Interview: Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry and the NJ Rep ALL ABOUT EVE FESTIVAL

By: Sep. 27, 2017
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New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) will present a week-long arts event, the ALL ABOUT EVE Festival of the Arts from October 1st to October 8th. The festival will be inaugurating their new West End Arts Center at 132 West End Avenue in Long Branch and will feature Theatre Brut with 28 short plays, live music, poetry, art, and photography. The festival is also a benefit for the Company's Center.

Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, the real-life married couple, who have a renowned background in acting and the arts. They spoke to us about their collaboration on the play, Pittsburgh that is a part of the Theatre Brut festival. Written by Tucker and directed by Eikenberry, Pittsburgh will be performed in Session Six on Sunday, October 8th at 2:00 pm along with Cubs Win! By Marisa Smith, Eviction by Nancy Cooper Frank, and The Late Shift by Willow Martin.

Michael Tucker is an actor, author and playwright. His first play, The M Spot debuted at The New Jersey Repertory Company in 2015 and his second play, Assisted Living, was chosen to be a part of this summer's Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Connecticut. He has written three memoirs and a novel, "After Annie." He has acted over the last fifty years in theater, TV and films, most recently in "Wallace Shawn's Evening at the Talk House" at The New Group.

Eikenberry has a long and distinguished career - on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in Film and TV. Along with her husband, Michael she appeared in the long-running TV Series "L.A. Law" for which she received five Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe Award. She has also appeared regionally, notably at The New Jersey Repertory Company two years ago in her husband's play, The M Spot. Directed by Evan Bergman, the play, which received critical acclaim, starred Jill, Michael and Phoenix Vaughn.

In Michael Tucker's new play, Pittsburgh, a young couple experiences life changes when the male partner gets a big promotion. But the changes are not necessarily what they were hoping for. The play deals with the tenuous nature of trust, the unconscious pull to play traditional male and female roles and the mystery and delicacy of love. Pittsburgh will mark Jill's directing debut.

Michael told us that it was a challenge to write a 10-minute play. "It's hard to have a beginning, middle and end and develop the characters in such a short time. Jill came up with the idea for the story and I turned it into a play. Eleanor Handley and Michael Satow, wonderful young actors, and a married couple also, will be performing Pittsburgh."

Jill commented about the plot of Pittsburgh, "It's a play about an intimate relationship. Because of individual agendas, we don't always understand what it's like for the other person."

Jill also told us that their son, Max Tucker, who is a composer and musician, has created the music for Pittsburgh.

Because Jill is such an accomplished actor, we wanted to know how she felt about her role as a director. "I enjoy acting and I may enjoy this too. It's new to me. We've had a couple rehearsals and I'm having a great time."

Both Jill and Michael said that they are honored to be a part of the ALL ABOUT EVE Festival of the Arts along with so many wonderful writers, actors and directors. Michael commented about NJ Rep's Producing Director, Gabriel Barabas and Artistic Director, Suzanne Barabas. "Gabe and SuzAnne are incredible. Their vision for theatre, the arts and their mission to produce new plays is pure."

Jill added, "We love Gabe and SuzAnne. At this point, we have such a good relationship with them that they trust us to do the right thing and that kind of trust sparks creative juices."

In addition to the upcoming production of Pittsburgh, Michael Tucker's newest play, Assisted Living, which debuted at the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference in Connecticut has received a lot of buzz. Both Michael and Jill are confident that Assisted Living has a great future ahead.

For details on schedules and events for the ALL ABOUT EVE Festival of the Arts, call the NJ Rep Box Office at 732.229.3166 or visit: www.njrep.org. The West End Arts Center is located at 132 West End Avenue in Long Branch, NJ. Ticket prices for the Festival vary with dates and performances. You can reserve individual events or purchase an all-inclusive festival pass.

Photo Credits:

Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker's photo by Kristine Walsh

The M. Spot photo by Suzanne Barabas



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