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Theatre for a New Audience Announces 2017 OPEN BOOKS Programming

Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA; Jeffrey Horowitz, Founding Artistic Director) is pleased to announce 2017 programming for Open Books, its series of conversations with the authors of some of American theatre's most acclaimed new books. Jonathan Kalb, TFANA's Resident Literary Advisor and Dramaturg, curates and moderates these free public talks.

This season, Open Books welcomes playwright-director Richard Maxwell, author of Theater for Beginners, on March 6; Princeton University professor Brian Eugenio Herrera, author of Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance, on March 13; and UC Berkeley professor Mark B. Sandberg, author of Ibsen's Houses: Architectural Metaphor and the Modern Uncanny, on May 8.

All Open Books events will take place at 7pm at Polonsky Shakespeare Center(262 Ashland Place), TFANA's state-of-the-art permanent home in the heart of the Brooklyn Cultural District. Admission is FREE. Reservations are encouraged and can be made at

Each evening includes an audience Q&A, complimentary refreshments and an opportunity for attendees to have books signed. Books are available for purchase from the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Book Kiosk in the theater's lobby; TFANA subscribers receive a 10% discount.


Richard Maxwell
Theater for Beginners
March 6, 2017

With his ongoing exploration into actor behavior and an ever-innovative body of work, Richard Maxwell has written a study guide to the art of making theater. From the writer and director of New York City Players' Isolde, presented by Theatre for a New Audience in 2015, this illuminating volume provides a deeper understanding of his work, aesthetic philosophy, and process for creating theatre.

Richard Maxwellis a director and playwright and the artistic director of New York City Players. His plays have been commissioned and presented in over 20 countries. Maxwell is a Doris Duke Performing Artist and the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant and the 2014 Spalding Gray Award. He was an invited artist in the Whitney Biennial (2012).

Brian Eugenio Herrera
Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance
March 13, 2017

Brian Eugenio Herrera's Latin Numbers is a work of performance history, examining the way in which Latino actors on the twentieth-century stage and screen communicated and influenced American ideas about race and ethnicity. The book looks at how these performances and performers contributed to American popular understanding of Latinos as a distinct racial and ethnic group. Herrera tracks the conspicuously "Latin" musical number; the casting of Latino actors; the history of West Side Story; how Latina/o performers confront stereotypes; and the proliferation of the gay Latino character in the AIDS era.

Brian Eugenio Herrera, a writer, teacher and scholar, is on the faculty of Princeton University as Assistant Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts, and holds degrees from Brown University, the University of New Mexico and Yale University, where he earned his PhD in American Studies. His work, whether academic or artistic, examines the history of gender, sexuality and race within and through U.S. popular performance. His scholarly work has been awarded fellowship recognition from the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian Institute and the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation. Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance, his first book, was recognized with the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism and received an Honorable Mention for the John W. Frick Book Award from the American Theatre and Drama Society.

Mark B. Sandberg
Ibsen's Houses: Architectural Metaphor and the Modern Uncanny
May 8, 2017

Henrik Ibsen's plays engaged his public through a strategic use of metaphors of house and home, which resonated with experiences of displacement, philosophical homelessness, and exile. The most famous of these metaphors-embodied by the titles of his plays A Doll's House, Pillars of Society and The Master Builder-have entered into mainstream Western thought in ways that mask the full force of the reversals Ibsen performed on notions of architectural space. Analyzing literary and performance-related reception materials from Ibsen's lifetime, Mark B. Sandberg concentrates on the interior dramas of the playwright's prose-play cycle, and reveals how Ibsen became a master of the modern uncanny.

Mark B. Sandberg holds the position of Professor, jointly appointed in the Department of Scandinavian Studies and the Department of Film and Media, at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently President of the Ibsen Society of America and a member of the International Ibsen Committee, and is also a past President of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. His research focuses on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century visual culture, including work in theatre history, early cinema, paracinematic media and entertainments, and Scandinavian cultural history. He is the author of Living Pictures, Missing Persons: Mannequins, Museums, and Modernity and numerous articles on international silent film, the plays of Henrik Ibsen and other topics in Scandinavian literary and cultural history.

About Jonathan Kalb

Jonathan Kalb, TFANA's Resident Literary Advisor and Dramaturg, is a professor of theatre at Hunter College, where he was Chair of the Theatre Department for six years, and an internationally acclaimed theatre critic and scholar. A two-time winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, he has published five books on theatre and has written for dozens of publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, New York Press, The Nation and Salon. His book Great Lengths: Seven Works of Marathon Theater won the George Freedley Memorial Award for the outstanding theater book of 2012.

About Theatre for a New Audience

Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is a modern classic theatre. It produces Shakespeare alongside other major authors from the world repertoire, such as Harley Granville Barker, Edward Bond, Adrienne Kennedy, Richard Nelson, Wallace Shawn and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. TFANA has played Off- and on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally.

In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline, directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC; in 2007, TFANA was invited to return to the RSC with The Merchant of Venice, directed by Darko Tresnjak and starring F. Murray Abraham. In 2011, Mr. Abraham reprised his role as Shylock for a national tour.

After 34 years of being itinerant and playing mostly in Manhattan, Theatre for a New Audience moved to Brooklyn and opened its first permanent home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in October 2013. Built by The City of New York in partnership with Theatre for a New Audience, and located in the Brooklyn Cultural District, Polonsky Shakespeare Center was designed by Hugh Hardy and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture with theatre consultants Akustiks, Milton Glaser, Jean-Guy Lecat, and Theatre Projects. Housed inside the building are the Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage (299 seats)-the first stage built for Shakespeare and classical drama in New York City since Lincoln Center's 1965 Vivian Beaumont-and the Theodore C. Rogers Studio (50 seats).

TFANA's productions have been honored with Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations and reach an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural background.

Theatre for a New Audience created and runs the largest in-depth program in the New York City Public Schools to introduce students to Shakespeare, and has served nearly 129,000 students since the program began in 1984. TFANA's New Deal ticket program is one of the lowest reserved ticket prices for youth in the city: $20 for any show, any time for those 30 years old and under or for full-time students of any age.

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