephant Man and Amadeus at New Repertory Theatre, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Stoneham Theatre; The Cherry Orchard, Middletown and The Merry Wives of Windsor with Actors' Shakespeare Project; and Coriolanus with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Television credits include The Devil You Know for HBO and The Good Wife for CBS. Ms. Allen earned her MFA in Acting from The California Institute of the Arts. She is a Founding Artistic Associate of The Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston and teaches acting at Salem State University.
NeverDark events scheduled for the run of Gloucester Blue include a film, talk backs and two play readings. NeverDark is a series of second-stage events that include lectures, talk backs, film screenings, play readings, and other events designed to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of all Mainstage productions. All NeverDark events are Pay-What-You-Wish. The NeverDark events set for the run of Gloucester Blue are a film screening of Killer Joe on September 14 at 7:30 pm at the Cape Ann Community Cinema; a reading of Caridad Svich's The Way of Water, a drama about the Deepwater Horizon 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the lives of those affected by it; on Tuesday, September 22 at 7:30 pm at Gloucester Stage; a reading of Harold Pinter's classic work, Betrayal, the story of the impact of a seven year affair on a husband , his wife and his wife's lover on Tuesday, September 29 at 7:30 pm at Gloucester Stage, plus two talkbacks following the 2 pm performances on Sunday, September 20, and September 27. These free post-show discussions feature artists from Gloucester Blue. .
Israel Horovitz's Gloucester Blue runs September 17 through October 3 at Gloucester Stage. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Following the 2 pm performances on Sunday September 20 and September 27 audiences are invited to free post show discussions with the artists from Gloucester Blue. Ticket prices are $28 for all performances. Tickets are $1 for ages 25 years and under for all performances. The $1 tickets are cash only and available at the door on day of performance only. Pay What You Wish tickets are available for the Saturday, September 26 matinee at 2 pm. Pay What You Wish tickets can only be purchased day of show at the door. All performances are held at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com.