Great Barrington Public Theater to Host Live, Sit-Down Talk With Neil Pepe

The conversation will delve into the founding philosophy, creation and history of the Atlantic Theater Company and more.

By: Feb. 09, 2024
Great Barrington Public Theater to Host Live, Sit-Down Talk With Neil Pepe

Great Barrington Public Theater is inviting theater lovers and artists to take part in the company’s Conversation With Neil Pepe (Monday, February 26, 6pm, St, James Place) when GBPT Artistic Director Jim Frangione’s has an off-the-cuff, sit-down with the actor, director, producer and longtime Artistic Director of New York City’s powerhouse Atlantic Theater Company. Their conversation will delve into the founding philosophy, creation and history of the Atlantic Theater Company and get Pepe’s sense of happenings and trends in American theater today. 
 
This is a FREE live event, with a $10 suggested donation, but space is limited. Reservations can be made now by emailing Tristan.GreatBarringtonPublic@gmail.com
 
Established in 1986 when David Mamet and William H. Macy spurred 30 acting students to create their own company (Mamet gave the ensemble its name.), the Atlantic Theater Company went on to define modern American theater, gaining well-deserved fame for staging original, groundbreaking work. It is now recognized for nurturing and producing many of the exemplary works of contemporary theater. Thirty-six years later, the company mission remains the same: challenge, inspire, and awaken audiences with simple truthful storytelling that fosters greater understanding of our shared world.
 
Since inception, the group has produced more than 200 plays by new and established playwrights and become one of the most influential Off-Broadway groups in the industry, with numerous works successfully moved to Broadway. The company has won 27 Tonys, 28 Obies, 2 Pulitzers and an extensive list of other awards.
 
Neil Pepe joined the company in 1987, and was named Artistic Director in 1992. His tenure has brought about the production of many of the titles that are now considered benchmarks in American theater, including Tony Award winners Kimberly Akimbo, The Band’s Visit, Spring Awakening and The Beauty Queen of Leenane; Pulitzer Prize winners English and Between Riverside and Crazy; New York Drama Critics’ Circle winner Best New Play The Night Alive and Best Foreign Play Hangmen; and Obie Award winner for Best New American Play Describe the Night.  Pepe has staged productions of daring, new plays that have brought Off Broadway to life and lit up Broadway over recent decades, including the Tony-nominated 2022 revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo with Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne and Darren Criss. He is married to actress and longtime Atlantic Theater company member Mary McCann.
 
GBPT Artistic Director Jim Frangione enjoys a long, abiding connection to the Atlantic Theater Company. His acting career, on and off-Broadway, includes several David Mamet plays with the Atlantic Theater Company, namely Romance, Ghost Stories and Edmond. He was also in Jez Butterworth’s The Night Heron and Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice with the company. Frangione and Neil Pepe have been colleagues and friends since early in their careers, and look forward to holding GBPT’s second in a series of conversations with theater influencers.
 
Frangione explains, “Our Conversation With series invites Berkshire audiences to join in illuminating and fun discussions on how to create extraordinary theater, from the good idea to a fantastic play. A few weeks ago, we had a terrific evening with Jeff Zinn, and this chat with Neil will be chock-full of backstories, inside know-how, and you can bet on unexpected surprises.”
 
“It will be fun to swap ideas with Jim and the Berkshire theater community,” Pepe adds. “Atlantic Theater Company has been built by artists exchanging ideas and diving into conversation about what makes a script, a scene, an actor or play stand out, what makes art, language and technique effective. Dialogue is the nuts and bolts of great theater. Anyone who loves the creativity of theater will get something from our shoptalk.”

NEXT GBPT OFF-SEASON EVENTS:

CONVERSATION WITH Series continues, Monday, March 18th, 6pm
GBPT Associate Artistic Director Judy Braha moderates a discussion with several well-known area theater artists, such as—playwright Mark St. Germain, director James Warwick, lighting designer Matthew Adelson, actress Peggy Pharr Wilson, and playwright and GBPT Artistic Director Jim Frangione, about the value and joy of making theater with fellow Berkshire residents. 
Tuesday, April 30, 7pm
FREE reading of 10-minute short works from Berkshire Voices
Titles, playwrights, directors and casts TBD
Tuesday, May14, 7pm
FREE reading of a new full-length play from Berkshire Voices Title, playwright, director and cast TBD
 

About Neil Pepe

Neil Pepe has innumerable credits and accomplishments in theater, from leading one the most respected, vibrant stage companies in the country to nurturing and directing many of the extraordinary key plays in the modern American canon. He has been the Artistic Director of Atlantic Theater Company since 1992, and in 2009 was recognized by peers with a Drama Desk Special Award for Artistic Excellence. In 2022 he received a Tony Nomination for Best Director for the Broadway revival of American Buffalo with Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne and Darren Criss. His extensive list of Broadway credits include (among countless other titles): Hands on a Hardbody; Speed-the-Plow; A Life in the Theatre. At the Atlantic Theater Company he’ s directed Simon Stephen's On the Shore of the Wide World, Cornelia Street (with music by Mark Eitzel); David Mamet's The Penitent, Romance; Kenneth Lonergan's Hold on to Me Darling; Moira Buffini's Dying for It; John Guare's 3 Kinds of Exile; Ethan Coen's  Almost An Evening; Harold Pinter's Celebration and The Room; Sam Shepard’s Evanescence or Shakespeare in the Alley; Hilary Bell’s Wolf Lullaby.  Off-Broadway and elsewhere he’s directed plays such as Eric Bogosian's Red Angel (Williamstown); Zinnie Harris’ Further Than the Furthest Thing (MTC); Jez Butterworth’s Parlour Song, Mojo; Jessica Goldberg’s Refuge (Playwrights’ Horizons). 



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