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Miami New Drama Presents Moisés Kaufman's THE ALBUM

Miami New Drama presents Moisés Kaufman's The Album, excerpts from a new work in progress At The Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road

Renowned theater artist Moisés Kaufman and the team behind The Laramie Project lead groundbreaking theatrical exploration into historic Holocaust photo album

A powerful and chilling Holocaust document inspires Miami New Drama 's final show of the season, a co-production with the Tectonic Theater Project and their famed artistic director Moisés Kaufman, the co-founder of Miami New Drama.

In The Album , Kaufman, a multiple Tony award nominee and National Medal of the Arts winning playwright and director, examines The Hoecker Album , with collaborating artists Amanda Gronich and Barbara Pitts McAdams. The subject is a notorious book of photographs showing Nazi officers from Auschwitz at a bucolic resort, close to the infamous concentration camp where they helped oversee the annihilation of over one million people.

Miami New Drama presents a first look at The Album from May 31s t to June 3r d at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach. South Florida actors will join Tectonic artists and Kaufman in preparing excerpts from the work-in-progress at the historic Lincoln Road venue.

The collaboration represents a new stage in Miami New Drama's development and its dedication to original theater. "The work that Moisés and Tectonic have done in the past two decades has changed the landscape of American theater," says Miami New Drama artistic director Michel Hausmann. "Mois é s has been a friend, mentor and teacher. Much of the original work we are creating for next season is inspired by their process. What an amazing honor it is for a young company like ours to have a partnership with such an established, nationally recognized company."

Kaufman and Tectonic Theater Project became famous with The Laramie Project , a play which examined the homophobia-driven torture and murder of Matthew Shepherd, and was turned into a film for HBO. A Venezuelan native who is gay and Jewish, Kaufman frequently addresses issues of identity, outsiders, and intolerance in his work. His plays include Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde , while his multiple Broadway directing credits include Doug Wright's Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning I Am My Own Wife , about a transgender woman who survived Nazi and Soviet rule in East Berlin. The latter was created by Tectonic Theater Project before transferring to Broadway, further establishing Kaufman's track record of developing work that gains national attention.

But Kaufman, whose father was a Holocaust survivor, says this is the first time he and his troupe have looked at the worst genocide in history.

"There has been so much written and said about the Holocaust that it's hard to think what else we can say about it that is interesting or new or insightful," Kaufman says. "When this album came to light... the fact that it was a new finding made me want to look at it again."

"Growing up, because I'm part of that generation, the Holocaust was very, very present. When I saw these pictures something very personal happened."

The Hoecker Album, named for the Auschwitz commander who created it, shows Nazi officers singing, picnicking, and flirting with young women. They include Dr. Josef Mengele, the "Angel of Death" who experimented on Jewish victims, and Rudolf Hoess, the commandant who made Auschwitz a model of "efficient genocide." The photos prompted an intense new debate when they surfaced in 2008: What makes seemingly normal human beings capable of profound evil?

Tectonic Theater Project's process, Moment Work is based on extensive research and interviews. Kaufman spent days talking to Dr. Rebecca Erbelding, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum archivist who led research into the photographs, and her colleagues .

"What proceeds is a journey into discovering who owned the album, whose it was, why were these photos taken, who are the people in the photos, when in the Holocaust were they taken and what is the story the photos tell," says Kaufman. "People talk about the banality of evil. This is evidence of what they were doing in the middle of the Holocaust - having a vacation, relaxing, singing. There's something about that that begs the question: How can you do that? What does it take to make those photos?"

The Album , in keeping with Miami New Drama's commitment to locally resonant, nationally significant drama, is particularly relevant to Miami, whose extensive, multi-national Jewish community has welcomed many Holocaust survivors. The play comes as anti-Semitism and white nationalism are on the rise, and a recent survey found that many Americans, particularly millennials, are misinformed about the Holocaust ; two-thirds of millennials do not know what Auschwitz was.

"This play could not be more timely," says Hausmann.

The collaboration with Kaufman is personally significant for Hausmann, who is also Jewish and from Venezuela, and has three grandparents who lived through the Holocaust. Hausmann co-directed the premiere of Kaufman's Gross Indecency in Venezuela; their friendship grew when Hausmann moved to New York, leading to their co-founding of Miami New Drama .

This production is supported by the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies and the George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Miami, the Betsy Hotel, the City of Miami Beach, and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

What: The Album , conceived and written by Moisés Kaufman Presented by Miami New Drama and Tectonic Theater Project

When: Thursday - Saturday, May 31 to June 2 at 8pm Sunday, June 3 at 3pm

Where: Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach FL 33139 305-674-1040

Tickets: $45 to $60; $100 'Directors' Night', includes reception with cast and creatives. www.colony.org or 305-674-1040

MIAMI NEW DRAMA

Founded by playwright and director Michel Hausmann and National Medal of the Arts winner Moises Kaufman, Miami New Drama is a producing and presenting organization committed to artistic excellence and groundbreaking work unique to this diverse and extraordinary city with a vision of theatre as a powerful form of social engagement. The troupe's first show of its debut 2017-2018 season, a culturally mixed, multilingual version of Thornton Wilder's classic Our Town , was critically-acclaimed as "glorious, emotionally potent" and "inventive and touching...superb!" Past productions include the American premiere of Ferdinand von Schirach's Terror directed by Tony Award winner Gregory Mosher and The Golem of Havana, an original musical written and directed by Michel Hausmann. Miami New Drama is the resident company and operator of the City of Miami Beach's historic Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road.

Tectonic Theater Project

Tectonic Theater Project is a not-for-profit theatre company based in New York City, founded in 1991. Led by founder and artistic director Moisés Kaufman, Tectonic's work has been seen by millions worldwide. The company has created and staged over 20 plays and musicals, including Kaufman's Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Laramie Project (written by Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project company), Doug Wright's Pulitzer Prize-wining I Am My Own Wife and Kaufman's Tony Award-winning 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda. Mr. Kaufman also co-wrote and directed the Emmy Award-nominated HBO film adaptation of The Laramie Project. In 2009, President Barack Obama invited the company to witness the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act at the White House, recognizing Tectonic's contribution to the national dialogue around anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. Random House books recently published Tectonic's book on their development process and history, Moment Work: Tectonic's Process of Devising Theater.


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