Claudia Shear's RESTORATION Directed by Christopher Ashley Comes to NY Theatre Workshop Spring 2010
New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) Artistic Director James C. Nicola and Managing Director William Russo have announced that Restoration, written by and starring two-time Tony Award nominee Claudia Shear and directed by Christopher Ashley, will be the final play in the theatre's 2009-10 season, slated for production in spring 2010.Restoration recently received a critically-acclaimed world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse. Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal called it "one of the best new American plays to come my way in quite some time."In Restoration, Giulia, once a rising star in the exclusive world of art restoration, now works alone in her Brooklyn garage. When her mentor pays a visit with an extraordinary opportunity-the chance to restore Michelangelo's David for its 500th birthday celebration in Florence-she has a shot to reinvigorate her career. But this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity truly becomes a second chance at life when Giulia begins to connect with fellow museum staff and lets go of the protective patina she has spent a lifetime building. Inspired by the actual restoration performed by one woman on the David in 2004, Restoration is a portrait of a woman who spends a year in the shadow of a masterpiece-and discovers herself. Restoration casting and design team to be announced shortly.Claudia Shear and Christopher Ashley first met and worked together on the landmark hit NYTW production of Shear's Obie Award-winning play Blown Sideways Through Life. Directed by Ashley, Blown Sideways played an extended NYTW run, transferred for a hit commercial run to the Cherry Lane Theatre, and was later filmed for PBS's "American Playhouse." The play was featured in numerous national publications and Ms. Shear was named "Person of the Week" by ABC News. Shear triumphantly returned to NYTW with Dirty Blonde, a comic exploration of the life of Mae West and society's need for and obsession with celebrity. Directed by James Lapine, Dirty Blonde transferred to Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre and won Ms. Shear a Theatre World Award, as well as Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Play and Best Actress. Christopher Ashley's directing credits include Xanadu, for which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical, and The Rocky Horror Show for which he received nominations for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical. Claudia Shear's Broadway credits include Dirty Blonde, directed by James Lapine, (Theatre World Award, Drama League Award and Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Actress and Best Play) and The Smell of the Kill. Her off-Broadway credits include Blown Sideways Through Life (her one-woman play), directed by Christopher Ashley, at New York Theatre Workshop and the Cherry Lane Theatre (Obie Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination). She appeared in the West End production of the hit musical Chicago. Her regional credits include The Smell of the Kill (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Dirty Blonde (Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and San Francisco), Jon Robin Baitz's End of the Day (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Blown Sideways Through Life (Los Angeles' Coronet Theatre). On television she starred in the adaptation "Blown Sideways Through Life" (American Playhouse), and appeared in "Friends" and "Earthly Possessions." Her film credits include: Living Out Loud, It Could Happen to You, and The Opportunists. Blown Sideways Through Life was published in an expanded edition by Dial Press/Bantam Doubleday Dell. Ms. Shear has also writes for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Vogue, Glamour, Travel & Leisure, and Psychology Today, as well as Underwire. She is a member of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, NYTW's Usual Suspects, and the Dramatists Guild. Christopher Ashley most recently directed Xanadu on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre, which opened in June 2007. Since graduating cum laude from Yale University in 1986, Mr. Ashley has directed over 60 productions, including Broadway musical productions All Shook Up (Palace Theatre 2005, national tour 2006) and The Rocky Horror Show (2001 Tony Award, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations - Best Direction of a Musical, Circle in the Square Theatre). At the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration he directed both Sweeney Todd (2002, Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of a Resident Musical) and Merrily We Roll Along; at New York Theatre Workshop, Valhalla (2004, Lucille Lortel Award nomination), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (1998) and Blown Sideways Through Life (1993); at the Minetta Lane Theatre, Jeffrey (1993, Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Director, Obie Award, Director); at the WPA Theatre, The Naked Truth (1994) and The Night Hank Williams Died (1989); at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, Fires in the Mirror (1993, Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Director); at the Goodspeed Opera House, They All Laughed (2001) and the world premiere of Lucky in the Rain (1997); at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, Bunny, Bunny (1998); at the Variety Arts, Communicating Doors (1998); at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Wonder of the World (2001), New Yorkers (2001), Between Us (2004) and Regrets Only (2006); at the Helen Hayes Theatre, The Smell of the Kill (2002) and at the Mark Taper Forum, Without Walls (2006). Mr. Ashley has also been the recipient of the Princess Grace Award statuette, the Drama League Director Fellowship and an NEA/TCG Director Fellowship. He also directed the feature film of Jeffrey, released by Orion Classics, and the American Playhouse production of Blown Sideways Through Life for PBS. New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW), now celebrating its 26th season, is a leading voice in the world of Off-Broadway and within the theatre community in New York and around the world. NYTW has emerged as a premiere incubator of important new theatre, honoring its mission to explore perspectives on our collective history and respond to the events and institutions that shape our lives. In addition, NYTW is known for its innovative adaptations of classic repertory. Each season, from its home in New York's East Village neighborhood, NYTW presents three to five new productions, over 80 readings, and numerous workshop productions, for over 45,000 audience members. Over the past 26 years, NYTW has developed and produced over 100 new, fully staged works, including Jonathan Larson's Rent, Tony Kushner's Slavs! and Homebody/Kabul, Doug Wright's Quills, Claudia Shear's Blown Sideways Through Life and Dirty Blonde, Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Valhalla, and Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest, Far Away, and A Number. The 2002 remounting of Martha Clarke's seminal work Vienna: Lusthaus and subsequent American tour was one of the longest-running productions in NYTW's history. NYTW supports artists in all stages of their careers by maintaining a series of workshop programs including work-in-progress readings, summer residencies, and minority artist fellowships. In 1991, NYTW received an OBIE Award for Sustained Achievement and in 2000 was designated to be part of the Leading National Theatres Program by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.