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The Final Show Of Dragon's 2019 Season, ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS Opens Nov 1


The Final Show Of Dragon's 2019 Season, ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS Opens Nov 1

On the eve of her death, Anne Boleyn reflects on the journey that led her to become a queen, a mother, and, eventually, a woman condemned. A fascinating look at one of history's most famous marriages. Part of the 2nd Stages Series.

Managing Director Kimberly Wadycki says "I'm a huge history nerd and love reading about Henry's wives. Maxwell Anderson was a giant of American theatre and cinema, but his work doesn't get produced all that often these days, so I'm thrilled that Melinda proposed this script. Anderson uses some blank verse to tell the story, and it was actually considered very scandalous and racy in its day. Like much of this season it's the story of a woman's struggles with power and the men trying to control her. Melinda has employed a relatively small cast to play multiple roles so it's a terrifically juicy and challenging work for a troupe of strong actors. In all, it's perfect for the Dragon's 2nd Stages series and we think people will really enjoy this classic story."

The show is produced and directed by Melinda Marks who says about the play "Anne of the Thousand Days presents some special challenges to its cast, crew, and audiences. It catalogs the span of an entire relationship - all 1,000 of its days - in the span of a few hours of moments. It requires the audience to meet and get to know the many other names and faces involved in Anne and Henry's lives, from first meeting to final (and permanent) end. The play also presents its highly stylized (and fictionalized) story through two unreliable narrators as they attempt to justify the ending of their lives together. Heavy stuff. From the very beginning, I hoped to stage this play in a way that put a unique focus on the performativity of memory. So many people go in and out of the lives of these two characters during their story - and when they outlive their place in the narrative, where do they go? In this production, the small cast ensures that the faces and bodies of Anne and Henry's memories are remade and recycled into the next wave of moments. Faces become familiar, but interchangeable, as the dynamics of the play's relationships blur and change along with them. In the end, I hope the cast, crew, and audiences of this play are left with a sense of how memory - how we remember, and how we are remembered, the impermanence of people, places, and moments - can be embraced and experienced as a performance in its own right."

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Maxwell Anderson was born in Atlantic, Pennsylvania, on December 15, 1888. His father worked as a traveling minister, so his youth was split among many states. As a child, Maxwell was frequently sick, missing a great deal of school. He used his time sick in bed to read voraciously, and both his parents and Aunt Emma were storytellers, which contributed to Anderson's love of literature.

He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BA in English Literature in 1911 and completed his master's degree in English Literature at Stanford three years later. He taught high school in San Francisco and eventually wrote for the San Francisco Evening Bulletin and the San Francisco Chronicle. He moved to New York City to write for newspapers, and he began to write plays on the side.

His plays are in widely varying styles, and Anderson was one of the few modern playwrights to make extensive use of blank verse. His first play, White Desert, was a contemporary verse tragedy that opened in 1923 to little response. Retooling his approach to establish himself, he scored a hit by co-writing the WWI comedy What Price Glory, which was a Broadway hit. Written with Laurence Stallings, the play made use of profanity, which caused censors to protest. But when the chief censor (Rear Admiral Charles Peshall Plunkett) was found to have written far more obscene letters to General Chamberlaine, he was discredited: soldiers really did speak that way.

Some of his plays were adapted into movies. The only one of his plays that he himself adapted to the screen was Joan of Lorraine, which became the film Joan of Arc (1948) starring Ingrid Bergman. When Bergman and her director changed much of his dialogue to make Joan "a plaster saint" he got angry.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for 1933's Both Your Houses, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for the highly successful and acclaimed contemporary tragedy Winterset, based on the Sacco and Vanzetti trial. He repeated the latter feat in 1936 with High Tor.

Anderson also wrote the screenplays of other authors' plays and novels - All Quiet on the Western Front (1939) and Death Takes a Holiday (1934) - in addition to books of poetry and essays.

Anderson enjoyed great commercial success with a series of plays set during the reign of the Tudor family, who ruled England, Wales and Ireland from 1485 until 1603. One play in particular - Anne of the Thousand Days- the story of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn - was a hit on the stage in 1948, but did not reach movie screens for 21 years. It opened on Broadway starring Rex Harrison and Joyce Redman, and became a 1969 movie with Richard Burton and Geneviève Bujold. Margaret Furse won an Oscar for the film's costume designs.

Another of his Tudor plays, Elizabeth the Queen opened in 1930 with Lynn Fontanne as Elizabeth and Alfred Lunt as Lord Essex. It was later adapted to the screen as The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn. Directed by John Ford, Mary of Scotland (1936) was an adaptation of his play of the same name involving Elizabeth I, starring Katharine Hepburn as Mary, Queen of Scots, Fredric March as the Earl of Bothwell, and Florence Eldridge as Elizabeth. The original play had been a hit on Broadway starring Helen Hayes in the title role.

In 1938, Anderson teamed up with the recently emigrated composer Kurt Weill, who'd fled to New York to flee the Nazis, and sought out the city's top playwrights in search of collaborators. Their first effort was Knickerbocker Holiday, a historical musical set in the time when New York was still the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. Anderson wrote the book and lyrics, and although the play was a decent-sized success, its "September Song" proved to have a life far beyond its source, thanks in part to a recording by Frank Sinatra. In 1939, Anderson and Weill began work on another musical, to be titled Ulysses Africanus, however, they never found an actor suited to the lead role, and the show was never completed. Anderson and Weill remained on good terms, but it took them quite some time to find another project to work on together; Weill originally wanted Anderson to write lyrics for the play that became Street Scene, but Anderson, unconvinced of his talent as a lyricist, let the job go to poet Langston Hughes.

His last successful Broadway stage play was 1954's The Bad Seed, Anderson's adaption of the William March novel. He was hired by Alfred Hitchcock to write the screenplay for Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (1957). Hitchcock also contracted with Anderson to write the screenplay for what became Vertigo (1958), but Hitchcock rejected his screenplay Darkling, I Listen.

Anderson died in Stamford, Connecticut, on February 28, 1959, two days after suffering a stroke. He was 70 years old. He was cremated. Half of his ashes were scattered by the sea near his home in Stamford. The other half was buried in Anderson Cemetery near his birthplace in rural northwestern Pennsylvania.

Featuring the talents of: Ivette Del Toro (Anne Boleyn), Peter Ray Juarez (Henry VIII),

Lisa Burton (Norfolk / Servant / Singer), Helena G. Clarkson (Cardinal Wolsey / Madge / Thomas), April Culver (Thomas Boleyn/Elizabeth Boleyn/Thomas More/Bailiff/Singer), Tonya Duncan (Mary, Percy, Cromwell, Jane Seymour), Ronald Feichtmeir (Norris / Fisher / Courier / Servant), and Keenan Flagg (Smeaton / Fisher / Courier / Servant).

Designers & Production Team:

Director - Melinda Marks, Stage Manager - Nita Lambert, Technical Director - Karl Haller, Lighting Designer - Nathanael Card, Sound Designer - Michael Weiland, Photographer - Lance Huntley, Graphic Designer - Maggie Ziomek

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