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Gingold Theatrical Group Continues Project Shaw with THE PLAY'S THE THING

Gingold Theatrical Group Continues Project Shaw with THE PLAY'S THE THING

Gingold Theatrical Group continues 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.

"All of us at Gingold have been waiting for years to get this play into our series and now, at last, here it is. Molnar is a universal favorite, of course, with his Little Shop Around The Corner and Liliom, but this play almost defies description as it seems to live on a theatrical comedic world of its own. We've got a dream cast and director to bring this to you just in time for Thanksgiving and there's excitement in the air!" - David Staller

In Ferenc Molnar's legendary farce The Play's the Thing, a young playwright is distraught when he overhears the actress he loves having an affair with another man. His mentor must convince him that she is only rehearsing a play - and that he must write her a better one. This rollicking comedy has spawned innumerable imitations on stage, screen, and TV. Even Tom Stoppard wrote his own translation of this jolly folly.

Stephen Brown-Fried, GTG's Associate Director, directs a cast that features Arnie Burton (Broadway: Machinal, Peter and the Starcatcher, The 39 Steps, A Free Man of Color; Off-Broadway: The Government Inspector - Callaway Award, The Mystery of Irma Vep - Drama League nomination, The Temperamentals - Drama Desk Award, The Explorers Club, The Jew of Malta/The Merchant of Venice); Margaret Odette (The Public Theater's Much Ado About Nothing, She Kills Monsters - The Flea Theater), Thom Sesma (recently starred opposite Raúl Esparza in Classic Stage Company's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui; Broadway: The Times They Are A-Changin', Man of La Mancha, Search and Destroy; Off-Bway: Fruiting Bodies, Superhero, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Pacific Overtures - Lortel Award nomination), Douglas Sills (Broadway: War Paint, Living on Love, Little Shop of Horrors, The Scarlet Pimpernel - Tony Award nomination, Theatre World Award), Ryan Spahn (Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, Gloria, Daniel's Husband, Summer and Smoke), David Turner (Broadway: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Sunday in the Park with George, The Ritz, In My Life; Off-Bway: By the Way Meet Vera Stark, Good Person of Szechwan, The Last Sunday in June); and Paxton Whitehead (Broadway: Bernhardt/Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Absurd Person Singular, My Fair Lady, Lettice and Lovage, Noises Off, The Crucifer of Blood); with Mr. Brown-Fried serving as the on stage narrator.

Stephen Brown-Fried is Associate Director with Gingold Theatrical Group. A theatre director and teacher based in New York City whose work has been seen at The Public Theater, the National Asian American Theatre Company, Northern Stage, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop's 4th Street Theater, Sundance Theatre Lab, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Trinity Shakespeare, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Illinois Shakespeare and at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, as well as at training programs including The Yale School of Drama, NYU/Tisch Graduate Acting, The Atlantic School, SMU/Meadows School of the Arts, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, The University of Miami, and Virginia Commonwealth University. From 2014 to 2015, he served as the Artistic Associate & Casting Director at the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, where his directing credits include Misalliance, All's Well That Ends Well, The Comedy of Errors, and other plays. He is an Associate Artist at Trinity Shakespeare Festival, where his credits include Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III. His production of Clifford Odets's Awake and Sing! with the National Asian American Theatre Company was nominated for a Drama League Award for Best Revival, and received an Obie Award for best performance in a leading role by Mia Katigbak. He holds a BA in History and Drama from Stanford University, an MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama, is Head of Directing (MFA & BFA) at The New School College of Performing Arts, School of Drama, and is a Lecturer in Directing at The Yale School of Drama.

Ferenc Molnár, the Hungarian playwright, rose to international acclaim in the first half of the twentieth century with his cosmopolitan fairy tales for adults. Molnár's plays inventively blended romantic fantasy and sardonic wit; pointed social satire and polished theatricality. Best known today for the mystical folk play Liliom (1922; the basis of the classic musical Carousel) and the sophisticated comedy The Guardsman, Molnár was immensely prolific as a journalist, short story writer, novelist, and the author of forty-two plays, many of which were performed widely throughout Europe and America. Molnár achieved international fame in 1907, with the publication of A Pál utcai fiúk (The Paul Street Boys), his classic novel of Budapest street gangs, as well as the sensational success of his play Az ördög (The Devil). A risqué supernatural comedy of intrigue, the play had four simultaneous productions in New York City alone. Molnár's theatrical career flourished throughout the next decade. The Hungarian premieres of Liliom (1909), A Test?'r (The Guardsman, 1910)) and A Farkas (The Tale of the Wolf, 1912) were followed by productions of these plays in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, among other European cities. The onset of World War I turned Molnar's efforts toward war correspondence. Despite Austria-Hungary's status as an enemy of the Allies, Molnár's balanced and humane observations of the war earned the distinction of publication in The New York Times. Following WWI, Molnár earned both popular affection and critical renown as "the best-known living Continental playwright in America" (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle). In 1921, Liliom marked a monumental success for The Theatre Guild, who also mounted the legendary 1924 production of The Guardsman, a comedy of marital role-playing starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. While stage productions (as well as many Hollywood film adaptations) of Molnár plays appeared regularly into the 1930s, the rise of Nazism impelled the playwright's 1940 emigration to the United States, where he lived in a room at New York's Plaza Hotel. Still a theatrical institution in America and Europe (though banned in Communist Hungary), the playwright died after a long illness in New York in 1952, survived by his third wife, actress Lili Darvas.

Next up after The Play's the Thing, ending the 2019 season, will be 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 for each of the plays in Project Shaw and are available by calling 212-864-5400 or online at Special reserved VIP seating available for $55 by contacting the Gingold office 212-355-7823 or Symphony Space's Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre space is completely accessible. Infra-red hearing devices are also available.

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