GTG's Project Shaw Continues The 2019 Season With Robert Cuccioli, Edward Hibbert, Laila Robins And Mary Testa In ON APPROVAL
Gingold Theatrical Group (David Staller, Artistic Director) is proud to continue the 14th Season of Project Shaw, Art as Activism: A Theatrical Survival Guide, a special series of evenings of plays that embrace human rights and free speech. All of GTG's programming, inspired by the works of George Bernard Shaw, are designed to provoke peaceful discussion and activism.
Next up, on April 15th, Project Shaw will present On Approval by Frederick Lonsdale, directed by Pamela Hunt, starring Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde - Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award, Les Misérables; currently: The White Devil at the Lortel Theatre), Edward Hibbert (Something Rotten!, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Curtains, The Drowsy Chaperone), Laila Robins (The Apple Family Plays - Drama Desk Award, Heartbreak House, Frozen - Lortel Award nomination, The Herbal Bed, The Real Thing), and Mary Testa (two Tony Award nominations, two Lortel Award nominations, four Drama Desk nominations, two Drama League nominations, an Obie Award, and a special Drama Desk Award celebrating Three Decades of Outstanding Work; currently: Aunt Eller in Oklahoma!)
The exacting and difficult Maria Wislack (played by Mary Testa) is a widow who decides to take timid Richard Halton (Robert Cuccioli) away to her Scottish island for a month's trial "on approval" to see if he is compatible as a possible marriage partner. The wildly self-involved Duke of Bristol (Edward Hibbert), who is in dangerous financial straits, contrives to be there as well. Helen (Laila Robins), the astonishingly wealthy heiress, also arrives. Madness ensues as circumstances force all four of them to stay on the island alone together for the month. This rarely seen comedy by one of the forgotten British Masters is sure to tickle you.
Frederick Lonsdale (1881 - 1954) was a British playwright and contemporary of Bernard Shaw, who was one of the most successful playrights of the 1920s - at one time no less than three of his plays were running simultaneously in the West End. He was best known for his librettos to several successful musicals early in the 20th century, including King of Cadonia, The Balkan Princess, Betty, The Maid of the Mountains, Monsieur Beaucaire, and Madame Pompadour. He also wrote comedies, including Aren't We All?, The Last of Mrs. Cheyney and On Approval, and the murder melodrama But for the Grace of God. Some of his plays and musicals were made into films, and he also wrote a few screenplays, including The Private Life of Don Juan directed by Alexander Korda, starring Douglas Fairbanks (in his final film role) and Merle Oberon.
"This sparkling four-character comedy is a riot and one we're very much looking forward to sharing! It was first introduced to me by godmother Hermione Gingold, who had always longed to do this play, relishing its early 20th century take on women taking charge. Though Lonsdale wasn't an overt activist, he certainly understood the needs of the times. It's a comedy about sex roles, society, class systems, and high finance...a perfect way to celebrate tax day!," said Staller.
Following On Approval will be Shaw's Man and Superman on May 20th, Shaw's The Philanderer on June 24th, The Stepmother by Githa Sowerby on July 22nd, Scintillating Shaw Symposium with an international panel on September 23, Shaw's Arms and the Man on October 28th, followed by The Play's The Thing by Ferenc Molnar on November 18th, ending with I'll Leave It To You by Noel Coward on December 16th.[*]
All the plays in this series will be presented in a concert-reading format at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. Tickets are $40 and are available by calling 212-864-5400 or online at www.symphonyspace.org. Special reserved VIP seating available for $55 by contacting the Gingold office 212-355-7823 or email@example.com. Symphony Space's Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre space is completely accessible. Infra-red hearing devices are also available.
Now celebrating its 14th year, Gingold Theatrical Group's Project Shaw made history in 2009 as the first company ever to present performances of every one of Shaw's 65 plays (including full-length works, one-acts and sketches). Since 2013, they also present works by writers who share Shaw's activist socio-political views embracing human rights and free speech, including work by Chekhov, Ibsen, Elizabeth Robins, Rachel Crothers, Pinero, Wilde, Barrie, and Harley Granville-Barker. GTG's other programs include its new play development and educational programs. For those interested in lively off-site discourses, each Project Shaw event is followed by a talk-back with cast members. GTG's David Staller and Stephen Brown-Fried also host a monthly Shaw Club discussion group.
GTG recently completed a highly acclaimed Off-Broadway engagement of Shaw's Heartbreak House. Terry Teachout in the The Wall Street Journal declared, "Mr. Staller has taken on Heartbreak House, one of Shaw's most challenging plays, with altogether extraordinary results. Every gesture lands with the utmost potency, and the climactic convulsion that is the play's final scene sweeps away the bubbly comedy and leaves you, as Shaw intended, in shock. Mr. Staller has given us a uniquely satisfying production of this great but hard-to-stage play. This is one of the finest Shaw stagings of the past decade. Do not miss it." In his year end recap, Mr. Teachout named Heartbreak House Best Classical Production of the year: "David Staller's conceptual staging of George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House, produced off Broadway by the Gingold Theatrical Group, was the best thing Mr. Staller has given us to date-which is saying something."
For more information about Project Shaw and all the programs at Gingold Theatrical Group, call 212-355-7823, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit gingoldgroup.org.